How to Get Into UCL

Want to go to UCL?

Aren’t sure how to get in?

Here’s all you need to know about getting into UCL.

Top of the Heap

As a top global university, you’ve probably realised that getting into UCL isn’t easy.

But that’s OK:

Once you know what to do, you can focus on doing it.

So when should you start planning?

As early as possible.

Which GCSEs Does UCL Care About?

UCL is internationally renowned:

Being globally ambitious is part of its identity.

Can this help you get into UCL?

It Can.

Foreign languages matter.

For GCSEs, a C in a foreign language is enough for UCL.

But you already know UCL places importance on this:

So make a good GCSE language result part of your strategy.

You’ll already have a leg up on getting into UCL.

But good GCSE results shouldn’t stop with languages.

What GCSE Grades Do I Need for UCL?

You don’t need all A*s, but they don’t hurt.

Math and English have C minimums.

But if you want to study either of these, then make a good grade your focus.

That way they’ll know you’re serious.

How Important Are GCSEs for UCL?


But don’t worry if you don’t have perfect GCSEs.

For instance, you might not have taken a GCSE language.

And that’s ok.

You can take a language course when you start at UCL.

What A-Levels Do I Need To Get Into UCL?

These are important.

Susie, a UCL Biodiversity and Conservation student and Tavistock tutor says:

“Convince your teachers that you will get an A or A* by working hard and doing well over the course of year 12.”

Offers at UCL range from A*A*A to ABB.

Each subject has its own preferred A-Level requirements.

Sometimes people get in even though their grades don’t match their offer.

But don’t count on it.

Choose Wisely

UCL wants to know you are confident.

Preferably this means you know what you want to study when choosing you’re A Levels.

But if not, UCL wants to know you are confident in your abilities.

So make sure you do as well as you can.

Which A Level Subjects Does UCL Approve?

UCL has a list of approved A-level subjects, here.

But it’s not too scary.

First off, UCL lets you have one non-approved A Level.

So chances are whatever you want to take will be fine.

And there’s a simpler way to think about it.

Take the challenging subjects.

Or at least one.

UCL does not list the A Levels it considers to be difficult.

But some are harder than others:

Again, it’s not as scary as it seems.

Chances are you will be wanting to take one of these anyway.

And we can help.

Which A Levels Should I Take?

By now, you should have an idea.

But if not, remember three simple rules:

  1. Take what you enjoy.
  2. And will do well in.
  3. And might want to study.

This Time, It’s Personal

Next is your personal statement.

Where to begin?

The good news is you already know your subject:


And it’s important to not lose sight of this.

There will be a lot to talk about:

  • Extra-Curricular Activities
  • Extra Reading
  • Work Experience

But remember that UCL will be choosing you as a student.

Not your list of achievements.

Passion Project

Talk about what you like.

And why you like it.

Chances are you are enthusiastic about something.

This could be what you want to study, or something else.

Show them you are genuinely interested in something.

And then how you are pursuing it.

This gives them confidence that you will follow through on your degree course.

All Hands On Deck

And remember, other people know you too.

So talk to people about it.

Your tutors, teachers, friends, and family have a lot to offer.

Your teachers are good at this.

And they’ve helped people get into university before.

So don’t be shy in having them look at your personal statement.

Chances are you will write and rewrite it a million times.

So having someone else look at it after a while is good.

This is what someone at UCL will be doing, after all.

But remember, your personal statement is personal.

Susie, a Geophysics Student at UCL and Tavistock tutor, recommends you don’t forget that:

“It is important to remember though that this is your personal statement, the things that your tutors, parents, or friends say is only their opinion and you have every right to say no if you don’t think that what they suggested is right for you.”

So take responsibility.

It will show.

All About You

Maybe you’ve done extra reading.

Or taken on responsibility outside of school.

This is great.

But it’s not you.

You read the books for a reason.

And took on responsibility for a reason.

Did you get what you expected out of it?

How did it change you?

What else can you do now that you’ve read the books?

Or taken on responsibility?

Keep the focus on you.

This will give them confidence that you won’t just pass your classes at UCL.

But that you’ll thrive.

How Should I Talk About My A Levels?

A Levels are only part of your application.

What matters is why you are doing them.

Why did you choose them?

Are they relevant to your degree subject?

Show them you’ve planned ahead.

And that you can connect what you are learning now with what you want to learn at UCL.

Take the Long View

At this point you’ve shown them:

You’re intelligent.



And can plan ahead.

What else is there?

Go beyond.

You haven’t arrived at UCL yet.

But that doesn’t mean what you’ll be doing there is a black box.

Investigate the career paths for those who take you subject.

Show them how passionate you are about pursuing this career.

And that you understand the challenges involved.

In working in the subject area.

And to the subject area itself.

This shows them you aren’t stuck where you are.

That you’ve got your head around what you are about to embark on.

Even if that changes.

Intro, Middle, and In Conclusion

Demonstrating that you are the perfect UCL student is great.

But if it’s not written clearly, it won’t matter.

Your personal statement is a statement.

And some statements are better than others.

For instance.

“I am taking the Further Maths A Level because I recognise how important mathematics are to a degree in Engineering”.

Could have been:

“I decided to take the Further Maths A Level. I wasn’t sure at first, but then I talked to someone in the field, and they told me how important maths is for degrees in Engineering. I trust this person, so I am taking Further Maths and believe this will help me at UCL.”

Write clearly.

And with good overall structure.

Otherwise chances are you’re selling yourself short.

First, Do No Harm

There are ways to get into UCL.

There are also ways to not get into UCL.

Don’t do any of the latter.

For your personal statement, that means:



Unnecessarily flowery language.


Plagiarism is the worst of these, a nail in the coffin.

But all are easily avoided.

So make sure you don’t sabotage yourself.

Interviews at UCL

You might not need to interview at UCL.

But you may have to.

What if you do?

Not to worry.

Interview days are fun.

And you should be reassured.

You know they are interested in you.

And you already know what you’ll be talking about:


Your personal statement will be at the heart of the interview.

You’ve introduced yourself to them in writing.

Now they want to hear from you.

You should know your personal statement back to front.

So if it’s been a while since you’ve read it, have another look at it.

But don’t memorise it.

If they wanted to hear what you wrote in your personal statement:

They would re-read your personal statement.

So go beyond it.

What Do I Wear to an Interview at UCL?

No jeans.

No t-shirts.

And not too formal.

Smart casual.

They want to know that you can dress like an adult, but you don’t need to look like a banker from the 1930s.

You want them to focus on what you say during your interview.

So if anything might distract from that, don’t wear it.

Smell the Roses

Interview days should be enjoyed.

You have one of the top universities in the world interested in you.

Relish it.

If you haven’t seen the university, have a wander.

And chances are you’ll be able to talk to currents students.

So take advantage.

If you are enjoying yourself it will show through in the interview.

As will the opposite.

When in Doubt, Practice

An interview is just like anything else.

It can be practised.

There are people who can help.

Your teachers, tutors, family, friends.

If you think you might get nervous, why not have a run through?

Don’t worry about sounding rehearsed.

The interviewers will put you at ease so you can talk freely.

And they won’t begrudge you for having prepared.

They’ll be impressed.

Are Interviews Compulsory at UCL?


In fact, the majority of courses don’t require an interview.




The majority of courses don’t require an interview!

Ok, but say you’ve got an interview…

Are All Interviews at UCL the Same?

In short, no.

You might not even have to interview, depending on your subject.

Or you might have to.

Law always has an interview.

As does Medicine.

Art students have to submit a portfolio of their work, and there’s an interview that follows.

And Chemical Engineering has a non-compulsory Open Day.

So if interviews aren’t your thing, have a look at how things work for your subject.

You might get off the hook.


Which Tests Do I Need to Take to get into UCL?

This depends.

Budding lawyers will need to take the LNAT

Medical students must take the BMAT.

You have to pass.

But you don’t have to ace it.

For the BMAT, students start to get interviews in large numbers once they get 50 to 55 per cent.

Your chances increase the higher you go.

But don’t worry.

UCL makes some students offers even if they don’t have perfect BMAT scores.


Actual humans get into the UCL Medical School.

We know.

And have spoken with students who can tell you all about what life is like as a student at UCL Medical School.


What Happens After I Apply?

You wait.

It might be a month.

Or two.

Or longer.

And it might go by very…

… very slowly.

But that’s alright.

You will hear back.

This is guaranteed.

What is not guaranteed is that you are earning the A Levels that will get you into UCL.

You don’t even know what potential offer they will make you.

So focus.

Get the best grades you can.

Try for AAA.

If you make it through, you will be rewarded.

How Do I Study to Make the Grades in My Offer to UCL?


UCL has faith in you.

They want you.

You can do this.

And you already know what to do.

Study hard.

This is obvious.

But now that you’ve been made an offer, this isn’t just studying.

It’s about making the next stage of your life exactly what you want it to be.

But don’t collapse in on yourself.

Work smarter.

Chances are there are people around who can help.

And you can study in the way you see fit.

That might mean taking a breather every so often.

And that’s not a bad thing.

Your sanity is important.

So make sure you get the grades.

But realise it’s only the beginning.

And remember:

Getting your results should be something to look forward to.

Not dread.

Alice, a Tavistock Tutor and Geophysics student at UCL has this to say:

“Getting the results should be one of the most exciting days of your life. Make sure you congratulate yourself and spend a great day with your friends.”

So take it all in stride.

There will be an end.

Leading to a new beginning…

I Got Into UCL! Now What?


UCL will invite you to an offer-holders Open Day.

You can see the campus.

And go to a few lectures.

And start to imagine what the next years of your life will be like.

Additional resources:

Insider’s Guide to Getting into UCL
Is A London University Right for Me?
University Degree Choices

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