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Preparing for University Applications - Getting Ahead of the Game

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“Time spent on reconnaissance is seldom wasted” is an old military adage attributed amongst others to the Duke of Wellington and Field Marshall Erwin Rommel.

Most UK independent boarding schools are trying as best they might to keep their pupils on track with their academic curriculum in this time of COVID-19.

Perhaps, inevitably, other areas of schools’ provision are not so easy to provide electronically. One of these is in the crucial area of university admissions guidance.

Here are a few useful tips from some of our tutors for parents and pupils as they navigate their way through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (universally known as UCAS).

- It is never too early to start thinking about what university degree and in which country your son/daughter wishes to study. At aged 13-14 UK pupils have to make a decision about which and how many GCSE/IGCSE s they wish to study. If they aspire to a career in medicine, for instance, they must be doing the three separate sciences at GCSE rather than the Double Award option.

- The choice of the type of post-16 course is critical as is, if appropriate, the selection of A level subjects. Our tutors can steer and guide pupils through this all-important choice. They also have the knowledge to brief them about the relative merits of A levels against IBs and various other equivalents. We also have tutors who have the knowledge and experience to talk them through the application process to universities in the US and Europe.

- Most leading UK Boarding schools start giving advice about the UCAS procedures in the first year of their sixth-form studies. In most schools each student is assigned an individual sixth-form tutor who has individual sessions with their tutees. One vital area here is the UCAS personal statement. We have considerable expertise in helping with this process.

- “Work experience” it is enormously useful to show universities that candidates have had hands-on exposure in working in areas related to their chosen degree. If they want to study Veterinary Studies, for instance, have they volunteered at an animal rescue centre. (We understand that the present COVID-19 pandemic might mean that this is impossible at the moment. However, a really well penned and thoughtful letter on the desk of the appropriate individual in an organisation might be just the way to get your son/daughter “ahead of the game”)

- Those applying for medical and law degrees and Oxbridge face the stiffest competition of all. Several Russell Group Universities require candidates to sit the BMAT or UCAT (formerly UKCAT) for medicine and the LNAT test when they apply to study law. There are also Admissions Tests (Oxford) or Admissions Assessments (Cambridge) for most courses. Minerva has a great deal of experience in all these areas. Subject to interest, Minerva is also laying on a brief introduction to medical ethics to help our clients’ sons and daughters develop their critical thinking skills. We also offer tailored reading lists and one-on-one or group practice interviews for both medicine and Oxbridge.

Further advice to follow...

Minerva Tuition will shortly publish more advice on our Facebook page offering guidance from our tutors for students seeking to apply to top universities for the most competitive degree courses.

In the meantime:

For more information please contact Valerie Weston on:


Phone: +852 6156 5705

We would be delighted to hear from you.

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