Post-qualification applications

For students who will apply after completing A-level, International Baccalaureate, the Irish Leaving Certificate or other qualifications, rather than in their final year at school or college. 

Senior Tutor with students

Who is a post-qualification applicant? 

You're a post-qualification applicant if you took your school-leaving qualifications in the academic year that's just finished, or in the academic year before. These qualifications could be A-levels, The International Baccalaureate, the German Abitur, or one of the many other qualifications that students take around the world. 

If there's a gap of more than two years between you finishing school and starting your university course, you're just as welcome to apply, but you'll most likely be a mature student rather than a post-qualification applicant, and the information is a bit different. If this is relevant, do read the mature students page instead!  

We also have a page for students who are applying from a university or after completing a university degree. See applying from a university if this is relevant for you. 


Can I start this October? 

In most cases, the answer is a definite no - sorry. You would need to complete the full application process: You apply by 15 October (earlier in some cases such as if you want an overseas interview in Malaysia or Singapore) for entry the following October. So it is not possible to apply for October 2021 entry. If you are interested in applying for 2022 entry, you'll need to wait for UCAS to open in early-mid September 2021 for the next applications round. 

There is one exception for Cambridge applicants who are unsuccessful after interview but meet some specific widening participation criteria. If this is relevant in your case then you will be informed and given details in your January decision email. Further information.

Students talking

Is the application process different if you apply post-qualification? 

No. Post-qualification applicants follow the normal application process set out on the how to apply page.

There are a few notes worth bearing in mind, however: 

  • We recommend that you get in touch with your former school / college as early as possible as they will need to provide a UCAS reference for you. If you have any difficulty in arranging this with your previous school, please email us for advice. 
  • You will also see that depending on your course, you may need to sit a pre-interview admissions assessment. Again, we recommend that you look into this early as you will need to make arrangements either to sit the assessment at your old school or college, or to sit it at another test centre. See the information about registering
  • UCAS provides a page on filling in your UCAS application including a pdf guide. If you are applying post-qualification you enter all of your qualifications and results as qualifications already completed. If you have made any previous UCAS applications, please bear in mind that this is a completely fresh application - you will need to provide full information from scratch. 
  • Please ensure that you've looked into the provisional dates for interviews in late November / early December. You will need to arrange your gap year so that you are available for interview, if invited, as we can't interview candidates at another time. 

What about STEP?

STEP is an additional maths exam that some students take at the end of Year 13.

For post-qualification applicants applying for a subject that requires STEP (see the relevant subject page):

  • If you have already taken the required STEP papers and achieved the grades we need, you would include the results in your application as normal.
  • If you've completed your other qualifications but not taken STEP, you are still welcome to apply, but do bear in mind that if we make you an offer, it may be a conditional offer asking you to take the required STEP papers. That said, STEP and the preparation for it can be a good way to keep your maths sharp and continue developing your skills during a gap year. Further information about STEP and how to prepare is on relevant subject pages.