What can you do to polish your application?

As noted under “œWhat are we looking for?”€, there are a number of parts to your application that we look at, the key ones usually being:
Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law

First, your past academic performance: in GCSEs and ASs, or whatever school examinations you have taken. (Be reassured that there are teams of experts in just about every examination system in the world who help us to understand and treat evenly all our applicants, whatever school examinations they have taken.) Essentially, your task here is to show academic ability. You need to show that you have a strong chance of getting our standard offer of A*AA (or equivalent) in order to get an interview, or that there are circumstances which explain why this is not possible (for more information, refer to, for instance, the Extenuating Circumstances Form, available here.

Second, your expected performance in the future: in particular, your predicted grades. If your school does not give predicted grades, they will usually say so in the reference so candidates aren’t disadvantaged. As for your past performance, your best approach is to keep working hard and sensibly.

Third, your personal statement: it tells us about you, what you want to do and why you want to do it. The personal statement also gives us a chance to see how you write, what you are interested in and potentially give us areas to explore in interview. Personal statements can vary in length, but do try to say something about who you really are. There is no set formula or magic words, especially not words which come from someone else. Read the statement carefully more than once to spot typos and check spelling and grammar. Ideally, write it over time, giving yourself the chance to put it down and come back to it with a fresh mind.

The Moon from Great Court
The Moon from Great Court

Fourth, your reference, very likely from your school: it will tell us about your academic ability in a different way from simple exam results and also add another perspective about who you are. This is something for your teacher(s) or whoever is writing the reference, but, much like your predicted grades, you can make their task easier by working hard and being a good member of your school community.

Fifth, your interview: if your UCAS application shows you have a good chance of making our standard offer, you will be invited to Trinity for interview. The interview enables us to see how you think in person and when faced with new and exciting situations which are related to law. We do not test your knowledge of law (we don’t expect you to have any specific legal knowledge): we want to test your ability to think. Applicants will have one interview with two members of the Law teaching staff. Most of the interview will focus on the examination of a factual scenario given to you 30 minutes before the interview. We also have an example of such a scenario available. The best way to prepare for this is to engage your mind with problems and debates, whether from everyday life or from wondering about what the future holds. You are unlikely to get much benefit from being coached, but if you haven’t had practice in engaging in a formal discussion with one or two other people, it might be something to consider. Remember, the interview is not the most important test and it need not be too daunting. It is a chance to meet in person and share our mutual interest in Law.

Sixth, the Cambridge Law Test: in a similar way to the interview, the test allows us to assess skills and abilities that we in Cambridge have found good law students (and good lawyers) to have. The Cambridge Law Test is designed and used by most of the Cambridge Colleges. It complements the other elements of our admissions process, discussed above. You will sit the test when you come to Trinity for your interview. It lasts for one hour, and you will be required to answer one question. Specimen questions and answers are available at the Cambridge Law Test pages. Like the interview, the best way to prepare is to think, and feed your thoughts with reading quality newspapers, listening to or watching good documentaries or news programmes.

You do not need to register or be registered in advance for the Cambridge Law Test – the College will provide details of arrangements in the emails inviting applicants to interview.

Please note that your performance in the Cambridge Law Test will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.

A bear in the library of the Institute of Criminology
Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, “Badder than the average Bear”

Seventh and finally, prior knowledge of, or training in, Law is not expected or required of candidates, other than any knowledge that you tell us you have. For instance, if you are studying A Level Law we may ask you about what you are studying, just as we might ask you about any other subject you are studying. You have to list your module titles on your application form, so we will know the areas you have been studying. We will not test your knowledge of your GCSE and A Level subjects in any detail, but you should be familiar with the work you are doing at school. And it does not matter at all if you have not studied Law at school!