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Oxford and Cambridge: How to Choose?

Applying to Oxford or Cambridge? Get essential tips on choosing the right university, navigating the application process, admissions tests, and interviews.

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Dec 15, 2023

Oxford and Cambridge are among the most established and distinguished universities across the world. As such, it goes without saying that only the best of the best get accepted to study at these top institutions. In this article, we’ll discuss everything there is to know about applying to an Oxbridge university.

Oxford or Cambridge?

Before you even begin to consider applying to these universities, it is essential to note that you can only apply to ONE of these universities each year. Although both offer stellar programmes, it is important to conduct thorough research on each university to see which suits you best. This may depend on the course you intend to study, the social aspect of university, the interests and passions you can explore, and more.

The Application

Your Oxbridge application will be submitted through the UCAS system, as with all other universities in the UK. Oxford or Cambridge will be one of the five universities you can apply to. The UCAS form includes a personal statement section that will be sent to each of the universities you apply to.

The UK application’s personal statement may not focus on the same areas that the US application might. Instead of writing about a personal experience or influence in your life, the UK application should be centred around your academic achievements that relate to your course, ways in which you’ve pursued learning outside of school, and extracurricular activities that have prepared you for university life. In addition to the UCAS personal statement, Cambridge also requires you to submit a Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) to get a better grasp of you as a candidate.

Admissions Tests

Like many other universities, you will have to take an entrance exam as part of the admission requirements. The Oxbridge admissions tests evaluate aptitude as opposed to being knowledge-based and doing well on this test is what will eventually land you an interview. Depending on which course you apply for, you’ll have to take a different test. If you’d like to seek guidance with these tests, reach out to us and let us assist you with your specific goals. Two most popular tests that you may be required to sit, depending on your intended course, are the BMAT or LNAT. Lucky for you, we are well-equipped with resources and expert coaches who have aced these tests themselves and are here to help you prepare for these difficult exams!

The Interview

If you’ve been shortlisted as an applicant after the initial application process, you will be offered an interview. The Oxbridge interviews are known to be conducted differently from traditional across-the-table interviews that many might expect. As much of your educational experience at these universities are spent in small classes or tutorials, Oxbridge interviews are held like short tutorials with tutors to simulate the real learning experience.

These interviews assess your ability to engage in this environment in order to determine whether or not you can thrive in this system. While these interviews are usually conducted on a single day on campus, the pandemic has called for all interviews to be done online. It may be useful to consult last year’s online interview timetable to prepare yourself for the format that the interview for your specific course will take.

Although this is a stressful process, applying for these universities shows a willingness to expand your knowledge and take a risk. If you’ve put in the work and earned the grades, all you can do is submit the best application you can and hope for the best. Regardless of where you decide to apply to, we assure you that both Cambridge and Oxford are great options. We wish you luck with all your applications and are here to extend any support that you may need!

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