An All-You-Need HSPSAA Guide to the Exam


Do you need a HSPSAA guide to the test? If you didn’t already know, Cambridge introduced admissions tests for potential applicants a number of years ago. For those wishing to study Human Social and Political Sciences, there is a specific exam known as the HSPSAA that must be taken in the month before the interview.


What is the HSPSAA test?

As a HSPSAA guide, this exam is essentially designed to test your qualitative skills. This involves testing both reading and comprehension as well as your written essay style. It is also meant to ensure that applicants have the required level of aptitude to meet the academic rigour and demands of the undergraduate course at Cambridge.

This exam forms an important part of Cambridge’s pre-interview assessment of applicants to the university. Therefore, it is imperative that your child takes preparations for the exam very seriously. Encourage them to spend time working through the practice material the university offer. Also encourage them to look at courses which are tailored to their individual exam preparations such as the ones found at UniAdmissions.


What can your child expect from the exam?

The exam is split into two separate sections. The first assesses the candidates reading and comprehension abilities and the second examines their essay writing skills. The total time allowed on the exam is two hours.

In section 1, the answers will be given in multiple choice format and students are expected to analyse and comprehend information provided in a passage, and then answer questions that demonstrate that understanding. This is a test of both their ability to get explicit meaning from text as well as implicit information suggested through the passage.


In section 2, they will be expected to answer a question in essay format. They will have a choice of eight questions from which they can pick. The topics of these questions will be across a range of Politics/International Relations, Social anthropology. If your child has a strength in a certain topic then they can tailor their choices and preparation to their interests. It’s likely that a question will come up in a topic they are comfortable with or have focused their research on.



How should my child prepare?


As a HSPAA guide for the multiple choice section, applicants should make use of the material available that is available through the university. Practice, under timed conditions, the comprehension exercises. Familiarise with the style and structure of the questions in the exam. The texts are unknown, but the passages will be from different sources. Your child should familiarise themself with specimen material to see the sorts of texts they use.


For the essay section, look at past material and specimen material available from the University of Cambridge. This will guide you about the sort of essays they are expecting candidates to write about. It will also form a significant part of their preparation. Make sure your child writes out practice essays in timed conditions, otherwise they may be caught out with timings on the day. Part of the purpose of these exams is to test knowledge, and also your ability to translate that in the time constraints given.


To help in your preparation, it’s worth reading some past Oxbridge interview experiences to familiarise your child with what will happen on the day and the questions that will be asked.

Next steps in the HSPSAA guide…

As a parent, you want what’s best for your child. Look at the next steps in the HSPSAA guide to ensure they achieve the best results in the test:


  • Make sure they practice using the material through the university website and other available resources online such as UniAdmissions’ HSPSAA Guide.


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



  • Time your child taking the essay section and multiple choice in timed conditions in order to ensure that they are able to complete the exam in the required time, and to a high standard.

Book your child onto Uniadmissions course

UniAdmissions offer a comprehensive HSPSAA guide and package to support students sitting this aptitude tests. In preparation for the entrance exams, HSPSAA tuition provides students with a selection of resources materials. Access to the likes of past papers will get them familiar with the exam itself and the topics that are likely to come up. Getting individual tuition from expert tutors in this specific subject field will maximise their chances of getting a good score in the exam.


We also offer a free consultation service for parents. During our consultation, we can talk you through the practical ways in which you can support your child during this stressful time. With a quick chat with one of our consultants, you will understand more about what your child is going through and how to handle the competitive application process. A helping hand from family and friends will increase your child’s chance of success.

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Discover our top tips when applying for University in our blogs. We have collected many anecdotes and recent updates in the world of university admissions to help you get the full picture when applying for the course of your dreams. Read how to write a personal statement that will stand out, learn the most common questions asked at Oxbridge universities and, most importantly, what exams you need to take for your subject and how to pass them.