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Before You Apply


When applying to Oxbridge, you will have to complete a UCAS form before the October 15th deadline. Candidates are only allowed to apply to one of Oxford or Cambridge, and they can choose to apply to a particular college, or make an open application. As part of the UCAS form, you will have to write a 4000 character personal statement, and a teacher will have to provide a reference.

The UCAS code for undergraduate Biology is C100 at Oxford and BCF0 BA/NS for Natural Sciences at Cambridge.  The institution code for Cambridge is CAM C05 and for Oxford is O33. Applicants may only apply for Oxford or Cambridge, but not both.  It is usual to stipulate a choice of college in the UCAS application, although both universities allow you to make an ‘open’ application via that university’s central admissions office which will then allocate you to a particular.  Those wishing to make and open application should enter a ‘9’ in the campus choice box on their UCAS form.

Cambridge Undergraduate Course requirements:

Typical Offer: For applicants taking three or more science/mathematics subjects at A level the agreed minimum offer is three A grades (with one at A*) in three science/mathematics A levels.
For applicants taking two science/mathematics subjects at A level with one or more nonscience subject(s), the agreed minimum offer is two A grades in the A level science/mathematics subjects plus an additional A grade in one other A level subject, plus an A grade at AS level in a third science/mathematics subject.

For requirements for Scottish Highers and International Baccalaureate see the website below.

Subjects: All Colleges strongly prefer applicants to have Science A levels. Some colleges prefer applicants to have three sciences one of which is mathematics: Christ’s, Jesus, Magdalene, Newnham, St John’s, and Trinity. Magdalene also requires A level Mathematics.
Some colleges will, exceptionally, consider applicants taking fewer science subject at A level, provided this subject is Biology. In this case you will still be expected to show a very high level of scientific ability. You are likely to be disadvantaged in all Colleges when compared with those of comparable ability taking more science/mathematics A levels.

Admissions Testing:

The Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment is a new admissions exam created by the University of Cambridge’s admissions testing service. Each candidate applying for Natural Sciences (Natsci) will be required to sit this exam in early November. The aim of this exam is to assist the admissions tutors in selecting the most capable applicants, where so many candidates have the required A-level scores. It helps to differentiate candidates particularly in the domains of critical thinking, reasoning and application of their scientific and mathematical knowledge in unfamiliar contexts.

The exam consists of two parts; section 1 consists of five parts, of which candidates should answer three. Each part contains 18 multiple-choice questions. The five parts are as follows:

– Part A Mathematics (mandatory)

– Part B Physics

– Part C Chemistry

– Part D Biology

– Part E Advanced Mathematics and Advanced Physics

Section 2 consists of six questions of which candidates should answer any two. Scores will be used together with the other elements of a candidate’s application to invite candidates to interview, as well after interview in some cases, to ensure places are awarded to candidates who will excel in this challenging course.






Oxford Undergraduate Course requirements:

There are 21 colleges which accept students in Biology, and the course is taught jointly by the Zoological and Plant Sciences departments.

The typical conditional offer is A*AA (taken at one sitting) and with the A* in either Maths or a Science. IB: 38–40 including core points with 7 in Biology and 6 or 7 in Mathematics.

Candidate must study at least three A-levels, which must include:

  • Biology/Human Sciences and
  • Chemistry and/or Maths and/or Physics

Scottish Highers System:
The following qualifications are typically required.

  • An Advanced Higher (or CYS) in Biology and
  • 5 Grade A Highers. These must include a Higher in Biology and / or Maths and/or Physics

If you don’t have Maths, Biology and Physics at Advanced Higher or Higher Level you must have Intermediate 2 or standard grade (Credit) in these subjects.

International Baccalaureate
Biology and at least a second science (Chemistry or Physics) or Mathematics must be taken at the Higher level. Candidates will be expected to achieve a score of 7, 6 and 6 in subjects taken at Higher level and an overall score of at least 38-40 points.
If you don’t have Maths, Biology and Physics as part of the IB, you must have GSCEs (or equivalent) in these subjects at grade C or above or in Maths and Dual Award Combined Sciences.

European Baccalaureate
Candidates would require an average of 85% or more in the European Baccalaureate with a mark of 9 in Biology and a 9 in at least one of the subjects Physics, Chemistry or Maths. We would also require one of the practical science courses (Physics, Chemistry or Biology) to be studied as a complementary subject.



Common questions regarding the Oxford and Cambridge Science Courses:

Is there a difference between Oxford and Cambridge?

How do I know I’m clever enough for such an academic degree?

Will tutors be looking to see if I will make a good Biologist or are they only looking at my grades?

Do I have to be hoping for a career in Biology in order to apply?

Mentors will be answering these and any other questions at Schools’ Interview Preparation Days or during Private tuition. Alternatively, read some of our blog entries from Oxbridge Sciences or send us an email at info@oxbridgesciences.com and we will try to help you out as best we can.