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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


How to Apply

For 2024 entry, all Colleges (unless otherwise stated) require applicants for the Modern and Medieval Languages course to take a College-registered written assessment (this is scheduled in advance of interviews, rather than on the day itself). 

This page gives advice specific to applying for Modern and Medieval Languages (MML).

Reading this page will also be useful for History and Modern Languages (HML). Since the admissions process will comprise two strands (one for History, one for your Modern Language), please also see information about entry requirements (including both written tests) here and advice from the Faculty of History.

For information about applying for the Linguistics degree, including details of the written test, please see here.

For full information on the admissions process for all subjects, general guidelines, advice, and deadlines, please visit the University's Undergraduate Admissions pages. 

We welcome and warmly encourage applications from talented students from every educational and social background. Students of Modern Languages offer all sorts of A Level (or equivalent) subject combinations. 


In Cambridge, admissions are handled by individual Colleges, not the Faculty, so you should consult the webpage of the College to which you would like to apply (or to which you are assigned, if you make an Open Application).

You may wish to visit the town beforehand in order to gain some first-hand impressions, ideally in conjunction with one of the Open Days that are regularly organised by the Faculty in March, by the University in July, and by many of the Colleges at various times.

Each College gives an explanation of its approach to the admissions process on the subject pages of its website. Please note that when you apply for Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge, your choice of College does not limit your choice of languages or your opportunities to pursue the courses that particularly interest you.

There are small variations between the Colleges in the precise way interviews are conducted, and in the other things expected of you in connection with your application, but all the people involved in the assessment of applicants share one common purpose: to select the most appropriate students for the range of courses we offer and the way we teach in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics (MMLL). 

Please also read the MMLL Faculty statement on Entrance Requirements.

Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ)

It is on the Supplementary Application Questionnaire that you are able to specify the languages you wish to study. For guidance on completing this questionnaire, see here.

Written test for MML

You will be asked to do a written test on the day of your interview, in the College that is interviewing you. We encourage you not to be nervous about it, but rather to enjoy it as a chance to practice: it is designed to test your skills rather than your knowledge. The written test will be of one hour’s length and based on a short text in English. It will be marked by the subject experts in the College that is interviewing you according to an agreed set of criteria.

Four specimen tests, together with the agreed criteria, can be found here:

Applicants can find some useful information on preparing for the written test here:

Written Assessment for History and Modern Languages

Candidates for History and Modern Languages are required to take the written assessment for History, which is held prior to interview, and a written assessment for MML, taken at interview. The form of the MML written assessment will depend on whether the candidate is applying to study a language post A-level or ab initio (meaning from scratch or with a qualification in the language below A-level standard, e.g. GCSE).

History and Modern Languages candidates applying to study a post A-level language will take the same written assessment as MML applicants (see sample papers and other information above).

History and Modern Languages candidates applying to study a language ab initio will take the HML written assessment for ab initio languages. Candidates will find a sample paper, marking criteria and useful information on the test here. A solution to the language aptitude test section of the sample paper is available here

Admissions interviews for MML

You may have separate interviews for each of the languages you want to study, or there may be a single subject interview where you will be asked questions relating to both the languages you want to study. An interview will not normally last much more than 30 minutes.

You may also have a second kind of interview conducted by someone from outside the subject for which you are applying (e.g. a College Tutor) who will want to discuss your general interests and academic aspirations, and one that concentrates on the subject you want to study. The College to which you apply will give you a clear sense of its procedures when it invites you for interview.

In preparation for the interview you may be asked to send the College some information about your interest in particular books or films. In any case, your interviewers will have read all your application documents carefully and may ask you to talk about any reading or experiences abroad that you mention in your application.

Most Colleges are interviewing online but a small group of Colleges are inviting UK domiciled applicants to Cambridge for interview.

Submitted work

The College that interviews you will ask you to send in some recent written work. This is mainly so that your interviewers can gauge at first hand the sort of work you are currently doing, and they will consider this information alongside everything else that they learn about you from your application documents. The work you submit should be part of your usual schoolwork; there is no need to write anything extra for your Cambridge application. If you are at all unclear about the kind of work expected, please contact the Admissions Office of the College concerned.

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