International admissions

Applying to St Mary's from overseas

Around 20% 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.

Entrance assessment for international students

We welcome girls with a broad range of academic abilities, reflecting our belief that each child has unique talents and potential to offer. Our assessment process is designed to be as relaxed as possible, so that we can understand your daughter's potential, as much as her current levels of achievement.

Written assessments for entry are often arranged in conjunction with an overseas educational agent or our admissions team can help you to find a test centre in your home country, often this can be at your current school.

Written assessments

UKiset for applicants whose first language is not English

Applicants aged 9.5 years and older, 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 UKiset

Junior School entry
  • Reception, Year 1, Year 2: An informal assessment in person or via Skype including puzzles, numbers and creative tasks.
  • Year 3 to 5, and Year 6 - English as first language: Written assessments in mathematics; verbal and non-verbal reasoning; and creative writing at St Mary’s or we can assist you in finding a local test centre in your home country.
  • Year 6 - English as an additional language: Applicants aged over 9.5 years will take the UKiset test.
Senior School and Sixth Form entry

Applicants whose first language is English

  • Year 7 to Year 9: written assessments in English and Mathematics
  • Year 10: written assessments in English, Mathematics and Science
  • Lower Sixth: written assessments in each of the proposed A Level subject options. Certain subjects, require additional assessments:
    • Art and Textiles: portfolio submission
    • Drama and Music: written and practical assessments, in person or via Skype.
    • Modern languages: oral conversation in their chosen language(s), in person or via Skype.

English qualifications

Students need to have strong speaking and written, reading and listening skills to be clear, fluent and confident communicators in English.

This is required, to enable them to access the curriculum and to work collaboratively with teachers and other students, and to ensure success in public examinations.

Although we do not ask for a formal qualification before starting with us, but the following offer approximate levels:

  • Joining Senior School in Year 7 and Year 8: IELTS level 4.0
  • Joining Senior School in Year 9 and Year 10: IELTS level 5.0
  • Joining Sixth Form: IELTS level 6.0


Subject to their written assessment performance, applicants are interviewed by a member of the Senior Leadership Team, either in person or via Skype.

We make the process as relaxed as possible. This allows us to understand each girl’s potential as much as her current levels of achievement.

We are interested to hear about 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.


A copy of the applicant's latest school report will be requested. References may also be requested from previous schools.


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 for further support and advice.

Visa requirements

FAQs for international students