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UK’s Cambridge University could bring back entrance exams

The prestigious university is considering a university-wide test that applicants would be required to take while still at school

Published: Updated:

Britain’s Cambridge University is planning to reintroduce a universal entrance exam following a dramatic increase in the number of applicants with top grades, British media reported.

The prestigious university is considering a university-wide test that applicants would be required to take while still at school to provide evidence of academic performance.

The step comes as part of an effort by the university, considered to be one of the top in the world, to filter the top applicants, as too many are receiving top grades in A-levels.

Cambridge professor of experimental psychiatry, Barbara Sahakian, told the Sunday Times “what people are concerned about is whether the A-level exam results still mean quite the same thing as they used to mean. There are a lot of students getting very high grades but not all of them would have got those grades in the past, so it is hard to discriminate between candidates.”

The exam, if it goes ahead, may include a language aptitude test and a thinking-skills assessment, as well as multiple choice questions and a 45-minute essay, according to the Sunday Times. The results would then indicate who would be called to interview and chosen to start a degree at the university.

However concerns have been raised that state school pupils could be put at a disadvantage, as privately educated children would likely receive tutoring specifically designed to pass it the proposed tests.

Cambridge stopped using entrance exams in 1986, and since then the number of students from state schools increased to more than 60 percent.