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Competitive Courses

At Bury Grammar we are committed to supporting all students with whatever career path they choose.

Our support for those applying to competitive courses is split into two specialised programmes that run across Year 12 to Year 13 for students intending to apply for study at Oxford or Cambridge as well as for those aspiring to study Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Sciences.

Our programmes aim to broaden the horizon of our students as they explore the nature of an Oxbridge education or life as a Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Sciences student. Participation on these programmes enable our students to ensure they choose the correct courses for both their area of academic interest and prospective careers. The support offered provides them with the academic and intellectual stretch to prepare them for both the admissions process and the challenge of undergraduate study on some of the most demanding courses in the United Kingdom.

Those students applying for the most prestigious university courses – entry for which comprises an interview process – have many opportunities to go through mock interviews with the Headmaster/Headmistress, Heads of Faculty, senior leaders from other top schools and experts from academia.

Pathway to Oxbridge:

Phase 1 – Exploring academic interests (Oct - Dec)

Phase 2 – Critical Thinking (Jan-April)

Phase 3 – Preparation for entrance exams (May -July)

Phase 4 – UCAS personal statement preparation (May – Oct)

Phase 5 – Preparation for interview (Oct -Dec)

Click here to view 'Staircase 12', an online hub created by the University of Oxford of resources which include useful information and reading lists for students.

Click here to view the suggested reading lists for a variety of subjects from Downing College, University of Cambridge.

Pathway to Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science.

Phase 1 – Scientific Development (Sept - Dec)

Phase 2 –  Ethics debate and discussion (January - April)

Phase 3 –  Clinical admission test coaching (May - July)

Phase 4 –  UCAS statement preparation (May - October) 

Phase 5 –  Prep for MMI (October - December)

Students on both programmes meet with senior and experienced teachers who act as mentors on both pathways. As well as preparation for interviews and university entrance examinations, mentors aim to stretch and challenge our students in a collaborative and problem based approach. Regular seminar-style meetings enable students to discuss wider reading, practise select questions from the relevant entrance exams and collaborate in groups to discuss ethical and philosophical issues.

Throughout Year 12, prospective Oxbridge and MDV students are encouraged to explore their chosen subject through wider reading, independent learning and MOOCs, using the online platform Unifrog. Students on both programmes will work in groups as well as independently to conduct research and present their learnings. We aim to develop both presenting and debating skills in order to develop confidence and fluency when discussing their chosen subject as this is paramount to success at interview.

In Year 13 support is tailored towards the application process as students sit mock interviews and mock entrance examinations. Mentoring from subject specialist teachers continues throughout the year.

Students applying to study Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science attend a Mock Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) afternoon in school which simulates scenarios and tasks they will encounter and gives them the opportunity to practise their skills. This afternoon of MMIs is made possible by the various alumni, parents and other friends of the school who volunteer their time to act as interviewers and share their expertise as medical professionals.

Click here for the suggested reading list for MDV applicants.

Please find below some useful links to guides and online resources that may benefit applicants in their 2021 entry to Medical Schools.