Coronavirus disruption & applying to Christ's this year

Advice for prospective applicants considering an application in September/October 2020.

Christ's College, Cambridge, main gate on St Andrew's Street

This is a page for students who are considering an application to Christ's in October 2020 in the context of global Coronavirus disruptions. We very much hope that all will be well for you but we know that in these difficult times, you will have lots of questions.

We are aware that it's possible that you, your teachers or members of your immediate families could become ill. Your schooling and/or public exams will also be disrupted. We understand that circumstances are difficult at the moment and that prospective students all over the world are affected.

We have produced this advice page to reassure and to help you in relation to a potential application this October. We are updating it as things progress. Due to the worldwide circumstances, some details will inevitably need to change in the Cambridge application process this year, but we will guide you through the changes once information is confirmed and please be assured that the gist of the application process will remain the same as normal. Let's work through this positively - we want to receive your applications, to consider them and to make offers to another fantastic set of students who we can welcome to Christ's in Oct 2021 (or deferred 2022).

Updates box
  • Registration is open for some online events on our open days page:
    • 8 July - Christ's Cyprus webinar
    • 9 July - Christ's EU webinar
    • 9 July - Christ's Singapore webinar
    • 16 July - Christ's College: a look at the grounds and facilities (UK and non-UK)
  • News (university-wide): In order to minimise Covid-related risks to our applicants, students and staff in the coming undergraduate admissions round, we are making plans to interview applicants this year without requiring them to travel to Cambridge in December. We will release further details about alternative arrangements as soon as we can.
    An equivalent statement also available on the overseas interviews page, if relevant.
  • Opportunity for applicants at UK state schools: FREE Cambridge Applicant Support Programme
  • 1 June update for prospective Medicine students: The September sitting of the BMAT will not go ahead this year (source). The 4 November sitting still planned to go ahead.
  • If you've seen in the news that Cambridge lectures will be online next academic year, see the detail on this page and understand the context for prospective applicants.
  • Some very helpful films from UCAS for prospective students applying this year in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Christ's College Third Court

As a prospective student, please keep a record / log of disruption

If you cannot attend school or if your normal teachers cannot teach you, please ensure that you keep your own written record of the actual disruption (including exact dates). Disruption might include, but is not limited to, periods of self-isolation, disruptive teacher absences, school closures and disruptions to any exams you were due to take.

Please also keep a log of what teaching & learning alternatives (if any) are provided by your school. Please note online learning resources or teaching provided, dates available etc.

We do not need this information now, but if you record it systematically NOW, it will be more accurate if we ask for it later (likely).

Students talking in the Library foyer

Studying at Home

  • If you are studying from home, please try not to worry. Make sure that you keep up with any work set by your teachers, and remember that all anybody can ask of you is that you do your very best in the circumstances.
  • Don't forget that you will be saving some time by not travelling to school so, as long as you can remain disciplined and motivated, you will have some extra time for study! This may also be a chance to develop your independent study skills further. A good thing to do may be to make yourself a little list of the positive things, that you think you might get out of the circumstances.
  • Try buddying up with a friend (maybe digitally), whether or not they plan to make a Cambridge application, and work out a schedule or timetable of study. Check in on each other regularly to keep yourselves motivated.
  • Try discussing your work or other related material with a friend, or a group of friends. Could you form a chat group and find some relevant topics to research and then discuss together?
  • Don't forget that as well as any resources offered by your school, there are free on-line resources available on our website - see the online learning resources page, which directs you to the resources on each subject page (we are adding more too).
  • If you are studying at home, you may find it helpful to keep a diary of the work you are doing, including what resources you are using (this will help you when you come to write the personal statement for your UCAS application).
Fellows Garden

Open Days

  • Booking is open for a lot of events on the Christ's open days page, and look our for additional regular webinars (which will normally appear on the ope days page a week or two before the date). For events further in the future, if you look at the table on the Christ's open days page you'll see that you can often register your interest for specific events if booking hasn't yet opened so that you receive an email when booking opens.
  • 28 May - sadly we have had to confirm today that September open days will be online rather than in person. When we can, we will be putting together some information for you about researching Cambridge when you can't attend in-person open days (please bear with us for this). For students who receive an offer from Christ's, we plan to organise an offer holders open day if possible at that stage so that you can visit the College.
  • The visiting Christ's page has advice on how to visit Christ's online.
  • Remember also that as some people live a long way away, we have many students each year who make a successful application without ever setting foot in Christ's beforehand so if you haven't been able to visit Christ's, please don't be put off. If you have questions for us, Kristy, Jan and Ellie will do their best to help - do send an email to


If you were due to take any exams this summer, we realise that in many countries around the world, exams are now cancelled. Please remember first of all that you are not alone - that there are many other students in the same position and we will provide guidance in the run-up to applications.

Updates for UK students

For students who have heard that May/June exams will not take place in the UK:

Year 12 (and equivalent): please continue to work hard for exams next year and see the UCAS updates if you were due to take any A level (or equivalent) exams early.

Year 13 (and equivalent): see the relevant info below and the UCAS updates.


Updates for students outside the UK

Given the range of different countries, dates of school closures and exam arrangements, it will be particularly important that you keep a detailed log as mentioned above, and also set out the arrangements in your country for any exams you were due to take.

Please continue to work hard for exams you are due to take next year, using all the resources available to you.

Students in the Garden, Christ's College, Cambridge

Work experience

Some of you have mentioned that you had a work experience placement lined up which has subsequently been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Please do not be concerned about this in the context of a future application. We will obviously understand that  applicants who apply this year may have had work experience placements cancelled (this will affect a lot of students). Please also be assured that none of our courses require work experience before the start (not even Medicine). There are a range of ways to explore your interest in a subject, and work experience is only one of them.

A second point: here at Cambridge we have long vacations between our intensive eight-week terms, so if you would find it helpful to get some work experience once you have started a degree here, there will be time to do that. We have a very helpful careers service that helps current students to find placements during their degree (as well as careers after graduation).

I've heard that large-group lectures will be online in 2020-21

Although it doesn't affect you as applicants for 2021 entry and beyond, we wanted to give a bit of information as you may be aware that one aspect of our teaching, the large-group University lectures, will be online for our students next academic year (whilst you are applying). Lectures are arranged by your University faculty or department and you would normally attend them with all students in the university (across all Colleges) who are taking the same course option. Some of the lectures have 200+ people attending. They are normally a one-way delivery of information (the lecturer talks, you take notes or fill in a handout/worksheet). You can find out more about lectures in CamGuides: lectures.

Lectures are only one part of the rich education that Cambridge offers. You may also have read about the small group supervisions, language classes, lab work and practicals, which are the more interactive sessions. If you're not sure what these other forms of teaching normally involve, a good place to look is:

Then there are also the social aspects of living in the College community, societies and sports etc. The CamGuides were written before the Coronavirus disruptions, but they provide a useful introduction to the different aspects of student life, and do also read some student profiles. The University and College is working hard to make sure they can run as well as possible next year and, as always, we will welcome applications from bright students from all backgrounds and support you through the admissions process. The section below has information relevant to making an application.

Christ's College, Cambridge Undergraduate Common Room (JCR)

Applying later this year

When the time comes to make your application (bearing in mind the early application deadline for Cambridge compared with many other UK universities), the How to apply page sets out the timeline and details of the application process (and we expect to write some extra support pages for UK students this year, applicants from outside the UK should see the international section). We will update you nearer the time on exactly how and where your Coronavirus disruption information should be given in your application.

  • If you were due to sit one or more A levels this year, please see UCAS updates.
  • It is likely that there will be some additional instructions for applicants added relating to Coronavirus disruptions, in order to ensure that we have the information we need to assess each applicant as fairly as possible.
  • We will run the application process as closely as we can to normal, but will keep you updated here if there are any changes needed due to Coronavirus.
    • Change 1 (1 July): The following university-wide statement has been issued: 
      In order to minimise Covid-related risks to our applicants, students and staff in the coming undergraduate admissions round, we are making plans to interview applicants this year without requiring them to travel to Cambridge in December. We will release further details about alternative arrangements as soon as we can. An equivalent statement is also available on the overseas interviews page, if relevant.

Useful links at this time


UCAS updates on Coronavirus; UCAS films for students applying this year (very helpful!). UCAS is being helpful on Twitter too.

Ofqual film Info for students: Grading in 2020 (film for UK students expecting GCSE or A level grades in summer 2020)
Cambridge University

Coronavirus information for prospective students and offer holders, See also the FAQs. Most information here is for offer holders at the moment, but more details for students applying should be available as we approach the applications period.

Finance updates Coronavirus Student Finance updates (UK students)
Please follow the guidance issued by the authorities in your country. For example UK Guidance. This includes info for social distancing, self isolation, and household isolation. The University also has a dedicated page.
Look after your mental health NHS Every Mind Matters
Unicef advice for teenagers
UCAS info in partnership with Student Minds
Exercise There are plenty of online resources to help you keep moving. See for example
the Sport England list of indoor exercise apps and classes
NHS gym-free workouts
NHS exercise films

Thank you for reading. We hope that this page has been helpful - we encourage you to refer back to it fur further updates as we progress throguh the year. We would also like to wish you our sincere best wishes in these difficult times.

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