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Typical questions that arise when completing the Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ)

Why does Cambridge have an SAQ?

The Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) was developed to ensure that we have complete and consistent information about all applicants. It also enables us to collect information that’s not part of the UCAS application but is helpful when assessing applications. The SAQ asks for details such as UMS marks obtained in any modular AS/A Level units, and information about topics covered as part of your AS/A Level (or equivalent) courses.

What’s the deadline for submitting my SAQ?

The initial email you receive from the University about completing the SAQ will include a deadline by which you must submit your SAQ. In the majority of cases this will be 18:00 (UK time) on 22 October 2021. However, there is an earlier deadline of 18.00 (UK time) on 27 September 2021 for international applicants wishing to be considered for interview during the October interview session with the international interviews team. If you are unsure about the deadline for submission of your SAQ, you should contact your College’s Admissions Office as soon as possible to check.

I’ve applied to the University of Cambridge but I haven’t received an email, what should I do?

Emails containing SAQ log-in details are usually sent within 48 hours of submission of a UCAS application, so you may not receive an email from us immediately. If you submit an application to the University of Cambridge through UCAS but don’t receive an email about the SAQ by Monday 18 October 2021 (or Thursday 23 September 2021 if you are applying for an October interview slot with the international interviews team), you should contact the Cambridge Admissions Office (email: saqhelp@admin.cam.ac.uk). Please include your full name, UCAS personal ID, date of birth, course and College choice in your correspondence.

Receiving emails from the University of Cambridge

During the early stages of your application, the University will send important information and reminders to the email address that you’ve provided in your UCAS application. It’s essential that your email account is configured correctly so that emails sent from the University aren’t rejected or filtered into your 'junk'/'spam' folder by your email provider (you should check this folder regularly, as well as your inbox). Your application to the University of Cambridge may be disadvantaged if you don’t take the steps described below. The University of Cambridge will contact you from time to time using the following email addresses:

Please ensure that all four of the above email addresses are:

  • ADDED to your email client's Contact List
  • ADDED to your email client's Safe Sender List (if available)
  • REMOVED from your email client's Block Sender List

Help for some of the more commonly used email clients can be found at the following links:

What should I do if I lose my SAQ login details?

If you lose the initial email from the University which contains the web address of the online Supplementary Application Questionnaire and your temporary SAQ password details, please contact the Cambridge Admissions Office (email: saqhelp@admin.cam.ac.uk) requesting that your initial log-in details be resent.

What if I forget my SAQ password?

Don't worry if you forget your password. If this happens enter your UCAS Personal ID on the log-in page and click on the 'I have forgotten my password' link. We’ll send you a new temporary SAQ password by email. You’ll be asked to change this temporary password to a password of your choice when you next log in.

What’s my UCAS personal ID?

Your UCAS Personal ID is the unique number which UCAS allocates to your application. If you’ve forgotten your UCAS Personal ID, please contact UCAS Customer Services or refer to the UCAS Hub. Your UCAS Personal ID remains the same regardless of how many times you apply through UCAS. If you’re a re-applicant (in other words, if you’ve made an application/applications via UCAS to any higher education institution in a previous year or years), UCAS will give you a new temporary Personal ID for your new application until all of their necessary checks are completed. The Personal ID supplied to us with your new application will revert to your original (and permanent) one, and should be used in the SAQ and in any correspondence you subsequently have with us.

What if my email address changes?

We’ll use the contact details you provided in your UCAS application to communicate with you. If your email address (or any other contact details) change after you’ve submitted your UCAS application you’ll need to advise UCAS Customer Services or change the information in the UCAS Hub.

I don’t have a digital photograph of myself; what should I do?

We strongly encourage you to upload a digital photograph. However, if you are unable to provide a digital photograph, please contact the Cambridge Admissions Office as soon as possible (email: saqhelp@admin.cam.ac.uk).

How much detail do I need to give about the topics I’ve studied?

We are looking for a list of the main topics that you have covered in your studies. As such, you only need to include topics covered up to December 2021.

The two examples below (the first is for A Levels and the second is for the International Baccalaureate) give an indication of the level of detail that we’re looking for in this question. List as many topics as you can but don’t worry if you can’t list them all. Abbreviations are acceptable. If you are unsure which topics you’ll be covering up to December 2021 you should ask your teachers for guidance.

If any of your qualifications are self-taught or you are home-schooled, please enter '1' under 'Class Size' and provide further details in Question A2 ('Is there anything else you would like us to know?').

AS/A Level example
Subject Level Class size Topics
Biology AS Level 15 Molecules and Cells, Exchange Transport, Genetics
Biology A Level 10 Human Health, Respiration
Chemistry AS Level 8 Atomic Structure, Bonding, Kinetics, Energetics
Chemistry A Level 7 Functional Groups, Periodicity
English Literature AS Level 10 Keats, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, A Streetcar Named Desire
Mathematics AS Level 15 Algebra and Functions, Calculus, Trigonometry
Mathematics A Level 12 Probability, Complex Numbers
International Baccalaureate example
Subject Level Class size Topic
English IB Higher Level 15 Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Outsider, Anthony and Cleopatra, Yeats, Heaney
Spanish IB Higher Level 12 Study of Grammar, History of Spain and South America, Spanish Literature, Politics and Culture
History IB Higher Level 15 Russia 1850-1953, Causes of the Cold War, Rise and Rule of Single Party States
Biology IB Standard Level 15 Cells, Digestion, Respiration, Health and Nutrition, Blood and Circulation
Latin IB Standard Level 10 Catullus: Love Poetry, Horace, The Aeneid Book II, Translation of Ovid, Grammar
Maths Studies IB Standard Level 20 Calculus, Trigonometry, Financial Mathematics, Algebra, Graphs

 

What do you mean by ‘AS/A Level or equivalent’?

When we ask for information about subjects studied at 'AS/A Level or equivalent', we’re looking for information about the qualifications you’ve taken/are taking in the final stage of your schooling.

What do you mean by a ‘modular A Level’?

A modular A Level is assessed through individually examined units (modules) that are taken throughout the course, rather than by examinations at the end of the final year of study.

Applicants taking modular A Levels normally receive a Uniform Mark Scale (UMS) score for each unit completed.

In some countries, applicants taking Cambridge International AS/A Levels receive a Percentage Uniform Mark (PUM) for each completed unit rather than a UMS score. UMS scores/PUMs can usually be found on the statement of results issued by the Awarding Body. If you’re unsure whether UMS scores/PUMs are available for your completed A Levels, please ask your school/college for advice. If no UMS scores/PUMs appear on your statement of results, it is likely that your A Level qualification is not modular, and therefore you should not answer question Q1. If in doubt, please contact the Cambridge Admissions Office (saqhelp@admin.cam.ac.uk) for guidance.

Your preference/allocated Cambridge College will require that you supply full and accurate evidence of any claimed UMS/PUMs achievement once your application has been received.

What do you mean by a ‘High School Transcript’?

By ‘High School Transcript’ we mean a record of your academic achievement to date in your secondary school/college examinations; for example non-modular A Levels and IGCSEs/O Levels, or the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma and the Middle Years Programme (MYP), or other equivalent qualifications.

If you’re currently studying at a university, you’re also required to provide a University Transcript.

For most students, the transcript will be an official document or certificate from your school/college/university which lists the subjects you’ve studied and the grades/qualifications that you’ve achieved. Please provide as much information on your examination performance as possible including details of any internal assessments that you may have undertaken.

Please do NOT include references, detailed project work, or any non-academic achievements.

Please do NOT submit a transcript if you’ve taken modular AS/A Levels or CIE A Levels, where you’re provided with Percentage Uniform Marks (PUMs).

If you’re unsure as to whether or not you’re required to submit a transcript (High School and/or University), you can find guidance under the FAQ 'Am I required to submit a High School Transcript?’, below.

If the original transcript isn’t in English, you must have it translated and authorised (i.e. signed or stamped) by an official translation service or by your school/college/university.

For an example of a High School Transcript and further guidance relating to transcripts, please see the transcript page.

Transcript submission deadlines

You must ensure that your transcript is uploaded by the relevant deadline:

  • For applicants wishing to be considered for interview in December by a College, or during the November interview session with the international interviews team, transcripts must be received by 22 October 2021.
  • For applicants wishing to be considered for interview during the October interview session with the international interviews team, transcripts must be received by 27 September 2021.
Am I required to submit a High School Transcript?

Please refer to the Transcripts webpage. If you are unsure, please seek advice from the College you’re applying to as soon as possible. It’s your responsibility to check whether you’re required to submit a transcript. Please note that your application won’t be considered unless the appropriate transcript is received.

My SAQ isn’t displaying correctly; what should I do?

We strongly recommend that you download and use the Firefox web browser to complete the SAQ, as it may not display correctly in other browsers. If you're having difficulty displaying pages of the SAQ correctly (when they have previously displayed without any problems) please try logging out and logging back in again. This should correct any problems you are experiencing.

I’m unable to submit my SAQ; what should I do?

You’ll be unable to submit your SAQ if you haven’t answered any compulsory questions or you’ve provided an invalid answer. Go to the 'Review My Answers' page by clicking on 'Review My Answers' to check for any errors (these will be highlighted in red). Once you’ve corrected any errors try to submit your SAQ again. You’ll need to agree to the declaration statement again.

I’m having difficulties logging into my SAQ; what do I do?

We strongly recommend that you download and use the Firefox web browser to complete the SAQ, as this is the preferred browser and some applicants have experienced problems logging in using other browsers.

If you're experiencing difficulties logging into your SAQ, we recommend that you clear your 'cookies' and browsing history, and allow 'pop-ups'. Alternatively, try using a different machine.

What if I need to change information but have already submitted my SAQ?

Once you’ve submitted your SAQ, it’s not possible to amend the answers online. If you notice an error in the information you provided or have any other queries please contact the Admissions Office of the College you applied to or, in the case of open applicants, the Cambridge Admissions Office (email: admissions@cam.ac.uk).

Can schools/colleges still submit an additional Cambridge-specific reference?

As we receive a copy of the UCAS reference, there’s no need for teachers/referees to provide an additional reference for Cambridge. However, if teachers/referees have any particular comments to make that relate to Cambridge specifically that weren’t included in the UCAS reference, they’re welcome to do so and should send this direct to the relevant College (or to the Cambridge Admissions Office, in the case of open applicants).

Any additional information supplied must also include the applicant's full name, date of birth, course applied for and, if possible, UCAS Personal ID.