STUDENT LIFE / MAY. 19, 2015
version 9, draft 9

The 10 Toughest UK Universities to Get Into in 2016

The Complete University Guide has recently released its university rankings for 2016 which helpfully show those universities that have the most demanding entry standards. Have a look at the list to see just how much a challenge you face should any of them be on your list.

How the ranking is worked out

The data is collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and uses the “average UCAS tariff score of new undergraduates” from the previous academic year.

Every student’s exam results are given a numerical value with scores assigned as follows:

A level A=120, B=100, C=80, D=60, E=40 (you can also calculate your score using UCAS’ tariff calculator, although it only applies to courses starting in September 2017). The numbers are then totaled. HESA then calculates an average score for all students at the university. You can read more about the methodology here.

1. University of Cambridge

Cambridge university is officially the hardest university to get into with a minimum UCAS entry requirement of 601 points. Cambridge requests no less than three A*s for undergraduate science courses and one A* and two As for arts courses and Psychological and Behavioural Sciences. Oh, you’ll also need to go through its notoriously tough interviews, too. It seems difficult, but do consider that Cambridge has produced more Nobel Prize winners than any other university.

2. University of Oxford

Oxford doesn’t always play second fiddle to Cambridge. But here it misses out to its centuries-old rival, bagging the second spot with an average UCAS entry requirement of 571 points. If Oxford is on your target list, good luck to you. Applicants are required to obtain between three A*s and three As at A level. Most people who apply to go to Oxford will also have to sit a written test, not to mention the challenging interview by college lecturers.

3. Imperial College London

London’s Imperial College has the distinguished position of being the toughest university to get into in London, with its UCAS requirement of 566 points. Imperial College London’s world-renowned research department specialises in subjects such as sustainable technology and global health. To get in, you’ll need anywhere between three A*s and AAB at A level.

4. London School of Economics

The London School of Economics is another toughie, with undergraduate entry requirements ranging from an A* and two As to two As and a B at A level with a minimum UCAS score of 532. LSE is particularly popular with billionaires, according to UBS’ billionaire census report which is available for download if you’re interested.

5. Durham University

Notable among Durham’s alumni are none other than the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, presenter Gabby Logan, and rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson. It’s tough to get into Durham, and you’ll need at least 521 UCAS points to be in with a chance. However, according to CUG, Durham asks for a “range” of different undergraduate entry requirements dependent on the type of course being applied for.

6. University of St. Andrews

The University of St. Andrews requires an UCAS entry score of 516, and it is the highest ranking university in Scotland. For a bit of miscellany, it’s where Prince William met Catherine Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge. CUG makes the particular point that St Andrews takes references particularly seriously, which is presumably why William and Kate got in.

7. University College London (UCL)

The University College London has undergraduate entry requirements that range from an A* and two As to two As and a B at A level (depending on the degree) with a minimum of 500 UCAS points being required.

8. Bristol University

Bristol University is a member of the esteemed Russell Group of research-intensive universities, and its entry requirements are suitably tough: an average UCAS point score of 486 is requested. Specific grades requirements will vary from course to course, according to CUG. Among Bristol’s well-known alumni are Little Britain stars David Walliams and Matt Lucas, Simon Pegg, and Charlotte Ritchie.

9. University of Edinburgh

Although the highly prestigious University of Edinburgh doesn’t make the top ten in CUG’s overall ranking of universities, it sets challenging entry standards: no less than 482 UCAS points are required. For specific grade requirements, applicants are asked to use the university’s degree finder tool.

10. University of Warwick

Squeezing into the top ten is Warwick University with a tough enough UCAS entry requirement score of 480. Warwick is well-known for its excellent mathematics department; one of its professors was crowned with the most esteemed mathematics award, the Fields Medal.

See also: 5 Superb Websites to Help You Choose a University

Are you hoping to attend any of the universities in this list? Do you believe you’ll make the grade? Let me know in the comments below.

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