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Which university admissions tests do you need to take?

LNAT, BMAT, UKCAT... Depending on where and what you're applying to, you'll need to take a particular university admissions test. But which one(s)?

Admissions tests (also referred to as 'entry tests') are another way to help universities distinguish the top applicants, particularly for competitive courses. How you do in these will be taken into consideration, along with other things like your personal statement

Get to know exactly which university admissions test (or tests) you'll be required to take, so the deadline doesn't fly by you. Some admissions tests are only available to take once a year; miss them and you'll have to wait a whole year to sit them (and apply to university). 

Let's help you figure out which university admissions exams you might need to take and what they involve:
 

Which university admissions tests do you need to take?


​Also:

Learn more about university entry requirements, or search for a course or subject to see what universities are looking for.
 

Applying to a law course

Applying to a mathematics course


Applying to a medical course

The admissions test you'll need to take will depend on the university you’re applying to and what their medical or dental school asks for. The options are the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT), the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) and University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT, formerly known as the UKCAT or UK Clinical Aptitude Test).

If you're applying to a medical course at Oxford and Cambridge, you are required to take the BMAT
 

Applying to Oxford

​Applying to Cambridge

 

Is your university asking for a specific admissions test?

Check Ucas' website for more details about what admissions exam your university is asking for. Make a note of the course code for the course you’re interested in and see whether it is listed here. 


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    University admissions tests - in detail

    BMAT

    The Biomedical Admissions Test is a university admissions exam you'll have to take if you're applying to either a medicine, veterinary medicine, biomedical science or dentistry course at some universities.

    The BMAT tests a lot of natural skills such as problem-solving and applying scientific knowledge, and doesn’t require much in the way of extra study.

    • Who uses it? Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Imperial College London, Lancaster University, University of Cambridge, University of Leeds, University College London and University of Oxford.
    • Key dates (for 2019): 1 October 2019 - standard entry closing date; 15 October - late date for BMAT entries; 31 October - BMAT tests take place; 22 November - BMAT results published.
    • How long does it last? Two hours.
    • How much does it cost? £48 (+£34 for late entry)​.

    Learn more about the BMAT

    GAMSAT

    The Graduate Medical School Admissions test, originally developed in Australia, is used by some medical schools in the UK (as well as around the world). It's used as part of the admissions process for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

    It's split into three sections: reasoning in humanities and social sciences, written communication and reasoning in biological and physical sciences.

    • Who uses it? University of Exeter, University of Plymouth, University of Liverpool, Cardiff University, Keele University, St. George’s University of London, Swansea University, University of Nottingham, and Universities of St Andrews and Dundee (in partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands). 
    • Key dates: The GAMSAT is taken twice a year, in March (registration from early November to early February) and September (registration from mid-May to late-July.
    • How long does it last? Five-and-a-half hours (though the whole day is around eight hours long!).
    • How much does it cost? £262

    Learn more about GAMSAT including The Student Room’s guide

    UCAT

    The University Clinical Aptitude Test is a university admissions exam used by a number of university medical and dental schools to distinguish you from other applicants to these competitive courses. It tests verbal, quantitative and abstract reasoning, as well as decision analysis and situational judgement – all inherent skills which students should possess should they get on to those courses.

    • Who uses it? University of Aberdeen, Anglia Ruskin University, Aston University, University of Birmingham, University of Bristol, Cardiff University, University of Dundee, Durham University, Edge Hill University, University of East Anglia, University of Edinburgh, University of Exeter, University of Glasgow, Hull York Medical School, Keele University, King's College London, University of Leicester, University of Liverpool, University of Manchester, Newcastle University, University of Nottingham, Plymouth University, Queen Mary University of London, Queen's University Belfast, St George's, University of London, University of Sheffield, University of Southampton, University of St Andrews, University of Sunderland, and University of Warwick.
    • Key dates (for 2019): 1 May 2019 - registration period; 1 July - testing begins; 1 October - final booking deadline; 2 October - deadline to take test.
    • How long does it last? 120 mins approximately (including reading time).
    • How much does it cost? £65 between 1 July and 31 August (£87 if taken between 1 September and 2 October).

    Learn more about the UKCAT

    LNAT

    The Law National Aptitude test is a university admissions test used by several universities to assess your aptitude for the skills required to study law, such as your ability to understand and interpret information.

    The test is made up of a 42-question, multiple choice exam and an essay on a related subject. You do not need to possess any legal knowledge for the test.

    • Who uses it? University of Bristol, Durham University, University of Glasgow, King’s College London, London School of Economics and Political Science, University of Nottingham, University of Oxford, SOAS University of London, and University College London.
    • Key dates: August 1 2018: LNAT registration opens; September 1: LNAT testing begins.
    • Deadlines for Oxford applicants in 2019: 5 October 2019 - deadline to register and book your LNAT; 20 October - deadline to take the LNAT.
    • Deadlines for all other applicants in 2019: 15 January 2019 - deadline to register and book your LNAT; 20 January - deadline to sit the LNAT.
    • How long does it last? Two-and-a-quarter hours.
    • How much does it cost? £50.

    Learn more about the LNAT

    Cambridge Law Test

    If you're applying to a law course at Cambridge, your specific college may require you to sit this admissions test when you attend your interview. It's paper-based and you'll be required to answer a single question at length.

    • Who uses it? University of Cambridge.
    • How long does it last? One hour.
    • How much does it cost? It's free.

    Learn more about the Cambridge Law Test

    STEP

    If you're applying to a maths course at certain universities, you'll have to take the Sixth Term Examination Paper. This admissions exam tests your ability to answer similar questions to those you should expect on a degree course. 

    There are three STEP examinations: Step 1, Step 2 and Step 3. Students take either one or two examinations; the university will decide which ones applicants take.

    • Who uses it? Cambridge and Warwick Universities though other universities may ask applicants to take it as part of their offer.
    • ​Key dates (for 2019): 25 February 2019 - STEP entries open; 3 May - standard entry closing date; 10 May -  last date for late STEP entries; 10 June - STEP paper 1 takes place; 17 June - STEP paper 2 takes place; 21 June - STEP paper 3 takes place; 15 August - STEP results published.
    • How long does it last? Each STEP exam is three hours long. Candidates answer six questions in each.
    • How much does it cost? Standard fee of £52 per STEP paper (additional £19.00 fee for late entries, per paper).

    Learn more about STEP

    MAT

    You'll have to take the Mathematics Admissions Test if you're applying to one of a handful of computer science and mathematics courses at Oxford. It's a paper-based admissions exam. 

    • Who uses it? University of Oxford.
    • ​Key dates (for 2019): 1 September 2019 - entries open; 15 October - last dates for MAT entries; 30 October - MAT test takes place.
    • How long does it take? Two-and-a-half hours.
    • How much does it cost? No fee (though some test centres charge a small admin fee).

    Learn more about the MAT

    CAT

    The Classics Admissions Test is a paper-based university admissions exam you'll have to take if you're applying to one of Oxford's classics courses.

    You must take either one or two of three possible papers: a Latin Translation Test, a Greek Translation Test and a Classics Language Aptitude Test.

    • Who uses it? University of Oxford.
    • Key dates (for 2019): 1 September 2019 - entries open; October 15 - deadline for CAT entries; 30 October - CAT testing takes place.
    • How long does it take? Each paper is an hour.
    • How much does it cost? No fee (though some test centres charge a small admin fee).

    Learn more about the CAT

    ELAT

    The English Literature Admissions Test is a paper-based university admissions test you'll have to take if applying to an English course at Cambridge or Oxford. 

    The exam is taken prior to your interview and tests your close reading skills. You'll be required to complete a writing task analysing several poems or prose passages.

    • Who uses it? Universities of Cambridge and Oxford.
    • Key dates (for 2019): 1 September 2019 - entries open; 15 October - deadline for ELAT entries; 30 October - ELAT testing takes place; 13 January 2020 - ELAT results published.
    • How long does it take? One-and-a-half hours.
    • How much does it cost? No fee (though some test centres charge a small admin fee).

    Learn more about the ELAT

    MLAT

    You'll have to take the Modern Languages Admissions Test when applying to a modern languages or linguistics course at Oxford.

    It is a paper-based admissions test involving a booklet containing several papers (you'll take no more than two papers).

    • Who uses it? University of Oxford.
    • ​Key dates (for 2019): 1 September 2019 - entries open; 15 October - deadline for MLAT entries; 30 October - MLAT testing takes place.
    • How much does it cost? No fee (though some test centres charge a small admin fee).

    Learn more about the MLAT

    PAT

    The Physics Aptitude Test is a university admissions test you'll take if you're applying to one of a handful of engineering, materials science and physics courses at Oxford. 

    • Who uses it? University of Oxford
    • Key dates (for 2019): 1 September 2019 - entries open; 15 October - deadline for PAT entries; 30 October - PAT testing takes place.
    • How long does it take? Two hours.
    • How much does it cost? No fee (though some test centres charge a small admin fee).

    Learn more about the PAT
     

    Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)

    The TSA is a test used by Cambridge and Oxford to identify whether you have the critical thinking skills to study with them and succeed. Both have their own version of the TSA.

    TSA Oxford

    A two-hour test you'll take before your admissions interviews when applying to the following courses:

    • Economics and Management
    • Experimental Psychology
    • Human Sciences 
    • Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics
    • Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)


    Key dates (for 2019): 1 September 2019 - entries open; 15 October - deadline for entries; 30 October - TSA Oxford testing takes place; 13 January 2020 - TSA results published.

    Learn more about the Thinking Skills Assessment Oxford

    TSA Cambridge

    A one-and-a-half hour multiple choice admissions test you'll have to take when applying to any course at Cambridge. The test consists of 50 questions (half problem-solving, half critical thinking).

    How much does it cost? It's free.

    Learn more about the Thinking Skills Assessment Cambridge
     

    Subject-specific Cambridge tests

    Applicants must take a subject-specific test either before or at their interview.

    No preparation is needed as these tests assess appropriate subject knowledge, providing ‘valuable additional evidence of our applicants' academic abilities, knowledge base and potential to succeed’, according to Cambridge admissions tutor Dr Sam Lucy. 


    Learn more about entry requirements with our ultimate guide. 

    Have a course in mind already? See what requirements you'll need to meet by searching for a course or subject.

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