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UCAS and university

UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions System)

Warwick School offers a comprehensive programme to support applications to UK and Overseas Universities. Applications to UK universities are made through UCAS. Advice and guidance is available throughout the year, and key dates and events are given below. UCAS is managed by Mr M Cooley – please direct all queries to

Assessment and Interview Pathway

Given the increasing importance of admissions tests and interviews for aspirational universities, the school provides a co-ordinated programme of support for the pupils known as the Assessment and Interview Pathway. The pathway provides specific subject-related preparation and support with a tailored programme of teaching, mentoring, assessment preparation and directed supra-curricular learning that is a pre-requisite for any pupil considering an application to what are traditionally some of the most competitive universities and courses. Furthermore, full interview preparation support will also be offered in the Michaelmas Term in the lead up to the admission interviews. The Assessment and Interview Pathway is overseen by the Senior Tutor, Mr J Jefferies  and if you would like further information on this, please consult the Higher Education booklet.

Other pathways offered by the school include:

  • The Global Universities Pathway, headed by Dr Mills, head of History and Politics at King’s High School;
  • The Law and TSA Pathway, headed by Mr. Bennett, the Assistant Head of Sixth Form at Warwick School, for pupils wishing to apply to study Law at university or wish to apply for a subject that requires the Thinking Skills Assessment; and
  • The Medicine and Health Professional Pathway, headed by Miss Yeldham, a teacher of Biology at Warwick School

UCAS predicted grades

You will receive a lot of information regarding applying to university during the Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth years. A key aspect of the process is the grades we submit to UCAS regarding your A Level predictions.  

In recent years, universities have been exerting significant pressure on potential applicants by raising their entry requirements. This has led to a consequent increase in expectation from pupils for high predicted grades.  

While we are very keen to support aspirational applications, as a professional educational institution we also have a duty to ensure that we are providing the right advice and directing pupils towards courses and universities for which their academic performance to date suggests they are capable of attaining the normal offer. Too often we have seen our Sixth Formers ignore advice and apply to universities with high entry requirements, only to be rejected either because their GCSE grades or personal statements do not match the universities’ expectations, or because they fail to secure the grades needed to take up an offer.  

We therefore follow a set of clearly defined criteria in the awarding of UCAS grades which is set out below and will be explained more fully at the Higher Education Evening in the Lent term of Lower Sixth. 

Academic Enrichment and Personal Statements 

During the course of the Lower Sixth year you will receive many opportunities to participate in academic enrichment opportunities. Mr Jefferies as Senior Tutor coordinates all the academic enrichment events and competitions and will be delighted to discuss with any member of the Sixth Form the various opportunities on offer to extend your studies.  

Academic enrichment is important as it provides the perfect opportunity to bolster your personal statement on your UCAS application form. In recent years, we have seen pupils rejected from prestigious universities and courses simply on the basis that their personal statement does not demonstrate a love for or an interest in their chosen degree course that goes beyond A Level.  

If you are intending to apply to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, or for a course such as Law and Medicine that requires the sitting of university entrance tests, then you will be invited to join the relevant pathway in January of the Lower Sixth. For those who are serious in their intention to apply, it will be expected that they attend the weekly meetings (which will take place at lunch or after school) as well as availing themselves of other academic enrichment opportunities.  

University Open Days 

Universities now offer open days throughout the academic year. While these are always useful fact-finding missions, they are of more value when your course of study is already decided on and you are in a position to ask specific information about your chosen degree and wider student life at that particular university. 

Many open days are held on Saturdays, although a significant number of popular universities hold open days on weekdays.  

The school has a policy that in any one academic year you can only miss three days of school to attend open days. Where possible, Saturdays should be used for Open Days, however those selected for school teams should fulfil their commitment.  If there is a particular Open Day that will clash with a school fixture, and cannot be attended on another day, then the request for absence should be made to the Head of Sixth Form at least two weeks in advance.

With the advent of post-offer open days there is otherwise the potential for a member of the Sixth Form to be absent from school for a considerable amount of time, with significant study time lost. Moreover, experience of recent applicants has shown that making personal contact with tutors in a chosen subject area is far more beneficial to understanding the requirements of the course and in helping to make decisions about which universities to apply to.

Important staff in the process

The school reference will be sent out in the name of the Headmaster. Mr Cooley will have seen and checked what has been written. The reference is actually written by your form tutor and reviewed by the Head of Sixth Form and the Headmaster. But as they obviously do not all teach you, what they say about your academic performance (i.e. the most important bit) has to be based on what your Lower Sixth subject teachers (including EPQ) say about you in reports written towards the end of the Summer Term.


Warwick School does not have a designated Oxbridge adviser but operates an extensive programme through Mr Jefferies (Senior Tutor and previously Head of Sixth Form), Mr Cooley (Head of Scholars and UCAS Co-ordinator) and Mr Bennett (Assistant Head of Sixth Form). Towards the end of Year 11, pupils already with Oxbridge ambitions are encouraged to check with any of the staff mentioned above that their chosen A Level combination offers the best chance of getting a place.

Lower Sixth


New parents’ evening with advice to parents on how Oxbridge works and what pupils need to start doing.

Oxbridge meeting with Old Warwickians either with places or currently at Oxbridge (mostly aimed at Upper Sixth – after school).


Meeting with pupils thinking about Oxbridge asked to meet staff at lunchtime to declare interest.

Individual one-on-one meetings based on this offering early advice.

Practice begins for LNAT (law) and the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) admission tests.


Several Oxbridge open days, usually for smaller subjects.

Some workshop sessions in subject groups (after school, with Kings High).


All pupils encouraged to go to one or two university open days (Oxford – last week in June; Cambridge first week in July).


Upper Sixth


Warwick School deadline for submission of UCAS for Oxbridge and Medicine etc.

Candidates entered for Aptitude tests, as appropriate.

September-December Most subjects offer enrichment sessions, and/or practice for Aptitude Tests.

1st Wednesday in November

Aptitude Tests for Oxbridge and Medicine BMAT.
Mid November Usual date for submission of written work to colleges, as required (depends on subject and college).
November Practice interviews with staff (runs with King’s High and Myton School).

Interviews (if required). Oxford expects interviewees to stay over, often for three days and exact dates are published well in advance for individual subjects. Cambridge expects pupils to go up just for one day.

Candidates encouraged to write up what sort of things they were asked at interview, to help future candidates prepare.

January (2nd week) Results of interview emailed to pupils.
June (late) STEP exams (at end of A Levels) if required (for Cambridge Maths and related subjects).
Mid August A Level results day

Throughout the year:

  • Staff mentioned above are always happy to offer advice about Oxbridge.
  • Two different booklets are available. One lists every application to Warwick School Oxbridge over 20+ years, by college and subject, and often with detailed feedback from the candidates about what they were asked at interview.
  • The other offers general advice about applying, choosing colleges, courses etc, and can be found on the school portal.
  • Seek advice from subject teachers about further reading.
  • Attend summer schools if appropriate.
  • Mostly Lower Sixth – enter essay competitions, including many specific ones run by Oxbridge Colleges and Olympiads.