We aim to interview as many applicants as possible as part of the admissions process. However, due to inevitable constraints on both time and resources, we are unable to interview everyone who applies to us.

Last year we interviewed over 80% of total applicants. The decision to interview is made on the basis of the submitted application and results in public examinations, whether obtained or predicted. In making these decisions we compare each application against others that we receive.

In order to be considered for an interview, you will usually need to meet the following conditions:

  • Your choice of A-Levels (or equivalent) satisfies the subject-specific entry requirements specified by the University. The webpage contains information for students taking A levels, AQA Baccalaureate, Cambridge Pre-U, international Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate, Scottish Highers and Welsh Baccalaureate as well as other UK and overseas qualifications. 
  • Your A-Level grades either meet, or are predicted to meet, our standard offer of A*A*A for science subjects and A*AA for arts subjects.  All Colleges may modify offers to take account of individual circumstances.  Further information can be found here.
  • For IB candidates, typical offers usually require a score of 41 - 43 points out of 45, with 776 in Higher Level subjects. Applicants may be required to achieve 7 in a particular subject(s), depending on individual circumstances. If you are taking examinations other than A-Levels or IB, you will need to achieve an equivalent standard.  All Colleges may modify offers to take account of individual circumstances.  Further information can be found here.
  • For some subjects (in particular Medical Sciences and Veterinary Medicine) there may be additional requirements. Information about these is given in the relevant subject webpages.

Crucially, although meeting these conditions is highly desirable, it will not guarantee you an interview. If the gathered field for a specific subject is particularly strong in a given year, you may still not be invited for interview even if you meet these conditions.

We understand that every candidate's educational circumstances are different. We do not automatically reject any application, but will examine it more closely at the pre-interview stage if your grades do not meet the conditions listed above. 

For this reason, it is important that any information relevant to your academic achievement is explained clearly on your UCAS form.

Downing's entry requirements for candidates taking A-Level exams will normally be based on three subjects studied to A-Level standard. Some of the individual subject pages give advice on the relevance of particular school subjects to those courses.

The likelihood of gaining admission to Downing is not normally increased by taking more than three subjects at A2 level. Breadth of study at AS Level is viewed in a positive light, though it is recognised that there may be good reasons why a candidate might wish to specialise.

There may occasionally be circumstances in which the final grades an applicant achieves are not an accurate reflection of their abilities. Normally, however, Downing College will not accept applications based on re-sitting A-Levels to gain improved grades.

The University's use of contextual data is explained here: https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying/contextual-data