The facts you need to know about the ECAA test.
What is the ECAA? Why is it used? How is it used? These are all questions we will answer in this brief but informative blog post!
What is the ECAA?
The Economics Admissions Assessment (ECAA) is a two hour written exam for prospective Cambridge Economics applicants.
What's the structure of the ECAA?
The ECAA consists of two sections:
Section 1: tests Maths and Advanced Maths through multiple-choice questions. You will face 20 Mathematics questions and 20 Advanced Mathematics questions
Section 2: is an extended essay responding to an excerpt of text. You are allowed 60 minutes for this section.
Candidates previously had 40 minutes for the ECAA essay section. In 2020, this is now 60 minutes.
Here is an outline of the changes from the 2019 specification to the 2020 specification:
|2019 Specification||2020 Specification|
|Section 1 Specification||A multiple-choice assessment, comprising approximately 20 Problem Solving questions and approximately 15 Advanced Mathematics questions.|
This was split into Section 1A (20 Problem Solving questions) and Section 1B (Advanced Mathematics questions).
|A multiple-choice assessment, comprising approximately 20 Mathematics questions and 20 Advanced Mathematics questions.
This is split into Section 1A (20 Mathematics questions) and Section 1B (20 Advanced Mathematics questions).
|Section 1 Timing||You were allowed 80 minutes for Section 1A and 1B together.||You are now allowed 60 minutes for Section 1A and 1B together.|
|Section 1 Scoring||Each correct answer is worth 1 mark. You are not negatively marked, so incorrect answers do not bring your score down. Section 1A and Section 1B are equally weighted and reported as separate totals.||In Section 1, each correct answer will score 1 mark. No marks are deducted for incorrect answers.
Results for Part A and Part B will be reported separately.
|Section 2 Specification||An extended essay responding to an excerpt from a text.||An extended essay responding to an excerpt from a text.|
|Section 2 Timing||You were allowed 40 minutes for this section.||You are now allowed 60 minutes for this section.|
|Section 2 Scoring||In Section 2, the candidate’s essay will be assessed by taking into account the quality of the|
candidate’s reasoning, and their ability to construct a reasoned, insightful and logically consistent
argument with clarity and precision.
|Unchanged. In Section 2, the candidate’s essay will be assessed by taking into account the quality of the candidate’s reasoning, and their ability to construct a reasoned, insightful and logically consistent argument with clarity and precision.|
How hard is the ECAA?
Questions are designed to draw upon a candidate’s ability to use and apply their reasoning and mathematical knowledge, but require the application different to how they might be used to. The assessment is designed to challenge students who have achieved the highest grades throughout their schooling, so it should be fairly difficult – but this doesn’t mean it can’t be revised for!
What is the format of the ECAA?
Section 1 you will face 20 multiple-choice Mathematics and 20 multiple-choice Advanced Mathematics questions.
Previously, in the older specification, this section contained 20 Problem Solving and 15 Advanced Mathematics questions.
You will need a pencil for this section.
Section 2 requires candidates to read a short passage of 1-2 pages then asked to write an essay to answer a question, drawing from information in the passage. There is no choice of essay questions – you must do the one you are presented with.
You will need a pen for this section.
Why is the ECAA used?
Cambridge applicants tend to be a bright bunch and therefore usually have excellent grades. The majority of economics applicants score in excess of 90% in their A level subjects. This means that competition is fierce – meaning that the universities must use the ECAA to help differentiate between applicants.
When do I sit ECAA?
The ECAA normally takes place in the first week of November every year, normally on a Wednesday Morning. The 2020 test follows the same routine, with the test being held on Wednesday 4th of November.
Can I resit the ECAA?
No, you cannot. You may only sit the ECAA once per admissions cycle. This means you only have one shot to make your score in this count.
Where do I sit the ECAA?
You might be able to sit the ECAA at your school if they are a registered test centre. If they are not, you’ll have to sit the ECAA at an authorised test centre.
You can find your nearest test centre by following this link.
Do I have to resit the ECAA if I reapply?
Yes, each admissions cycle is independent – you cannot use your score from any previous attempts.
How is the ECAA scored?
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.
How is the ECAA used?
Different Cambridge colleges will place different weightings on different components so it’s important you find out as much information about how your marks will be used by emailing the college admissions office.
In general, the Cambridge university will interview a high proportion (~80%) of realistic applicants so the ECAA score isn’t vital for making the interview shortlist. However, it will play a huge role in the final decision after your interview so scoring highly is important to gain a place – especially considering that just 14% of applicants to Cambridge Economics are accepted.