Cambridge applicants to face new test

The BBC is reporting that would-be students at Cambridge University will have to sit written tests as part of the application process for courses starting in autumn 2017. 

The tests will be tailored to each subject and will be taken before or at interviews, said Dr Sam Lucy in a letter to UK schools and colleges. 

The aim is to maintain fairness during qualification reform, said Dr Lucy. 

The first tests will be sat by applicants in November this year, says the letter…

In the letter Dr Lucy said the new tests would provide “valuable additional evidence of our applicants’ academic abilities, knowledge base and potential to succeed in the Cambridge course for which they have applied”.

“This move is a result of responding to teacher and student feedback, a desire to harmonise and simplify our existing use of written assessments and a need to develop new ways to maintain the effectiveness and fairness of our admissions system during ongoing qualification reform,” Dr Lucy said.

The letter says no advance preparation will be needed, “other than revision of relevant recent subject knowledge where appropriate”.

Most at-interview assessments will be an hour long and most pre-interview assessments will be no longer than two hours.

Cambridge says it will schedule its pre-interview tests to coincide with Oxford’s to make them easier for schools and colleges to administer. 

The at-interview assessments will take place during the December interview period, usually on the same day as the interviews.

More at: Cambridge applicants to face new test


More details from Cambridge at: Admissions assessments


The Guardian also has a follow up article in which Alan Milburn, the chair of the Social Mobililty and Child Poverty Commission, criticises the move saying it risks raising further barriers to equal access: Cambridge University entrance tests ‘potential barrier to disadvantaged’


We know Cambridge University has been a big critic of the move to decouple AS-levels and A-levels, but what do you make of this new written test?

Will it level the playing field for applicants or favour any particular types over others?

Please give us your feedback in the comments or via Twitter…


Will Cambridge entrance tests help or hinder fair access for candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds?

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