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Engineering Admissions Assessment

All applicants, except those applying to one of our mature Colleges, are required to take the pre-interview written assessment for Engineering at an authorised centre local to them (for a lot of applicants, this will be their school/college).

Mature students (those who would be aged 21 or over at the start of their course) applying to one of the mature Colleges are required to take an at-interview written assessment for Engineering held on the day of interview at the Department of Engineering, the date for which will be communicated to those applicants selected to attend interview.

Pre-interview Written Assessment for Engineering Format

  • Maths/Physics MCQs (80 minutes)
  • Engineering specific questions (40 minutes)

PDF icon Engineering Admissions Assessment Specification

You must be registered in advance (separately to your UCAS application) to take the assessment – the registration deadline is 15 October 2017. Your assessment centre must register you for the pre-interview assessment; you’re not able to register yourself. See the Admissions Assessments page of the University's Undergraduate Study website for information about assessment centres and registration.

The pre-interview written assessment for Engineering will be taken on 2 November 2017.

Please note that your performance in the pre-interview assessment will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.

As indicated in Table 3 of this guide, some Colleges may also ask you to take a written assessment when you attend for interview (if invited).

Specimen papers

A specimen paper has been produced to allow you to sample the written assessment format and practice under timed conditions. It is not expected that you will answer every question correctly; the written assessment is designed to be challenging. Even some strong candidates may not complete the paper in the time allowed; it is designed to distinguish across our field of high-calibre applicants.

Experience with similar assessments and from trials indicates that, on average, typical applicants to the most highly selective undergraduate courses (who are by definition academically very able) will gain approximately half of the available marks. The best applicants will score more highly, but only relatively few are expected to gain more than 80% of the available marks.

Written assessments help admissions tutors to assess whether candidates have the skills, aptitudes and any required subject knowledge and understanding required to study the relevant course at Cambridge. They are only one of the elements used in the admissions process. Others include a candidate’s academic record and forecast grades in school-leaving examinations; UCAS application form; examples of recent written work submitted to the College to which they are applying; and performance at interview, if invited to attend.

PDF icon Engineering Admissions Assessment Specimen Paper Section 1
PDF icon Engineering Admissions Assessment Specimen Paper Section 1 Answer Sheet
PDF icon Engineering Admissions Assessment Specimen Paper Section 1 Answer Key
PDF icon Engineering Admissions Assessment Specimen Paper Section 2
PDF icon Engineering Admissions Assessment Specimen Paper Section 2 Answer Key

At-interview Written Assessment for Engineering (for Mature College Applicants) Format

The Mature College at-interview assessment consists of two sections:

  • Section 1: A structured multiple-choice question format consisting of approximately 20 questions. The time allowed for Section 1 is 40 minutes. Calculators may be used.
  • Section 2: A single extended engineering essay, selected from a choice of approximately five questions. The time allowed for Section 2 is 20 minutes.

The purpose of the Mature Colleges at-interview Engineering Admissions Assessment is to determine a candidate's potential to achieve in an academically demanding undergraduate degree course. Questions in Section 1 draw upon a candidate's ability to use and apply their scientific and mathematical knowledge. The assessment is designed to be challenging in order to differentiate effectively between able applicants, including those who may have achieved the highest possible grades in school examinations.

The extended essay is designed to draw on the candidate's wider engineering awareness, reading and experiences. The assessment is designed to be open-ended. Section 2 probes the candidate's ability to communicate clearly and accurately in a scientific fashion with fluid and cohesive arguments.

Please note that applicant performance in the at-interview assessment will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside all other elements of your application.