Which Admissions Test Do I Take?

There are many university entrance tests. Admissions Tests determine a candidate's potential for an academically demanding course. The tests challenge applicants and allow admissions tutors to differentiate between able applicants and those with the highest grades in school exams. We have compiled a list of Oxbridge and Medicine undergraduate admissions tests. Find the best one for you!

Author: Rob Needleman

Table of Contents

There are lots of university Admissions Tests, which one do I need to do?

Admissions Tests are used to determine a candidate’s potential to achieve in an academically demanding undergraduate degree course. The tests are designed to challenge applicants to allow admissions tutors to differentiate effectively between able applicants, including those who may have achieved the highest possible grades in school exams.

 

With so many assessments, we put together a list of all of the undergraduate Oxbridge and Medicine Admissions Tests, to help you find the one that applies to you. 

Admission Test Main Menu

Medicine Admissions Tests

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University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT)

The UCAT is a two-hour computer-based Admissions Test for students who are applying for medical or dentistry school. The test assesses your problem solving and critical thinking abilities and is made up of 5 sections:

The raw score for each of the first four sections is converted to a score ranging from 300 to 900. The majority of students score in the range from 500 to 700 and the total average score is usually around 660 each year. The Situational Judgement Test uses Bands from 1 to 4, with 1 being the best score. 

Key dates:

  • Registration and booking opens – Early June
  • Testing begins – Late July
  • Testing ends – Late September
  • UCAS application deadline – 15th October
  • Results sent to universities – Early November

BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)

The BMAT is a 2-hour pen-and-paper test divided into 3 sections for students applying to study Medicine and Dentistry. Both Oxford and Cambridge use the BMAT. The test asses applicant’s ability to apply scientific and mathematical knowledge, as well as problem-solving, critical thinking and written communication skills. The three sections are: 

For Sections 1 and 2, you receive a score from 1 to 9, with one decimal place, 9 being the highest. For Section 3 you receive a number, 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest, and a letter grade. 

 

An example score, therefore, would be 6.5,7.2,4A. If you’re aiming for Oxbridge, you’re looking at aiming for 7s and a 5A.

 

The BMAT can be taken in February, September and November but most UK universities prefer test takers to take their BMAT in early Novemeber.

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Oxford University Admissions Tests Menu

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Classics Admissions Test (CAT)

If you are applying for one of the following courses you will be required to sit the CAT: Classics, Classics and English, Classics and Modern Languages and Classics and Oriental Studies.

The Classics Admissions Test is a paper-based test, divided into three sections:

  1. Latin Translation Test
  2. Greek Translation Test
  3. Classics Language Aptitude Test (CLAT)

 

Each section lasts 1 hour and is sat under timed exam conditions. Which of the sections you take depends on whether you are applying for Classics I or Classics II.

The CAT is taken in early November after the UCAS application deadline. You need to register before this date. 

English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT)

If you are applying for one of the following courses you will be required to sit the ELAT: English Language and Literature, Classics and English, English and Modern Languages.

The ELAT is a paper-based test that lasts 90 minutes. It is used to assess applicant’s reading skills and their ability to articulate an informed response to unfamiliar literary material. The test consists of one essay comparing two passages.

The ELAT is taken in early November after the UCAS application deadline. You need to register before this date. 

History Aptitude Test (HAT)

The HAT is taken by candidates applying to: History, History (Ancient and Modern), History and Economics, History and English, History and Modern Languages and History and Politics.

The test is used to identify an applicant’s skills, not substantive historical knowledge. This is through a 1-hour written test in which applicants are provided with a passage and one question to answer.  

The HAT is taken in early November after the UCAS application deadline. You need to register before this date. 

National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT)

Law National Admissions Test (LNAT) is a 2 hour and 15-minute written exam for law students who are applying to certain UK universities. It is a computer-based exam that can be sat at different times with unique questions at each sitting. The test is taken at a Pearson centre, which is where you will have taken your driving theory in the UK.

  • Section A of the LNAT is scored out of 42 and is marked by a computer. There is no negative marking (minus marks for answering a question wrong), so every question should be at least attempted!

 

  • Section B (the essay section) is sent directly to the universities, they mark this section by themselves. They are testing your ability to construct a reasoned, persuasive and balanced argument.

Key dates:

  • 1st August – 15th September: register and book the LNAT (in order to sit the test, before or on, 15th October 2021)
  • Before or on 15th October: take your test to be considered by Oxford University

Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT)

The MAT is taken by candidates applying to: Computer Science, Computer Science and Philosophy, Mathematics, Mathematics and Computer Science, Mathematics and Philosophy, Mathematics and Statistics.

The test lasts 2 hours and 30 minutes and assesses the depth of mathematical understanding of candidates rather than their breadth of knowledge. 

 

The number and type of questions applicants answer is based on their chosen degree, more information can be found here.

The MAT is taken in early November after the UCAS application deadline. You need to register before this date. 

Modern Languages Admissions Test (MLAT)

The MLAT is taken by candidates applying to: European and Middle Eastern Languages, Classics and Modern Languages, English and Modern Languages, History and Modern Languages, Modern Languages, Modern Languages and Linguistics or Philosophy and Modern Languages.

The test is paper-based and consists of 10 sections. The sections you take depends on your chosen degree. More information can be found here.

The MLAT is taken in early November after the UCAS application deadline. You need to register before this date. 

Oriental Languages Aptitude Test (OLAT)

The OLAT is taken by candidates applying to study Hebrew, Persian, Turkish, Arabic or Jewish Studies as part of one of the following courses: Oriental Studies, Classics and Oriental Studies, European and Middle Eastern Languages, Religion and Oriental Studies.

The test lasts 30 minutes and is used to examine an applicant’s ability to analyse how languages work in a way that does not require previous knowledge of specific languages. The test gives Oxford an indication of a candidate’s aptitude for learning a new language quickly. 

The OLAT is taken in early November after the UCAS application deadline. You need to register before this date. 

Physics Aptitude Test (PAT)

The PAT is taken by candidates applying to study: Engineering, Materials Science, Physics and Physics and Philosophy.

The test lasts 2 hours and is aimed at applicants who have studied the first year of A-level maths and physics. The test includes content from the GCSE and A-level syllabus. The PAT syllabus can be found here

The PAT is taken in early November after the UCAS application deadline. You need to register before this date. 

Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)

The TSA is an aptitude test taken by students who are applying to certain courses at Cambridge, Oxford and UCL, such as PPE, PPL, Geography and Land Economy. Cambridge applicants sit the TSA Cambridge, Oxford applicants sit the TSA Oxford and UCL applicants (surprise, surprise) sit the TSA UCL.

The TSA consists of two sections:

  • Section 1: consists of 50 multiple-choice questions and assesses problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, and the ability to reason using everyday language. The time allowed for this section is 90 minutes.

 

  • Section 2: is a writing task, that evaluates an applicants ability to organise ideas and communicate them effectively in writing. Applicants answer one question from a choice of four and the time allowed for this section is 30 minutes.

Section 1 is marked by a computer and scored on a scale of 1-100. The average score for an applicant to Cambridge is in the high 50s. Only around 10% of students score above 70. Section 2 (for Oxford only) is marked by the college you are applying for; the mark is at their discretion. 

The TSA Oxford takes place in the first week of November every year. The TSA Cambridge is taken during the interview period, this is usually in the first two weeks of December.

Philosophy Test

The Philosophy Test is taken by candidates applying to study Philosophy and Theology. The test lasts for 60 minutes and is used to assess an applicant’s philosophical reasoning skills with the expectation that they will not have any formal study of philosophy. 

Applicants are required to undertake a comprehension excersie and write a short essay or answer a structured question. More information can be found here.

The Philosophy Test is taken in early November after the UCAS application deadline. You need to register before this date. 

Music Performance Test

This is not a written test and there is no registration for the test. You will take the Music Performance Test if you are shortlisted for interviews. Applicants are then required to send a 5-minute continuous video recording of a music performance on their chosen instrument or voice. You can find more information here.

Fine Art Practical

This is not a written test and there is no registration for the test. You will take the Fine Art Practical if you are shortlisted for interviews. Applicants are then required to complete a piece of work in a variety of media from a question chosen from two options. You can find more information here.

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Cambridge University Admissions Tests Menu

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Cambridge Law Test (CLT)

If you are applying to study Law at Cambridge, then you are required to sit the CLT. The 1-hour essay based test is a written exam that is used to assess comprehension and exposition skills which demonstrates an applicant’s aptitude for law.

 

The test is sat on the day of the interview. There will only be one single essay question in the exam, and you will have a choice from a number of different questions.

Economics Admissions Assessment (ECAA)

The ECAA is a two hour written exam for prospective Cambridge Economics applicants. The ECAA consists of two sections:

  • Section 1 A: tests Maths and Section 1B tests Advanced Maths through multiple-choice questions. You will face 20 Mathematics questions and 20 Advanced Mathematics questions

 

  • Section 2is an extended essay responding to an excerpt of text. You are allowed 60 minutes for this section.

In Section 1, each question carries one mark and there is no negative marking. Both Mathematics and Advanced Mathematics questions carry equal weighting. In Section 2, your answer will be assessed based on the argument and also its clarity.

The ECAA is taken in early November after the UCAS application deadline. You need to register before this date. 

Engineering Admissions Assessment (ENGAA)

The ENGAA is a two-hour written exam taken by prospective Cambridge Engineering applicants.

  • Section 1A: tests Maths and Physics. There are 20 multiple-choice questions in this section and you are not allowed a calculator.

 

  • Section 1B: tests Advanced Maths and Advanced Physics. There are 20 multiple-choice questions in this section and you are not allowed a calculator. This section allows you 60 minutes to complete it.

 

  • Section 2: tests Advanced Physics, in a multiple-choice question setting and there is still no calculator allowed.

In section 1, each question carries one mark and there is no negative marking. In section 2, marks for each question are indicated alongside it. Unless stated otherwise, you will only score marks for correct answers if you show your working.

The ENGAA is taken in early November after the UCAS application deadline. You need to register before this date. 

History Aptitude Test (HAA)

The HAA is a 60-minute essay/text response element written exam taken by prospective Cambridge History and Modern Languages applicants. 

 

Not all Colleges require History and Modern Languages applicants to take the HAA, the list of applicable Colleges can be found here.

Human Social and Political Sciences Admissions Assessment (HSPSAA)

The HSPSAA is a two-hour written exam taken by prospective Cambridge Human, Social, and Political Sciences applicants.

  • In Section 1, the answers are given in a multiple-choice format and students are expected to analyse and comprehend the information provided in a passage, and then answer questions that demonstrate their understanding.

 

  • Section 2, is an essay question. Applicants have a choice of eight questions from which they can pick. The topics are across a range of Politics/International Relations, Social anthropology. 

Natural Sciences Admissions Asesment (NSAA)

The NSAA is a 2-hour written exam for prospective Cambridge Natural Sciences and Veterinary Sciences applicants. 

  • Section 1 you are not permitted to use a calculator. All candidates are required to complete Part A (Maths), then you can choose one further part from Part B (choice of Physics, Chemistry and Biology). This section is only positively marked, meaning you won’t lose marks for wrong answers – this means you should at least attempt everything!

 

  • Section 2 questions require you to have the knowledge from Section 1A maths as well as the corresponding subject knowledge from Section 1. For example biology Section 2 questions require 1A maths and 1D Biology. Similarly, physics Section 2 questions require 1A maths and 1B physics. Each question is out of 20 marks.

The NSAA is taken in early November after the UCAS application deadline. You need to register before this date. 

Test of Mathematics for University Admission (TMUA)

The TMUA is a 2-hour 30-minute test that assesses essential mathematical thinking and reasoning skills needed for a Mathematics or a Mathematics-related course.

  • Paper 1: assesses your ability to apply your knowledge of mathematics in new situations. It is 20 multiple-choice questions and 75 minutes long.

 

  • Paper 2: assesses your ability to deal with mathematical reasoning, and simple ideas from elementary logic. There are 20 multiple-choice questions and the paper is 75 minutes long.

The TMUA is taken in early November after the UCAS application deadline. You need to register before this date. 

Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP)

STEP is a test for applicants applying for undergraduate Mathematics. It is a 3-hour exam that is made of STEP 2 and STEP 3 as STEP 1 is no longer used.

 

Both STEP Papers consist of 12 questions and candidates should only choose 6 questions from each. Applicants can answer more questions but only 6 of the highest scoring questions will be used.

Key dates:

  • Mid-March: STEP registration opens 
  • Mid-June: STEP Paper 2 and 3 are taken
  • Mid-August: STEP results are released

Archaeology Admissions Assessment

It is quite clear which applicants take the Archaeology Admissions Assessment. The test involves reading one passage of text from two options and then answering two related questions chosen from a list of four questions.

 

The assessment lasts for 1 hour and there is no registration required as the test is taken at the interview. More information can be found here.

Architecture Admissions Assessment

The Architecture Admissions Assessment consists of two parts. Part 1 is a 30-minute writing skills assessment; Part 2 is a 30-minute graphic and spatial ability assessment. 

 

The assessment lasts for 1 hour and there is no registration required as the test is taken at the interview. More information can be found here.

History of Art Admissions Assessment

The History of Art Admissions Assessment is a 1 hour written assessment in which applicants are asked to comment on images of works of art. Candidates chose two pairs of images of works of art from five possible pairs offered.

 

There is no registration required as the test is taken at the interview. More information can be found here.

Linguistics Admissions Assessment

The Linguistics Admissions Assessment is a 1 hour written assessment in which applicants are required to answer questions in three parts. Part 1 is a structured analysis of language data, Part 2 is an analysis of quantitative data and Part 3 is a short essay.

 

There is no registration required as the test is taken at the interview. More information can be found here.

Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) Admissions Assessment

The MML Admissions Assessment is a 1 hour written assessment. In Section A of the test applicants are required to respond in the language they wish to study at Cambridge. Section B is answered in English.

 

There is no registration required as the test is taken at the interview. More information can be found here.

Philosophy Admissions Assessment

The Philosophy Admissions Assessment has two parts. Part 1 lasts 20 minutes and contains 18 multiple-choice questions. After 20 minutes, the applicant’s question paper with their answers is collected. The question paper for Part 2 then starts, which lasts 40 minutes and candidates answer one of two essay questions.

 

There is no registration required as the test is taken at the interview. More information can be found here.

Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Admissions Assessment

The Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Admissions Assessment consists of two sections.

 

  • In Section 1, applicants are required to answer two of the three parts (one compulsory part [Part A Thinking Skills] and one further part chosen from two options [Part B Mathematics and Biology, Part C Reading Comprehension]). Each part in Section 1 contains multiple-choice questions and the time allowed for Section 1 is 80 minutes.

 

  • Section 2 consists of four written tasks of which candidates should complete one. The time allowed for Section 2 is 40 minutes.

 

There is no registration required as the test is taken at the interview. More information can be found here.

Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion Admissions Assessment

The Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion Admissions Assessment is a written test taken at the interview. The format of the test is comprehension questions on a pre-recorded sample lecture. 

 

There is no registration required as the test is taken at the interview. More information can be found here.

How do I increase my chances of getting into Oxbridge?

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