If you’re applying to study Engineering at Cambridge, you’ll soon be sitting the ENGAA, or Engineering Admissions Assessment – but what is a good ENGAA score?
As one of the most competitive courses at Cambridge, with only 17.7% of applicants receiving an offer in 2019, you’ll want to make sure that you get a score that gives you a serious chance of receiving an offer.
The ENGAA is also one of the tests which shows the biggest gap between applicant and offer holder scores, so doing well on the ENGAA can be a big boost to your application.
So, what is a good score on the ENGAA?
The ENGAA hasn’t changed since 2019, so the ENGAA is still made up of two sections. Section One is made up of and Parts A and B. Part A is 20 questions on Mathematics and Physics, and Part B a further 20 questions on Advanced Maths and Physics.
All the questions are multiple choice, with a mix of 8, 7, 6, and 5 possible answers for each question. In the 2019 paper, there were eight 8 option questions, ten 7 option questions, seventeen 6 option questions, and nine 5 option questions.
This means that if you were to guess every answer, you would expect to get roughly 6.5/40 on Section 1 of the test, on average.
In Section 2, there were eight 8 option questions, three 7 option questions, eight 6 option questions, and one 5 option question.
This means if you were to again guess every answer, you would expect to get 3/20 on Section 2 of the test, on average.
Cambridge are of course smart enough to have worked this out, so unless you were a very lucky guesser, you’d end up with a scaled score of 1.0 for anything less than 6/20 in Part A and 4/20 in Part B or Section 2.
How did last year’s applicants do on the ENGAA?
The average score for Section 1 Part A among all applicants in 2019 was 4.1, which equates to just over 11/20 in the raw marking scale. You can see the distribution of these scores below.
The average score in Part B was also 4.1, which again using the conversion table (below), equates to 7/20. These averages demonstrate just what a difficult test this is – the average applicant for Engineering at Cambridge had GCSE scores of 8 A*s and 1 A, and yet they are only scoring an average 18/40 in Section 1 of this test.
Section 2 seems to have been even more challenging for applicants. No one managed to get more than 17/20, and only three candidates scored more than 15/20 on this section. For all applicants, the average score was 7/20, or a scaled score of 4.0.
The above graph shows these as raw scores – you can convert them yourself to scaled using the table below, but we thought the raw data was more interesting.
If you’re interested, here’s the score conversion table for 2019:
|Raw Score||Part 1A Scaled Score||Part 1B Scaled Score||Section 2 Scaled Score|
What score on the ENGAA do I need to get into Cambridge?
- But what about applicants who get offers?
- How different are their scores?
In 2019, there was a big gap between the average applicant and the average offer holder, with the average offer holder scoring 6.0 in Part A, 6.1 in Part B, and 9.6 in Section 2.
To give an even clearer picture, we’ve presented these averages including students who didn’t receive an offer, to make the gap clearer.
|Section 1 [Part A]||3.6||4.1||6.0|
|Section 1 [Part B]||3.7||4.1||6.1|
As mentioned above, these numbers are based on scaled scores for Section 1, as Cambridge only released aggregated raw scores for Section 2.
If you’re using these numbers to compare against your own performance on Past Papers, you can convert your raw scores to the scaled scores used here using the table above.
How much does the ENGAA matter to my application?
We don’t know for certain how the different parts of the test are weighted by admissions tutors when making their decisions, or how big a part your test performance plays in whether or not your receive an offer.
However, using the information available to us, we can make a few claims that are backed up by the evidence:
- Sixty-seven applicants scored 9.0 on the Part A section, the highest possible scaled score, and of these, 50 received offers.
- At 74.6%, compared with the 17.7% average chance of receiving an offer, this shows a big boost to your chances.
- Numbers are similar for the Part B, with 58 of 77 students who achieved the top score receiving offers.
- Thirty-one applicants scored 9.0 in parts of Section 1, with 28 of them receiving offers.
- In Section 2, the top score was 17/20, achieved by two applicants, and only three applicants scored above 15/20, with all applicants scoring 15 or above being awarded 9.0 on the scaled mark scheme.
- Seventeen of the twenty applicants who scored 15/20 or higher in Section 2 received offers.
Of course, students who excel in the tests are likely to also be those who excel in the interview, so these figures are only indicative, although the top-scoring candidate among all applicants, who scored 9.0/9.0/17 didn’t receive an offer, which is a useful reminder that you can only get in with a good interview, however you perform on the test.
Also bear in mind that everything we’ve written about above can be accused of confusing correlation with causation.
There’s nothing you can do in the test that you can’t undo in the interview and vice versa. Our goal is to give applicants the best and most complete information possible to help guide their decision making.
Where does our data come from?
Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act 2000, it’s possible to look at fairly detailed data on Cambridge admissions assessments, which is what we’ve used here. If you’d like to see the data for yourself, you can access it here.
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