What It Takes For Getting Into Oxford
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What It Takes For Getting Into Oxford

Admission Counselling :
  • Written by UnivAdmitHelp
  • Category: Insights & Information
  • Published on 08 Jul 2024

Established in 1096, Oxford is one of the oldest universities in the English-speaking world. King Henry II founded Oxford to keep England’s brightest scholars from moving to the University of Paris, aiming to prevent a brain drain.

Today, Oxford remains one of the most prestigious universities globally, with intense competition for admission. The key to success is maintaining a strong and consistent academic record. Unlike U.S. universities, extracurricular activities have little to no bearing on the admission decision.

The Admission Process

Oxford receives thousands of applications from academically brilliant students worldwide, making the admissions process highly competitive. Typically, they seek students with A1 - A2 grades, which translate to 90-95% and above. The tutors (admissions officers) compare data based on:

  • Academic rigour and potential
  • Personal statement
  • Teacher recommendations
  • Admission test scores
  • Research work
  • Interview

Step-by-Step Guide

Preparation: Due to the academic demands, it's recommended to start preparing for your Oxford application at least two years in advance. Focus on academics, research, and writing.

Applying through UCAS: The application process via UCAS (Universities and College Admission Service) opens in June, with the deadline on October 15 at 6 pm UK time. It is crucial to select the course you wish to pursue, as each course has specific requirements. For example, applying for Computer Science requires taking the Mathematics Admission Test (MAT).

Choosing a College: Oxford comprises 45 colleges, including 6 Permanent Private Halls (PPH). Applicants must select a college that suits their academic profile. If uncertain, you can opt for an open application, allowing the university to choose a suitable college for you.

Personal Statement: Start drafting your personal statement early. Highlight your achievements, be honest, explain why you chose the particular course, what makes you a good student, what you have studied beyond the classroom relevant to your course, and your learnings so far. Below are some tips to make a powerful personal statement:

  • Academic Content: The majority (about 80%) of your personal statement should reflect your academic rigour. This includes activities connected to your subject beyond the classroom, such as reading books, listening to podcasts, watching documentaries, and joining societies.
  • Quality over Quantity: Prioritise and plan carefully.
  • Include Recent Activities: Ensure your statement reflects your current interests and achievements.
  • Proofread: Check for errors and ensure clarity.
  • Originality: Be genuine and avoid plagiarism.

Admission Test: Oxford uses admission tests to evaluate applicants' aptitude in their chosen subjects. These tests vary by course. Here are some examples:

  • Philosophy, Politics, and Economics: TSA (Thinking Skills Assessment)
  • Law: LNAT (National Admissions Test for Law)
  • Medicine: UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test)
  • Computer Science: MAT (Mathematics Admissions Test)
  • Economics and Management: TSA (Thinking Skills Assessment)
  • History: HAT (History Admissions Test)
  • Engineering Science: PAT (Physics Admission Test)
  • Mathematics: MAT (Mathematics Admissions Test)
  • Biomedical Sciences: BMSAT (Biomedical Sciences Admission Test)

Submitted/Written Work: Most courses do not require written work, but it is typically needed for subjects like Literature and History.

Interview: Interviews are a crucial part of Oxford's selection process. They are conducted by the admissions committee and/or alumni and typically take place in December. The interview process helps determine "teachability," an important factor in the admission decision. Tutors look for students who can:

  • Think out loud 
  • Problem solving
  • Exhibit independent-mindedness

Important Timelines and Dates

Early Preparation: Begin two years before the course starts. If you aim for the 2027 intake, start in 2025.

UCAS Application Deadline: October 15, 6 pm UK time.

Admission Test Registration and Dates:





15 August

4 October


15 August

4 October


1 August

15 September


14 May (Registration)

18 June (Booking)


15 August

4 October

Final Thoughts: Your Path to Oxford

Gaining admission to Oxford is a formidable challenge, demanding dedication, academic excellence, and thorough preparation. By starting early and focusing on your academics, research, and writing skills, you can strengthen your application. Carefully choose your course and college, craft a compelling personal statement, and prepare diligently for any required admission tests. Remember, while the process is competitive, with determination and strategic preparation, you can enhance your chances of joining one of the world's most prestigious universities. Good luck on your journey to Oxford!