In February 2016 Cambridge University confirmed that
all future candidates would face a written test, as part of changes to the application process.
The new Cambridge application tests will be tailored to each subject and be taken either before or during the candidate's visit to Cambridge for their interview.
Most of the new at-interview Cambridge admissions tests will be an hour long and most pre-interview assessments will be two hours.
The new pre-interview admissions tests will be scheduled to coincide with existing admissions test to the University of Oxford.
Full details are yet to emerge, but the new written admissions tests are likely to be similar to their Oxford counterparts, and to include the following components:
A critical thinking test, of some kind, was already part of a Cambridge written test, for several
subjects at many colleges. It also forms a central part of the written admissions test to many Oxford courses.
It is therefore reasonable to expect some kind of critical thinking test to feature in the new Cambridge
admissions test: either pre-interview or at the interview.
Critical thinking, or verbal reasoning, tests typically take the form of a multiple choice question concerning a paragraph of text. Candidates are tested on their capacity to draw correct conclusions, identify assumptions, diagnose the argument flaw, etc.
I have been a critical thinking tutor for many years; not only tutoring candidates for the equivalent Oxford tests, but also teaching A-level Critical Thinking and A-level Thinking Skills. I also teach logic to undergraduates.
I'm therefore very well placed to advise you on how best to prepare for any critical thinking elements of the new Cambridge Written Admissions test.
It's quite likely that many subjects will introduce an essay component as part of the
new Cambridge written admissions test.
An essay was already part of the written admissions test for many subjects at several Cambridge colleges. It also constitutes one half of the widely used TSA test. It is therefore quite likely that Cambridge candidates will be expected to write an essay either before or at their interview.
To provide a level playing field, admissions essays do not require any specialist knowledge. Rather, they test the candidate's ability to construct a sustained, rational argument in reasoned defence of a point of view.
I have been coaching and tutoring Oxford and Cambridge applicants on essay planning and writing for many years: having taught philosophy and logic at the University of Oxford myself. I'm therefore well placed to advise you on how to write rationally persuasive essays of the kind admissions tutors are looking for.