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International admissions

Located in the quintessentially English city of Cambridge, our school is a friendly and cosmopolitan community.

14 percent of our girls are from overseas, from 34 countries across the world and we welcome their cultural diversity and alternative educational experience that enriches our school community. If a visa is required for the applicant to study in the UK then she must be under the age of 18 on the first day of the school year in which she begins her study with us.

Demand for boarding places is very high as boarding places are oversubscribed at every point – for Year 7 and Year 9 places we receive two applications per place. We recommend that international families apply as early as possible to avoid disappointment, ideally 12 months before the desired point of entry.

For further information on applying to St Mary’s School, Cambridge, please visit our ‘How to apply’ page or get in touch with Tiffany McCrea, our International Admissions Officer, by email or by telephone: +44 (0)1223 224 157

Assessments

Entrance to St Mary’s School, Cambridge is through a combination of formal and informal assessments; including tests and face-to-face interviews appropriate to the age of the student applying and her proposed year of entry.

Applicants whose first language is not English will take the online UKiset test; an assessment specifically designed for international applicants to British independent schools. You can visit the website (www.ukiset.com) for further information or to register to take the test. This test can be taken at approved test centres around the world, or in person at St Mary’s School, Cambridge. Once the test has been taken, UKiset will send us a full report of the test results electronically. Subject to performance in the UKiset test, students will be invited to interview (usually via Skype).

Applicants whose first language is English will take the following written assessments depending on the year they wish to join:

  • Year 7 to Year 9: students are assessed in English and Mathematics
  • Year 10: students are assessed in English, Mathematics and Science
  • Lower Sixth: students are assessed by examination in each of their proposed A Level subject options

Subject to performance in the assessments, students will be invited to interview (usually via Skype).

Formal assessments for entry are often arranged in conjunction with an overseas educational agent and can be taken at any UKiset centre, and there will be additional assessments for applicants to the Sixth Form who wish to study certain subjects:

  • Modern Languages – applicants will be required to participate in an oral conversation in the chosen language(s), either in person or via Skype
  • Art and Textiles – applicants will be required to submit a portfolio
  • Drama and Music – applicants will be required to participate in a practical assessment, either in person or via Skype

Although we do not ask students to have a formal English qualification prior to joining St Mary’s School, Cambridge, those joining in Year 7 and Year 8 should meet IELTS level 4.0; those joining in Year 9 and Year 10 should meet IELTS level 5.0; and those joining in the Sixth Form should meet IELTS level 6.0 standard.

We sometimes place students in a year below their normal school year, to more appropriately reflect their ability in, and comprehension of, the English language.

Interview

Subject to performance in the test, applicants will be interviewed by a member of the Senior Leadership Team, either in person at the school or conducted via Skype. We want to understand each girl’s potential as much as her current levels of achievement, and so try to make the process as relaxed as possible. We are interested to learn more about each girl’s academic interests or achievements, extra-curricular pursuits such as sport, music, community service etc., and any aspirations for the future, including university or apprenticeship aspirations – particularly if applying for A Levels at our Sixth Form.

References

A copy of the latest school report will be requested, and students will need to have strong speaking, written, reading and listening skills to be able to communicate clearly, fluently and confidently in English. This is to ensure the girls are able to access the curriculum, engage in dialogue in class with their teachers, work collaboratively in groups with their peers and ensure success in public examinations. References may also be requested from previous schools.