UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Oxbridge preparation

Applications to Oxbridge (Oxford and Cambridge) are some of the most competitive in the world. Find out about our rigorous selection process for Oxbridge applications and the support we offer.

Why is preparation support needed for Oxbridge applications?

You must submit your applications to Oxbridge by 16 October. The Oxbridge admissions process begins earlier in the UCAS cycle than other universities. When you join the UPC in September, you'll have less than three weeks to complete your application to all five university choices you may wish to make.

You'll be competing against some of the world’s highest-achieving students. For the best chance of success, both your subject area knowledge and English skills must be at the highest standard possible.

What support is available?

If we decide to support you following our rigorous selection process, we can help you ensure your personal statement is both accurate and relevant to the degree you're applying for. We also offer individual interview practice, so you can work on your technique with us. 

How will UPC teachers decide whether to support my application to Oxford or Cambridge University?

The UCAS Oxbridge application process is extremely competitive. We make our decisions very carefully on this basis.

We assess your suitability to submit an early UCAS application based on strict criteria. These include:

1) English language level

You must have a minimum IELTS (academic) score of 7.5 overall with 7.0 in each subskill, or equivalent.

2) UPC entrance tests

You must have scored highly in your UPC entrance tests: ≥75% to ≥85%, depending on subjects.

3) Personal statement

You need to submit a thoroughly-prepared final application personal statement to us before we can consider you. 

If you’re selected to proceed to the next stage, we’ll ask you to take part in the following:

4) Mock entrance test

You’ll need an excellent performance in a two-hour, timed, unseen examination based on a typical Oxbridge entrance test.

5) Mock interview

If you’re successful in the mock entrance test, you’ll be invited to a formal interview.

After the interview, we’ll decide if we’ll support your application.

Why can’t everyone apply to Oxbridge?

All of our students are academically talented. You should be proud to have made it onto the UPC course following our rigorous application process. However, the Oxbridge admissions process is even more difficult.

The short timeframe to submit an application to Oxford or Cambridge means the process is very demanding. For this reason, we can only support students who are likely to be invited for interview and made a conditional offer.

Our experience and expertise ensure we’re able to support students who can meet the high requirements of a UCAS Oxbridge application. However, we cannot guarantee a successful offer as the demand for limited places is so high.

How can I prepare before joining the UPC in September?

If you hope to apply for Oxbridge, you should:

  • arrive in London with your UCAS personal statement already prepared
  • know which college you want to apply for (unless you are making an open application)
  • be an avid reader and high-achieving student at high school
  • look at the Oxbridge websites to learn about the Oxbridge admissions process, including interview questions and mock interviews
  • try to read an English newspaper or magazine at least once a week (e.g., The Times or The Economist) to stay informed of current affairs
  • watch news and documentaries on BBC or YouTube.