As with any other important task in life, your university application has many deadlines and important dates to meet throughout the process. For applicants to the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge (Oxbridge), there are even more steps to take, which means even more dates to remember.
It can be difficult to find and remember all of these key dates, so we have created this timeline to ensure that all of the necessary deadlines are available for your Oxbridge application. We will be starting from the very beginning with the opening of UCAS all the way through until results day, so let’s get started:
The Oxford and Cambridge Application Timeline
UCAS Undergraduates Applications Open:
May 16th 2023
While you can begin preparing for your application before this date (via enrichment, work experience, etc.), the opening of the UCAS Portal is the first official milestone in the university application process.
From this date, you will be able to register your account with UCAS and begin filling out details on your UCAS application form (you will not be able to submit your form until later in the year).
It is recommended that you register and begin your application as soon as possible in order to free up time for more challenging tasks. However, there are certain parts, such as your university choices and Personal Statement, that require a lot more thought and shouldn’t be completed too quickly.
Oxford and Cambridge Open Days:
Open days are incredibly important for prospective applicants to get a feel for the university, from the campus to the subject departments. Oxbridge open days are especially important as they offer applicants the chance to explore different colleges, a major decision for every Oxbridge applicant.
Dates vary from year to year, but you can typically expect the first open days to be held on a weekend during June and July, with additional dates in mid-September. Open days for Oxford and Cambridge rarely fall on the same day, and virtual events are also offered for those who cannot attend the campuses in person. More information on the Oxford Open Days and Cambridge Open Days can be found on the university websites.
UCAS Undergraduate Application Submissions Open:
September 1st 2023
From September 1st, you will be able to submit your final UCAS application with your Personal Statement and academic reference. While it is good to get everything finished early (this allows you more time to prepare for your admissions test and interviews), you shouldn’t feel the need to rush this step. Ensure you take your time to review everything and make sure everything is to the best standard.
Oxford and Cambridge Admissions Test Registration Dates:
September 1st 2023 - September 29th 2023
Throughout the month of September, you will need to register for the admissions test of your chosen course (should one be required). The process for registration varies depending on the tests and their administrator, but all of the following tests will need to be registered for within the specified dates:
Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT) Testing Dates:
September 1st 2023 - October 16th 2023
For Law applicants at Oxford and Cambridge, you will need to sit the LNAT in order to be considered. The LNAT is run independently from any other admissions tests at Oxbridge and is required by other law schools in the UK as well.
The LNAT can be sat from the beginning of September all the way until mid-October, so there is plenty of time to book your slot. Registration for the test starts from August 1st through to September 15th and must be done via the LNAT website.
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Deadline for Modified Papers (BMAT, NSAA, ENGAA, TMUA, TSA):
September 15th 2023
For those who require modified exam papers for their admissions test, the deadline to apply for a modified paper is September 15th. Any other access requirements need to be specified but can be requested up until the standard registration deadline.
UCAS Undergraduate Application Deadline (Oxford, Cambridge, Medicine):
October 16th 2023
October 16th is the final date that Oxbridge and Medicine applicants can submit their UCAS applications. Personal Statements, references and application forms must be completed by 6 PM on this day, although it is never a good idea to leave the submission this late as you may face technical issues.
Standard applicants will have an additional three months to complete their application as they have a due date of January 31st 2024.
Testing Date (BMAT, NSAA, ENGAA, TMUA, TSA):
October 18th 2023
October 18th is the first day for Oxbridge admissions tests (outside of the LNAT). These tests are primarily used for Cambridge applicants (excluding the BMAT and TSA), so applicants for Medicine, Engineering, Natural Sciences, Computer Sciences and more will be sitting their test today. These tests will need to be sat at a registered CAAT testing centre.
Be aware that 2023 is the last year that most of these tests will be sat, as the BMAT, NSAA, ENGAA and TMUA are being removed in 2024. Replacements for these tests have not yet been announced.
Testing Date (CAT, ELAT, GAT, MAT):
October 19th 2023
The following day, Oxford will begin testing with their selection of admissions tests. These admissions tests have changed administrators during 2023 but are believed to be running as normal. These tests will need to be sat at a testing centre approved by Oxford and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
Testing Date (HAT, MLAT, PAT, Oxford Philosophy Test):
October 19th 2023
The next day, the other half of Oxford admissions tests are run. The testing centre requirements are the same for these tests.
My Cambridge Application and Extenuating Circumstances Form Submission Deadline:
October 23rd 2023
Applicants for Cambridge have an additional form that they will need to fill in for their application, the My Cambridge Application (formerly known as the SAQ). This form is designed to gather additional information about yourself and your application, and it becomes available to complete a few days after you submit your UCAS application form.
It is stated that the form takes around an hour to complete and does not need to be completed in one go. Additionally, applicants who are facing challenging circumstances may need to fill in the Extenuating Circumstances Form (SCF) in order to inform the university of anything that they should know that may affect their application or studies. These forms need to be submitted before 6 PM on the deadline day.
Oxford Written Work Submission Deadline:
November 10th 2023
Some courses at Oxford will not require an admissions test, instead requiring applicants to submit a piece of written work based on a brief. These can vary in style and length, but all submissions need to be submitted by this date to the relevant department or your chosen college. Submission details will be available on the entry requirements page of your chosen course.
Oxbridge Interview Invitations Sent Out:
Mid-Late November 2023
If your application has been shortlisted, you will be sent an interview invitation from your chosen college around two weeks before the date of your interview. Your invitation should arrive via email, although physical letters are sometimes sent as well.
Some Cambridge courses will require applicants to sit an admissions test after being shortlisted but before attending their interview. These tests include:
If you are applying for a subject that requires one of these tests, information on when and how you sit the test will be sent to you by your college after you have received your invitation.
First Three Weeks of December 2023
Both Oxford and Cambridge typically hold their initial interviews in the first three weeks of December each year. Full timetables are made available closer to the interview dates, confirming when specific subjects are being interviewed. However, your exact interview times and dates will be available on your invitation, so make sure you have the details correct.
All interviews are currently held remotely, so you will need to ensure you have the appropriate technology and location to attend your interview undisrupted. As you will have multiple interviews, they should be held close to each other (although not always on the same day).
Oxbridge Offers Released:
A few weeks after your interviews, Oxford and Cambridge will each make their decisions and send out offers to all successful applicants. You will be informed of your offer directly from the university as well as through your UCAS account, where you will be able to accept or reject your offer.
Offers from Oxford are expected to be released on January 9th 2024, while Cambridge offers will be released on an unspecified date in January. You will first receive your general offer from the university, but you also receive the offer from your college a few weeks afterwards, confirming your place at said college.
Cambridge Winter Pool
Also in January is the Cambridge Winter Pool. For applicants who were able to impress their interviewers but didn’t quite make the cut for their college, they will be placed into the Winter Pool, where they will have a chance to join a different college instead.
Most applicants go through the Winter Pool without attending another interview, but those who are required to must do so within the set dates that the pool is run (usually directly after offers are released). Our Cambridge Winter Pool Guide offers more information about what to expect from the process.
A-Level Exams Held:
May 2024 - June 2024
The final major step for most applicants is their A-Level exams (or equivalent). These are spread out over around a month and have a variety of testing dates depending on the subject and examining body. These exams will be crucial to your application as most students need to meet the grade requirements to be admitted.
Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP) Testing Dates:
Applicants for Cambridge Mathematics and Mathematics with Physics will be required to sit the STEP in June in order to secure their place on their course. The test is split into two papers that run on separate days in June.
Registration for the STEP opens in March and closes in May. Results for the exam are released in August, typically on the same day that A-Level results are released. Note that some colleges will also require the STEP for more mathematics-related subjects.
A-Level Results Day:
The day you receive your results will be the culmination of everything that you have been working towards for at least the last year. Provided you achieve the required results for your course (or received an unconditional offer), your place at Oxford and Cambridge (as well as any other university) will be confirmed, meaning you can celebrate your success.
From this date, you will need to begin preparing for your move-in date in September, which means you will have a busy, but exciting, month ahead of you.
These are all of the important steps that the majority of Oxbridge applicants will need to face. There are some different deadlines and processes to meet for international, post-graduate and mature students, but this timeline contains all of the general steps that will be required of applicants.
Your job now is to prepare for each of these steps to ensure that you will successfully complete each milestone required of applicants. There are lots of ways to prepare your application, although it can be daunting to know where to start.
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