Modern Languages Admissions Test (MLAT)

This admissions test is taken for some Oxford courses.
Last updated: 12 months ago


The MLAT must be taken by any student applying to study a Modern Languages degree, or joint schools degree with Modern Languages at Oxford. If you are pursuing a joint schools application you will also need to sit an exam for your other subject, which is a separate paper for all subjects except Philosophy, which is included in the MLAT paper.

How to Prepare

Here are some general resources related to the Modern Languages Admissions Test (MLAT). Use this page as a hub to branch off and use other resources!

The Basics

Any student applying for European and Middle Eastern Languages, Classics and Modern Languages, English and Modern Languages, History and Modern Languages, Modern Languages, Modern Languages and Linguistics, or Philosophy and Modern Languages at Oxford needs to take the MLAT.

The registration deadline is the 29th of September 2023, and the test date is the 20th of October 2023. Registration must either be done with your school or through a registered test centre. This is done separately to UCAS. Please check the details and dates here 🔗 on the 'How do I register?' tab.


The MLAT is computer-based and consists of ten 30-minute sections and a 60-minute philosophy section:

  • One section for each of the 8 languages available to study: Czech, French, German, Italian, Modern Greek, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
  • The LAT - Language Aptitude Test - for applicants intending to study a language ab initio (from scratch) or Russian on its own.
  • A 60-minute philosophy section for those applying to Modern Languages and Philosophy.
Note: If you are applying for a single language, you will only sit one section.

If you are applying to two languages, you will sit two sections, one for each language. If you are applying to two languages but one ab initio, you must sit one from the first section and the LAT. If you intend to study Russian solely, you will have to take the LAT in addition to the Russian section.

Section 1: Modern Languages

This section will be split into two sections: grammar and translation.

Grammar advice

  • Preparation for these sections is quite simple. You should use whichever grammar workbooks you find effective for your studies, and revise foundational grammar features in the language(s) you wish to study.
  • For further information on useful grammar resources, you can find subject guides for each of the available languages here 🔗 🌟.
  • In the test, if you do not know a word, or its conjunction/declination, but you are aware of the aspect of grammar that the question is looking for, you can still gain some marks. You can do this by writing, for example ‘third-person-plural’ or ‘genitive singular’, so that the examiner can see that you had some idea.

This is how each language test is structured:


  • Grammar - put words in appropriate forms
  • Translation into Czech
  • Translation into English


  • Grammar - primarily filling in prepositions
  • Conjugations
  • Translation into French
  • Translation into English


  • Grammar - put words in appropriate forms
  • Translation into English
  • Translation into German


  • Grammar - put words in appropriate forms
  • Translation into Italian
  • Translation into English

Modern Greek

  • Grammar - put words in appropriate forms
  • Translation into Greek
  • Translation into English


  • Grammar - transform the following articles and nouns from singular to plural
  • Conjugations
  • Fill in the gap with an appropriate preposition
  • Translation into English
  • Translation into Portuguese


  • Grammar - put words in appropriate forms
  • Translation into Russian
  • Translation into English


  • Grammar - choosing the correct form of a word
  • Conjugation
  • Translation into Spanish
  • Translation into English

Section 2 - The Language Aptitude Test

This section of the exam is unique. You will be required to answer questions about a made-up language. Don’t be too scared of this, though.

You will be presented with a preamble that describes the features of the created language including definitiveness (of a language differentiates between ‘a thing’ or ‘the thing’), progressive tenses (of the language differentiates between ‘going’ and ‘is going’), whether there is a fixed word order, and the role of accented letters.

Questions: there will be three sections which include a made up list of sentences in the created language and their English translations. These will be your guide to answer the questions.

You will be asked to translate from the created sentences into English and vice versa. Sections A, B and C build on each other, so it makes the most sense to complete them in chronological order, using the earlier examples to help in the later stages.

How to Prepare

The best preparation for the LAT is going to be using past papers, available here 🔗 🌟, under 'How do I prepare?'. These will help you become more comfortable with working with unknown languages, and help you to understand the structure of the test. You’ll also learn what strategies work best for you.

You might also wish to develop your understanding of how grammar works more generally. Get comfortable with the grammatical elements that form sentences - subjects, direct and indirect objects, verbs, etc.

The Test

Try to look for and note down a few key things like:

  • Vocabulary - what words mean in the created language.
  • Plurality - what patterns demonstrate that a noun or verb is plural.
  • Gender - how gender is shown in the words.
  • Function - how the differences between subjects, direct objects, and indirect objects are shown in the created language.

Section 3 - The Philosophy Test

The Philosophy section is similar to the main Philosophy Test except the content may be different in Part A. Advice for this section is best sought in the InsideUni Philosophy Test guide 🔗 and the Oxford Philosophy Test information 🔗.