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Which admissions tests do you need to take?

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

Admissions tests are another way to help universities distinguish the top applicants, particularly for competitive courses.

Get to know exactly which test (or tests) you'll be required to take so you don't miss the deadline for it. Some tests are only available to take once a year; miss them and you'll have to wait a whole year to apply again.

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

Firstly, what/who are you applying to?

Click on the option below which applies to you. Note that more than one may be relevant.
​Also:

​PREPARE FOR ADMISSIONS TESTS: read our student guide to university admissions tests and top ways to prepare for entry tests
 

Applying to a law course

  • Applying to a Cambridge law course? You'll have to take the Cambridge Law Test.
  • Some universities will require you to take the LNAT.
     

Applying to a mathematics course

  • Applying to an Oxford mathematics course? You’ll have to take the MAT.
  • Some universities (including Cambridge) will require you to take the STEP.


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 BMAT, the GAMSAT and UKCAT.

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

Applying to Oxford

  • Applying to a medical course? You'll have to take the BMAT.

  • Applying to a law course? You'll have to take the LNAT.

  • Applying to a mathematics course? You'll have to take the MAT (some also take STEP).

  • Applying to a classics course? You'll have to take the CAT.

  • Applying to an English course? You'll have to take the ELAT.

  • Applying to a modern languages course? You'll have to take the MLAT.

  • Applying to an engineering, materials science or physics course? You'll have to take the PAT.

  • Depending on the course you're applying to, you may have to take the TSA Oxford.
     

​Applying to Cambridge

  • Applying to a mathematics course? You'll have to take the STEP.

  • Applying to a medical course? You'll have to take the BMAT.

  • Applying to a law course? You'll have to take the Cambridge Law Test.

  • Regardless of course, you may have to take the TSA Cambridge. If you’re applying from September 2016 (to begin a course in September 2017), you will have to take one of the new subject-specific tests which Cambridge will be introducing.

Is your university asking for a specific test?

Check Ucas' website for more details about what 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. 


University admissions tests - in detail


BMAT

The Biomedical Admissions test is a test 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, Royal Veterinary College, University College London, University of Cambridge, University of Leeds and University of Oxford
  • Key dates (for students applying to study in September 2017): October 1 2016: standard entry closing date; October 15: Late entry closing date (late entry fees apply); November 2: BMAT tests take place; November 25: BMAT results published.
  • How long does it last? two hours
  • How much does it cost? £44 (+£31.50 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? (For undergraduate courses) University of Exeter, University of Plymouth, University of Liverpool and Cardiff University
  • Key dates: The GAMSAT is taken twice a year, in March and September.
  • How long does it last? five-and-a-half hours (though the whole day is around eight hours long!)
  • How much does it cost? £237.50

Learn more about GAMSAT including The Student Room’s guide


UKCAT

The UK Clinical Aptitude Test is 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, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Birmingham, Cardiff University, University of Dundee, Durham 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's University Belfast, St George's, University of London, University of Sheffield, University of Southampton, University of St Andrews and University of Warwick Graduate Entry Medical Degree.
  • Key dates (for students applying to study in Sep 2017): May 3 2016: registration period; October 4: booking deadline; October 5: deadline to take test.
  • How long does it last? 120 mins (standard version)
  • How much does it cost? £65 between July 1 and Aug 31 (£80 if taken between Sep 1 and Oct 6)

Learn more about the UKCAT


LNAT

The Law National Aptitude test is an 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 Birmingham, University of Bristol, Durham University, University of Glasgow, King’s College London, University of Nottingham, University of Oxford and University College London
  • Key dates: August 1 2015: LNAT registration opens; September 1: LNAT testing begins.
  • Deadlines for Oxford applicants in September 2017: October 5 2016: deadline to register and book your LNAT; October 20: deadline to take the LNAT.
  • Deadlines for all other applicants in September 2017: January 15 2017: deadline to register and book your LNAT; January 20: 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, you will be required to sit this test when you attend your interview. It is paper-based and you'll be required to answer a 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 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 use it as a basis for their conditional offers while other universities ask applicants to take it as part of their offer. Bristol, Bath, Oxford and Imperial College London also ask students to take STEP.
  • ​Key dates: Feb 29 2016: STEP entries open; April 29: standard entry closing date; May 20: last date for late STEP entries; June 14: STEP paper 1 takes place; June 16: STEP paper 2 takes place; June 23: STEP paper 3 takes place; Aug 18: STEP results published.
  • How long does it last? each is three hours long, consisting of six questions.
  • How much does it cost? standard fee of £47.50 per STEP paper (additional £16.00 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 a mathematics course at Oxford. It's a paper-based test. You may also have to take it if you're applying to a computer science course. You do not have to have studied further maths at A-level to take the test.

  • Who uses it? University of Oxford
  • ​Key dates: September 1 2016: entries open; October 15: last dates for MAT entries; November 2: MAT test takes place
  • How long does it take? two-and-a-half hour
  • How much does it cost? no fee (though some test centres charge a small admin fee)

Learn more about the MAT


CAT

The Classics Admission Test is a paper-based test 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 students applying to study in September 2017): September 1 2016: entries open; October 15: deadline for CAT entries; November 2: 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 test you'll have to take if applying to an English course at Oxford. The test 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? University of Oxford
  • Key dates (for students applying to study in September 2017): September 1 2016: entries open; October 15: deadline for ELAT entries; November 2: ELAT testing takes place; January 16: ELAT results published.
  • How long does it take? one-and-a-half hours
  • How much doe 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 test involving a booklet containing several papers; you'll take no more than two papers.

  • Who uses it? University of Oxford
  • ​Key dates (for students applying to study in September 2017): September 1 2016: entries open; October 15 2016: deadline for MLAT entries; November 2: MLAT testing takes place.
  • How long does it take? one-and-a-half hours
  • How much doe 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 test you'll take if you're applying to either an engineering, materials science and physics course at Oxford. 

  • Who uses it? University of Oxford
  • Key dates (for students applying to study in September 2017): September 1 2016: entries open; October 15 2016: deadline for PAT entries; November 2: PAT testing takes place.
  • How long does it take? two hours
  • How much doe 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
•    Geography
•    Human Sciences 
•    Philosophy and Linguistics
•    Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)
•    Psychology and Linguistics
•    Psychology and Philosophy

Key dates (for students applying to study in September 2017): September 1 2016: entries open; October 15: deadline for entries; November 2: TSA Oxford testing takes place; January 16: TSA results published.

Learn more about the Thinking Skills Assessment Oxford

TSA Cambridge

A one-and-a-half hour multiple choice 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 (from Sep 2017)

Cambridge will be introducing subject-specific tests, university-wide for those applicants planning to begin studies in September 2017. These assessments will take place either before or at interviews themselves. No preparation will be needed as the tests will 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. Some Cambridge colleges will use these instead of the current subject-specific tests they run.

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