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Admissions Test Guide

So you have decided to study in the UK–congratulations! You are about to learn from the most venerated educational institutes in the world. However, although there are general admissions requirements for most colleges, often the colleges have specific admissions requirements. Here are some of the ways you may be evaluated.

multiple choice test sheetEssays

Knowledge and ability are often reflected in a student’s facility in writing and communicating, so many schools require essays for admission. You may be asked to submit a:

• Personal Essay
• Statement of Intent (regarding your undergraduate and post-graduate goals)
• Graded Essay (from previous courses), or
• Subject Essay (writing on a subject assigned by the college)

Always take great care to use the best writing and style you can for these essays.

Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)

This is a Cambridge Assessment test of critical thinking skills, and is offered online as well as on paper. It is a general standardized test that will measure your general ability to solve problems and is popular in the strict sciences, such as engineering and physics, as well as economics and statistics.

Subject Tests

You may also be asked to take a specific subject test and it might be institute-specific. For instance, Cambridge has its own exam for admission to its Law School, but others may use the Law National Admissions Test. There are subjects tests for almost any set of subjects, so make sure you check with each college in which you are interested.


Another important test of a student’s ability to succeed in academe is the interview. This is often one-on-one, but it can also be a panel of educators along with the student. The student will answer questions in some cases, and in others simply hold a conversation. While it is difficult to report exactly what any specific interview will be like, a student can best prepare for these in the following ways.

1. Relax–they interviewers are not out to get you, they are out to admit you.

2. Prepare–have a 30-second introduction about yourself, but only memorize the key points. You don’t want it to sound rehearsed.

3. Keep abreast of current study in your subject.

4. Have at least a basic understanding of what your intended field of study will qualify you to do.

5. Research some of the college’s staff and be prepared to say why you would like to study with specific people.

Remember that often good subject study and confidence will help you more than any other kind of preparation.

student taking an admissions test