Cambridge University will be introducing common format written assessments across a range of subjects for those applying for 2017 entry onwards.
The written tests, which will form part of the application process, will “provide admissions tutors with valuable additional evidence of an applicant’s academic abilities, knowledge and potential to succeed in the Cambridge course for which they’ve applied”. The university claims that this move is in response to the need to develop new ways of maintaining a fair and effective admissions system during on-going qualification reform.
The tests, administered by the Admissions Testing Service (part of Cambridge Assessment) and free of charge to applicants, will be held for a range of subjects including Economics, English, Geography, History and Modern Languages. Administered by schools and colleges, the first tests will be in November this year, when students will be taking new A Levels in some subjects.
Meanwhile, the latest research brief from The Sutton Trust, believes that the number of additional tests used by Cambridge and Oxford universities should be reviewed. It claims that admissions tests give advantage to candidates who gain from extra tuition and support, and says that the tests make it harder for a bright student in an inner city school to succeed than for a student from a successful private school.
The Sutton Trust, which aims to improve social mobility through education, makes several recommendations for Oxbridge admissions including: