Can you answer “yes” to all of the following questions?
1. Are you intellectually engaged?
2. Are you focused on a particular degree course, and do you have a deep intellectual interest in studying the subject involved?
3. In the relevant subject(s), do your teachers regard you as exceptional compared to your peers?
4. Did you achieve all, or very nearly all, A*s at IGCSE (International Stream)?
5. French Stream: are you and your teachers confident that you will be able to achieve an average of 18 at French Bac, including 18 or higher in the subject to be studied at degree level? Minimum requirements published by Oxford/Cambridge may be lower, but virtually all interview offers will be made to students with grades significantly higher than the minimum.
6. International Stream: are you and your teachers confident that you will be able to achieve at least 42/45 IB points? (see point above).
7. Do your teachers praise your excellent work habits?
8. Do you read serious books or publications outside class to support your subject interest?
9. Are you aware of the extra admissions tests required for certain degrees?
10. Are you aware that Oxford/Cambridge applications need to be sent off (via UCAS) before the 15th October of the Terminale/Yr13 year, which means that your predicted grades and reference will be based on your performance in 1ère/Yr12?
11. In June of 1ère/Yr12, would you be able to give Mr. Hammond or Mrs. Rickford a good account of your degree research to date, and of your subject-related wider study?
If, having reflected on these questions, you are interested in making an application to Oxford or Cambridge, great! You should:
- Research courses and colleges in Oxford or Cambridge during your Yr12/1ère year. Terminale/Yr13 is too late.
- Deepen your wider research and reading around your chosen subject.
- Make sure you meet Mr. Hammond or Mrs. Rickford before the end of your Yr12/1ère year to discuss your plans.
Feedback from Cambridge – what they’re looking for at interview:
At interview, the strongest applicants demonstrated that they had chosen their degree programme at Cambridge carefully, and understood the demands of the course. They showed that they could organise their thinking well, arguing logically, responding positively to challenge, and were able to rethink or refine their initial thoughts on a question when presented with new information, or a different way of approaching it. They were also able to back up their responses with appropriate evidence, drawn from academic sources as well as personal experience. They displayed real academic curiosity about the topics discussed, and could show that they had explored their subject outside of the school curriculum (which might have been through deeper reading around particular interests, a self-guided project, or through on-line exploration). Most importantly, they didn’t give up when presented with something not immediately familiar, but persevered, using their existing knowledge and understanding, to approach an answer.