Application acknowledgements

This page is for those who have applied to Downing College and who have received an email acknowledging their application.

There is a lot of information here, so please make sure that you read it very carefully and that you return all documents requested by the deadlines given.

Please contact the Downing College Admissions Office on 01223 334826 or email the Admissions Officer if you have any questions.

During the early stages of your application, the College and the University will send important information and reminders to the email address that you have provided in your UCAS application.  It is essential that your email account is configured correctly so that emails sent from the College and the University are not rejected or filtered into your 'junk'/'spam' folder by your email provider (you should check this folder regularly, as well as your inbox).  Your application may be disadvantaged if you don't take the steps described below.

The College and the University will contact you from time to time using the following email addresses:

Please ensure that all of the above email addresses are:

  • ADDED to your email client's Contact list
  • ADDED to your email client's Safe Sender List (if available)
  • REMOVED from your email client's Block Sender List

Help for some of the more commonly used email clients can be found at the following links:


1. Fee status assessment questionnaire - applicants for MEDICINE only

Who needs to submit this form? MEDICINE APPLICANTS ONLY.  Applicants for Medicine must complete and return the form by 3 November 2022.  Medicine applicants will be sent this form by the Admissions Officer.

What else do I need to send with this form? Please provide appropriate evidence of your nationality, for example relevant pages of your passport.  If you do not have a passport please provide a copy of your EU identity card or your birth certificate.

By when? 3 November 2022.

2. Written Work

Download cover sheets here.

Who needs to submit written work and cover sheets? Only applicants for:

  • Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic Studies
  • Archaeology (1 piece only required)
  • Architecture (6 page pdf- mini portfolio) 
  • Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Classics
  • Education
  • English
  • History
  • History and Modern Languages
  • History and Politics
  • History of Art
  • Human, Social and Political Sciences
  • Linguistics
  • Modern & Medieval Languages
  • Music (Essay and composition required)
  • Philosophy
  • Theology

What should written work include? Two essays or pieces of coursework in an appropriate subject or subjects would be ideal. These should have been produced in the course of your AS or A-Level (or equivalent) studies and marked by a teacher, not specially written for the interview.

If you wish, you may include a short post-script suggesting how you might add to or alter your essays in the light of more recent study and thought. One of these pieces of work might be used as the basis of discussion in at least one of your interviews.

If you are in any doubt concerning suitability of written work to be sent, please email the Admissions Office.

Candidates for Architecture must submit a short portfolio of work as outlined in the acknowledgement email. You should have your full portfolio available if selected for interview.

How should the written work and cover sheets be submitted? Download and print a separate cover sheet for each of your two pieces of written work. The cover sheets must then be completed by you and a school or college representative. 

By when? 3 November 2022.

3. Extenuating circumstances form

Who needs to submit this form? UK or EU applicants who have experienced particular personal, social or educational disadvantage. 

The online form and information about the extenuating circumstances form can be found here.

By when? 22 October 2022.

4. Disability/Specific Learning Difficulties interview adjustment form

Who needs to submit this form? Applicants with a disability or specific learning difficulty.

If you have a disability or specific learning difficulty, including dyslexia or dyspraxia, please complete the form and return this to us as soon as possible. We wish to ensure that, wherever possible and required, we can make appropriate arrangements if you are called for interview. This form will be sent to all applicants regardless of whether or not they have indicated a disability when submitting their UCAS application.

By when? 3 November 2022.

5. Pomona College Exchange Scheme

Full details of the Pomona-Downing Scholarship

Who needs to complete and submit this form? Downing College applicants who wish to apply to be considered for the Pomona College exchange scheme 2023/24.

Would you like to have a fully-funded, pre-university year at Pomona College, an American Liberal Arts College in Claremont, California?

The scholarship will cover all costs of tuition, accommodation and flights. One student who has received an offer from Downing College for an undergraduate course starting in October 2023, will be allowed to defer entry to October 2024 and will be accepted by Pomona College as the Pomona-Downing Scholar.

The student will be able to spend a full academic year at Pomona before coming into residence to start their course at Cambridge. The year at Pomona is fully funded; all travel and agreed living expenses will be paid for.

The form will be sent to offer-holders in January 2023 to meet the deadline of February 2023.


6. At-interview Assessments

Information about assessments to be taken at interview and any other additional requirements will be supplied in letters inviting applicants to interview.  University of Cambridge information about at-interview assessments is here.

Applicants for Music and Mathematics will have an assessment (in addition to any University admissions assessment), which is specific to Downing College and will take place at Downing College if the applicant is invited to interview (note for 2023 any Downing College assessments will be via Zoom).  More information about these assessments is available here.  You do not have to register for these assessments.  Please contact the Admissions Office, if you have any questions.

7. Pre-interview Assessments

Information about pre-interview tests can be found on the University of Cambridge website. Please note that you must register for pre-interview assessments before 30 September each year apart from Law which must be registered by 15 September.  If you require access arrangements you must be registered by 16 September each year.

8. Biomedical Admissions Test

All applicants for the Standard Medicine Course (A100) are required to take the BMAT before they are considered for interview.  Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing offer an October assessment date.

Candidates can only take the BMAT once.

October BMAT

The October BMAT will be taken on 18 October 2022.

Candidates must be registered by their assessment centre (they cannot register themselves) for the October BMAT. You can find information about the October BMAT here. 

Please note that you must register for the October BMAT by 30 September 2022.


9. Interviews

Those applicants who have not requested interviews with the International Team and to whom interviews are offered will most likely be interviewed via Zoom during the period 5 December to 16 December 2022.

Applicants for Medicine will not be informed about interviews until results of the BMAT are known.

Dates for interviews within each subject will be posted on the Downing College website as they are confirmed. Please avoid other fixed commitments that might clash with interviews during this period; we cannot re-arrange interview times assigned to you.

If you are unable to make one or more of the days specified for your subject please email the Admissions Officer as soon as possible as well as noting these restrictions in your Supplementary Application Questionnaire. If enough notice is given, it may be possible to avoid scheduling your interviews on those days.

Interviews can start as early as 8.30am, with the later ones finishing at 6.30pm. It is not possible to make any changes after you have been notified of your interview times.

You will not normally receive an offer of a place without interview. Some subjects will have only one interview whilst with other subjects at least two interviews are given, normally with two interviewers present. Our aim is to gauge intellectual potential and motivation as well as the present state of your knowledge.

Most, but perhaps not all, the questions asked will be of an academic or technical nature, relating to your present and future studies. We will try to work with the knowledge you already possess, and then take the discussion further, as might happen in a small-group teaching session here in Cambridge.

Any special arrangements for interviews in individual subjects will be communicated when you are notified of your interview date.


10. When will you hear about the outcome of your application?

Our decision as to whether or not your application has been successful will be emailed to you in January 2023.  Please make sure to check your 'spam' or 'junk' email folders.

If you have been successful you will also receive a letter containing full details about the conditions of your offer and other important information. 

If your application has been unsuccessful, you will not receive a letter in addition to the email.

11. Conditional offers

Following interviews, we shall decide whether to make you a conditional offer based on results to be achieved in the appropriate examinations (A2 or equivalent).

It should be noted that, although the standard required to gain entry to Cambridge is high, no candidate will be set an offer that we believe to be unreasonable in the light of their particular circumstances.

Details of our general policy in each subject are given on the Downing College website.

12. Unconditional offers

If you have already taken GCE A2 or equivalent, we will already know your grades. Following the interviews, we shall decide whether to make you an academically unconditional offer of a place.

13. Feedback about unsuccessful applications

You or your academic referee may request feedback about your application before the deadline of 10 February 2023 by completing the Qualtrics form (link will be sent with decisions in January 2023). If such a request is received, we will send this to your academic referee before the end of April 2023.  Please note that no feedback letters will be sent before 20 February 2023.