Which Admissions Test Is Required for Each Oxbridge Course?

Oxford and Cambridge are two of the few UK universities that require students to take admissions tests as part of the undergraduate application process. Which admissions test you are required to take depends on the course (and sometimes the college) you’re applying for.

This quick guide shows the admissions test required for each Oxbridge course and when you’ll need to register for it. If you need support preparing for an admissions test, our experienced Oxbridge admissions consultants and specialist test tutors are on hand to help. Get in touch with our team to get started.

Cambridge admissions tests

For Cambridge applications, admissions tests (or written assessments) can be before, during or after the interview stage. Some Cambridge tests are college-specific for certain subjects – we’ve highlighted where this is the case in the table below.

This table shows each Cambridge course, the admissions test required, when the test is sat and if all or some of the colleges require it.

CourseAdmissions test(s) required by which collegesWhen?About the test
ArchaeologyAll colleges require applicants to take a written assessment.

Note: Archaeology not offered at Queen’s College. 

At interviewA computer-based assessment taking 1 hour. The assessment requires you to analyse and reflect on one or more images and to answer four related questions. 
ArchitectureAll colleges require applicants to take both a written and practical assessment.At interviewThe Architecture admissions assessment is a 1-hour exam consisting of 2 sections: part 1 is a writing skills assessment, where you will write a short essay in response to a question, while in part 2, you will be asked to observe and interpret a setting through drawing.
Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES)All colleges require AMES applicants wishing to study a European language to take the relevant MML at-interview admissions assessment.

St Edmund’s also requires an additional written assessment

At interviewThe AMES admissions assessment consists of 2 sections: section 1 is a 1-hour, multiple-choice test designed to assess your ability to read and analyse texts critically, while Section 2 is a 1-hour, essay-writing question designed to assess your ability to form and write a clear argument.
Chemical Engineering and BiotechnologyAll colleges require applicants to take the ESAT.Pre-interviewComputer-based test completed in a single 120-minute sitting. The test is entirely multiple-choice.

Candidates must complete 3 separate sections which carry equal marks and should each take 40 minutes. Students will complete 3 sections from the following sections (Maths 1 is compulsory):

  • Mathematics 1 (compulsory).
  • Biology.
  • Chemistry.
  • Physics.
  • Mathematics 2.
ClassicsAll colleges require applicants to take a written assessment.At interviewIf you are applying for the 3-year Classics course, you are required to sit a 60-minute translation exercise as your written assessment. You will either be interpreting a passage in Latin or ancient Greek depending on your choice of A level or equivalent. The 3-year course will reflect a level of vocabulary covered at AS level. If you are applying for the 4-year Classics course, you will be required to sit a 20-minute language aptitude interview either in ancient Greek or Latin.
Computer ScienceTMUA (Test of Mathematics for University Admissions) required by all colleges.Pre-interviewThis 150-minute test is split equally into two parts. 

Part 1 assesses your application of mathematics to new or unseen situations.

Part 2 assesses your mathematical and logical reasoning.

The entire test is multiple choice and taken in a single sitting.

EconomicsTMUA (Test of Mathematics for University Admissions) is required by all colleges, except St Edmund’s and Hughes Hall, which require a written assessment.Pre-interview (TMUA) 

Or

At interview (written assessment)

The TMUA is a 150-minute test that is split equally into two parts. 

Part 1 assesses your application of mathematics to new or unseen situations.

Part 2 assesses your mathematical and logical reasoning.

The entire test is multiple choice and taken in a single sitting.

The written assessment will be administered by the college (Hughes Hall or St Edmund’s

EducationNo assessment is required by most colleges, except Wolfson which requires a written assessment.At interviewAt your interview, you will be asked to sit a written assessment which consists of an essay on a topic in Education.
EngineeringESATPre-interviewThe ENGAA is a 2-hour exam designed to assess your knowledge and abilities in Mathematics and Physics. The exam is split into two sections, with 1 hour allocated to each section: section 1 tests Maths and Physics (1A) and Advanced Maths and Advanced Physics (1B) in a multiple-choice format, while section 2 tests Advanced Physics in a multiple-choice format.
EnglishWritten assessment required by all colleges.

Cambridge no longer uses the ELAT.

At interviewA 90-minute computer-based assessment. The question paper contains five texts, (a) to (e). Candidates choose two of the passages to compare/contrast them by paying particular attention to distinctive features of structure, language and style. 
GeographyNo assessment required by most colleges, except Hughes Hall, St Edmund’s, and Wolfson, which require a written assessment.At interviewThe Geography admissions assessment is a 2-hour exam consisting of two sections: section 1 is a multiple-choice test which assesses your thinking skills and reading comprehension, while section 2 requires you to produce a written response to a graphical stimulus.
HistorySome colleges do not require any admissions test: Churchill, Corpus Christi, Downing, Girton, Homerton, King’s, Selwyn, and Trinity.

Some colleges require the HAA (History Admissions Assessment):

Christ’s, Clare, Emmanuel, Fitzwilliam, Gonville & Caius, Hughes Hall, Jesus, Lucy Cavendish, Magdalene, Murray Edwards, Newnham, Pembroke, Peterhouse, Queens’, Robinson, St Catharine’s, St John’s, Sidney Sussex, and Trinity Hall.

Wolfson requires its own written assessment.

Pre-interviewThe HAA is a 2-hour test designed to assess your reading, critical thinking, and analytical skills. It consists of 2 sections: section 1 includes multiple-choice questions designed to test your grasp of implicit meaning and eye for detail, and section 2 requires a written response based on comparing and contrasting two passages from historical texts. Find out more about the HAA and how to prepare.

 

Some colleges require the HAA, others don’t. Wolfson requires its own written test.

History and Modern LanguagesAll colleges require applicants to take a language assessment.

Some colleges also require the HAA (History Admissions Assessment) in addition – these include: Clare, Emmanuel, Fitzwilliam, Gonville & Caius, Hughes Hall, Jesus, Lucy Cavendish, Murray Edwards, Newnham, Pembroke, Peterhouse, Robinson, St Edmund’s, St John’s, Sidney Sussex, Trinity Hall, and Wolfson.

At interviewThe HAA is a 2-hour test designed to assess your reading, critical thinking, and analytical skills. It consists of 2 sections: section 1 includes multiple-choice questions designed to test your grasp of implicit meaning and eye for detail, and Section 2 requires a written response based on comparing and contrasting two passages from historical texts. Find out more about the HAA and how to prepare.

A language aptitude test is required for the Modern Languages component depending on your current level of study. Check the Cambridge admissions assessments page for more information.

History and PoliticsNo assessment required by some colleges: Churchill, Corpus Christi, Downing, Girton, Homerton, King’s, Selwyn, and Trinity.

HAA (History Admissions Assessment) required by some colleges: Christ’s, Clare, Emmanuel, Fitzwilliam, Gonville & Caius, Hughes Hall, Jesus, Lucy Cavendish, Magdalene, Murray Edwards, Newnham, Pembroke, Peterhouse, Queens’, Robinson, St Catharine’s, St John’s, Sidney Sussex, and Trinity Hall.

A written assessment is required by: Wolfson, St Edmund’s, and Murray Edwards (in addition to the HAA).

At interviewThe HAA is a 2-hour test designed to assess your reading, critical thinking, and analytical skills. It consists of 2 sections: section 1 includes multiple-choice questions designed to test your grasp of implicit meaning and eye for detail, and Section 2 requires a written response based on comparing and contrasting two passages from historical texts.
History of ArtWritten assessment required by all colleges.At interviewThe History of Art admissions assessment consists of a 1 hour written assessment within a 90-minute window. You will be asked to comment on two pairs of images of works of art, which you will be able to select from 5 possible pairs. The assessment is designed to assess your visual acumen and intelligence, as well as provide a good indication of how you will perform on a History of Art course.
Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS)No assessment required for most colleges.

Some colleges require a written assessment – these are Hughes Hall, King’s, Murray Edwards, Newnham, Peterhouse, St Edmund’s, and Wolfson.

At interviewThe HSPS admissions assessment is a 2-hour exam to determine your ability to read critically, analyse detail, and grasp implicit meaning (section 1), as well as form a logical and persuasive argument (section 2). The exam lasts 2 hours, with 1 hour dedicated to section 1 (multiple-choice questions) and the other hour dedicated to section 2 (an essay-writing question).
LawLNAT (National Admissions Test for Law) required by all colleges.Pre-interviewThe LNAT is designed to test the intellectual abilities and thinking skills required to succeed in a Law degree, rather than your knowledge of a particular subject. It lasts for 135 minutes and consists of 2 sections: Section A contains 42 multiple-choice questions, while Section B is an essay question. 

Find out more about the LNAT and how to prepare.

LinguisticsWritten assessment required by all colleges.At interviewThe Linguistics admissions assessment is a computer-based 60-minute test including a series of data-based questions split over 3 sections. It is designed to assess how you go about finding answers and how you prioritise your time in producing the answers, rather than your technical knowledge.
MathematicsSTEP (Sixth Term Examination Paper) required by all colleges.

Some colleges also require applicants to take an additional written assessment – these include Churchill, King’s, Magdalene, Murray Edwards, Robinson, and St Edmund’s.

At interview (written assessment) and/or post-interview (STEP)STEP is a notoriously challenging admissions test designed to assess your mathematical ability. It is divided into 2 papers, each lasting 3 hours. STEP 2 is based on A level Maths and AS level Further Maths, while STEP 3 is based on A level Maths and A level Further Maths. Find out more about STEP and how to prepare.
Medicine (Standard and Graduate entry)UCAT (All colleges)Pre-interviewA computer-based single 2-hour test split into 5 subtests which are scored separately:

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Decision Making
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Abstract Reasoning
  • Situational Judgement 

Read our blog on UCAT and how to prepare.

Modern and Medieval Languages (MML)Written assessment required by all colleges.At interviewThe MML admissions assessment is a 1-hour exam split into 2 sections. Section A (40 mins) requires you to write an answer to a question/text passage in the language you wish to study at Cambridge. It is not a fill-the-gaps test, but rather a free-flowing essay which is used to assess how well you can express yourself in a foreign language. In section B (20 mins), you write your answer in English, paying particular attention to the observations you made from the question/passage of the text.
MusicNo admissions test is required for any college, however, ABRSM Grade 8 Theory at Merit and above may be accepted as a substitute for A Level Music.N/AN/A
Natural SciencesESAT

Magdalene College may require a college admissions assessment in addition to the ESAT

ESAT pre-interview

Magdalene assessment at interview 

Computer-based test completed in a single 120-minute sitting. The test is entirely multiple-choice.

Candidates must complete 3 separate sections which carry equal marks and should each take 40 minutes. Students will complete 3 sections from the following sections (Maths 1 is compulsory):

  • Mathematics 1 (compulsory).
  • Biology.
  • Chemistry.
  • Physics.
  • Mathematics 2.
PhilosophyWritten assessment required by all colleges.At interviewThe Philosophy admissions assessment is a 1-hour exam containing 16 multiple-choice questions (part I), expected to take NMT 20 mins, and an essay question (part II) where the candidate is offered a choice of two essay topics. The essay word limit is 1000 words.

 

Psychological and Behavioural SciencesNo assessment required for most colleges.

Written assessment required by: Gonville & Caius, Homerton, Hughes Hall, Murray Edwards, Newnham, Selwyn, and Wolfson.

At interviewThe Psychological and  Behavioural Sciences Admissions Assessment is a 2-hour exam designed to assess your thinking skills, mathematical and biological knowledge, and reading comprehension (section 1), as well as your ability to think analytically and form a clear argument (section 2).
Veterinary MedicineESATPre-interviewComputer-based test completed in a single 120-minute sitting. The test is entirely multiple-choice.

Candidates must complete 3 separate sections which carry equal marks and should each take 40 minutes. Students will complete 3 sections from the following sections (Maths 1 is compulsory):

  • Mathematics 1 (compulsory).
  • Biology.
  • Chemistry.
  • Physics.
  • Mathematics 2.

Oxford admissions tests

For Oxford applications, all admissions tests are taken before the interview stage and are required by all colleges. The following courses require the stated admissions tests:

CourseAdmissions testWhen?About the test
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Medicine
  • Medicine (Graduate entry)
BMAT (Biomedical Admissions Test) is required by all colleges.

Please note that the BMAT will no longer be required after the 2023 application cohort (2024 entry). The UCAT is likely to replace it.

Pre-interview

Registration and booking required. 

BMAT: 

  • Computer-based.
  • Section 1: Problem-solving and Critical Thinking, including data analysis, inference, and your ability to understand different arguments.
  • Section 2: Science and Mathematics Knowledge, focusing on your ability to apply your knowledge.
  • Section 3: Writing Skills Assessment, looking at your ability to develop various ideas and effectively convey them in writing.
  • Duration: 2 hours.

As stated the BMAT will no longer be required after the 2023 application cohort (2024 entry). The UCAT is likely to replace it, but Oxford is yet to announce its replacement test. Stay updated by regularly checking the Oxford Admissions Test page for any announcements.

  • Classics
  • Classics and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
CAT (Classics Admissions Test) is required by all colleges.Pre-interview

Registration and booking required.

CAT:

Three computer-based tests: 

Latin Translation Test.

Greek Translation Test

  • Passage given in prose or verse.
  • Translate into English.

Classics Language Aptitude Test (CLAT).

  • Analyse language structure.
  • No specific language knowledge is required.
  • The paper you take will depend on your intended course.

Duration: each test lasts 1 hour.

  • Classics and English 
CAT (Classics Admissions Test) is required by all colleges.

Note: ELAT (English Literature Admissions Test) is no longer required.

CAT: Pre-interview

Registration and booking required.

ELAT:

Pre-interview

Registration and booking required.

CAT:

Latin Translation Test.

Greek Translation Test.

  • Passage given in prose or verse.
  • Translate into English.

Classics Language Aptitude Test (CLAT).

  • Analyse language structure.
  • No specific language knowledge required.
  • The paper you take will depend on your intended course.

Duration: each test lasts 1 hour.

ELAT:

  • Computer-based test:
  • 6 passages on the same theme. Various forms: poetry, prose (fiction and nonfiction), drama.
  • Select two passages to compare and contrast.
  • Focus on interesting features: Structure, language and style.

Duration: 2 hours.

  • Classics and Modern Languages
CAT (Classics Admissions Test) is required by all colleges.

MLAT (Modern Languages Admissions Test) is required by all colleges.

CAT: Pre-interview

Registration and booking required.

MLAT:

Pre-interview

Registration and booking required.

CAT:

Latin Translation Test.

Greek Translation Test

  • Passage given in prose or verse.
  • Translate into English.

Classics Language Aptitude Test (CLAT).

  • Analyse language structure.
  • No specific language knowledge is required.
  • The paper you take will depend on your intended course.

Duration: each section lasts 1 hour.

MLAT: 

Computer-based test.

  • 10 sections in total and those required depend on the applied course.
  • 8 language sections (course dependent, pick the one suitable for your course): Czech, French, German, Italian, Modern Greek, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Additional Sections:

  • Language Aptitude Test (LAT) for new language learners or Russian applicants.
  • Philosophy test for Philosophy and Modern Languages applicants.

Language Sections Duration: 30 minutes each.

Philosophy Section Duration: 60 minutes.

  • Computer Science
  • Computer Science and Philosophy
  • Mathematics
  • Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Mathematics and Philosophy
  • Mathematics and Statistics.
MAT (Mathematics Admissions Test).Pre-interview

Registration and booking required. 

MAT: 

  • Hybrid Test: Combination of computer-based and paper booklet questions. Test depth of mathematical understanding
  • Content: Requires application of mathematical knowledge and techniques.
  • Syllabus corresponds roughly to year 12 content ( or equivalent). Includes a few additional topics from A level Maths.

Duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes.

  • English and Modern Languages
 

MLAT (Modern Languages Admissions Test) required by all colleges before interview.

ELAT:

Pre-interview 

Registration and booking required.

MLAT:

Pre-interview 

Registration and booking required.

MLAT: 

Computer-based test.

  • 10 sections in total and those required depend on the applied course.
  • 8 language sections (course dependent, pick the one suitable for your course): Czech, French, German, Italian, Modern Greek, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Additional Sections:

  • Language Aptitude Test (LAT) for new language learners or Russian applicants.
  • Philosophy test for Philosophy and Modern Languages applicants.

Language Sections Duration: 30 minutes each.

Philosophy Section Duration: 60 minutes.

  • English Language and Literature 
ELAT (English Literature Admissions Test) is no longer required.Pre-interview 

Registration and booking required.

ELAT (English Literature Admissions Test) is no longer required.
  • European and Middle Eastern Languages
MLAT (Modern Languages Admissions Test).Pre-interview 

Registration and booking required.

MLAT: 

Computer-based test.

  • 10 sections in total and those required depend on the applied course.
  • 8 language sections (course dependent, pick the one suitable for your course): Czech, French, German, Italian, Modern Greek, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Additional Sections:

  • Language Aptitude Test (LAT) for new language learners or Russian applicants.
  • Philosophy test for Philosophy and Modern Languages applicants.

Language Sections Duration: 30 minutes each.

Philosophy Section Duration: 60 minutes.

  • Geography 
GAT (Geography Admissions Test).Pre-interview 

Registration and booking required.

GAT:

Computer-based, duration with 3 sections:

Part A (Critical Thinking): 

  • Two subsections
  • Read passages, and answer multiple-choice questions.

Duration: approximately 30 minutes.

Part B (Problem Solving): 

  • Two subsections
  • Read information, and answer multiple-choice questions

Duration: approximately 45 minutes.

Part C (Essay):

  • Read text, and answer essay question.

Duration: 45 minutes.

  • History
  • History (Ancient and Modern)
  • History and Politics
HAT (History Admissions Test).Pre-interview 

Registration and booking required.

HAT:

Computer-based test.

  • Skills-based, not knowledge-focused.
  • One question based on a specific extract.

Skills evaluated include:

  • Careful and critical reading.
  • Analytical approach.
  • Relevant question answering.
  • Concept handling.
  • Effective evidence selection.
  • Originality and independence.
  • Precision and clarity in writing.

Duration: 1 hour.

  • History and Economics 
HAT (History Admissions Test).

TSA (Thinking Skills Assessment).

HAT:

Pre-interview 

Registration and booking required.

TSA:

Pre-interview 

Registration and booking required.

HAT:

Computer-based test.

  • Skills-based, not knowledge-focused.
  • One question based on a specific extract.

Skills evaluated include:

  • Careful and critical reading.
  • Analytical approach.
  • Relevant question answering.
  • Concept handling.
  • Effective evidence selection.
  • Originality and independence.
  • Precision and clarity in writing.

Duration: 1 hour.

TSA:

Paper-based test, 2 sections.

Section 1 (90 minutes): Multiple-choice questions.

  • Assess problem-solving skills, numerical reasoning, critical thinking, understanding and reasoning with arguments.

Section 2 (30 minutes):

  • Writing task from a choice of four questions.
  • Organise ideas concisely and coherently.
  • Convey thoughts effectively in writing.

Duration total: 2 hours.

  • History and English 
HAT (History Admissions Test).

Please note: ELAT (English Literature Admissions Test) is no longer required by all colleges.

Pre-interview 

Registration and booking required.

HAT:

Computer-based test.

  • Skills-based, not knowledge-focused.
  • One question based on a specific extract.

Skills evaluated include:

  • Careful and critical reading.
  • Analytical approach.
  • Relevant question answering.
  • Concept handling.
  • Effective evidence selection.
  • Originality and independence.
  • Precision and clarity in writing.

Duration: 1 hour.

ELAT:

  • Computer-based test.
  • 6 passages on the same theme. Various forms: poetry, prose (fiction and nonfiction), drama.
  • Select two passages to compare and contrast.
  • Focus on interesting features: structure, language and style.

Duration: 2 hours.

  • History and Modern Languages
HAT (History Admissions Test)

and

MLAT (Modern Languages Admissions Test) required by all colleges

Pre-interview 

Registration and booking required.

HAT:

Computer-based test.

  • Skills-based, not knowledge-focused.
  • One question based on a specific extract.

Skills evaluated include:

  • Careful and critical reading.
  • Analytical approach.
  • Relevant question answering.
  • Concept handling.
  • Effective evidence selection.
  • Originality and independence.
  • Precision and clarity in writing.

Duration: 1 hour.

MLAT: 

Computer-based test.

  • 10 sections in total and those required depend on the applied course.
  • 8 language sections (course dependent, pick the one suitable for your course): Czech, French, German, Italian, Modern Greek, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Additional Sections:

  • Language Aptitude Test (LAT) for new language learners or Russian applicants.
  • Philosophy test for Philosophy and Modern Languages applicants.

Language Sections Duration: 30 minutes each.

Philosophy Section Duration: 60 minutes.

  • Law (Jurisprudence)
  • Law with Law Studies in Europe
LNAT (National Admissions Test for Law).Pre-interview 

Registration and booking required.

LNAT:

Computer-based, three sections: 

Section A (Multiple Choice):

  • 42 questions based on 12 passages. 3 or 4 questions per passage.
  • Allowed time: 95 minutes.

Section B (Essay):

  • Write one essay from three options.
  • Allowed time: 40 minutes.

Total duration: 2 hours and 15 minutes.

  • Materials Science
  • Physics
  • Physics and Philosophy 
  • Engineering Science
PAT (Physics Admissions Test).Pre-interview 

Registration and booking required.

PAT: 

Hybrid test, online questions and paper booklet questions.

  • Questions cover subject matter comparable to GCSE and A level syllabus ( or equivalent)  in Mathematics and Physics. 

Duration: 2 hours.

  • Modern Languages 
  • Modern Languages and Linguistics 
  • Philosophy and Modern Languages 
MLAT (Modern Languages Admissions Test).Pre-interview 

Registration and booking required.

MLAT: 

Computer-based test.

  • 10 sections in total and those required depend on the applied course.
  • 8 language sections (course dependent, pick the one suitable for your course): Czech, French, German, Italian, Modern Greek, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Additional Sections:

  • Language Aptitude Test (LAT) for new language learners or Russian applicants.
  • Philosophy test for Philosophy and Modern Languages applicants.

Language Sections Duration: 30 minutes each.

Philosophy Section Duration: 60 minutes.

  • Music
Music Performance Test.At interview/ post-

application submission.

No registration or booking required.

You will be required to email a 5-minute continuous video of a musical performance on your chosen instrument/voice.
  • Philosophy and Theology
Philosophy Test.Pre-interview.

Registration and booking required.

Philosophy Test:

  • Computer-based.
  • Comprehension exercise. 
  • Short essay or structured question.
  • Tests your philosophical reasoning ability. 
  • Not required to have studied philosophy beforehand.

Duration: 60 minutes.

  • Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)
  • Psychology (Experimental)
  • Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics
  • Human Sciences
  • Economics and Management
TSA (Thinking Skills Assessment).Pre-interview.

Registration and booking required. 

TSA:

Paper-based test, 2 sections:

Section 1 (90 minutes): 

  • Multiple-choice questions.
  • Assess problem-solving skills, numerical reasoning, critical thinking, understanding and reasoning with arguments.

Section 2 (30 minutes):

  • Writing task from a choice of four questions.
  • Organise ideas concisely and coherently.
  • Convey thoughts effectively in writing.

Duration total: 2 hours.

Note that additional tests may be required from international applicants to make sure you meet the English language requirements for your chosen course. Check the information provided by Oxford or Cambridge on English language requirements before applying.

For more information and support with an upcoming admissions test, get in touch with our expert Oxbridge admissions team today.