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ADTIS: Assessments and Assessment Procedures

Graduate Applicants

Graduate Applicants

Overview

For detailed information on the application procedure for Graduate Study at the University and the documentation required, please see the Graduate Admissions website.

Competence in English When to take the test Assessment Procedure
Accepted English Tests LC Assessment Visa Application

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Competence in English

The University requires all applicants to demonstrate competence in the English language at a very high level before they begin their proposed course of study. Adherence to this requirement is strict, especially for candidates on one-year courses. Students must be able to demonstrate that they are able to communicate in English at a level and in an idiom suitable to the subject.

Any one of the following will be accepted as evidence of competence in English:

    1. Completion of one of the accepted Secure English Language Tests at the required minimum level no more than 2 years before the start date of your proposed course
    2. Nationality of a country in List A (see below)
    3. Evidence of completing a 3-year qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors, no more than 2 years before the start date of your proposed course, in one of the countries in List A (see below).

Applicants in any of the following groups, who do not meet the above criteria, will be assessed in English competence by the University's Language Centre if they are made an offer of admission.

    • A national of a country in List B
    • Applicants who have completed 3 years of University level study in a country in List B no more than 2 years before the start date of their proposed course.

    If the relevant country is not in either List A or List B, you must pass an accepted English Language Test.

List A

Applicants from the following countries would not normally be required to take an English Language test. Applicants who are not nationals of these countries, but who have studied there and completed a 3 year qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors within the last 2 years would also not normally be required to take an English Language test.


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List B

Nationals of the following countries will be recommended for an assessment by the University's Language Centre if they are made an offer of admission and have not already provided acceptable evidence of competence in English. The same applies to applicants who are not nationals of these countries, but who have studied there and completed a 3 year qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors within the last 2 years. The Language Centre will subsequently recommend, depending on the results of the assessment, that the applicant either attends one of their ADTIS courses, or that the applicant must take an accepted language test, or that the applicant has the required competence in English.

You can check the requirements specific to you on the Graduate Admissions website.


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Accepted English Tests and Scores Required

The University requires all applicants to demonstrate competence in the English language at a very high level before they begin their proposed course of study. Adherence to this requirement is strict, especially for candidates on one-year courses. You must be able to demonstrate that you are able to communicate in English at a level and in an idiom suitable to the subject.

Whether or not you have to take a language test set will depend on a number of conditions. You can find this out on the Graduate Admissions website.

You should always upload your most recent test certificate regardless of the level you have achieved, so that the Graduate Admissions Office can assess your language level.

Language Tests Accepted by the University of Cambridge

Not all of the following tests are accepted by all courses, and the required scores may vary - please check below for details.

IELTS Academic

The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) Academic is the University's preferred test. Details can be obtained from local British Council Offices.

You should upload a copy of the score report or test certificate via your self service; we can use this to verify your scores online. We no longer process test certificates sent to us on paper directly from the test centre.

TOEFL

You should upload a copy of the score report or test certificate via your self service; we can use this to verify your scores online. We no longer process test certificates sent to us on paper directly from the test centre.

Please note that TOEFL is accepted only for certain courses. To check whether the course you are applying for accepts TOEFL as evidence of your English language proficiency, please refer to the Graduate Study website by selecting the course you are applying for from the drop-down menu. You will then see a list of the accepted English language tests for this course.

Is TOEFL accepted for my course?

CAE

The CAE (Certificate of Advanced English) is accepted with a grade A in the first instance, however applicants must also be assessed by the University Language Centre before admission can be confirmed.

Following assessment, the University Language Centre may advise further action from the applicant (e.g. enrolment at one of the Language Centre courses, or completion of an IELTS test).

CPE

The CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English) is accepted with a grade A or B only if the certificate is awarded no more than two years before the start of the course.

You can find out what score you need to achieve on the Graduate Admissions website.


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When to take the test

If you have already taken a test that meets the minimum level, you should upload the test certificate with the rest of your supporting documents when you make your application.
If you have already taken a test but it does not meet the minimum level, you should make arrangements to retest as soon as possible, and you should upload your current test certificate with the rest of your supporting documents when you make your application.

If you have not already taken a test, you should make arrangements to take the test as soon as possible. You may be required to retest and there can sometimes be long waiting times for a test place.

If you are made an offer to study, you will be required to provide the test certificate at the required level at least two months before the start of your course, and your admission cannot confirmed without this evidence.

If you are made an offer to study on your proposed course, the Graduate Admissions Office may recommend a language assessment by the Language Centre and attendance on one of the ADTIS programmes – either the Pre-Sessional or the In-Sessional.


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LC Assessment

One of the entry conditions for graduate study at the University of Cambridge for applicants whose first language is not English is that you pass an English language proficiency test to show that you have the necessary command of the language in order to get the most out of your course.

If you narrowly miss the required minimum level you may be referred by the Graduate Admissions Office to the Language Centre for a further assessment to be carried out. Please note that this only occurs in cases where the minimum level has only been missed by a narrow margin.

If you have a language condition and have been referred to the Language Centre for an additional assessment, then you will have been notified of this through your online Self-Service account on CAMSIS. In such cases, please e-mail adtis@langcen.cam.ac.uk with the following information:


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Assessment Procedure

The University's internal English language assessment consists of an online assessment which assesses reading, writing and listening, and also a interview carried out by telephone or over Skype. Not all applicants require a telephone assessment. Should you require one, you will be notified of this after you have completed your online assessment with details as to how and when to arrange this.

The assessment cannot be prepared for in the commonly accepted sense of 'prepare' - in fact, we would not encourage you to do so. The assessment is just that - an 'assessment' not a test. There is no specific score that you need to achieve. The assessment has been designed to assess your competency in academic English and the associated skills set - not your ability to pass a test.
On the basis of the assessment, the Language Centre will make one of five possible recommendations to the Graduate Admissions Office. These are:

Recommendations Explanations
1. METCON The language condition has been met.
2. PRE The language condition has been met providing you attend the Pre-Sessional course.
3. TOA The language condition has been met providing you take the eDiagnostic on arrival and also undertake to take any follow-up action which is recommended by the Language Centre following the result of your eDiagnostic (see below for further information on the eDiagnostic).
4. METCON-IN The language condition has been met, but we recommend that you attend the In-Sessional Support Programme to further strengthen and refine your academic English skills set.
5. REFUSE The language condition has not been met and you should retake one of the accepted English language tests. If this is not possible before the start of term, you may need to apply to defer or resubmit your application.

For more details please refer to the next section on 'Explanation of Outcomes'.


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Explanation of Outcomes

METCON

If the outcome is that you have met the language condition, then this means that on the basis of the assessment it is considered that your academic English language abilities fulfil the University's English language requirements for your course. Should you, however, feel at any stage during your time at Cambridge that you would like additional support for any aspect of academic English skills, then, you can of course register for the In-Sessional Support Programme.

PRE

If the outcome is that your language condition has been met on the basis that you attend the five-week intensive Pre-Sessional course that runs from mid-August to the third week in September, then this has been set since it is considered on the basis of the assessment that you currently have weaker areas which need to be addressed so that you can hit the ground running when you start your degree programme in October. Whilst students who have displayed minor inadequacies in their proficiency of the English language are set this as a condition, the overwhelming reason for mandating attendance of the Pre-Sessional is due to a lack of the prerequisite postgraduate academic English skills to ensure that students can fulfil the requirements of their programmes.

You can find out more about the Pre-Sessional by looking at our Pre-Sessional pages. The Pre-Sessional is not really a language course at all - but an academic skills training course tailored to the needs of international graduate students at Cambridge.

Please note that if your envisaged start date is not Michaelmas Term (i.e. not October), then the attendance of the Pre-Sessional is not an option. You may therefore be asked to retake one of the accepted English language tests and meet the University's minimum English language requirement for your intended course that way or you may have to defer entry until October so that you can attend the Pre-Sessional and fulfill your language condition that way. The Pre-Sessional must be attended before you start your degree programme.

TOA (Test On Arrival)

If the outcome is that the language condition has been met, providing you take the eDiagnostic on arrival, then this has been set since the assessment has shown up some minor weaknesses in your academic English ability for which you may require additional support once you are in Cambridge. On arrival in Cambridge, you will therefore be contacted by the Language Centre to come in for an additional assessment. There are two possible outcomes of this assessment: 1) your language condition is met completely (see METCON above) or 2) on the basis of the assessment it is considered that you do require additional support and so therefore the attendance of the In-Sessional Support Programme is set as a condition on entry. You will find further details about the programme on our In-Sessional pages. If the result of your initial assessment is to take a further assessment on arrival in Cambridge, then the possible cost of this programme will be included in your financial condition.

The eDiagnostic assessment has been specially designed by the Language Centre to assess how well applicants whose first language is not English can cope with academic English within a graduate level environment. The assessment consists of three sections - listening, reading and writing. On the basis of the outcome of the eDiagnostic, applicants may also be invited to an interview with the ADTIS Director. All new students attending the In-Sessional course will also sit the eDiagnostic assessment as this provides a basis for a needs analysis and allows us to provide focussed support in the individual supervisions.

METCON-IN

If the outcome is that you have met the conditon, but it is recommended that you register for the In-Sessional Support Programme once you arrive in Cambridge, then this means that on the basis of the assessment it is considered that your academic English language abilities fulfill the University's English language requirements for your course, but it is considered that you would benefit from additional support to further refine your academic English proficiency. This is, however, merely a recommendation and not a condition of entry. Should you wish to find out more about this, then feel free to drop into the Language Centre once you are in Cambridge and we can advise you in person and discuss the options available.

REFUSE

If the outcome of the assessment is a refuse, then this means that on the basis of the assessment it is considered that your academic English skills do not meet the University's required minimum entrance levels for your intended course and that the margin is too great for us to be able to address these weaknesses sufficiently with the Pre-Sessional Course. In this case, you will be advised to retake one of the accepted English language tests and meet the minimum requirement that way.


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Notification of Outcome

Queries
Please note that the Language Centre acts as an advisory body to the Graduate Admissions Office, whose responsibility it is for the setting and waiving of the language condition. Should you have any queries as to the outcome of your assessment, you should contact the Graduate Admissions Office.


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Visa Applications

The Language Centre's English language assessment can be used in fulfillment of the language condition required to apply for a Tier 4 visa. Should you need to apply for a Tier 4 visa, then you will sent all the necessary documentation for your application from the University once you have completed all the conditions of your offer.

If you are made a conditional offer by the University, you should try and meet the conditions of your offer as soon as possible. On the International Students website you will find detailed information about applying for a student visa.

In addition, the time taken to meet your offer conditions and to obtain a visa has a particular impact if you must attend the Language Centre's Pre-Sessional English for Academic Purposes course which starts in mid-August. Whilst the University will endeavour to move as swiftly as we can on our side and to get the necessary paperwork through to you as soon as possible so that you can apply for your student visa, it is of vital importance that you meet all outstanding conditions of your conditional offer as soon as possible. It can take several weeks to arrange a visa appointment.

Please be aware therefore of the lengthy nature of the procedures involved; and whilst the Language Centre will do what it can to expedite this process internally, there are numerous factors outside of the University's control - however, failure to meet any of the conditions of your offer will jeopardise your entry into the University.


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