presentation skills

In addition to high academic grades, universities and employers are increasingly demanding that top performers demonstrate ‘soft skills’ such as critical thinking, communication, creative thinking and collaboration. Cambridge Dream’s summer school will help learners develop these transferable life skills, enabling them to:

  • Reach well-reasoned opinions which they can express confidently.
  • Study independently and show they have a passion for learning.
  • Apply thinking skills critically and creatively to resolve complex problems.
  • Interact and work collaboratively in small teams.
  • Become more socially confident individuals with good self-awareness and leadership skills.
  • Answer tough interview questions and write a strong personal statement (15-18 years only).

Being better informed and prepared will improve pupils’ chances of being admitted to any top-ranking university and help them flourish, both inside and outside the classroom.

By attending a Cambridge Dream summer residential course in Cambridge, students will develop the skills essential for future academic and career success.

Laura Davies, BA (Hons), MA (Cantab), Programme Director

Eight Key Skills for the 21st Century

During the course, students will undertake a wide range of challenging tasks and activities to improve their confidence and hone their abilities in 8 key skill areas:


1. Communication

  • Prepare and make a team presentation.
  • Debate a controversial topic and engage with different viewpoints respectfully.
  • Structure a persuasive speech, link arguments and apply rhetorical techniques.
  • Understand the language of a Shakespeare play.
  • ​Explain tasks and issue instructions effectively.
  • Give and receive peer feedback constructively.

Leadership and Teamwork

2. Leadership and Teamwork

  • Complete team challenges in a range of contexts (sports, robotics, business, presentations, Model United Nations).
  • Understand the role of leadership and differing leadership styles.
  • Identify own strengths and weaknesses as potential leaders and team members.
  • Develop leadership and teamwork skills, including clear communication, critical thinking and collaboration on tasks.
  • Learn how to engage with different opinions and resolve conflicting views.

Thinking Skills

3. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

  • Understand the logic of critical thinking and problem solving.
  • Practise verbal reasoning problems.
  • Develop skills in spatial awareness, visual reasoning and data interpretation.
  • Identify conclusions, assumptions and flaws in arguments.
  • Recognise how to strengthen or weaken an argument.


4. Creativity and Lateral Thinking

  • Generate innovative business ideas.
  • Explore acting and improvisation skills.
  • Perform (music, drama or comedy) in public.
  • Use imagination and experimentation in an ‘arts and crafts’ context.
  • Understand and apply lateral thinking techniques.

Study Skills

5. Independent Study

  • Increase awareness of different learning styles and personal learning preferences.
  • Practise note-taking and independent research.
  • Develop mind mapping skills.
  • Acquire time management focus and techniques.
  • Understand about mindfulness, healthy choices and resilience.

Academic English

6. Academic Writing

  • Read and understand a variety of academic texts.
  • Increase awareness of the use of style and structure in academic writing.
  • Expand vocabulary for academic writing.
  • Practise academic writing skills for the purposes of university entrance.
  • Understand plagiarism and referencing in an academic context.

University Application

7. University Perspective

  • Understand what top universities are looking for.
  • Understand the key differences and similarities between the US and UK application systems.
  • Learn how to structure and write an effective personal statement (15-18 years only).
  • Practise useful interview techniques and answers (15-18 years only).
  • Take part in a supervision (small class discussion) about a chosen academic topic.

Personal Development

8. Personal Development Planning (15-18 years only)

  • Understand personal aspirations, values and strengths.
  • Research courses, institutions and potential career choices.
  • Identify new skills and knowledge acquired during the summer school.
  • Define future areas to work on.
  • Develop a personal action plan with SMART objectives and measures of progress.