Admissions tests are a major part of the UCAS university application process, forming a standardised measure for institutions to assess academic capabilities of candidates.
They can require substantial amounts of study to do well in, so make sure you take that into account when planning out your A-levels, NEAs and other commitments.
- 1 Do I need to sit an admissions test?
- 2 Key Dates: University Admission Processes
- 3 Specific Course Admission Tests
- 4 The British Council and University Admissions
- 5 The Course Finder: How to Choose the Right Course for Successful Admissions
Do I need to sit an admissions test?
The types of university entrance exams candidates may encounter depend on their chosen field and institution.
Admissions testing can range from tests assessing general intellectual abilities to subject-specific exams.
These admission tests provide universities with a gauge your proficiency in certain skills or bodies of knowledge.
Thorough preparations for these exams are therefore critical, as they can significantly influence the outcome your application.
Don’t forget of course that the process of admissions is not restricted to these tests alone.
Key Dates: University Admission Processes
As part of planning for university admission, there are certain key dates you should bear in mind.
In Year 13, the first deadline is September 5th. Technically, you can submit your UCAS application now, but if you have until January we wouldn’t recommend it.
September onwards is the time to be researching, planning and exploring potential courses and universities. [link to course search here]
Specific Course Admission Tests
The majority of courses which have an October 15th submission date also require an admissions test.
We have outlined each of these below, by subject and Oxbridge specific exams.
Applying to Medicine & Allied Subjects
Medical courses may require:
- the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT),
- the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT), or
- the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT), depending on the university.
Oxford and Cambridge specifically require the BMAT for medical courses.
Applying to Law
For law courses, the Law National Admissions Test (LNAT) is required by some universities, including Cambridge and Oxford.
Applying to Mathematics
For mathematics courses:
- the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT) is required by Oxford, while
- the Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP) is required by Cambridge and some other universities.
Applying to Oxford
Specific tests for Oxford include:
- the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) for classics courses,
- the English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT) for English courses,
- the History Admissions Test (HAT) for History courses,
- the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT) for Maths based courses,
- the Modern Languages Admissions Test (MLAT) for modern languages courses,
- the Physics Admissions Test (PAT) for engineering, materials science, or physics courses, and
- the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) for various courses including Experimental Psychology, Geography, Human Sciences, Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and Psychology, Philosophy, and Linguistics.
For Geography based courses, there is now the new Geography Admissions Test (GAT), a three part, online test.
Applying to Cambridge
For Cambridge, applicants may need to take a subject-specific test, although the ELAT and TSA are no longer required for English and Land Economy applicants, respectively.
Applicants from outside of the EU will also need to complete a Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA).
Specific tests for Cambridge include:
- University of Cambridge pre-registration assessments
- BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)
- Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP)
- Cambridge Law Test
- Follow this link for the remaining course-specific admissions tests
The British Council and University Admissions
The British Council’s pivotal role in facilitating UK university admissions is indispensable. It provides robust advice to students worldwide, helping them navigate admissions tests and applications to English-speaking universities.
They even offer specific guidance for admissions to prestigious institutions like Oxford and Cambridge.
University admissions tests can be daunting for students, especially those whose first language is not English.
The British Council mitigates these concerns by offering comprehensive English language courses targeted towards these tests. By equipping students with the necessary language skills, they raise students’ confidence, allowing them to tackle conversations, written tests, interviews, and even general acclimatisation to the teaching environment.
Check your specific university
While the above list covers the vast majority of entrance exams, there are a few courses at some universities which have developed their own tests.
Find them at the UCAS website.
The Course Finder: How to Choose the Right Course for Successful Admissions
One of the most critical steps in the process of university admissions is the selection of the right course.
This task can be overwhelming for students due to the vast number of courses available.
The Acrosophy Course finder has all UK registered courses in it’s database, so you’re sure to find your 1st choice!