If the course you’re applying for requires a pre-interview admissions test, you will want to prepare to make sure you get the best possible score. But what kind of score should you be aiming for? Without official grade boundaries as in the GCSE or A-level system it can be hard to know what mark will impress admissions tutors. In this blog post, we’ll take you through what constitutes a good score for a few admissions tests.
It is important to bear in mind that no score will guarantee you an interview or an offer. Academic grades are also essential in determining whether you will be selected for interview (with Oxford placing a lot of emphasis on GCSE results), and ultimately admissions tutors will consider your application as a whole. Moreover, what constitutes a “good score” will vary year on year depending on the scores of that year’s cohort, so it is difficult to know in advance if your score is among the best for that year. Nevertheless, it is useful to consider the scores of shortlisted and successful applicants from recent years so you know roughly what to aim for.
Applicants for Law at Oxford sit the Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT). The average scores in 2017 were 22 for all applicants, 26 for shortlisted applicants, and 27 for successful applicants.
At Cambridge, on the other hand, Law applicants are required to take the Cambridge Law Test (CLT). The average score for successful applicants in 2017 was 7.4 out of 10. The CLT consists of essay questions, problem questions, and comprehension questions, whereas the Oxford LNAT only has two sections, namely multiple choice and essay.
At Oxford and Cambridge, applicants for Medicine will sit the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT); you may also have to sit the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT), depending on which other universities you are applying to. In 2017 at Oxford, the average BMAT score for applicants was 54%, with shortlisted candidates scoring an average of 61% and successful applicants 63%. Not all sections of the BMAT are weighted the same, and weightings can change year on year. At Cambridge, the average scores for successful applicants were 5.5 for section 1, 6.0 for section 2, and 3.5 for section 3. If you want to know which universities to apply to with your particular BMAT score, check out our handy resource on it.
Applicants for English at Cambridge or English Language and Literature at Oxford will take the English Language Admissions Test (ELAT).
At Oxford, candidates will be divided into bands based on their scores with band 1 signifying those candidates who are most likely to be invited to interview, band 2 signifying those fairly likely to be interviewed provided that the other elements of their application is up to scratch, band 3 signifying those students who may not be invited unless other factors outweigh the score, and band 4 signifying those least likely to be invited. In 2017, band 1 candidates scored between 51 and 60; band 2 candidates scored between 45 and 50; band 3 candidates scored between 40 and 44; and band 4 candidates scored 39 or less. At Cambridge, the average score for offer holders was 44.9. Remember that by and large an applicant is more likely to be invited to interview at Cambridge than Oxford, so a slightly lower score might be less of an obstacle at the pre-interview stage if you’re applying to Cambridge.
Historians applying to Oxford will sit the History Aptitude Test (HAT), which is scored out of 100. In 2017, the average score overall was 57.2; for shortlisted applicants it was 63.6, and for successful applicants the average was 68.2.
At Cambridge, History applicants take the History Admissions Assessment (HAA). In 2017, successful applicants scored 5.4 on the reading comprehension, and 6.0 on the essay section, which requires you to comment on extracts.