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About UK Universities

THE UK UNDERGRADUATE LANDSCAPE

WHAT ARE THE BEST RANKED UNIVERSITIES?

Here are the highest ranked UK universities for popular courses. Universities are ranked according to difficulty of admission, research quality, student satisfaction and post-graduation prospects.

LAW

  • University of Cambridge
  • University College London
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Oxford
  • Durham University
  • London School of Economics
  • University of Edinburgh
  • King’s College London

MEDICINE

  • University of Oxford
  • University of Cambridge
  • Cardiff University
  • University College London
  • Imperial College London
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Glasgow

ECONOMICS

  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Oxford
  • Warwick University
  • University of St. Andrews
  • London School of Economics
  • University College London
  • University of Bath
  • Durham University

POLITICAL SCIENCE

  • University of Oxford
  • University of Cambridge
  • London School of Economics
  • University College London
  • University of Warwick
  • University of St. Andrews
  • Sheffield University
  • University of Exeter

ENGINEERING

  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Oxford
  • Imperial College London
  • Durham University
  • University of Warwick
  • Aberdeen University
  • University of Exeter

COMPUTER SCIENCE

  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Oxford
  • Imperial College London
  • University of St. Andrews
  • University of Warwick
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Glasglow
  • Durham University

When should i take the ACT?

US Universities

All first-year applicants
Most Transfer applicants

NUS Medicine & NUS Dentistry

Applicants with IB Diplomas

NUS Law

Applicants with a C grade or lower for:
H1 General Paper; or
H2 Knowledge & Inquiry

SMU & UniSIM

Applicants without any of the following:
A-Level / IB
NUS High Diploma
Polytechnic Diploma

UNDERSTANDING THE ADMISSIONS PROCESS

WHAT ARE TOP UNIVERSITIES LOOKING FOR?

Universities in the UK are looking for highly motivated students who can thrive in a rigorous, self-directed learning environment. They want to see that you are deeply interested in the course of study that you intend to pursue at university, and that you have engaged meaningfully with the subject in and outside of the classroom.

 

ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS

Final Year Grades

IB; or A-Levels; or APs / SATs; or GPA.

Reference Letter

You will need one teacher recommendation that speaks to your academic abilities. This would ideally be someone who has taught you recently (JC1 / JC2 or Grade 11 / 12).

Academic Honors

Applications require accomplishments that are academic in nature (eg: Honor Roll / Olympiads / Research Experiences).

Testing

Some courses (Law / Medicine / Oxbridge applicants) will require special admissions tests such as the LNAT or BMAT / UCAT.

 

NON-ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS

Super-curricular Accomplishments

These activities demonstrate to universities that you are exploring your chosen subject outside of the classroom with genuine passion and curiosity.

UCAS Personal Statement

This is a short essay of roughly 500 words. This essay will require you to state your intended course of study at university, why you wish to pursue this interest, and how you have already meaningfully engaged with this subject previously.

ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS
Final Year GradesIB; or A-Levels; or APs / SATs; or GPA.
Reference Letter
You will need one teacher recommendation that speaks to your academic abilities. This would ideally be someone who has taught you recently (JC1 / JC2 or Grade 11 / 12).
Academic Honors
Applications require accomplishments that are academic in nature (e.g.: Honor Roll / Olympiads / Research Experiences).
TestingSome courses (Law/Medicine / Oxbridge applicants) will require special admissions tests such as the LNAT or BMAT / UCAT.
NON-ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS
Extracurricular Accomplishments
This demonstrates to universities that you are a well-rounded individual. Ideally these extra-curriculars will also substantiate your demonstrated interest in your intended course of study at university.
UCAS Personal Statement
This is a short essay of roughly 500 words. This essay will require you to state your intended course of study at university, why you wish to pursue this interest, and how you have already meaningfully engaged with this subject previously.
ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS
Final Year Grades
IB; or A-Levels; or APs / SATs; or GPA.
Reference Letter
You will need one teacher recommendation that speaks to your academic abilities. This would ideally be someone who has taught you recently (JC1 / JC2 or Grade 11 / 12).
Academic Honors
Applications require accomplishments that are academic in nature (e.g.: Honor Roll / Olympiads / Research Experiences).
Testing
Some courses (Law / Medicine / Oxbridge applicants) will require special admissions tests such as the LNAT or BMAT / UCAT.
NON-ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS
Super-curricular Accomplishments

These activities demonstrate to universities that you are exploring your chosen subject outside of the classroom with genuine passion and curiosity.
UCAS Personal Statement
This is a short essay of roughly 500 words. This essay will require you to state your intended course of study at university, why you wish to pursue this interest, and how you have already meaningfully engaged with this subject previously.

APPLYING TO UNIVERSITIES IN THE UK

HOW DO I APPLY TO UK UNIVERSITIES?

Most applications to universities to the UK are submitted through the Universities and College Admissions Service (UCAS), which is a UK-based organisation responsible for operating and managing the application process for higher education courses in the UK. Most university courses utilize the UCAS portal, but there are a select few courses within each university which require direct applications to the university itself.

Here is the complete list of colleges that use the UCAS portal.

You can create a UCAS account here.

WHICH COURSES SHOULD I APPLY TO?

Five UCAS Courses

You can apply to a maximum of five courses on your UCAS application.

This means that you can apply to five different courses at only one university or college, or a different course at five different universities.

Exceptions

  • Oxford University and Cambridge University will only accept one application to either university. You cannot apply to both.
  • Courses in the veterinary science, medicine or dentistry fields which limit you to four courses on the UCAS, instead of the usual five.

DECIDING ON A COURSE OF STUDY

There are over 50,000 undergraduate courses at more than 395 providers in the UK, so it’s important you do your research. What would you like to study? What would you like to achieve after university? Is being located in central London important to you? These are some important questions to ask as you decide which courses to apply to. To learn more:

  • Look at the UCAS subject guides to understand what the different subject areas have to offer – including graduate destinations, entry requirements, and personal statement tips.
  • Browse the UCAS search tool for inspiration on the types of courses you can study – you can use the subject filters to narrow your search.

UK Personal Statement Tips

Your UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) personal statement is an important part of your university application to differentiate yourself from other applicants. You will need to demonstrate that you are a suitable candidate who will thrive at the university with your drive, skills, and enthusiasm for the subject. We have compiled a few tips that will help you write an engaging personal statement. 

Be Specific

Your UCAS Personal Statement needs to be highly personalized to you in order to show your unique motivations and academic interests. As you will be sending one personal statement to all of your chosen schools and subjects, it is important to tailor your personal statement to emphasize your commitment to the subject as much as possible.

Supporting your application with specific examples will demonstrate that the course aligns with your academic pursuits and goals, persuading admissions tutors that you are suitable for the course and will contribute to the learning environment at the university.

Structure your personal statement clearly

With the 4,000 character limit, concision is key. A clear, logical structure will be easier for the admissions tutor to follow cohesively. The “ABC” structure is an effective method to write about how your experiences have shown evidence of your enthusiasm for the subject.

Action

What have you done that demonstrates your passion for the subject?

Benefit

What skills have you gained? How did your experiences influence your academic and professional goals?

Course

How do these actions demonstrate suitability for the course?

Some achievements that you could talk about to show the best side of yourself are:

  • Outside coursework or readings. Any books or courses that have corroborated your interest in the subject. 
  • Work or research experience. Any work/internship experiences or research you participated in that advanced your interest in the subject or determined your career goals.
  • Extracurricular activities. Ways that you have extended your learning beyond the classroom.

Do's and don'ts

Do

Do ask for more feedback from others such as a trusted teacher, friends, or family members to ensure you submit the best work possible. 

Do be authentic and stay true to yourself! Give the admission tutor an insight into your personality and strengths. 

Do write clearly with a formal, academic tone that shows depth in your writing. 

Don't

Don't wait until the last minute to write your personal statement! Give yourself time for reviewing and revisions. 

Don't copy someone else's personal statement - UCAS has software that checks for plagiarism!

Don't use examples or experiences irrelevant to your course. Every sentence should help explain why you would contribute to the university. 

Faqs

Important Dates for 2023 entry applications

University of Cambridge

15 September
LNAT registration deadline.

15 October

UCAS application deadline.

First 3 weeks of December
Majority of interviews for shortlisted candidates
(some may be a little earlier).

University of Oxford

15 September
LNAT registration deadline.

15 October
UCAS application deadline.
Deadline to register for any pre-interview assessments.

1-20 December
Interviews for shortlisted candidates.

MEDICAL APPLICATION

July – November
UCAT/BMAT testing.

15 October
Deadline for most medicine, veterinary medicine/science, and dentistry courses to submit application on UCAS.

November – March
Interviews for shortlisted candidates.

OTHER UNIVERSITIES/COURSES

August – November
Any necessary pre-interview assessments, for example LNAT (Law National Aptitude Test).

25 January 2023
Deadline for applicants to submit UCAS for majority of courses.

Admissions Timeline FOR 2023 ENTRY APPLICATIONS

Now that you have decided to apply to university in the UK, it is important to familiarize yourself with the deadlines. Some schools and courses have different deadlines that may impact your application – find out which deadline applies to you!

17 May

The UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) application portal opens for 2023 admission.

JULY to November

Begin pre-interview assessments such as UCAT, BMAT, LNAT, TSA, etc. Registration deadlines and test dates vary for each course, so be sure to double check.

6 SeptembeR

Applicants can begin sending their applications via UCAS.

MID September (details not out yet)

Cambridge University UCAS application and transcript deadlines for students who specifically prefer to be interviewed in Singapore.

15 October

Applications due for Oxford, Cambridge, as well as for most courses in medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine/science.

December

Majority of Oxford and Cambridge interviews occur during early to mid December. 

25 JANUARY 2023

Application deadline for the majority of undergraduate schools and courses (LSE, UCL, Imperial etc.)

January 2023 – April 2023

Admissions results to be released by the universities approximately six to ten weeks from the application submission date.

DECIDING BETWEEN CAMBRIDGE AND OXFORD

Each year, competition for key spots at Oxford and Cambridge is notoriously fierce. Every application season, we hear of stories about fortunate students who are admitted to Oxbridge, and those who fail to make the cut.

But what are your chances of getting an offer from Oxford or Cambridge – and what can you do to improve them?

While Oxford and Cambridge are both considered world-class academic institutions in the UK, there are differences between the two. Oxford is known for their Humanities and the Social Sciences programs (especially their renowned PPE programme, while Cambridge is lauded for its Science programs. Both Universities are world-renowned in their calibre of teaching, research and student life. The primary difference between the two Universities will ultimately boil down to what you want to study at university.

You can only apply to either Cambridge or Oxford University in an application year – you cannot apply to both.

Key differences in course offerings for both Universities are below for your reference:

COURSECAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITYOXFORD UNIVERSITY
Economics
Offers a pure Economics course and a hybrid Land Economy course.Does not offer pure Economics – students can take hybrid courses like Economics and Management, Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) or History and Economics.
Law
Does not require the LNAT – however, students will have to take the Cambridge Law Test.

Courses tend to be more practical in nature.
All undergraduate students applying to read Law must take the LNAT.

Courses tend to be more theoretical in nature.
Natural Sciences
Students cannot immediately choose a specialization. Instead, they study a broad-based Natural Sciences curriculum before specializing in concentrations such as Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science, and so on.Students can choose to directly pursue a concentration within the Natural Sciences– i.e Physics, Chemistry etc.
Computer ScienceOffers a Computer Science course.

Does not offer hybrid or interdisciplinary courses within Computer Science.
Offers a Computer Science course.

Also offers interdisciplinary courses like Computer Science and Philosophy, and Computer Science and Mathematics.

To see a full list of Cambridge University’s undergraduate course offerings, please click here

To see a full list of Oxford University’s undergraduate course offerings, please click here

Cambridge University
Application Deadlines

The Cambridge UCAS application and the Cambridge-specific supplement (COPA) are due on September 20, 2020 if you wish to be interviewed in Singapore.

If you wish to be interviewed at Cambridge, the deadline for submission of the UCAS October 15, 2020.

Oxford University
Application Deadlines

The Oxford UCAS application is due
October 15, 2020.

Interviews for short-listed candidates will be held between
1 – 20 December, 2020 at Oxford.

ADMISSIONS TESTS AND INTERVIEWS

Both Cambridge and Oxford University require students to undertake admissions tests and interviews prior to making a decision on their applications.

The interviews are typically content-based and test a student’s ability to critically engage with key debates and questions in their field of study.

The Admissions Tests vary between the two Universities. Each course will have a different Admissions Test requirement that you will need to prepare for. Admissions Test requirements for common courses are here:

COURSECAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITYOXFORD UNIVERSITY
Law
Cambridge Law Test LNAT
Mathematics
Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP)Mathematics Assessment Test (MAT)
Medicine
BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)

Oxbridge Interview Prep

Did you receive an Oxbridge interview invitation? Congratulations! The interview process may seem daunting, but we have a few tips to help you prepare.

Why does Oxbridge conduct interviews?

Interviews are an opportunity for university tutors to assess your passion for your subject, your critical thinking skills, and your academic potential. Tutors will get to know you outside of your personal statement and grades as they will have the chance to see whether you have the intellectual vitality and analytical skills to thrive in response to the teaching methods used at Oxbridge. 

Who will be my interviewer?

Your interviewers will be academic tutors that may potentially be your future tutors who teach and conduct research at the university.

What are Oxbridge interviewers looking for?

Interviewers are looking for promising applicants who are intellectually curious with thoughtful, well-communicated answers.

Be yourself! Besides problem-solving and analytical reasoning, authentic enthusiasm for the subject is an important factor as well.

What questions will Oxbridge interviewers ask?

Interviews are predominantly academic and subject-specific to assess your understanding of the subject and suitability to study it at Oxbridge. You can expect a challenging discussion related to your chosen course which may include some background knowledge of the field, your academic interests, career aspirations, and why you want to attend Oxbridge.

As interviewers will test your ability to think independently, there may not be a right or wrong answer to the questions asked. The thought process towards reaching your answer is more indicative of your academic potential and whether you are able to conceptually engage with new ideas.

How should I prepare for my interview?

  • Re-read your personal statement. Some tutors may refer to your personal statement and readings that you mentioned, so be prepared to talk about it.
  • Check the course syllabus. Read about the modules and understand the learning outcomes and course goals.
  • Be up-to-date with background knowledge. Think critically about any reading or recent news that are relevant to your subject.
  • Think about why you are applying for the subject and Oxbridge. Articulate your genuine interest to highlight your understanding of the subject and course.
  • Practice! Try to develop clarity when structuring your answers and be confident.