Wider Reading

Before you begin your application process, ideally you will have read widely across as many areas as possible. Wider Reading allows you to build knowledge earlier. It also allows you to read in depth across two subjects if you haven't chosen your subject yet.

Read advanced texts and papers in one or more subject areas

Evidence of wider reading in your chosen subject should begin from Year 10 onwards, if not before, and this programme leads into the Knowledge Building module. It is also suitable for students who have not yet decided which subject they want to study at university. Tutors can help students sample a range of wider reading across different disciplines to narrow down the choice of degree subject.

Although it is possible to cover the recommended breadth and depth of reading in the year before the application deadline, students starting earlier have a significant advantage. Exploring new ideas and concepts through in-depth analysis of academic papers, journals, and essays will only strength an application. It will also help students to understand if they will actually enjoy the subject at degree level. Often, this is a very different experience from studying a subject at school level, and a student needs to understand the reading required at this higher level. It may not be the perfect match for you, which will definitely impact your chance of success in the application process.

Develop Skills

Reading texts and challenging or questioning key ideas is a vital academic skill, both during the application process and when you actually arrive at university.

Start Earlier

Students can begin Wider Reading activities at any age, even before GCSEs for anyone paticularly keen! This extra level of breadth and depth of reading will only improve overall academic attainment.

Sample Subject

Sometimes, your favourite subject at school may not be the right degree for you, or even the subject you have the best chance of succeeding in. Wider reading across multiple areas will help with this key decision.

Critical Thinking

Sessions are designed to be highly interactive and discursive, allowing you to develop the critical thinking skills needed to excel in an Oxford or Cambridge interview.

Typical Student Profile

Wider Reading is designed for students who perhaps have not yet begun their application strategy and are still deciding on their interests.

Who is this programme for?

  1. Students who have NOT yet decided which subject they want to study at university
  2. Any student wanting to develop understanding of academic ideas at degree level
  3. Anyone who wants to expand both breadth and depth of knowledge in this subject area

Why should I take it?

  1. Prepare
  2. Prepare
  3. Prepare!

When should I take it?

Before you start considering Knowledge Building in your chosen subject in Year 12 (or equivalent)

Other relevant courses?

Wider Reading leads directly into Knowledge Building, but it also adds huge value to everything from displaying knowledge and enthusiasm in personal statements to success at interviews

Course Benefits

Head Start

Start to build depth and breadth of knowledge in your subject area as early as possible. Get a head start over your peers.

Make Your Choice

Make an informed decision about which subject you really want to study at university, and which subject gives you the best possible chance of a successful application to top universities.

Analyse Weaknesses

Our tutors will use your wider reading analysis to diagnose and improve weaknesses. Work with them to focus on areas of interest as well as tackling questions and ideas you find challenging.

Expert Tutors

We only accept the top 10% of mentors who apply to work with us; so we can guarantee that they are the best in the world! All mentors are from Oxford or Cambridge and many have MAs or PhDs.

My tutor covered a very wide range of topics, across politics, economics and philosophy. She also helped me to discuss and vocalise my answers in an academic way and approach unfamiliar problems to get to the right answer.


Designed by expert admissions

Our courses have been developed by our team of world-class educationalists, who have spent years studying the Oxbridge application process, led by CEO Kieran Hammond.

Ginny R

London School of Economics

Ana L

Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

George A

Mathematics and Computer Science
Christ Church College, Oxford

Erind M

Trinity College, Cambridge

About Kieran Hammond

Kieran Hammond is the co-founder of Leading Education and holds a BA and MA (Cantab) from Cambridge University. Over the course of 10 years, he has been helped over 500 students with their Oxbridge/Medicine applications.

Kieran started his career as Head of University Applications at Cardiff Sixth Form College, which at the time had been the UK’s No.1 ranked school in terms of A*-A A-level results for 6 years running.