Having taken my masters degree at King's College, I'm very familiar with the demands of the Cambridge philosophy
I coach only a few candidates each year, so you're assured of the personal attention that identifies your particular strengths and diagnoses for your weaknesses. My approach encourages your individuality to flourish rather than force you to adopt a 'coaching hot-house' model.
I offer help, tuition and mentoring at all stages of the Cambridge philosophy application process; including advice on college selection, if you've not already made up your mind.
You'll find information on each step of the application procedure below.
The Cambridge philosophy application procedure, in keeping with all undergraduate degrees,
requires you to apply to, and be accepted by, a college. In 2021, all but one college (Murray Edwards)
The philosophy application procedure varies slightly between colleges, reflecting the fact that they operate semi-autonomously.
There will always be a minimum of three hurdles, some colleges add a fourth:
I have considerable experience of mentoring candidates at each stage of the application process; there are further details.
Your Cambridge philosophy personal statement has two functions. First, along with your exam results,
it helps secure you an interview. Secondly, it helps the interviewers frame some of their interview questions.
Whilst I don't write personal statements for students, I comment on early drafts, helping candidates present themselves in the best possible light.
The two main questions that the Cambridge philosophy admissions tutors are seeking to answer, when reading your personal statement, are:
Cambridge philosophy, like analytical philosophy in general, prizes the twin virtues of clarity and rigour. Your application may therefore be compromised if your personal statement fails to demonstrate these qualities.
A Cambridge philosophy writing sample typically comprises an essay, or essays, that your school or college has reviewed
Not all colleges require a writing sample as part of their application process.
So far, in 2021, the following eight Cambridge colleges will require a writing sample at some stage in their admissions procedures:
It is not usually required that the writing sample be on philosophical subjects: though of course the
college to which you're applying will provide the precise details.
If you're planning to apply to any of these colleges, then you might want to consider the various philosophy essay prizes that are offered by UK universities.
If you win, then you can both mention your success on your personal statement, and submit the essay as your writing sample. However, even if you don't win, the essay may nevertheless serve as the foundation for an improved piece of work that you could submit.
If you already have a good draft of your writing sample, then I would be happy to read and comment on it. If you have yet to begin, then you might like to consider my philosophy essay-writing masterclass.
The Cambridge philosophy admissions test is usually sat on the day that you attend for interview.
It is not designed to test your philosophical knowledge; rather, it is intended to discover your capacity to think and express yourself clearly.
In previous years the Cambridge philosophy admissions test has lasted an hour and comprised two parts:
The multiple choice questions test your reasoning ability, the essay gives you the opportunity
to demonstrate clarity and rigour in your writing.
Here is a link to an example of a Cambridge philosophy admissions test.
I offer help and advice on both aspects of the test, including setting and marking mock tests. Performance in the short essay test often responds particularly well to informed feedback from a professional philosopher.
Cambridge philosophy interviews do not attempt to plumb the depths of your knowledge:
you wouldn't be shorlisted unless you were able to absorb and re-present subject knowledge under exam conditions.
Rather, the Cambridge philosophy interviewers are more interested in the way that you think. They are therefore more concerned to discover how you deploy familiar concepts in new contexts, and how you explore unfamiliar concepts.
My practice philosophy interviews aim to encourage this fluency of thought by simulating the kind of philosophy tutorials you can expect to receive at Cambridge.
The interview simulations also include the kind of pre-interview logic puzzles that some Cambridge colleges like to set their philosophy candidates.