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Undergraduate Study

 

Incorrect assumptions are sometimes made about our GCSE and AS/A Level entrance requirements. If you’re considering applying and would like some further detail about our requirements, read on.

The facts at a glance

  • Cambridge does not require a minimum number of A* grades at GCSE.
  • Cambridge does not require 90 per cent in every AS/A2 unit.
  • Cambridge does not require an average of 90 per cent in every AS/A2 subject.
  • Cambridge is comfortable with applicants retaking a small number of AS/A2 units.

We ask applicants to tell us the details of their uniform mark scheme (UMS) performance in any modular AS/A Level units taken to date on our Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ).

You will only have AS marks (or the opportunity to retake) if you are studying any unreformed subjects; for these, the facts above will still apply. For linear qualifications, your teachers will provide us with information about your performance through their UCAS reference. One of the strengths of the Cambridge admissions system is its ability to assess all applicants individually and to take account of individual circumstances. If you have further queries or wish to discuss any particular circumstances, please contact the College to which you're considering applying.

There is only one certainty in the Cambridge admissions process:

  • if you don't apply, you won't get in!

GCSEs

With the exception of those for Medicine and Veterinary Medicine (grade C or above in GCSE Double Award Science and Mathematics), there are no GCSE requirements for entry to Cambridge. Applicants have generally achieved high grades in subjects relevant to their chosen course, and most students who apply have at least four or five As or A*s at GCSE. However, there are always exceptions and one of the strengths of the Cambridge admissions system is its ability to assess all applicants individually.

Our research shows that post-16 examination performance is a much better predictor of degree success at Cambridge. While GCSE results are looked at as a performance indicator, this is within the context of the school/college performance and strong performance in Years 12 and 13 can make up for a less stellar performance at GCSE.

AS/A Level retakes

We recognise that even the best students can have 'bad days' when an exam doesn’t quite go to plan. Therefore, we’re not concerned if an applicant has retaken or is planning to retake one or two modular AS/A2 Level units for which the results obtained are clearly out of character.

At Cambridge, students are regularly assessed by examination and there's no opportunity to resit any exams (with the exception of professional qualifying examinations in Medicine and Veterinary Medicine). Therefore, we would be concerned about an applicant who is retaking large numbers of exams, unless this number of retakes was justified by circumstances beyond the applicant’s control and explained in their UCAS reference and/or Extenuating Circumstances Form.