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UCAS Progress Search and Apply maintenance: 15 – 17 December

UCAS Progress Search and Apply will be unavailable from 20:00 on Friday 15 December until 23:59 (UK time) on Sunday 17 December, due to planned maintenance.

During this time, you will be unable to access, work on, or submit your application. Teachers and advisers will also be unable to review applications, or add references.

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UCAS Progress phone lines availability – 13 December

Our UCAS Progress phone lines will be unavailable at the following times on Wednesday 13 December, due to staff training:

  • 11:55 – 13:15
  • 14:55 until close (17:00)
They will reopen as usual from 09:00 on Thursday 14 December.

Cambridge Pre-Us

Facts about Pre-U: who they are for, subjects, what's involved in taking one, and assessment and grades.
Relevant to

Cambridge Pre-Us are a fairly new type of qualification for students thinking about university.


There are 26 principal subjects available. Each is a two year course with exams at the end, either resulting in a certificate or a diploma. You can take up to four Pre-U subjects, which can be combined with other qualifications.

How to complete the Cambridge Pre-U diploma

  • Take any three principal subjects (or a combination of A levels and principal subjects) alongside global perspectives and research (GPR).
  • The GPR involves preparing a research report – an extended piece of writing based on your own reading and research on your chosen topic.
  • The diploma is routed in subject specialism, so you have to choose from five themes – ethics, economics, environment, technology, and politics and culture.

Assessment and grades

Assessment happens at the end of programme. 

The Cambridge Pre-U principal subjects have three grade bands – distinction (1), merit (2), and pass (3). These relate to the six A level grades A* to E. There is also a distinction 1 grade which is above the A* grade at A level.

The full Cambridge Pre-U diploma mark is based on the total scores for three principal subjects, or A levels and the GPR.