At some universities you'll need to complete an entry test as part of your application. These tests vary depending on the degree subject or university, but it's a good idea to find out roughly what to expect and brush up on certain skills and exam techniques.
Whether you’re taking a national test such as the LNAT (that's the National Admissions Test for Law) or a university-specific exam, we've asked current university students who took tests themselves to tell us what it was like for them and for their tips on boosting that all-important score.
We’ve also got some advice from a range of experts on how to prepare for your admissions test.
Brush up on the basics
I took the BMAT. My tip - do as many practice questions as you can get your hands on and get some good GCSE text books and go over them all - the knowledge required does go past this knowledge but I think that if you have a good solid understanding at GCSE level, it does help. And most importantly, don’t panic!
Practice tests are a huge help
I took the UKCAT and BMAT. The main thing is to practise, practise, practise for both of them, by either looking online for practice tests or buying the books that help you prepare for them. Reading a critical thinking book can help with the verbal reasoning sections.
Break down the questions
I had a maths test. My advice would be: don't revise for it as you would revise for a GCSE science paper. Memorising equations or facts will not be much help. Instead, revise as you would for a maths paper, practising questions until you are familiar with the methods and feel comfortable going further with them.
Start thinking critically
I took the LNAT test. The multiple choice section was essentially an exercise in critical analysis of written extracts - being able to deconstruct arguments and identify underlying assumptions, counter-arguments etc. The essay is testing your writing skills - pick something you can write something interesting and cogent about. The best advice I received was to read a good quality newspaper daily and analyse the arguments being made - were they well-founded? Were they consistent? Did they withstand criticism? How could they be made stronger?
You may not be given your topic in advance
I took an admissions test at an open day which consisted of writing an essay about topics which had been discussed in a lecture we were given. I found it fairly easy as we were allowed to take notes during the lecture and use these to write our essay, so it was really an exercise in how good your note-taking is. The advice we were given was to take good notes!
I took the UKCAT because I applied for medicine. Go on the official website for help, and there are books available with lots of practice questions. The most stressful part of the test is the time limit given, so make sure you practice questions whilst timing yourself.
Other things to bear in mind...
Book early and look into bursaries
I took the UKCAT test and it was okay as all my choices wanted it and there was plenty of information out there on what the test would be like. There are even bursaries for the test cost if you are on a low income. Test dates booked up fast though so I'd recommend getting it booked early.
The test is just one part of your application
I took the ELAT, which was unlike any other exam I'd done. In hindsight, I should have prepared better. However ELAT only counts for a little of the decision process - along with all the rest of the application - and I got in even though I got a very average mark.
Also off to an interview? Make sure you take a look at our advice from students on preparing for the interview, and dealing with any odd questions on the day.