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Undergraduate Study


 Important messages for 2020 Offer Holders


The University of Cambridge is carefully monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We would like to reassure offer holders and applicants that the University and Colleges of Cambridge are preparing to welcome our new undergraduate students to Cambridge for the academic year 2020-21. Cambridge has welcomed and nurtured students for hundreds of years and continues to do so.

We recognise that the impact of the pandemic may create uncertainty for offer holders and prospective students. We fully understand that this is a difficult time for all of you, but please be assured that we are working extremely hard on contingency planning and we will keep you informed.

We are providing Frequently Asked Questions and strongly encourage you to refer to them, and this page, regularly. We wish you, your peers, your schools and your families the very best during this difficult period.

For UK Offer Holders (and all International Baccalaureate offer holders)

OFQUAL has recently published guidance on how GCSEs, AS and A Levels will be awarded in England this summer. Similar guidance has been issued for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. There is also guidance for those taking the International Baccalaureate.

Please rest assured that we will be using this summer's results (as awarded) to confirm places in our normal way – if you meet all of the conditions of your offer with us by the deadline stipulated by UCAS (currently 31 August), you will be accepted to the University.

We understand that there may be an opportunity to take examinations this autumn. If you have not met the conditions of your offer this summer, you may choose to sit alternative examinations this autumn. The University of Cambridge will make you an offer for entry in October 2021, if the terms of your original offer are met as a result. Where possible, this will be at the College where the offer is currently held, and the current College must be notified by 31 August of the intention to take the autumn exams.

We are very mindful that many of our mature offer holders will be taking qualifications other than A Levels or the IB and we are currently working very hard to understand the impact that coronavirus will have on the awarding of these qualifications. We are also aware that some applicants will be completing A Level qualifications independently of a school or college (please do alert the College that made you an offer to this if they are not already aware); we are liaising with relevant sector bodies to understand how A Level grades could be awarded in such circumstances. As soon as we are in a position to provide further information on these particular circumstances, we will do so.

For EU and Overseas Offer Holders (excluding International Baccalaureate)

Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) has published guidance on how their qualifications will be awarded this summer. As with UK/IB qualifications, we will be using these awarded results to confirm places in our normal way - if you meet all of the conditions of your firm offer with us, you will be accepted to the University.  

We are mindful that many of our EU and overseas offer holders are not completing CIE/IB qualifications.  If you are such an offer holder, and if you are aware that your results are going to be awarded in a different way than originally planned (eg a pass/fail rather than specific grades), please bring this to the attention of the College that made you an offer as soon as possible. We are currently working very hard to understand the impact on the awarding of these qualifications and our Colleges will work collectively to agree a best way forward.

You may also be having difficulty taking English Language tests. We recommend you check the following websites regularly for updates on English language test centres: IELTS updates, TOEFL updates. Please keep the College that made you an offer updated if you have been unable to access a suitable test by the end of May.

For All Offer Holders

If your offer has conditions including the Mathematics Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP) II and III, please note that these examinations are still going to take place with a similar timetable, so you should continue to prepare for these. Further guidance on individual STEP papers is available, and we will communicate with offer holders as soon as definitive arrangements are available. Our online STEP Support Programme provides resources for individual self-study. Furthermore, MEI has made additional resources available for both teachers and students (remote teaching and self-study).

To enable us to treat all applicants equitably, we would be grateful if you could continue to keep a summary log of any disruption (which might include, but is not limited to, periods of self-isolation, disruptive teacher absences, dates of school closures and what alternatives, if any, are provided). We do not need this information now, but you may be asked to send it to us in the summer, and it will be more accurate if you start to record it systematically. 

We strongly encourage you to make use of our free online study resources which can be accessed through our HE Plus website.

We also encourage you to pay close attention to the guidance from Public Health England and/or issued by the authorities in your home country.

The University also has a dedicated Coronavirus page with the latest guidance.

Admissions Interviews

In order to minimise COVID-related risks to our applicants, students and staff in the coming undergraduate admissions round, we are making plans to interview applicants this year without requiring them to travel to Cambridge in December. We will release further details about alternative arrangements as soon as we can.

Outreach events and open days

All large-scale, in-person outreach activities and events organised by Cambridge Admissions Office and due to take place in 2020 will be moved online, postponed or cancelled. 

We are committed to providing prospective applicants with information about the collegiate University, its courses, and the admissions process We are looking at opportunities we can offer virtually, as well as the possibility of running some events at a later date. We will update the website with further information once this is available and, for specific widening participation programmes, make direct contact with schools and students affected. For information about particular events and alternative activity, please check the relevant events and open days webpage or contact the event organiser for the most up-to-date information.

We apologise for the inconvenience and any disappointment that this may have caused and we hope to be able to welcome you to an event in Cambridge in the future.

Last updated: 1 July 2020