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Supporting Oxbridge Applications

At CATS Cambridge we’re dedicated to helping every student achieve excellence. For those who want to study at the best universities in the UK we provide dedicated support which draws on the experience, expertise and deep knowledge of the universities and their application processes.

Dominic Tomalin Cambridge

“We believe that, in matching student ambition with our experience with student progression to Oxford and Cambridge, CATS Cambridge provides the best opportunity for students to meet their academic potential. Our dedicated programmes and staff put students on the right track for applying for these extremely competitive courses.”

Dominic Tomalin
Principal at CATS Cambridge

Oxford and Cambridge

The University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge are the most prestigious in the world. Attending one of these elite higher education institutions can open-up opportunities to a future of world-class academic achievement and life-long prosperity.

Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is the fourth oldest university in the world.
Oxford
The University of Oxford is the oldest University in the English-speaking world.
Cambridge
121 Nobel Prize Laureates
47 Heads of State
210 Olympic Medallists
Oxford
69 Nobel Prize Laureates
60 Heads of State
167 Olympic Medallists

Oxford and Cambridge Entry Requirements

Each course at the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge has their own entry requirements, but these are very high for all courses . Higher Education Officers will help guide students towards the right course for them and offer advice on the likely grades required.

Cambridge and Oxford University Admission Requirements At A Glance

University of OxfordUniversity of Cambridge
Typical minimum A Level resultsAAAAAA
Typical Minimum International Baccalaureate results40+ points with a weighting of over 776 at the higher level40+ points with a weighting of over 776 at the higher level
IELTS Academic *7.07.5
Cambridge English C1 Advanced * 191 193
Cambridge English C2 Proficiency *191 200
TOEFL Internet Based Test *110110

*Students need only one of these English Language qualifications at the level required.

Example Oxford University Entry Requirements 

Subject Oxford Entry Requirements
Medicine A*AA (Chemistry with Maths, Further Maths, Biology or Physics)
Mathematics A*A*A (Maths and Further Maths required)
Biomedical Science A*AA (Two from Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics)
Material Science A*AA (Must have a A* in Maths, Physics or Chemistry)

Example Cambridge University Entry Requirements 

Subject Cambridge Entry Requirements
Medicine A*A*A (Chemistry and Biology, Physics or Maths)
Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology A*A*A (Maths and Chemistry)
Economics A*A*A (Maths)
Natural SciencesA*A*A (Maths and two from Biology, Chemistry or Physics)
Sixth Term Examination Paper in Mathematics (STEP)At least grade 1 in one STEP paper (STEP 2 or 3)

It’s important to remember that Cambridge and Oxford are extremely competitive – with Cambridge only having 8 Medical places per college, and approximately 6 applicants for every place.

Last year all our students who applied to Cambridge and Oxford received interview offers.

English Language Requirements

The English Language requirements to study at these two top universities in the UK are high. For those who are not native English speakers an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Cambridge English (C1 and C2) qualification and score will be required. CATS Cambridge provides extensive English Language support to ensure students meet the requirements to study in English at the very highest academic level.

Both Universities will also accept a TOEFL Internet Based Test with a score of 110.

Application Process Timeline

Personal Statement
Students should have completed their Personal Statement and any other requirements during summer term with the help of the Higher Education Officer (College Counsellor).
Early UCAS Submission
The UCAS Application deadline for Oxford and Cambridge is significantly earlier than the standard UCAS deadline. Students should choose specific colleges they wish to attend.
Pre-interview
Pre-interview tests may be required specifically for courses such as; Medicine, Maths or Law. They may take place prior to, or during the interview.
Interviews
Successful applicants are invited to attend interviews at the colleges they have chosen to apply to. This is one of the most important parts of the process, where our help coaching and developing a student’s ability to articulate ideas is most crucial.
Decision Letter
Students will hear back from Oxbridge and Cambridge by the end of January. Offer letters will inform students what grades they need to achieve to be accepted on to a place at their chosen university.
Studying & Exams
Students then will need to meet the offer requirements throughout the rest of their studies at CATS Cambridge to attend the university of their choice.
Results
A-Levels are released in August, if students meet the offer grades and other requirements, they are on their way to Oxford and Cambridge!
Summer
October 15th
October - November
November - December
Early January
May - June
August

Support

Leading Education

CATS Cambridge partners with Leading Education to provide outstanding support to students on their journey towards the most prestigious universities in the world. Leading Education assists the school to provide Knowledge Skills Enhancement (knowledge and skills beyond the A level syllabus) Admissions Test Preparation and interview technique and practice at CATS Cambridge. Students go into their admissions tests and interviews with enhanced levels of preparation and practice. 

Support For Students: The Key Professions Programme 

CATS Cambridge offers an extensive programme of support for our students applying the University of Cambridge or the University of Oxford. This is detailed further in our Key Professions Programme page

Exam Preparation

Students receive dedicated support on the entrance and admission tests that they will be required to take. This means tailored guidance for each course, whether they’re required to take the UCAT for Medicine, LNat for law, or general admission exams.

Strong Personal Statements

A Personal Statement is the primary way that students can present themselves to the admission teams at Cambridge and Oxford. We ensure that students are showing their true strengths through the projects and supra-curricular activities they have been advised to undertake.

Interview Coaching

We run a programme of mock interviews with subject matter and Oxbridge application experts. These interviews offer practice articulating students’ interest specific to the degree course a student is applying to while expressing why they would be a good fit for their chosen Cambridge or Oxford college.

Open Days and University Visits

It is important that students know as much as possible about the universities they are applying to. We support students to attend open days so they can get the best insight into their chosen university and decide if they feel that it is the right destination for them.

FAQ's

The University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge are two of the most prestigious universities in the world – as such competition is extremely high for the limited places available. For example, at Oxford, there are around 3300 places available and approximately 23000 applicants. This means there’s over seven applicants for each space at the university. While this makes it seem like a difficult task, it’s also why we spend so much time on our application support and coaching.

Facts and figures – full version | University of Oxford

In 2024 half of CATS Cambridge students who applied for Oxford and Cambridge received an invitation to interview. From the interview stage it is said that there is a 1-in-3 chance of acceptance to Oxford and a 1-in-4 chance of acceptance to Cambridge.

Oxford & Cambridge Acceptance Rate | Oxbridge Applications

All admissions tests matter a great deal but are not the most important part of whether a student is selected to study at the universities of Cambridge or Oxford. Admission tests like the UCAT and LNAT are subject specific meaning that a good score is vital. These tests are used to reduce the number of students who are interviewed in the next stage, where it’s often thought that the real decisions are made. Admissions tests are an important hurdle to overcome, but they are not the end of the journey.

Extracurricular and supra curricular activities are a way of showing the admissions teams at Cambridge and Oxford universities that you are a student with a strong interest in your subject area and an ability to self-motivate. Clubs, competitions and other out-of-classroom work are ways to show the passion a student has for a subject area and their depth of knowledge. It may also be a way to signal the ability to study and research independently. These universities are looking for students who will eventually be able to contribute to the field they wish to study, and the supra curriculars are a way of doing just that.

In a word, yes. For students with the right approach to learning and a deep interest in the subject they wish to pursue, aiming for the top universities in the world is a noble goal. Some students feel that they would not ‘fit in’ within the culture at these institutions but experience tells us that these universities are welcoming and help students thrive as individuals. The KPP team will be able to guide you.

At CATS Cambridge we offer extensive coaching for interviews. This coaching isn’t about the right answer, but more about presenting your case for yourself in a strong and articulate manner. Students need to be able to articulate what they like about the subject and why. They need to be confident and be able to answer and challenge the admissions tutor where needed during the interview. Despite expectations, interviews are often enjoyable and friendly.

While entering and winning competitions isn’t a specified pre-requisite of entry to Oxford and Cambridge universities, it is a good way of showing how a student enjoys the subject and associated extracurricular activities.

The application deadline for the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge is the 15th October. Students need to have submitted their applications, personal statement and other supporting information by this date.

While it is often confusing for Oxford and Cambridge to be put in the same category this is because they are the premier elite education institutions in the United Kingdom. The difference between Oxford and Cambridge university is the location and styles of cities that each university is situated in. Oxford is a larger city with a more metropolitan feel and the university itself is the older of the two. Cambridge on the other hand is situated more rurally and has a smaller, friendlier feel to it. Students often comment that Cambridge is a small and welcoming city everything you need close by. Oxford is often considered to be more bustling an exciting city to study in.

There are also differences in the courses which the universities offer. For instance, Cambridge has the Natural Sciences course (NatSci) where students are expected to study a range of sciences, at least initially. At Oxford you choose to study purely Biology, Biochemistry, Materials Science, Zoology, etc.

CATS Cambridge helps students apply to Oxford and Cambridge universities through a dedicated Key Professions Programme. Our staff guide students through all the requirements to study at the top universities in the world. This includes help with personal statements taking part in extracurricular activities such as clubs and interview prep. Our staff are dedicated to getting any student who wishes to try the best chance of receiving an invitation to interview and eventually acceptance. Students not achieving this are still working at the very top of the academic scale and should be commended as such.

Your Journey Begins Here

We begin preparing students who have an interest in studying at Oxford and Cambridge universities from the start of their academic careers.