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 4 November 2021.  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? 4 November 2021.

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
  • Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Classics
  • Education
  • History
  • History and Modern & Medieval Languages
  • History and Politics
  • History of Art
  • Human, Social and Political Sciences
  • Linguistics
  • Modern & Medieval Languages
  • Music
  • 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? 4 November 2021.

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 2021.

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 who have indicated a disability when submitting their UCAS application.

By when? 4 November 2021.

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 2022/23.

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 2022, will be allowed to defer entry to October 2023 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.  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 15 October each year.  If you require access arrangements you must be registered by 30 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 two assessment dates (one in September and one in November).

Candidates can only take the BMAT once – either in September or in November.  The format of the assessment is the same on both dates, but there are some differences in registration arrangements, which are outlined below for information.

Please note that the University of Cambridge will accept BMAT results from the September or the November sitting.  However, some institutions (listed on the BMAT website) will only accept results from the November assessment, so students wishing to apply to one of these must take the BMAT in November.

September BMAT

The September BMAT did not go ahead this year.

November BMAT

The November BMAT will be taken on 3 November 2021.

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

Please note that you must register for the November BMAT by 1 October 2021 (late registrations by 15 October 2021).


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 6 December to 17 December 2021.

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 2022.  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 31 January 2022 by emailing and including your full name, the subject you applied for and your UCAS ID.  If such a request is received, we will send this to your academic referee before the end of April 2022.  Please note that no feedback letters will be sent before 18 February 2022.