How to Get into Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) at Cambridge

Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) is a competitive, language and culture-based course at Cambridge University. Less than half of MML applicants were successful in receiving an offer in 2021, so it’s important to ensure your application stands out to Cambridge’s admissions officers.

If you’re thinking of applying for MML or just curious about what it takes to get into study languages at Cambridge, this guide contains everything you need to know – from entry requirements to tips on how to prepare from our expert MML tutors.

The Profs’ MML tutors have first-hand experience of the admissions process and what is required to succeed at each stage. Thanks to our expert support, students who work with The Profs are more than three times more likely to receive an offer from Cambridge University. Reach out to our team today to maximise your chances of success.

What is Modern and Medieval Languages (MML)?

Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) is a flexible and multifaceted course that involves the study of language and culture. All MML students must study two languages, one of which can be learnt from scratch (except French and Latin, which you’ll need to have studied an A level or equivalent qualification in). The languages offered by Cambridge for MML include:

  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Classical Latin
  • Classical Greek

Cambridge’s MML course allows students the opportunity to acquire advanced linguistic and critical skills, as well as intercultural sensitivity. It is a four-year course that consists of three years of studying at Cambridge (years 1, 2 and 4) and a compulsory year abroad in your third year. All MML students are given the flexibility to pursue their own interests in a range of areas relating to their languages of course, as well as options in Linguistics.

What are the entry requirements for MML?

Modern and Medieval Languages (MML), like all courses at Cambridge, is very competitive. The course requires applicants to achieve excellent grades and show a great aptitude for language learning and independent academic study. The table below shows the entry requirements for MML:

QualificationGrades
A-levelsA*AA
Scottish/Advanced HighersA1, A2, A2
International Baccalaureate (IB)40-42 points with 776 at Higher Level

Note that you will need to aim at least one grade higher than the already high entry requirements in order to maximise your chance of an offer for MML. For 2017, 2018 and 2019 entry, nearly three quarters of entrants from an A Level background achieved at least grades A*A*A, while the majority of IB entrants achieved at least 43 points overall and/or grades 777 at Higher Level.

Worried that you won’t achieve the necessary grades to study Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) at Cambridge? The Profs’ A level and IB tutors can help. We have extensive experience helping students excel in their coursework and final exams and achieve the entry grades for this competitive course. Reach out to our team for support.

Which subjects are recommended?

All applicants to MML are required to have an A Level/IB Higher Level in at least one of the languages they want to study. This is most likely to be French, Spanish or German, but may also include Latin, Greek, or any other language you have studied at school.

Although only one language is required, it is recommended that you study two languages if this is available to you. Nearly two thirds (65%) of successful applicants took two languages at A level. Other common subjects were English (Language, Language & Literature, or Literature, 42%), History (27%) and Mathematics (32%).

Which admissions test do you need for Modern and Medieval Languages (MML)?

Applicants to Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) at Cambridge are required to take a written assessment by all colleges. This admissions assessment is an important part of your application and will help admissions officers to decide which applicants are best suited to the demands of the course. You won’t need to register for the admissions test in advance and will only need to take it if you are invited for an interview.

What does the MML admissions assessment involve?

The MML admissions assessment is a 1-hour exam split into 2 sections. Section A requires you to write an answer to a question/text passage in the language you wish to study at Cambridge. It is not a fill-the-gaps test, but rather a free-flowing essay which is used to assess how well you can express yourself in your target language.

The essay should be around 250 words in length and the passage of text you are faced with could be on any topic, so it’s important to build as wide a vocabulary in your chosen language as possible and go beyond your school textbook.

In section B, you will be asked to answer a second question on the same passage of text, but this time you must write your answer in English. There are a total of 48 marks available in the MML admissions assessment, however section A of the MML admissions assessment is weighted more highly than section B. Section A is worth 32 marks, while section B is worth 16 marks.

For more tips and support on how to prepare for the MML admissions assessment, reach out to our team of Modern and Medieval Languages experts. We have insider knowledge on what admissions officers are looking for in MML applicants and how to increase your chances of receiving an offer from this competitive Cambridge course.

How hard is it to get into MML at Cambridge?

Getting into Cambridge to study Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) is no mean feat. Not only do you need to achieve the grade requirements and perform well in the admissions assessment, but you also need to perform well in the interview. Just 47% of applicants are successful in receiving an offer, with 72% of those applicants achieving at least one grade higher than the A level entry requirements.

Thankfully, The Profs’ Oxbridge admissions tutors can help you triple your chances of getting into Cambridge to study Modern and Medieval Languages (MML). Thanks to our network of experienced tutors, many of whom are Oxbridge graduates and ex-admissions officers themselves, we have the very latest and best knowledge on what Cambridge is looking for in top MML applicants. Get in touch with us today to chat with a member of our team about how we can help you.

What are the fees for MML at Cambridge?

The table below shows the fees for Cambridge’s Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) course for both home (UK) and overseas students:

Student statusCourse fees (per year)
Home£9,250
Overseas£23,340

You can find out more information about what fees you will pay on Cambridge’s fee status page. You can also use Cambridge’s fees, funding and financial assistance page to see the funding options available to you.

4 tips on how to get into Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) at Cambridge

1. Prepare thoroughly for each stage of the admissions process

When applying to study MML at Cambridge, there are many stages of the admissions process to consider, and you should prepare for each one thoroughly.

  • Your grades – preparation for your MML application really starts from the moment you start studying for your A-levels (or equivalent). Excellent grades are essential in order to be considered for a place at Cambridge, so you should be aiming for A*A*A in your A-levels (or equivalent) – one grade above the minimum entry requirements – for the best chance of receiving an offer.
  • Your UCAS application – the first official stage of your MML application is completing your UCAS application online. As well as your grades, this includes your personal statement. This is the first chance you’ll get to showcase your suitability for MML and prove to Cambridge that you are interested and committed to the subject areas. Learn more about writing a stand-out personal statement in our helpful guide.
  • The interview – if your UCAS application is impressive enough, you may be invited for an interview at Cambridge. This, along with your admissions assessment, is your last chance to impress the university and prove that you are an excellent candidate for the course. Oxbridge interviews are like oral admissions tests and there is often even a mark scheme your interviewers will be scoring you against, so it’s important to seek professional help to prepare effectively.
  • The admissions assessment – preparing for the written admissions test is crucial if you’re going to give your application the best chance of success. Use Cambridge’s specimen tests as well as the information and tips in this guide to ensure that you know what questions to expect and how to prepare for them effectively.

Note that all students applying to university for 2023, 2024 or 2025 will still be required to submit a UCAS personal statement as normal. However, from January 2025 onwards (October 2024, for Oxbridge applicants), there will be changes to the UCAS application process and students will no longer be required to write a personal statement. Instead, all applicants will answer a series of shorter, more tailored questions provided by UCAS.

2. Do some introductory reading

Showing a genuine interest in the languages and cultures you are applying to study is important in order to help your application stand out. Cambridge recommends the following introductory readings and resources to help improve your language skills and prepare for studying MML:

3. Improve your language skills and go beyond the school syllabus

More than half of the admissions assessment (32 out of a possible 48 marks) relies on your ability to communicate effectively about an unseen topic in your target language. Although you will have studied this language to A level or equivalent, it’s best to give yourself an advantage by going beyond school-level studies and further improving your language skills. The greater your vocabulary and grammatical knowledge of the language, the better your 250-word answer is likely to be and the more you will demonstrate to your examiner that you are committed to studying languages at university-level.

Thankfully, there are many ways to improve your language skills beyond the school textbook. These include: reading a range of news and literature in your target language (see above), doing a language exchange or spending time abroad, and working with an expert in your chosen language, such as a native speaker or language tutor. Try to get as much and as wide a range of experience speaking and writing in your target language as possible to ensure that you are a competitive candidate.

4. Seek help from a Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) expert

Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) is a competitive course at Cambridge and requires you to perform well in multiple stages to be in with a chance of securing an offer. Unfortunately, schools and colleges are oftentimes not equipped to provide specialist MML preparation due to a lack of experience, expertise or resources. As a result, we advise seeking a professional MML tutor to help you through the process.

The Profs’ Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) tutors have many years of experience helping students develop their academic profiles, prepare for the admissions assessment, and excel in the admissions interview. If you work with one of The Profs’ tutors, you are more than three times more likely to get into Cambridge. You’ll also gain invaluable independent study skills that will prepare you for study at an elite UK university, as well as improving your language abilities and gaining a deeper and broader understanding of linguistic concepts and critical thinking approaches. Reach out to our experienced team today to get started.