The Step by Step CSAT Guide

The CSAT step-by-step guide: How to help your child prepare Is your child in the process of applying to study computer science? We'll cover everything you need to know about the test itself and how best to prepare so you can provide your child with extra help during this time.

Author: Zayra Morales

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The Step by Step CSAT Guide: How to help your child prepare

Is your child currently in the process of applying to study computer science? Get the step-by-step CSAT guide and help your child prepare for the Cambridge test. We’ll cover all you need to know from the test itself and how best to prepare to be able to provide your child with an extra helping hand during this time.


What is the CSAT?

The Computer Science Aptitude Test – the CSAT – is the aptitude test Cambridge uses to assess applicants to the computer science course. It is similar to the exam which is used to test other applicants applying to degrees such as Mathematics.

The exam also has a lot of similarities with the MAT, which Oxford use to assess maths and computer science applicants. It may be useful for candidates to consider this when they are preparing for the exam.

Preparation for this exam should be thorough. It is designed to be a challenging exam for students. Therefore, using the practice papers and specimen material will be essential to ensure success in the exam.


What does the exam involve?  

The exam itself is 100 minutes in length (which is just over 1.5 hours). It is split into two sections. The first is slightly shorter than the second. For the CSAT, applicants are not allowed to use a calculator in the exam.

The first section will remain within the constraints of some modules of A-Level. The second, however, is explicitly designed to challenge candidates by venturing beyond these confines. The university describes this section as incorporating ’exotic’ questions as well.

The first section consists of mathematical questions that are within the confines of the A-Level course. It could include the likes of sequences, differentiation and broader maths concepts. It is advisable to practice past questions and specimen material available before the exam. Students that practice under timed conditions tend to perform better in the exam because they are able to complete the answers within the permitted time constraints.


How should my child prepare?

As a CSAT guide, there is material available through the university website which provides some specimen and practice material. These questions and papers will give you a sense of the way the exam is structured, and allows you to become more familiar with it.

UniAdmissions offer an intensive one day course to help A-Level students prepare for the CSAT exams. Our expert tutors can offer guidance in the exam and help students improve their performance considerably.

What next…?

To help your child achieve the best possible results in their test, as a CSAT guide to preparing, it is advisable that you ensure your child follows these key take-aways:



  • Create a revision timetable for your child in order for them to manage their time effectively in advance of the exam


  • Set your child the challenge to complete a timed mock test. By practicing in similar conditions expected as those on the day, your child will feel more confident when entering the exam.

Help your Child Excel in the Exam

When you book your child Book your on UniAdmissions Oxbridge computer science course. Our tutors, experts in computer science, will support your child in their preparation and give them the edge needed to excel in the exam.

The course itself involves bespoke tuition on the different stages of the application process Tutors are well-versed in providing students with unrivalled knowledge and skills that will help them succeed in their application.

Discover what is included in the course yourself or feel free to get in touch. We offer parents a free consultation to discuss the ins and outs of the application process and how you can help on your child’s journey.

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Choosing a University is an exciting time, but it can be quite difficult to know which University is the right one for your subject. In this article, we guide readers on how to choose between Oxford and Cambridge when looking to study sciences at the universities. We explain the pros and cons of both and how each university differs in their course.

You can read this and more in our blogs.

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