Assessment & Exams

The main form of undergraduate assessment is through examinations set by the University. These take place during the second half of the Easter Term.


Courses at Cambridge are divided into ‘Parts’, which each last for one or two years. Each Part consists of both compulsory and optional ‘papers’ (subjects/topics). In order to graduate with an Honours degree (BA Hons), you must pass University of Cambridge examinations in two Parts.

Most students are required to take two, some three or more, such examinations during their time at Cambridge. These are accumulative assessments, so are distinct from other universities’ continuous assessment or final examinations. There are often between four & eight written examinations for each Part. Results are given about a month after completion or submission.


Most courses are also assessed by dissertations or research project reports. These are often in the final year of study and entered at the same time as exams. However, they will have been written & prepared over most of the academic year. For science subjects, an amount of practical work will be assessed.

College supervisors will sometimes set 'mocks' as practice. Supervisions are not assessed, and do not contribute to the University exams.

University Examination Guidance

Each examination is governed by University regulations, which can be found in the Statutes & Ordinances. These can also be obtained from Tutors or Directors of Studies.

In any year which you are not taking these examinations, you might be required to take the Preliminary Examination. This is to show you intend to be a candidate the following year, but this is not necessarily compulsory.