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Why you should start planning for Oxbridge entry now

Updated: May 24, 2022

Lucy Holland read Classics at Oxford before studying law at the College of Law in London. She has worked as a solicitor in private practice and in government, and also has a Master’s in Philosophy. Lucy is the Oxbridge Co-ordinator for Carfax Education and she serves as Schools Liaison on the UAE committee of the Oxford and Cambridge Alumni Society.

Have you always dreamed of the ‘Dreaming Spires’? Of walking in the footsteps of Nobel laureates and industry leaders? The route to an undergraduate career at Oxford or Cambridge is by no means straightforward, but start preparing early with expert advisers, and you stand a much greater chance of success.

As two of the most prestigious and highly sought after universities in the world, it is not surprising that applications to both institutions number in the thousands. In 2020, 23,414 people applied for 3, 695 undergraduate study places at Oxford and 20,426 students applied to study at Cambridge for 3,997 places.

There is no denying it is a very competitive field – you will be up against some of the brightest students from around the globe. However, if you have the grades and the commitment to your subject you have every chance of making a successful application!

Aside from top academic results, what both universities are really interested in is how intellectually curious you are and how passionate you are about your subject. They want to know if you can think outside the box and relish confronting challenges and problems.

Thinking of applying to Oxford or Cambridge? Contact our education consultancy team at to find out more about how we support students to make competitive Oxbridge applications.

Whilst the application process, as with other UK universities, is via UCAS, there are some significant differences. For one thing, there is a tighter deadline: all Oxbridge applications have to be submitted by 15th October.

There are also several further steps involved, which may include additional tests to take, supplementary work to submit and further questionnaires to fill out. The Personal Statement must be of a higher academic calibre and needs to have a particular focus, to highlight the kind of commitment to your subject revealed by the depth and breadth of your reading and interests.

Once all of this information has been evaluated, you may then be invited to interview. On average, Oxford interviews approximately 30% of its applicants and Cambridge interviews closer to 60%. The interview process is not only designed to see how passionate you are about your subject, but also to see how you respond to the unique one-to-one Oxbridge teaching style.

The Carfax Oxbridge Preparation Programme is designed to offer a thorough preparation for students who wish to make a competitive application. Guided by Oxbridge graduates who have been through the process themselves, you’ll be mentored as you draft your Personal Statement, and helped to make an informed decision on college choice. You will have a personalised programme to prepare you for pre-interview tests and a series of one-to-one Masterclasses with subject specialist tutors. These classes will take you beyond the confines of the school curriculum, with an in-depth introduction to specific areas of the course and a supervised independent research project, which you will present in an Oxbridge style tutorial.

This holistic approach will develop the key academic skills of independent research, critical thinking and intellectual curiosity essential for any potential Oxbridge student. In addition, you will have one-to-one interview preparation and join our Oxbridge interview prep day where you will put these skills into practice.

Our Oxbridge Preparation Programme is supervised and closely monitored by our senior Oxbridge Co-ordinator, who will identify extension opportunities, additional courses and resources to help you develop and build a competitive profile. The Carfax Education team are there to demystify the entire process, and help you make your application, confident in the knowledge you are putting your best self forward!

To find out more about our University Preparation Services, please contact Carfax Consultants on, or call +44 (0) 207 927 6202 (UK) or +971 (0) 4438 5276 (UAE)


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