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Earlier Oxbridge applications create new obstacle for poorer students, say experts

Bringing forward date for candidates to apply for courses and sit tests could disadvantage state school pupils

Cambridge and Oxford universities may be putting “new obstacles” in the way of poorer applicants by making students apply two weeks earlier than usual for some of their most competitive courses, experts have warned.

The race for a place at Oxbridge traditionally starts sooner than for any other universities, with sixth formers expected to submit their Ucas application forms by 15 October, rather than 25 January for most courses. This year, however, Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing (Caat), which runs admissions tests for some of the most popular courses at both universities, has brought forward the date to register for its tests by two weeks to the end of September. Cambridge applicants who have to sit these tests, which are a crucial part of the selection process, will also sit them earlier in October than usual.

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