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Questions relating to Qualifications

How will GCSEs/Highers/A Levels/Advanced Highers be graded and awarded in the summer?

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 qualifications in ScotlandWales, and Northern Ireland

How will the International Baccalaureate be graded and awarded in the summer?

Guidance for those taking the International Baccalaureate can be found here.

How will Cambridge view the calculated GCSE, Higher, A Level, Advanced Higher and IB grades this summer?

Please rest assured that we will be using grades and scores awarded in this summer's results  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.

Will Cambridge take into account the calculated grade information submitted to exam boards by schools/colleges?

Cambridge will be confirming places based on the official grades released by exam boards.  We will not take into account individual approaches from schools/colleges regarding their calculated grades or rankings. As usual, we will review decisions on a case by case basis and will offer as much flexibility as we are able to within the constraints of the Government's student number controls.

Will I be automatically rejected for entry in 2020 if I miss the conditions of my offer this summer?

No, our Colleges have well established processes in place to consider all applications individually and holistically.  The College at which you hold you offer will first consider your results and take a decision on whether there are valid reasons for making your offer unconditional.  If you fail to meet the conditions of your offer and the College is unable to accept you, you may be placed in our Summer Pool for consideration by other Colleges. 

If I am unhappy with my calculated grades and decide to appeal, how will this affect my admission?

Appeals must be taken to examination boards, not the University. Any revised grades or scores awarded following the appeal will be recognised by the University. If your appeal is successful, but you do not meet the conditions of offer until after 31 August, you may be asked to defer entry to October 2021.

If I am unhappy with my calculated A level or IB grades and decide to sit the exams how will this affect my admission?

We understand that there may be an opportunity to take examinations this autumn, and that you may decide to sit those if your summer grades are lower than you expected.  The University of Cambridge will confirm you for entry in October 2021 if the terms of your original offer are met as a result of taking those examinations. Where possible, you will be admitted to the College where your offer is currently held. You should notify the College from which you are currently holding an offer by no later than 31 August if you intend to take the autumn examination.

Will sitting my examinations this autumn be considered as a resit?

No, we fully appreciate the significant educational disruption our offer holders have experienced this year.  Any offer holder who fails to meet the conditions of their offer this year, and who opts to sit examinations in autumn 2020, will not be considered as taking re-sits. Please note, however, that any offer holder with Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP) conditions will need to meet the conditions of their offer by 31 August this summer; this is owing to the fact that the STEP examinations will be going ahead in June (please also see the STEP FAQ under ‘General Questions about Offers’ below).

I have studied my A Levels independently of a school/college – what if I can’t get calculated grades?

Please alert your Cambridge College as soon as possible to ensure that they are aware that you are studying independently of a school/college.  We are liaising with relevant sector bodies to understand how A Level grades could be awarded in such circumstances.  If calculated grades cannot be awarded to you our Colleges will consider each application on an individual basis and will advise you on possible options.

Questions relating to International Offer Holders

How will international GCSEs and A Levels be graded and awarded in the summer?

Guidance on Cambridge International examinations can be found here

Guidance on Pearson examinations can be found here.

I am taking a non-UK qualification (and not the IB) – what should I do?

All academic grades, scores and classifications awarded to high school leavers, private candidates, and university graduates will be recognised and considered for entry by our Colleges in the normal way over the summer.  Those who do not meet the conditions of their offer, or cannot meet the conditions of offer having been awarded a simple pass indicator (rather than a specific grade, score or classification) will be considered for entry on a case by case basis by the College.

I am unsure if I will be able to take my English language test because the test centres are closed, what should I do?

We recommend that you regularly check the IELTS and TOEFL websites for up to date information on test centres. We are now accepting the following test:

TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition Test

The organisation which runs TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) has recently announced the standard test is now available for some applicants to take online, at home, subject to eligibility. The online test is the same format and level as the one you would take at a test centre. If you are eligible and successfully pass the test at the required level, you may then be assessed remotely by the Language Centre before we can complete the English Language offer condition.

The format of my Advanced Placement (AP) exams has changed - does this impact my current offer?

No, there will be no changes to the offers of those applicants taking AP exams this summer. If you meet the exact conditions of your offer, then you will be accepted to the University.

Questions relating to Mature Offer Holders

I am a mature learner – what impact does the pandemic have on the qualifications I was due to complete this summer?

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 on the awarding of these qualifications.  Further information for those taking Access to HE courses can be found here. Please also see the FAQ regarding studying A Levels independently in ‘Questions relating to Qualifications’ above. 

General Questions about Offers

When do I need to meet the conditions of my offer?

The latest date by which offer holders must meet the conditions of their offer is currently 31 August.  Colleges may have stipulated earlier deadlines by which certain conditions must be fulfilled and it is important that you check your offer letter carefully.

Can I defer?

Our Colleges will consider deferral requests unrelated to the pandemic on a case by case basis, as they arise.  However, if you meet the conditions of your offer for 2020 entry then we would ideally prefer you to commence your studies as planned.  If the reason for your deferral request is related to the current pandemic then we will consider your request in August. 

My offer included Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP) conditions – what should I do?
Arrangements are being made for the STEP II and STEP III examinations to go ahead on the test dates originally scheduled in June.  It is therefore very important that you continue with your preparation for these examinations.  To ensure the safety of all concerned, these examinations will not be run in schools, colleges or test centres; alternative testing methods are currently being finalised.  Our Colleges will contact affected offer holders with appropriate guidance on the registration process shortly.  If you are still holding an offer which includes a STEP I condition, and you have not already been in contact with us, please contact the College you are holding your offer with as soon as possible.

My offer includes a Science Practical Endorsement condition – how will this impact my ability to meet my offer?

We understand that it may be possible for schools and colleges to submit a practical endorsement result for students, though further information is awaited from exam boards.  Please rest assured that we will be using grades and scores awarded in this summer's results to confirm places in our normal way. If it is not possible for your school/college to submit a practical endorsement result owing to the pandemic, we ask that you update the College at which you are holding your offer.

Questions about UCAS Adjustment

Will Cambridge still use UCAS Adjustment?

This is not possible to confirm at this stage, but if our Colleges still have places available once the outcome of all examinations are known this summer then Cambridge will use Adjustment, as originally planned, if it is still offered by UCAS. 

Questions about Finance

Will my application to the UK Student Loans Company be affected by the outbreak?

The Student Loans Company has detailed guidance here for prospective students.  Please check this website regularly for updates.