Typical offers and requirements

A Level: A*AA

IB: 40-42 points, with 776 at Higher Level

Required by all Colleges: no specific subjects

Useful preparation: English (Language or Literature), Mathematics, an arts/science mix, a language (ancient or modern)



The typical conditional A Level offer will be A*AA or A*A*A, depending on the course. In countries where an A* grade at A Level is not available, three A grades would be acceptable.

Some applicants may be set lower offers or more challenging ones. Applicants may be required to achieve A* in a particular subject(s) depending on individual circumstances.

  • We usually expect that students taking A Levels in science subjects will complete and pass the practical assessment.
  • Critical Thinking isn't considered an acceptable third A Level subject for any course at Cambridge. While it's regarded as a worthwhile addition to your portfolio of qualifications as a fourth AS or A Level subject, it's unlikely to be part of a conditional offer.
  • Key Skills and General Studies aren't required or included in academic assessment.
  • Our typical offers are based on students taking three A Levels together in Year 13, and most Cambridge applicants are studying three or four A Level subjects in Years 12 and 13.

International Baccalaureate

Typical offers usually require scores between 40 and 42 points out of 45, with 776 in Higher Level subjects.

  • Applicants may be required to achieve 7 in a particular subject(s), depending on individual circumstances.

For any course where Mathematics is a requirement, IB applicants are expected to take IB Higher Level 'Analysis and Approaches'. If this option is not available at your school, please contact the College that you wish to apply to directly for further advice and guidance.

Admission Assessment

All applicants for Linguistics are required to take an assessment at interview, if interviewed.

Assessment format

  • Two data questions and one essay question (60 minutes)

You do not need to register or be registered in advance for the assessment at the interview – Colleges will provide details of arrangements in their letters inviting applicants to interview.

Please note that your performance in the assessment at interview will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.

Submitted work

Applicants are required to submit one or two School/college essays as examples of written work prior to interview.

Submit one or two examples of your written work from a relevant A Level/IB (or equivalent) course. These should be as submitted to, and marked by, your teachers. A discussion of this work may then form part of your interview.

English Language Requirement

  • IELTS Academic – normally a minimum overall grade of 7.5, usually with 7.0 or above in each element
  • TOEFL Internet Based Test (IBT) – normally a minimum overall score of 110, with 25 or above in each element
  • Cambridge English: C2 Proficiency – accepted with a minimum overall score of 200, with no element lower than 185.
  • Cambridge English: C1 Advanced – accepted with a minimum overall score of 193, with no element lower than 185, plus an assessment by the Language Centre. Following assessment the University Language Centre may advise further action from the applicant (e.g. enrolment at one of the Language Centre courses, or completion of an IELTS test).

Singapore Integrated Programme (SIP) – may be considered an acceptable English language qualification

Personal Statement

As part of your UCAS application you’ll need to write a personal statement. Personal statements give you the chance to tell us about your subject interest(s), and the process of writing a personal statement can often help you to better understand your academic interests and intellectual motivations.

Academic Reference

The reference is helpful because it tells us about your abilities and potential. Admissions Tutors look for indications that your academic strengths are well suited both to the course and to the style of study at the University.

The reference is an important part of your application, and we expect that it will normally be provided by a teacher or tutor in your school/college who can speak authoritatively about your academic profile and suitability for admission to university. 


Admissions decisions at the University of Cambridge are based solely on academic criteria – your ability and your potential. Along with all the other information you provide, interviews help Admissions Tutors to assess your application. The majority of applicants are invited to attend an interview.