You should choose a combination of AS and/or A Level subjects which gives a good preparation for your selected course at university.
If you're taking any modular courses, you're asked to report the details of your uniform mark scheme (UMS) performance for any modular AS and A Level units taken to date, whether certificated or not (we normally expect good A grades in relevant subjects, if the AS is taken at the end of Year 12). Colleges won't make unconditional offers on the basis of AS Level grades alone.
You'll only have UMS marks for modular AS/A Level subjects. If you're taking linear qualifications, your teachers will provide us with information about your performance through their UCAS reference.
The typical conditional A Level offer will be A*AA or A*A*A, depending on the course. In countries where an A* grade at A Level is not available, three A grades would be acceptable.
Some applicants may be set lower offers or more challenging ones. Applicants may be required to achieve A* in a particular subject(s) depending on individual circumstances.
We usually expect that students taking A Levels in science subjects will complete and pass the practical assessment.
Critical Thinking isn't considered an acceptable third A Level subject for any course at Cambridge. While it's regarded as a worthwhile addition to your portfolio of qualifications as a fourth AS or A Level subject, it's unlikely to be part of a conditional offer.
Key Skills and General Studies aren't required or included in academic assessment.
Cambridge Colleges welcome applications from those taking International A Levels (offered by Cambridge International, Oxford AQA or Pearson Edexcel) and these are recognised as equivalent to UK Board GCE AS and A Levels
Number of A Levels
Our typical offers are based on students taking three A Levels together in Year 13, and most Cambridge applicants are studying three or four A Level subjects in Years 12 and 13. This is usually sufficient to show breadth of interests and ability to manage a range of differing academic tasks. We’d rather applicants develop broader and deeper knowledge of the subjects most relevant/closest to their chosen course than accumulate additional A Levels.
Applicants taking four subjects won't normally be at an advantage compared with those taking three, although competitive applicants for STEM courses often have Further Mathematics as a fourth subject.
For courses where A Level Mathematics is required by all Colleges – Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, physical sciences options in Natural Sciences – students taking A Level Mathematics in Year 12, and A Level Further Mathematics and only one other A Level in Year 13 will be considered.
In such cases, your individual circumstances will be taken into account; including the context of your application, the combination of A Level subjects, the grade achieved in the early A Level, and your engagement with other relevant subjects in Year 13 in and beyond the classroom.
We recommend you seek advice from a College admissions office, and you should also consider potential implications for your other university options.
If you wish to apply for our Mathematics course, you should refer to the entry requirements guidance on the course page.
AS/A Level retakes
We recognise that even the best students can have 'bad days' when an exam doesn’t quite go to plan. Therefore, we’re not concerned if an applicant has retaken or is planning to retake one or two modular AS/A2 Level units for which the results obtained are clearly out of character.
At Cambridge, students are regularly assessed by examination and there's no opportunity to resit any exams (with the exception of professional qualifying examinations in Medicine and Veterinary Medicine). Therefore, we would be concerned about an applicant who is retaking large numbers of exams, unless this number of retakes was justified by circumstances beyond the applicant’s control and explained in their UCAS reference and/or Extenuating Circumstances Form.