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Cambridge raises A-level grades needed to study science degrees

Science, maths, medicine and engineering degrees will all now require at least two A*s and one A

Students apply to study for a science degree at Cambridge will now need to achieve even higher A-level grades, it has been announced.

From 2015, students will need to achieve at least two A*s and an A at A-level, or equivalent, to to win places on courses covering science, maths, medicine and engineering, rather than the standard one A* and two As.

The change, the first since the institution asked for at least one A* as part of its admissions process in 2010, has been fuelled by rising demand from foreign students.

The university insisted that the increase in grades reflected a better calibre of applicants as 92 per cent of those gaining places had already achieved two A*s and an A.

In a statement, the university said that it "believes that the revised offer gives applicants a clearer indication of the level of attainment realistically required to compete for a place, and to thrive on science courses".

"The university will continue to make non-standard offers where appropriate, based on consideration of relevant contextual data including any extenuating circumstances which may have adversely affected an applicant's academic attainment."

All science-classified courses are included in the change apart from psychological and behavioural sciences, which will continue to require one A* and two As.

Cambridge was among one of the first institutions to adopt the A* grade, with its counterpart Oxford using it in admissions from 2012.