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Yes, that time of the year is looming when university applicants should begin crafting an essay masterpiece of no more than 4,000 characters. Here is a great 10-step guide from The Student Room that contains sage advice like "it is never too early to start!" http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/content.php?r=26328-How-to-write-an-excellent-personal-statement-in-10-steps

The 10 most important pieces of advice for anyone starting A-levels, courtesy of our friends at The Student Room. Some points may appear obvious but how quickly they can be forgotten!

This Study Planner is a great free resource from The Student Room. There are hundreds out there but this one is on our recommended list. http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/g/planner

If you are an art student applying to The New School be careful with The Parsons Challenge. It asks for 500 words on the website but the application specifies 3,000 characters. It can make a big difference if you cut and paste your essay!

Several leading medical and dentistry colleges require students to take the UK Clinical Aptitude Test. Candidates have just one shot at the test during the year and it should be taken by October prior to applications. http://www.ukcat.ac.uk/about-the-test

There are about 100,000 UCAS applications for university law courses every year so, yes, it is competitive! A-Level grades determine success (often three As with one A*) and the personal statement is an important element. However, another requirement is the LNAT, an online testing programme run by Pearson. http://www.lnat.ac.uk/

Cambridge (CIE) shows it is possible to focus on quality (just 3.4% gained A* in English Language IGCSE) while the number of UK students taking the exam surged from 121,530 in 2014 to 201,858 this year. The UK government really should have the sense to restore CIE results in league tables from 2017. https://www.tes.co.uk/news/school-news/breaking-news/igcse-results-drop-top-grades-english-language-entries-increase-two

from Fortune

How the UK might surpass America’s dominance in higher education

OUR VIEW: Excellent piece offered as more evidence that competition to attract international students is becoming fierce. The US has long been the destination of choice, followed closely by the UK, but parents are increasingly alarmed by the often exorbitant college fees levied in the US. And rightly so.

from The Independent

International students say they don’t want to come to study in the UK anymore

OUR VIEW: Education was never a battlefield topic during the myopic Brexit campaign but it should have been. The new UK government must reassure students by reasserting the benefits of studying at British universities. At the moment Canada and Australia have a more compelling marketing strategy.

Here is a selection of interviews with university admissions staff compiled by The Student Room. It focuses on why Personal Statements may get rejected, so pay attention at the back! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlg_oGHX7e0