Oxbridge Applications: A Complete Guide


Unlike your other university applications, applying to either Oxford or Cambridge is a significantly more involved process. Both universities are well known for demanding assessments that go beyond their high-grade requirements. Here we breakdown everything you need to know for your Oxbridge application, covering everything from deadlines, application requirements, and more!

Oxford or Cambridge?

First things first, as you cannot apply to both Oxford and Cambridge you need to choose which university you're going to apply to. Be sure to read the details of each course you are considering carefully. Take a look at comparison guides to make sure you are confident in your decision before you begin your Oxbridge application. 

It's possible to view all the Oxbridge colleges online via their individual websites. Students might want to have a view of the boats punting in Cambridge, go to the same Oxford college as their favourite author or might fancy a big modern canteen over a tiny ancient hall. If you can't decide, Oxbridge allows students to make an open application rather than selecting a specific college. 

Cambridge University Buildings

Things to consider when comparing:

- University rankings

- Course specifications 

- Colleges

- Facilities

- Extracurricular opportunities

What goes into an Oxbridge application? 

The Oxbridge admission process is often thought of as pretty daunting. Students have to prepare and submit their application well in advance of their other university applications. 

A successful Oxbridge applicant has:

- An excellent personal statement 

- Impressive interview technique 

- Completed excellent preparation for their entrance exams 

- Obtained their predicted grades in their A-Level or equivalent exams. 

There are several key stages to your application starting with choosing a course and a college. From there you are expected to complete the following:

UCAS application

You will need to apply to either Oxford or Cambridge via UCAS. This is typically the first step of the application process. 

Additional Forms

In addition to your UCAS application, you may be required to complete a variety of other forms. Cambridge requires all applicants to complete the SAQ (Supplementary Application Questionnaire). You may also be required to fill out other forms depending on your subject and where in the world you are applying from. 

Written Work

Occasionally both universities will ask applicants to send samples of written work as part of their application. The submission date for these written work samples is typical in November for both Oxford and Cambridge. Always check your respective choice’s website to determine if and when your written work samples are required.


If your personal statement has made an impact and your conditional grades meet the requirements then you may be invited to interview. Oxbridge interviews take place in December following the application deadline. 

The Oxbridge Interview includes a one night stay at one of the university colleges where you receive free accommodation and meals for the duration of your stay. If you’ve sent an open application, you will be allocated to a college and may be invited to several colleges for interviews. 

You will have 1 interview in the morning and 1 interview in the evening at the college you have applied to. Occasionally you will be informed that other colleges have invited you to interview if they think you would be more suited to them. It is for this reason that the interview process is made into a night’s stay. 

Oxbridge Admissions Tests

You may be required to take one of the following admissions tests:

For Cambridge:

Cambridge Admissions Assessments.

BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)

Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP)

Thinking Skills Assessment Cambridge (TSA Cambridge)

Cambridge Law Test

Other course-specific admissions tests

For Oxford:

BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)

Classics Admissions Test (CAT)

English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT)

History Aptitude Test (HAT)

Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT)

National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT)

Modern Language Admissions Test (MLAT)

Oriental Languages Aptitude Test (OLAT)

Physics Aptitude Test (PAT)

Philosophy Test ( for Philosophy and Theology only)

Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)

Fine Art practical

Music Performance Test

When is the deadline for an Oxbridge Application?

The deadline for Oxbridge Applications is 6 pm (GMT) on 15th of October each year. This is 3 months earlier than other universities' application deadlines.

When do Oxbridge Applications open?

Oxbridge applications open in June. Ideally, you need to start your application process a year before the start date of your chosen course to best prepare yourself for everything involved in the admissions process. 

Oxbridge Entry Grade Requirements

Both Oxford and Cambridge are well known for their high-grade criteria. Despite their similarities, Oxford entry requirements tend to be a little lower than those needed for a place at Cambridge. 

- The typical conditional offers from Oxford range between A*A*A and AAA at A-Level or 38-40 in the IB, including core points. 

- Cambridge requires A*A*A for most science courses and A*AA for arts courses or 40-42 in the IB. 

The above grades a rough guide to grade requirements needed for each university. You should always check your particular course requirements as subject entry grades may vary slightly from one college to another. 

In most cases, you will be applying with your predicted grades. This is why we always suggest investing in an Oxbridge Application tutor as soon as you know you want to apply. This way you are in the best position to achieve your needed grades for your respective course and college. 

When will I know if I have been successful or not?

Expect to receive a letter in the post letting you know whether or not your application has been successful in January. 

Why do I need an Oxbridge Applications tutor?

Personal Statement Support

The personal statement is a crucial part of the application. Our Oxbridge tutors can show you how to write the best personal statement that will showcase your academic abilities, extracurricular achievements and individual flair. They’ll take you through examples of top Oxbridge personal statement examples, that will inspire you to write your own. 

Tutor House can easily match you with a tutor who is well versed in your specific subject. They can help you practice past papers, understand the marking criteria and be thoroughly prepared for your entrance exam. 

Oxbridge Interview Preparation

This can seem the most daunting part of the process, but it's also the most exciting! It's your chance to demonstrate your love for your subject and why you should be studying it at Oxford or Cambridge. 

The Oxbridge interview is one of the first times most students will have experienced a formal interview. Our Oxbridge Tutors are all Oxbridge graduates, they know exactly what the interview set-up is like and understand how daunting it can be. 

Preparing with a tutor will give you the confidence you need to be successful on the day. They can help you prepare with mock interviews, top tips for answering questions and sage advice. 

Prepare with an Oxbridge Graduate!

Tutor House works with a host of qualified Oxbridge Applications tutors who are all Oxbridge alumni. As Oxbridge graduates, they have an in-depth understanding of the ins and outs of the application process. Our tutors are passionate and experienced in providing students with the support and guidance they need to properly prepare for their Oxbridge application. 

Ensuring their personal statement is of the highest quality, their interview technique is perfected and they have the skill, knowledge and understanding to excel in the entrance exams. 

In order to make sure our tutors are the best in the business, we enforce a strict vetting policy that consists of an in-depth face to face interview and an enhanced DBS check. Boost your chances of success and enlist the help of a Tutor House Oxbridge tutor today: Oxbridge Interview and Preparation Tutors (tutorhouse.co.uk)

With the help and advice of our top tutors, there's no need to fear the Oxbridge admissions process! If you need any further information contact a member of our team for more information. 

Dreaming of going to Oxford or Cambridge?

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Elise Pearce

As our Head of Content, Elise’s role involves everything from email campaigns to web content; if you spot a typo, you know who to blame. A lover of all things creative, she studied History of Art at St. Andrews enjoys running and painting in her spare time. At home, when she's not busy chasing after her two Labradoodles, Flossy and Rupert, you'll catch her doing handstands on her yoga mat.

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