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The basics
THE UK: Destination Guides

Aiming for Oxbridge

Want to study at Oxbridge? Learn all about their admissions process such as the required tests, interview process and more here…

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In case you haven’t figured it out already, Oxbridge refers to the Oxford and Cambridge universities, they are considered the among the elite universities in the UK and the best globally. Both institutions were founded over 800 years ago and still continue to spearhead higher education in the UK. Most, if not all international students will be familiar with both equally prestigious universities as they have nurtured some of the world’s greatest minds.


Attending either one of these institutions is not impossible, but you would certainly need to work hard! Each year these institutions attract the best and the brightest students from around the globe and competition for a place at Oxbridge is fierce. The students applying to Oxbridge will have excellent grades, so we suggest that you develop your extracurricular skills so that you have an edge over your peers.


International students at Oxbridge

63% of Oxford’s postgraduate students and more than one in ten undergraduates all come from overseas. Cambridge sees a slightly smaller percentage of their student body originating from outside the UK. There are many international students at Oxbridge, so you won’t be alone! Most that come to Oxbridge to study either choose to remain and work in the UK or return to their home country to apply everything that they’ve learned.


Benefits of studying at Oxbridge

  • Both Cambridge and Oxford are world famous institutions with a lot of history attached to them
  • As an Oxbridge-alum, your CV will look extremely impressive to graduate employers, opening up many opportunities for you
  • You’ll get to mix with the smartest minds in the country (and the world), discussing your field in depth as well as meeting a diverse range of students from around the world
  • Similarly, the opportunities to socialise with other students as part of (exclusive) extracurricular societies will allow you to network and plan your first few career steps
  • Oxbridge boast some of the finest research facilities in the world, which will help you meet your full potential
  • Both are situated in beautiful cities in the UK



You will need to apply to Oxbridge at least three months earlier than other institutions, and with only minor exceptions (e.g organ scholars) are mutually exclusive for first undergraduate degrees. This means that, in any one year, candidates may only apply to Oxford or Cambridge, not both.

You will need to furnish academic transcripts, translated into English from your local language by an accredited translator as part of your application. Proficiency in the English is a must and you will also need to provide score of any language tests that you’ve taken (again the transcripts for which should be translated).


Applying to Cambridge

A UCAS application is needed for an application to Cambridge, everyone applying to a British will need to submit this form. If you’re not from an EU country, you are required to also complete a Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA). Check how much you will have to pay to submit your COPA. 

You will have to indicate your preferred college or whether you have no preference in both forms. Upon submission of these forms, an email will be sent from Cambridge, directing you to complete the Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ).


Applying to Oxford

The application process to Oxford is the same for both domestic and international applicants – you simply have to complete a UCAS form.

Interviews at Oxbridge

Students who stand a strong chance of successfully gaining admission into Oxbridge will be asked to attend an interview. The interview will be conducted by a tutor that teaches in the field that you’re applying to. Overseas interviews are conducted by university representatives who are experts across a broad range of fields. If it’s not possible for you to attend an interview in person, an interview via Skype or telephone may be an option, though this is not guaranteed.



Cambridge also holds overseas interviews in Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, PR China and India for those applicants unable to travel to the UK. However, there are some minor restrictions that you will need to check. The main one is that in order to request an overseas interview, you’ll need to submit your COPA by a certain date.



Oxford, on the other hand, only conducts interviews at their university. These are usually held in December. If you are shortlisted, you will receive a letter or an email inviting you for an interview with more details included. The university will bear the costs of your accommodation and meals.


Admissions tests at Oxbridge

Admissions tests are starting to become increasingly common when applying for a university, and they are also required by Oxbridge. These tests are used to separate the increasing numbers of applicants with top grades that they receive each year. Tests are now used for several subjects and include the BMAT for medicine and veterinary sciences, the ELAT for English literature, and the LNAT for law. Click on these links to find out which tests you will be required to take as part of your Oxford and Cambridge admissions process.

As with any test, the best preparation is practise, practise, practise. Practice papers are available to download on both the Oxford and Cambridge University websites.



And if Oxbridge isn’t in your future.....

There are still plenty of equally prestigious institutions in the UK and thousands more around the world for you to choose from. Don’t despair! Find another top university in the UK.



Study in the UK


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