The summer between Year 12 and 13 is key for preparing for all areas of the Oxbridge application – but it can be difficult to know where to begin! To help, we have broken the summer up into three sections – Early, Mid and Late - to help you structure your preparation and ensure that make real progress between June and August.
Early Summer: End of June – mid July
Reading: There are plenty of reading lists online – both on our website, and on college or department websites, for example. For those applying to subjects where reading is key, pick one or two key, canonical books you will read early in summer to give you a grounding in the subject.
Admissions Tests: Early Summer is the time to research the admissions test you will be sitting and make sure that you are aware of its requirements. You can therefore come up with a list of topics and/or skills that you need to work on throughout the rest of the break.
Personal Statement: Now is the time to make a list of everything you have read and participated in outside of class that is relevant to your subject. This will be a great starting point for your personal statement, but also highlight what further actions you need to take.
Mid-Summer: Mid-July – Mid-August
Reading: The books you read in early summer should be the building blocks for your reading, inspiring an interest in one or two areas that you continue exploring. Feel free to choose more niche and specialised books at this point.
Admissions Tests: At the beginning of this time-period, sit one mock admissions test under timed conditions, and then reflect. Where are your strengths? What do you need to work on? Make a list of areas you need to improve, then start working on them.
Personal Statement: Start working on the points you identified as lacking in early summer. This might involve work experience, visiting exhibitions, signing up to a Maths challenge, or watching TED talks.
End of Summer: Mid-August – early September
Reading: You should now be reading something beyond that which you will include in your personal statement, so that you have more content to discuss at interview. You should become comfortable talking about your reading with others – find a friend and chat about what you’ve been interested in!
Admissions Tests: Finish off polishing any areas of improvement you identified in your first mock test, and then sit another. Again, make sure you stick to the conditions you will have in the actual test! Reflect on this test: have you improved and are there further areas to work on when you return to school or college?
Personal Statement: Having spent apt time preparing, now is the time to write your first draft. Having a solid draft now will give you some time in September for re-writes.