When applying to Oxford to study Economics and Management (amongst other subjects), the TSA is an important step of the application process.
As you might expect, the TSA is not like any other test you have ever sat and in line with this, so is how it is scored.
Which is why we have put together this guide going over everything you need to know about the scoring and results of the TSA.
What makes the TSA scoring so different?
The TSA is primarily an aptitude test and assess Thinking Skills and Critical Thinking.
As with the vast majority of university Admissions Tests, the TSA is not graded as just a straight-forward percentage out of 100.
To try and make understanding this as simple as possible for you, we have put together this guide explaining it all for you.
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When do you get your TSA results?
Firstly, you will likely be wondering when do you actually get your results.
Students who sit the TSA on the 18th October 2023 you will be issued with a PDF Statement of Results by Early January 2024.
Results will be passed to the college at Oxford to which you have applied. The exact use of results varies between the subjects which use the test. For more information, please refer to the website for your chosen course.
Which Oxford Courses Require the TSA?
How is the TSA Scored?
The TSA is split into two sections, with Section 1, the Thinking Skills Assessment where candidates have 90 minutes to answer 50 multiple-choice questions.
Section 1 scores one mark per question. Scores are then calculated on the TSA scale to one decimal place, running approximately 0-100.
The scale is an estimate of the candidate’s ability, which makes scoring comparable by factoring in the question and overall test difficulty. Marking of this section is automated, and Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing (CAAT) does not accept re-marks.
Section 2 is a written task, which is reviewed by the admissions tutors of the Oxford college you are applying to. If you are applying to History and Economics, or Economics and Management you do not need to sit Section 2.
If we once again consider Section 1, the next step is converting the raw marks into the reported score.
TSA Score Conversion
The conversion is adjusted each year in line with the results that candidates achieve.
However, by looking at the conversions from 2021 (taken by those applying for 2022 entry), we can see how this has been applied.
|Critical Thinking Raw Score||Critical Thinking Reported Score|
|Problem Solving Raw Score||Problem Solving Reported Score|
What Can we learn from past TSA Scores?
So the CAAT does, in fact, provide the explanation of results dating as far back as 2007.
This means there is plenty of data to look at and see what trends have been established over the years.
Since 2017, there has been two versions of the explanation of the results with one for those taking the entire TSA and the other for those just taking Section 1.
There are some differences between the two so it is interesting to see how they compare.
An average score is about 60, so around 28 out of 50 raw marks. If you score 70 or above, you will find yourself in the top 10 of candidates – this equates to about 38 out 50.
With this in mind, we can take a look at the 2021 TSA results.
TSA Critical Thinking 2021 Results
Below are the Critical Thinking score distributions for firstly those sitting the entire TSA, and then the one for those just sitting Section 1.
From these, we can see that candidates have performed strongly, with candidates meeting the average point of around 60.
Those sitting the entire TSA done had a slightly higher peak than those only taking Section 1 with 68.7. For TSA Section 1, the peak was 66.6.
Do keep in consideration that less applicants sit the TSA Section 1, so this may have caused a skew in the results.
TSA Problem Solving 2021 Results
The score distributions for the TSA Problem Solving, and the TSA Section 1 Problem Solving.
As with the Critical Thinking questions, the candidates have all performed well and have surpassed the average score of 60 by some margin.
Once again, the applicants taking the entire TSA have performed slightly better with the peak score of 64.2, with those sitting the TSA Section 1 peaking at 62.2.
As mentioned before, the amount of candidates taking the TSA Section 1 might mean the scores have been skewed.
TSA Overall Scores 2021
Below, is the distribution for the scores of the section as a whole.
As you can see, the two are very comparable in how candidates performed.
Candidates sitting the whole TSA, had a higher peak of 67.3 compared to 65.4 for the TSA Section 1 applicants.
It is clear to see candidates performed comparatively with no notes of interest between them.
what are good, average, and low TSA scores?
The distribution tables above, should provide you with an insight into how candidates have performed in the past. Furthermore, you should be able to see the trends in the results and how the average candidate performs.
Based on what we have seen for the previous year’s results and the information provided by CAAT, we can see a pattern in regard to the scores. These can be categorised as follows:
What is a Good TSA Score?
It is generally agreed that anything from 70 and above is considered a good TSA score. Only the most exceptional applicant will achieve this. As you can see in the distribution charts above, around this mark is where there is a drop-off in the results. Very few, very exceptional candidates will achieve scores higher than an 80.
What is an Average TSA Score?
For the average TSA score, you would be looking at anything between 40 and 70.; the vast majority of applicants will find themselves in this category. An average score is about 60, so this is where most applicants will be aiming for, as this equates to around 28 out of 50 raw marks.
What is a Low TSA Score?
Anything below a 40, therefore, is considered a low TSA score. Due to the nature of the Oxford Interview process, it is unlikely you would get an Interview with this score – however, do keep in mind this decision will be made based on the performance of your entire cohort, so there may still be a chance.
Hopefully, from the above, you have a better understanding of how the scoring and results of the TSA works.
What is key to remember is that the conversion table and the distribution of results are not set in stone and will fluctuate each year due to the perceived difficulty of the Admissions Test.
Your Admissions Test is just one part of your Oxford application, so ensuring you do well in the other areas is essential.
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