Applications and Admissions Tests: General Guidance
A growing number of UK universities use admissions tests as part of their selection process for some of their courses. Oxford University makes the greatest use of subject tests, but others such as Cambridge and UCL also employ the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA), while some medical schools use the Biomedical Aptitude Test (BMAT). These tests are administered on behalf of universities by the Admissions Testing Service. For more information on specific course requirements, test formats and timings visit www.admissionstestingservice.org.
Applications and Admissions Tests: Oxford & Cambridge
The Oxford and Cambridge University websites also contain useful information on the admissions tests currently sat as part of the admissions process to these institutions. In the case of Cambridge, you can also find out what which colleges use tests and which don’t:
Applications and Admissions Tests: Law, Medicine & Dentistry
Many Law applicants are required to sit the Law Aptitude Test (LNAT), while Medicine and Dentistry applicants may have to sit either BMAT (see above) or the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT). Further details of the universities which require these tests can be found via the UCAS Course Search facility, while information on the format of the tests, and on when and where to sit them can be found at www.lnat.ac.uk and www.ukcat.ac.uk
Getting a feel for student life
Researching your choice of university is an essential part of the application process and visiting universities is a good place to start. Universities publish details of their open day programmes on their websites, but a full list can also be found at opendays.com. When you do vist, make sure you take full advantage of the opportunity to question academic staff and current students about the courses you’re thinking of applying for.
Open days are certainly an important part of the research process, but because they are carefully choreographed and stage-managed they may not give you a feel of the real student experience. To get an independent, objective view of what universities do and how well they do it, visit The Complete University Guide or to find out what students themselves say about their courses, lecturers and day-to-day university life visit Push.
Some useful blogs
Student blogs are also a useful source of information, and some of the best can be found via Studential.com.
For news and developments related to university admissions, why not follow blogs hosted by media outlets like The Guardian or you can follow our own blog which offers Top Tips for Highly Successful UCAS Applicants.