Admission tests are similar to college interviews in that they are used by institutions to determine whether they want to offer a place to a prospective student. Whether on paper or another format, they are designed to give the university an indication of your current knowledge of your chosen subject.

What are admission tests?

University Admission Tests (UCAS) are entrance exams that universities use to select students for the course.

When to register for admission tests?

Most admissions tests are taken at the beginning of the academic year. You may need to register to take them before submitting your application, or you may need to register automatically when you apply to the university.

What university courses have admission tests?

Most courses that have admissions tests have UCAS deadlines for mid-October. Many colleges may have entrance exams, but it will not be for every course they offer. You can check the website of the UCAS or the university of your interest to see if your course requires you to take an exam.

What are the most common admission tests?

LNAT and the Cambridge Law Admission Test itself are popular for law degrees and BMAT and UKCAT for medicine. You can get helpful online resources and books to help you prepare for tests.

What are the most common subject areas for exams?

Law, Mathematics, Medicine and Assessment of Thinking Skills are the most common subject areas. The University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge are the most common institutions to administer the tests, although other universities administer these tests, in fact, many universities do so only if there are a large number of applications.

What kinds of tests are there?

From BMAT to UKCAT, you can research what each test is like to better prepare yourself. Most are written in pencil and paper and take the form of a question and answer test with the possibility of some essay work.

LNAT tests

The LNAT exam is a mandatory exam for applicants to study a law degree (LLB) at certain universities. If your chosen university requires that you take the National Law Aptitude Test as part of the application process, the test page is a must-read.

BMAT tests

The Biomedical Admission Test (BMAT) gives you the opportunity to stand out from the crowd and show your potential to succeed in medical and health-related courses. It tests your ability to apply scientific and mathematical knowledge, as well as problem solving, critical thinking, and written communication skills that are essential to college-level study.

UKCAT tests

The UKCAT Consortium is committed to equity in the selection of medicine and dentistry and to the increasing participation in medical and dental education of under-represented social groups. Through an ongoing program of research, UKCAT seeks to identify the characteristics of applicants that will make them good clinicians and thus improve the quality of those entering the professions with the ultimate goal of improving patient care.

Other common admission tests

MAT (Mathematical Admission Test) for Oxford (for degrees in both mathematics and computer science), Imperial College London and Warwick.

STEP (Sixth Quarter Examination Test) for Cambridge and Warwick math courses

TMUA (Mathematics Test for College Admissions) for mathematics and mathematics-related courses at the universities of Durham, Bath, Cardiff, Nottingham, Sheffield, Lancaster, LSE, Southampton and Warwick; it is usually optional rather than required.

TSA (Thinking Skills Assessment) for Cambridge, Oxford and UCL.

Why do universities use admissions tests when applying for A-Levels and / or UCAS points?

Colleges understand that you won't know everything about the subject area you choose, but they are looking to see what you do know. This is also a good opportunity for the university to see your passion for the subject.

What do these admission tests entail?

The Cambridge law exam, for example, is a one-hour exam in which you will be asked to answer an essay question. You are not required or expected to have any legal knowledge to answer the question; instead, it is designed to test your argumentative and essay writing skills. In the same way, there is no need to register for the exam or pay a fee. If a Cambridge university invites you for an interview, they will arrange for you to take the exam on the same day.


It is a two and a half hour test designed to assess your math skills. The level of the questions corresponds mainly to AS-level mathematics and some A-level mathematics. The questions you will have to answer will vary depending on the course you are applying for: question 1 is multiple choice, while questions 2-7 require to prove your work. This test must be taken in an authorized center (usually your own school or university will be one of them) and you must be registered as a candidate. Some test centers may charge you a fee to take the test.


It consists of three three-hour assignments aimed at evaluating your math skills. You will only be asked to take one or two of the jobs, depending on what the university you applied to requires. For each job, you will have to answer six questions based on A-level math or additional AS-level math. You must take the exam at a registered center, which may be your school or university, and you must register as a candidate beforehand. The STEP fee can be found on the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing website.


It lasts two and a half hours and consists of two 90-minute sections, each with 20 questions. Answers are multiple choice.


It consists of two sections. The first part lasts 90 minutes and includes 50 multiple-choice questions designed to test problem-solving skills and critical thinking. The second part lasts 30 minutes and is a writing assignment in which you will be asked to answer an essay question. While Cambridge and UCL only require the first part to be seated, Oxford requires both to be seated. The courses that require you to take the TSA vary from university to university, so it is best to check the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing website to find out if you should take this test. There is no fee to take the TSA; However, while the UCL will organize the test, Oxford and Cambridge require you to find a test center (which could be your school or university) and register.

Do the tests require specific knowledge and is it possible to practice for them?

MAT, STEP, BMAT, and UCAT require specific knowledge that you may need to review, although they should be things that you have previously covered in your academic studies. On the other hand, the TSA, LNAT and Cambridge law tests test you on critical thinking and writing skills and therefore do not require revision.

With that said, it is always wise to do your best to prepare for these tests. There are many resources available online, including previous articles, sample tests, guides, and test specifications. TSA, MAT, BMAT and STEP preparation resources can be found on the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing website, while LNAT and UCAT have their own websites, and sample Cambridge Law Test preparation documents can be found on the University of Cambridge website. The best advice is to fully educate yourself on what you need to know by reviewing their guides and specifications and then practice, practice, and practice.

Intelligence quotient or IQ

How do universities view test results?

Most admissions tests only count as part of a university's decision to accept or reject a candidate's application. Other factors are taken into account, such as your personal statement, your performance in the interview (if you are invited to attend one) and your academic record. Also, different universities and different courses will consider your exam results differently. For some, it could be a way to distinguish between candidates who have done equally well in all other steps of the application process, while others may have a cutoff grade that you are expected to get if they take your application seriously.

However, as a general rule of thumb, test results tend to count less than test results, but more than your personal statement and references. Due to the varied importance that is placed on test results, it is important not to get too stressed out regarding these tests. In most cases, there is no pass or fail grade; Instead, the tests are designed to help you highlight the knowledge or skills you already possess. Strive to do the best you can, but don't neglect other elements of your application that might be equally important in favor of devoting all your energy to reviewing your tests.

What if your test results were not what you expected?

If you don't get the results you expected on your exam, there is unfortunately very little you can do about it. If your test results were particularly bad, most colleges do not view this favorably and you could lose your chance to get into that particular course. In the event that your test results were average, the other elements of your application (personal statement, test results, etc.) can go ahead, but there is no guarantee. Because you can only take these exams once a year, you will have to wait until the following academic year if you want to reapply and retake the exams.

Use that time to your advantage. If you didn't do well on your tests, you might be thinking about your choice of degree and college - are they really for you? If you're confident, take some time to review what you didn't do so well and improve your skills and knowledge so you can do better next time.

How can I prepare for the tests?

Review what we've shown you in these questions and do independent learning on your own to show initiative. Remember, universities are not looking for experts, but simply a passion for the chosen course.

Admission tests

Admission tests

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