Guide to Getting into Oxford University
6 min

Guide to Getting into Oxford University

6 min
Uploaded on
Dec 10, 2022
Last updated on
Mar 11, 2023
Uploaded on
Dec 10, 2022
Last updated on
Mar 11, 2023
You won't know unless you try!

Indeed, you’ve heard of Oxford University, impressively bagging Times Higher Education’s ‘Best University in the World’ title for the seventh consecutive year. There’s no doubt that being offered a spot at this prestigious institution is many students’ dream, evident by the high competition among students applying here. 

Few students are aware of how to get into Oxford University by perfecting their Oxford University application in order to target the institution’s admissions criteria. With a few of our simple tips, you’ll soon be able to stand out from the crowd. 

Oxford University Acceptance Rate

Ranking 4th on 2023’s QS World University Rankings, it is no surprise that Oxford University will be a tad picky about who gets in. Known for being highly selective, the Oxford University acceptance rate is a brutal 13.75%. Records state that among 24,000 undergraduate applicants and 40,000 graduate applicants, only 3,300 and 5,500 were selected to attend this university. Although the acceptance rate for international students is even lower, nearly half of Oxford University’s student population is from outside the UK.  

Most Competitive Oxford University Courses

As one of the UK’s hardest universities to get into, the average Oxford University acceptance rate is set at around 13.75%. Students applying to some of the top Oxford University courses will surely notice a significantly lower Oxford University acceptance rate due to a higher number of applications leading to higher competition. Some of the most competitive courses and their Oxford University acceptance rates are as follows:

  • Mathematics and Statistics - 4.6%
  • Economics and Management - 5.2%
  • Computer Science - 4.6%
  • Medicine - 7.6%
  • Mathematics and Computer Science - 10%

Why limit yourself to Oxford? Ranked even higher on the QS Rankings at the 2nd position, Cambridge, the other half of the Oxbridge duo, is just as competitive. 

How to get into Oxford University

The Oxford University application process is a simple 6-step procedure that requires students to first pick their course and college, make sure they meet the eligibility criteria and apply via UCAS. Applications can be sent in from June to October. Understanding course-wise admission test requirements for Oxford University is an important step for students wondering how to get into Oxford University, and we’ll get into that in detail later. Your course might demand you pass an admission test or submit written pieces. If you’re one of the top applicants, you will move on to the next round - the interview round. If the interviewers deem you a right fit for the course, you receive an offer to study at Oxford University. 

Oxford University Application Process

Oxford University Application Deadline

If you’re looking up “how to get into Oxford University”, one important thing you must not fail to keep track of is the Oxford University application deadline. To maintain fairness throughout their decisions regarding all applicants, the Oxford University divides their application process into several stages. We’ve jotted down some of the important dates to keep in mind this year. Make sure to check the official website for any alterations to the deadlines. 

oxford university application timeline

1. Since your UCAS application won’t automatically enroll you for any necessary admission tests, you must separately register for any tests to be taken by 30th September.

2. When enrolling for Oxford University courses, make sure you fill out and submit your UCAS application by 15th October, which is relatively sooner than most universities.

3. If your course requires submission of any written material, you must do so before 10th November.

4. If you are shortlisted, you can expect an interview between 1st to 20th December

5. On selection, you can expect an offer stating the university’s decision in January

Requirements for Oxford University

Eligibility Criteria to get into Oxford

Before you think about how to get into Oxford University by surpassing their selection criteria, you need to make sure you tick off the basic general requirements for Oxford University. Although the requirements for Oxford University courses might differ depending on which course you pick, there are some common criteria. You should hold:

  • Basic 10 + 2 academic qualifications from a recognized institution
  • Valid English proficiency test score (IELTS, TOEFL, etc.)
  • LORs and SOPs
  • SAT/ACT score, if applying for an undergraduate degree
  • GRE/GMAT scores for applying for a postgraduate degree

Admission tests to take for Oxford University

Researching how to get into Oxford University will direct you to an crucial part of the admission process - the admissions tests. With Oxford University offering a variety of courses and drawing in several applicants, the university has several stages to its admissions process, in order to ensure that all applicants are given an equal and fair chance. 

Several Oxford University courses require candidates to appear for an admissions test, whose score will then be used to determine which applicants are best suited for the institution. If you wish to make your application competitive, be sure to register and sit for the admissions tests required. After registration, make sure you understand the test format and preparation required. 

Some of the admissions tests issued for Oxford University courses are as follows: 

  • National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT) 
  • History Aptitude Test (HAT) 
  • English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT) 
  • Classics Admissions Test (CAT) 
  • Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT) 
  • Modern Languages Admissions Test (MLAT) 
  • Philosophy Test
  • BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)
  • Oriental Languages Aptitude Test (OLAT)
  • Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)
  • Physics Aptitude Test (PAT)

Which high school classes should I take if I plan on applying to Oxford University? 

The classes you enroll it during high school contribute quite a lot to your Oxford University application. Each course needs applicants to fulfill certain grade requirements for Oxford University which can only be met if you take certain classes in high school. 

Let’s take a look at some popular Oxford University courses and the related subjects we advise you complete in high school: 

1. Biology - Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology
2. Archaeology and Anthropology - A combination of arts and science subjects
3. Classics - Latin and/or Greek (Level 1) 

Tips for How to Get into Oxford University

Preparing for how to get into Oxford University

1. When picking your course, follow your passion. Don’t read what you think everyone should be reading to get into Oxford. Read what you hold a deep interest in.

2. Don’t take up extra-curricular activities solely to impress. Instead of reading all 37 plays of Shakespeare, pick one obscure play and delve into an aspect of it that you find intriguing. 

3. Get relevant work experience in your field of interest for an upper hand. 

4. A strong letter of recommendation will benefit you. Make sure the person writing your recommendation can speak for your character, work ethic, and proficiency in skills.

5. Make sure your research proposal and personal statement clearly express which area of study you are deeply passionate about. 

6. Aim to get the best possible grades you can as some courses have certain grade requirements, as discussed above. 

Admission Tests

1. Understand exactly what the admission requirements for Oxford University course that you have chosen are. Most courses require you to pass an admissions test tailored specifically to the particular subject that the course mainly deals with. 

2. Once you know which admissions test you have, make it a habit to practice for it bit by bit and often. This will help you develop your skills and pass the test with a higher scores. 

3. Stay updated on recent developments and research in your chosen subject, by reading articles and research papers around it. 


1. Unlike most Oxford University interviews are conducted in a mock tutorial fashion, with the interviewers posing questions from your subject matter, which you can try to answer with their help. 

2. The interview’s result does not purely depend on whether or not you get a perfect score on the questions presented. Interviewers analyse the following four things during these interviews: 

  • Pre-existing knowledge: How familiar are you with this subject and what should you already know about it? 
  • Logical thinking: Can you correctly interpret what you’ve been told? 
  • Problem-solving skills: How do you get unstuck? 
  • Grasping power: How do you absorb and use new information given to you?

3. Be yourself, and don’t let the pressure overwhelm you. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask them. 

4. The interview is designed in a way to get candidates stuck, with concepts that they might not be familiar with. The interviewers want to observe how you go about a problem when you get stuck. 

5. Show the interviewers how enthusiastic you are about the subjects they have devoted their lives to. Try to build a connection with the interviewers right from your first interview. 

We hope we’ve shed enough light on the admissions process and how to get into Oxford University to help you be prepared. Although it might sound corny, displaying self-confidence and taking a stand for your own opinions despite what others might say is what will not only get you through your application process but also make you stand out in the sea of applicants. We hope you receive an envelope from Oxford University holding good news.