UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


7 tips for how to be a successful UCL International Foundation Year applicant

27 January 2021

2020/21 Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate (UPC) student - Anastasiia Proshkina - gives her advice on how best to prepare and progress through each application step.

Student studying on laptop on bed

With an application form, entrance test(s) and interview to pass, the UPC – UCL’s International Foundation Year - has one of the most rigorous admission processes in the UK for foundation level study.

However, with the right preparation, you can make your application journey much easier.

UPC student Anastasiia Proshkina shares her top 7 tips for how to succeed at each stage of the application process.

1. Do your research

Firstly, make sure you review all the information provided on the UPC website, as well as their YouTube content.

Carefully read the guidance to selecting the optional modules so that they match with your target undergraduate course.

Check the academic requirements for your country to make sure you can satisfy them.

Keep track of your grades and attempt to improve them, especially in the subjects you are likely to study on the course.

2. Speak to UPC staff and students

If possible, have a conversation with a current UPC student/UPC alumni/UPC staff to get a better understanding of the course structure, teaching, extra-curricular activities and life in London, as well as the application process.

The UPC run a number of online events during the term to give you the opportunity to ask staff and students questions – take advantage!

3. Spend time on your personal statement

Focus on your personal statement – check what needs to be included by looking at the UPC website and make sure you have covered every aspect of it.

Show your passion and excitement about the course. Include relevant volunteering/work experience/participation in Student Olympiads (or similar) to show your engagement with the subject.

Do some reading (or include previous books you have read) that would be relevant to your subject area.

Discuss your personal statement with your tutors, family and friends to get different opinions of it and get their feedback.

Once you’ve finished it, make sure to check your grammar, spelling, vocabulary and sentence structure.

4. Practise the entrances tests

It’s really important to practise past papers of the entrance tests on UPC website.

Keep track of time spent on tasks and attempt to do them as fast as you can.

If you're taking the Critical Thinking entrance test, it would be great to do as much English reading as possible. Attempt to speed up your reading; also take some time for analysing the text, discuss the ideas with your friends and express your viewpoint.

For anyone sitting the Mathematics entrance test, I would suggest to get familiar with the A-level Maths and Further Maths syllabus (since the course teaches the topics that are usually covered in A-level). Read the theory, write out the formulas, and be smart and creative about the questions!

5. Check through the whole test first

When you take the tests, don’t worry if you feel you are short of time. Look through all the tasks quickly and attempt those you feel are easier for you first, then do others.

6. Rehearse your interview

Do a rehearsal of your interview at home before you do the real thing; this can really help boost your confidence.

Beforehand, do some research about you chosen subject modules and undergraduate course so that you feel confident talking about the topics.

7. Remember….smile!

It’s easy to feel nervous during your interview but try to keep calm, be positive and optimistic.

Don’t hesitate to ask for questions to be repeated again to get a better understanding. You want to make sure you understand the question fully before answering.

Don’t be afraid to express your thoughts and ask questions yourself at the end of the interview.

And finally….keep smiling!

Good luck to every prospective applicant - you will absolutely succeed!