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Foundation Year


After applications have all been received via UCAS and your eligibility has been determined through the FYSAQ, experienced admissions staff from across the Colleges participating in the programme shortlist applications. In recent years, we have shortlisted approximately 60% of applicants. Being shortlisted means that we ask you to complete an online Admissions Assessment and attend two online interviews. 

Admissions Assessment

All shortlisted candidates will be invited to complete the Foundation Year Admissions Assessment as part of the admissions process. This assessment is designed to determine a candidate’s potential to thrive on the course.  It has been designed to assess applicants’ ability to think through a range of ideas and arguments, allowing them to show that they have the skills required to complete the Foundation Year. It also allows us to consider all applicants equally across a gathered field, regardless of their educational background or qualifications. 

Key details 

  • The assessment will be distributed to shortlisted applicants only by email.  

  • Applicants are not required to register in advance for this assessment. 

  • It must be completed and returned by a set deadline (16 March 2025 for 2025 entry). You can complete it at any point from receiving it until that time.  

  • It takes around 2 hours to complete the assessment in total and you will need to complete it online on a device with a stable internet connection and a web browser.

  • The assessment should be completed in one go but if you can’t find the time to do this, you should complete Section 1 in one sitting and Section 2 in a second sitting

  • It is designed to be completed at home or in school, although another location such as a public library would also be suitable.  

  • There is no requirement for schools/colleges to provide formal invigilation as an assessment centre unless you require a hard copy.

Further information about the Foundation Year admissions assessment, including sample papers and guidance on how to complete the assessment is available online here.


Admissions decisions at the University of Cambridge are based solely on academic criteria – your ability and potential. Along with all the other information you provide, interviews help us to assess your application.

Almost all of our applicants are predicted to meet our academic entry requirement so it's difficult to select fairly based on the UCAS application alone. Therefore, interviewing helps to:

  • assess applicants’ academic potential and suitability for the course  – whether they have the potential to study it to a very high level, engage with new ideas and think conceptually, and how they'll respond to the teaching methods used at Cambridge
  • give applicants the opportunity to expand on their application and show us how they think about; to demonstrate their interest in and commitment to their subject, and their ability to think critically and independently

Further information about interviews, including how to prepare and technical requirements is available online here.