One of the most valuable things you, as a teacher, can do for your Oxbridge applicants is to create a bank of resources which they can use to prepare for their Oxbridge application.
Applicants need a wide variety of materials in order to understand the application process, revise essential and additional knowledge and practice the different steps they will need to take. All of these materials are scattered across a wide variety of sources, making it extremely difficult for a typical applicant to find everything they need without investing hours of time.
Therefore, having everything they need in one easily accessible place will make their lives much easier and will allow them to focus on their actual preparation. But how should you go about creating this bank and what should you include in it? This page will answer both of these questions and provide you with the perfect starting point for your application resource bank.
How to Create an Oxbridge Application Resource Bank
Before we look at all the resources you’ll need to collect for your students, let’s quickly answer a couple of questions about how you should create your school’s resource bank. Bear in mind that there is no one solution for every student or school, so consider the options presented and decide which will suit your needs best.
What Should I Include in My Resource Bank?
The answer to this question may seem obvious, but it is actually more complex than you may think. While there are many materials that you could immediately think of to include, there are others that you may not initially think of that are equally important.
To start off, you likely already have a good selection of books and textbooks for students to utilise during their applications. These are extremely useful resources, but there may be more available that you don’t know about. Generic subject books and popular texts are extremely valuable, but many students benefit from having books specific to their application.
For example, UniAdmissions has published over 100 books relating to the Oxbridge, Medicine and Law application processes, as well as other specialised subjects. These books provide in-depth guidance to the exact processes that applicants will be facing, meaning the advice available in them is extremely relevant and actionable.
Beyond this, students may be recommended to read books that are less well-known for their wider reading. This is something that you should always aim to encourage, although there are certain barriers to doing so. Primarily, offering specific books to your students can be a costly venture when preparing a full cohort of university applicants, so you may need to focus more on free resources.
During this initial stage of preparation, applicants should be researching everything they can about their university and course choices, especially for Oxbridge applicants. While some things are easy to find, such as official university websites, it can be more difficult to find more specific information, such as information about a certain Oxbridge college.
As we stated before, you can save your students hours of research time by compiling a collection of useful web pages for them to conduct their research. This can include official websites as well as third-party experts who may offer a more neutral, factual view on certain topics (always ensure these are reputable sources).
The depth of information that some websites provide can be immense, offering both students and teachers a comprehensive guide to the whole admissions process, all for free!
While long, detailed guides are helpful for providing all the information an applicant could need, sometimes it is more valuable to have access to a concise, easy-to-read document that offers the essential information in a shorter format.
These could be in the form of quick pamphlets, posters and more, allowing students to have instant access to the most important details. Again these can come from official sources or from experts, but they will always offer value for those needing a quick reminder of their application details.
Last but definitely not least, applicants looking to practice for their admissions test, review potential interview questions or find inspiration for the Personal Statement will need practice materials and successful examples.
These materials can range from past papers to Personal Statement examples, question banks to example interview videos. It is all extremely help for allowing students to put their learning into practice and gauge how well they will actually perform and improve their abilities. While much of this content is available for free, students will benefit even more by investing in paid resources such as preparation platforms, workbooks and more (either personally or provided by the school).
How Should I Create My Resource Bank?
In order to have a resource bank, you will need to be able to store all of your materials in a manner that is easily accessible to your students. This is easier said than done, however, as it is difficult to create a perfect solution that allows for 24/7 access to everything they need.
There are two primary options for this, each with its own positives and negatives:
Physical Resource Bank
Your first option is to create a physical collection of materials that are kept at your school, most likely within the Sixth Form Centre or equivalent space. You may already have a collection of physical books at your disposal, which means your collection has already begun!
However, there are also plenty of other ways to provide materials to your students physically, including offering hand-outs, placing posters in your student’s space and creating a compilation of printed documents and guides. For students that prefer to read and work on paper, they will likely appreciate having these physical resources available.
However, there are plenty of setbacks to this approach, mainly due to the many impractical elements of keep materials this way. Students will mostly have access to these resources at school, whereas they will most likely need them more at home. You will also not be able to provide any online resources in this manner, such as web pages and online question banks. Plus, there is the financial and environmental impact to consider, all of which making a fully physical resource bank next to impossible.
Digital Resource Bank
On the opposite side of things, you could aim to store all of your materials in one shared folder that students can access from anywhere. This is much more convenient for students and allows them to access all online content.
They will also have the option to download and print out any materials they choose if they so choose, meaning the physical aspect is not entirely lost. Generally speaking, this is the more viable option for most schools today.
However, having a folder that can be accessed outside of school may require the school to host a server or pay to store files through an external service. There is also the risk of technical failures that prevent access for your students for undetermined amounts of time. Plus, any physical books that your school already own will not be included unless they are repurchased digitally or scanned into a digital form (which is mostly illegal to do for the sake of distribution).
Ideally, your resource bank would consist of both elements, but it really depends on what your students want and what your school is capable of.
With this in mind, we will now go through each element of the application process and review the essential resources that you will need to offer to your students (as well as a few resources that will help you and your school in your jobs).
Claim Your FREE Oxbridge Applications Resource Pack
Gain access to our 12-Document Oxbridge Resource Pack for you and your students that cover the entire Oxbridge application process. The resource pack includes handouts, templates, lesson plans and much more, helping you prepare your students for their application. Fill out the form below and gain instant access.
General Oxbridge Application Resources
Firstly, we have the perfect resources to start both your students’ and your own research into the world of Oxbridge. These resources will give you a sense of what Oxford and Cambridge are like and what you need to be aware of within the application process.
Essential Oxbridge Webpages
The official Oxford and Cambridge websites offer essential information to any student who is considering applying, including course details, college information, FAQ’s and more. However, alongside this, we would recommend some of our own comprehensive guides to Oxbridge, aimed at both students and teachers:
Oxbridge Application Data
Our Oxbridge Application Data guide is the perfect starting point for understanding the benefits of data-driven preparation and collecting data from previous application cycles. Once you’re ready, you can begin looking for your own data from a variety of sources:
There are multiple years of admissions data available in these reports for you and your class to analyse, so don’t be afraid to dig deep if you want to learn something specific. More specific data, like admissions test results, can also be found from a variety of sources, including official reports that are published online. If you cannot find the information you are looking for, you may be able to find a Freedom of Information Request on WhatDoTheyKnow.com.
Oxbridge College Information
Beyond the official college lists from Oxford and Cambridge, each college will have an official website with details about their accommodation, events and much more. We have also published a pair of in-depth guides that provides more information if you are looking for full summaries of each college in one place:
The Oxford and Cambridge websites feature a lot more content that may be helpful or interesting to your students, including their regularly updated blogs, but these are the most important pages to keep in mind for when they are undergoing their Oxbridge research.
Important UCAS Resources
The UCAS website features pages relating to each step of the standard university application process, so it is important that all of your university applicants have done their research here, including Oxbridge applicants. Of course, one of the most important websites for any university applicant is the UCAS Hub, so ensure every student has access to it.
These two guides offer a greater insight into the UCAS application process for both teachers and students, aiming to cover the questions that Oxbridge applicants may have.
Resources for UCAS Changes in 2023/24
Both of these official documents will help students and teachers each understand the changes that they will be facing starting from the 2023 UCAS application process, with more changes begin implemented in 2024. It is essential that all university applicants are aware of these changes as these changes are being made across the whole system.
UCAS Reference Resources For Teachers
While there are not too many resources available relating to the UCAS academic reference, especially for Oxbridge applicants, our guide to the subject offers an in-depth overview of how you should write your reference to help your students stand out from the competition.
UCAS references have been changed in 2023 to follow a new, question-based format compared to the original free-form style. These official resources from UCAS should help you understand why the changes are being implemented and how you can adapt your current referencing style to this new form.
The most difficult element of the UCAS application is the Personal Statement, so let’s see what resources are available for your students to support them with their writing.
Oxbridge Personal Statement Resources
The Personal Statement is the first major task for most Oxbridge applicants (and the biggest task for many university applicants in general), and applicants are likely to need a lot of support and inspiration to get started on writing a great statement.
Personal Statement Guides
Starting at the universities, Oxford and Cambridge have each made a guide explaining what they expect from their applicant’s Personal Statements. As you may already know, Oxbridge applications need to achieve a higher standard than normal due to the competitiveness of the courses and the number of applicants each year. It is vital that your students understand this and are prepared to put the effort in to meet these high standards.
Other than the guides provided by Oxford and Cambridge, UniAdmissions has released a number of guides relating to various aspects of the Personal Statement. Our two Complete Guides, for students and teachers, are the best place to start:
Example Oxbridge Personal Statements
Reading successful Personal Statement examples is one of the best ways for applicants to learn the most effective writing techniques and gain inspiration for their own work. While we recommended sourcing statements from your own former students, we also have a large collection of 30+ Successful Oxbridge Personal Statements to share with your cohort. Each statement includes feedback from the author that explains the positive and negative aspects, allowing your students to consider the flaws and strengths within their own work.
UCAS Personal Statement Changes
The UCAS Personal Statement is facing major changes starting from 2024, so your students and your faculty will need to be aware of how the process is changing. Below is our detailed guide explaining the reasoning and impact of these changes:
Oxbridge Admissions Test Resources
Most applicants for Oxford and Cambridge will be required to sit a university admissions test before attending interviews. There are a wide variety of tests used each year, with each one requiring unique preparation techniques and materials, so it can be hard to find everything your students will need. However, the resources below should give you a good head start in creating a great admissions test resource bank.
UniAdmissions' Admissions Test Guides
At UniAdmissions, we have spent a lot of time creating in-depth guides for many of the admissions tests used at Oxbridge. These guides are the perfect starting point for your students to get acquainted with their tests, with our many admissions test starter guides being the best place to begin:
As a teacher, it is recommended that you are fairly knowledgeable on each of the major admissions tests as well, so our Teacher’s Guide to Oxbridge Admissions Tests will help you learn the basics of each in a short amount of time:
Oxbridge Admissions Test Past Papers
When preparing for an admissions test, it is essential for students to get realistic practice including at least one mock exam. There are various resources available for each test, some of which your students may already utilise. While these services typically require an investment, there is one type of practice material that will always be available for free – past papers.
Past papers are one of the most effective ways for a student to revise, as they are true to the actual exam and can be used in a variety of ways. Each year’s paper will typically be released soon after the actual test has been sat, with long-running admissions tests having a large backlog of past papers available. And as we said, these will always be available for free, so it is worth having all of them available for your students to access.
One thing to be cautious of with past papers is the changes to have occurred between years. Most admissions tests have undergone a change at some point in its existence, ranging from changes to the syllabus to full reworks of the question format. it is important for both you and your students to understand that some past papers will not be representative of the paper they will be sitting in their application.
Oxbridge Admissions Test Changes
This page is updated whenever a change to the Oxbridge application process is announced, including changes to admissions tests. We keep track of all updates, no matter how minor, but there are various major updates being implemented across 2023 and 2024.
These changes will impact many of most of the major admissions tests used by Oxford and Cambridge and range from admissions test removals to changes in admissions test providers. We have created guides for each of these changes which are updated when new announcements are made, so be sure to check these pages regularly for updated information on these admissions tests.
Additional Admissions Test Resources
One way that your school can help your students is to register to become an approved testing centre for Oxbridge admissions tests. You will need to register through each exam operator and ensure that your school meets the requirements of an approved centre. The application instructions and centre criteria for each operator can be found on the pages below:
Become an Oxbridge expert with our free CPD-accredited course.
Includes 3 hours of content and knowledge quizzes.
Completely free for teachers and schools.
Upon completion, you will gain CPD points!
Oxbridge Interview Resources
When it comes to preparing for the Oxbridge Interviews, the best thing students can do is practice, especially through mock interviews. While it may seem that preparation resources will be limited in this regard, there are still some useful things that you can offer your students to help.
These pages on the official Oxford and Cambridge websites offer all of the information a student will need in order to attend their interview, including dates, timetables, set-up requirements and what to expect. They also give an outline of what they are looking for in their applicants, so students should make a note of what is written.
If they are looking for more comprehensive interview guides, UniAdmissions has written a full collection covering everything they need to know about the process.
Of course, we also have a guide specifically for teachers, which features details on how you can support your students through preparation, how to set up mock interviews at school and much more:
Practice Interview Questions
In order to practice for their interview, students will need questions to answer. Whether they are studying them individually or practising questions with others, it is important for students to have a grasp of the wide range of potential questions that their interviews may ask. We have created a series of guides that feature plenty of potential questions that applicants may face at Oxbridge:
Oxbridge Enrichment and Wider Reading Resources
Outside of the primary stages of the application process, Oxbridge applicants will also need to undertake regular enrichment in order to not only improve their application but improve their own abilities and understanding too. Whether it’s through reading, research or any other means, enrichment often required resources to be effective.
While resources for enrichment and wider reading are plentiful, selecting and acquiring the right resources for each student comes with its own challenges. While we couldn’t possibly list everything that a student could use for their preparation, we have got a great selection of guides and resources to help them (and you) get started:
This guide provides a great starting point for you to guide your students in the right direction when it comes to their enrichment. It’s not an easy task for them, so being knowledgeable and offering them support will go a long way to ensuring they use their time wisely.
Oxbridge Reading Lists
Oxford and Cambridge each have their own suggested resources for each of their courses, including reading lists and research documents. These are all highly recommended and will be extremely useful for applicants.
However, students may also want to look outside of the official reading lists to find texts, as they will be able to find something a bit more unique that not every applicant has read. In our Wider Reading Guide for students, we offer a comprehensive look at how they can take on wider reading and a selection of reading lists that should offer some different inspiration for their enrichment:
Work Experience Support
While resources for work experience aren’t too common, we have created guides to help applicants navigate their way through the world of work placements:
As we discuss in our Enrichment Guide, academic competitions are a great way for students to engage in their subject in a unique and extremely beneficial way. Taking part in a competition goes a long way to showing the admissions tutors how dedicated a student is to a course, whether or not they win. Our Teacher’s Guide to Academic Competitions explains the benefits further and details some of the major competitions held in the UK, including those ran by Oxford and Cambridge:
New competitions are announced or updated often, so be sure to have the official pages from Oxford and Cambridge available to check regularly:
Additional Oxbridge Resources
We have now covered all of the major steps of the Oxbridge application process that your students will need to prepare for. However, there are still some extra resources that certain students may need in order to have a fair chance at succeeding in their application. Oxford and Cambridge each offer support and resources for a variety of needs, so keep these webpages to hand in case any of your students require the assistance that they provide:
Oxbridge Financial Support
Each university offers a variety of bursaries, scholarships and other options for financial support, aimed at those who come from low-income households, under-represented communities and other difficult circumstances. These can range from one-time payments to assist with living expenses to the cost of full-course fees. These two pages provide and overview of the different options available to applicants and how to apply.
Oxbridge Accessibility Support
Oxford and Cambridge have each made efforts to increase accessibility for all students and ensure that those with disabilities have a chance to partake in the same level of education as other students. Each university has a dedicated service that offers information, resources and support for students attending the university.
Oxbridge International Applicant Support
Applicants from outside of the UK may feel overwhelmed and confused by the Oxbridge application process, especially as they may have different/extra steps to take to successfully gain their place. Oxford and Cambridge have each made pages that outline the processes and requirements for international applicants to apply, study and live in the UK.
That brings us to the end of this guide. Bear in mind that this is just a starting point for your school’s resource collection, as we would recommend allocating some budget to accessing more in-depth materials outside of what is available for free. However, with everything provided here, your applicants will still be able to gain an incredible understanding of the application process and put themself at an advantage compared to many of their competitors.
If you are looking for complete support for your Oxbridge applicants, we at UniAdmissions are able to guide your students through the whole process, providing tuition, courses, resources and much more. if you would like to learn more about our support options, discover our Oxbridge Premium Programmes and see how we can triple your students’ chances of success.
Other Helpful Oxbridge Resources
This free online course is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to help your students secure a place at the world’s top universities. You’ll complete the course as an Oxbridge expert!
Access all of our highly detailed written guides for teachers, as well as useful resources and information about our school support.