The assessments will be introduced from 2017 onwardsSimon Lock

Cambridge applicants will have to take written tests as part of future applications.

The university announced today that it will be “introducing a system of common format written assessments for applicants”. However, applicants to Cambridge's four mature colleges – Hughes Hall, Lucy Cavendish, Wolfson, and St Edmund's – will not be expected to undertake the assessment, which is instead thought to be aimed at school-leavers.

The assessments, which will first apply to those applying for entrance in 2017, will take place either before or at interviews, depending upon the course which is being applied for. Assessments before interview will be scheduled to take place on a same day as those for the University of Oxford.

Dr Sam Lucy, the university’s Director of Admissions, said in a letter to UK schools and sixth forms that “[n]o advance preparation will be needed, other than revision of relevant recent subject knowledge where appropriate."

The majority of at-interview assessments will take one hour, and most pre-interview assessments will last up to two hours.

The move comes after the government's decision to scrap AS-levels.

The letter said that the move is designed to improve fairness and effectiveness within the admissions system, and to “valuable additional evidence of our applicants’ academic abilities, knowledge base and potential to succeed in the Cambridge course for which they have applied”.

The courses which will have pre-interview assessments are Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Chemical Engineering, Economics, Engineering, English, Geography, History, Human, Social, and Political Sciences, Medicine (BMAT), Natural Sciences, Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion and Veterinary Medicine (BMAT).

There will be at-interview assessments for Architecture, Classics, Computer Science, Education, History of Art, Land Economy, Law, Linguistics, Modern and Medieval Languages and Philosophy.

Of three new Triposes set to begin in 2017, Archaeology will have assessment at-interview, History and Politics will have one before, and History and Modern Languages will have two assessments, one before and one at interview.

Cambridge been an outspoken critic of the government’s exam reforms, having urged schools to continue to support AS-levels. The university has stated in the past that AS level results are the best indicator of A-level success in all subjects except maths.