International admissions

Advice and information on our admissions process for students from overseas.

Join our diverse school community

Around 15% of our students are from overseas, representing over 30 different countries. Together with our UK students, they create a school community enriched by cultural diversity and a variety of alternative educational experiences.

Admissions information

Information on our assessment and interview process for overseas students are detailed below, plus our reference requirements.

Visas

If a visa is required for a student to study in the UK, the applicant must be under the age of 18 on the first day of the school year in which she begins her studies at St Mary's.

More about visa requirements

Boarding

Our boarding accommodation at Mary Ward House is very popular and demand for places is high. Our places are oversubscribed at every point, therefore we recommend that international families apply as early as possible to avoid disappointment, ideally 12 months before the desired point of entry.

How to apply

Read more about how to apply for your place or contact our International Admissions Officer, by email or by telephone: +44 (0)1223 224 157 for further support and advice.

 

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

Applicants take the online UKiset test; an assessment specifically designed for international applicants to British independent schools. 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 send us a full electronic report of the results. Subject to performance in the UKiset test, students are invited to interview (usually via Skype).

Further information on the UKiset test

Applicants whose first language is English

Applicants 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 their assessments, students are 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

English qualifications

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 their assessment performance, applicants are interviewed by a member of the Senior Leadership Team, either in person at the school or 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 student's academic interests or achievements, extra-curricular pursuits such as sport, music and community service, plus any future aims, including university or apprenticeship aspirations – particularly if applying for A Levels at our Sixth Form.

References

A copy of the applicants 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.