Applications to Oxford and Cambridge


MPW has been helping students get into Oxford and Cambridge since 1973. In fact, our college was founded with the explicit aim of doing just that.

Applying to Oxford or Cambridge is incredibly competitive. Applicants have a roughly 1 in 5 chance of obtaining a place. The majority of courses ask for A*AA or A*A*A at A level. Successful candidates typically have seven or eight A* grades at GCSE, although it is important to stress that this is an average and is just one factor amongst many. Applicants will have to submit a very good personal statement, sit specialist entrance tests and perform well in an interview, and they may have to submit written work or a portfolio too.

We offer help in three main areas: 

This assistance is provided to all MPW students wishing to pursue an application to Oxford or Cambridge.

Personal statement

Our tutors read over 300 personal statements every year, so they have a wealth of experience to call on. Most Oxbridge applicants are similar in terms of grades, predicted or actual, and glowing references from teachers. The personal statement is an opportunity to distinguish yourself and further convince admissions tutors that you deserve a place. 

When you’ve finished your first draft, we can provide you with feedback on its strengths and weaknesses. We often list additional reading/research areas that would make the personal statement more compelling and we can give you guidance on how it might be improved.

The interview

At interview, admissions tutors will be testing your power of reasoning and your ability to think critically. An MPW mock interview should enable you to identify your strengths and weaknesses both in using your subject knowledge and in interview techniques. Having an analytical and critical discussion over a wide range of issues with strangers in a formal, unfamiliar setting is effective preparation for the real thing.

Interviews are held by senior staff and external experts at MPW and last for up to 40 minutes, after which verbal feedback and a written report are provided. You will be assessed on your: 

  • passion for your chosen subject
  • subject knowledge
  • responsiveness to new material within a tutorial situation
  • ability to think analytically and creatively
  • evidence of reading
  • knowledge of your chosen course and college
  • verbal and non-verbal communication skills

In addition, the report will offer suggestions about how you might improve your chances of success, especially in relation to further reading and research. 

All mock interview candidates are given a copy of the MPW Guide Getting into Oxford and Cambridge. This provides detailed, up-to-date advice and information about all aspects of Oxford and Cambridge admissions. 

Individual Tuition for Oxford and Cambridge Entrance Tests

Over the past few years, more and more students have been achieving A and A* grades at A level. As it has become harder to identify academically outstanding students through their A level results, both Oxford and Cambridge now rely on additional testing systems when selecting candidates for interview.

The style of testing differs from what many school leavers will be used to. Whereas A levels often test factual recall, the Oxbridge written exams look for analytical and critical capabilities. If you are serious about wanting a place at a top university, you should be able to do well without masses of additional tuition or extra work. It is very important, however, to go online and get full details of what the tests entail and to do some practice papers if they are provided. If you feel that you need extra help to pass these exams, we can arrange individual tuition with a specialist tutor.

For more information

For more information about support for your Oxford or Cambridge application, please contact us

Additional information and guidance is provided on the Advice section of our website and our book Getting into Oxford and Cambridge is available from Amazon.