Do admissions tests matter?

Oxford Admissions Tutors
Created: 2 years, 12 months ago
Last modified: 2 years, 12 months ago

It may seem unusual that, despite sending your GCSE results and predicted A Level (or equivalent) grades with your Oxford application, you are subsequently invited to sit yet another exam to help tutors decide whether or not to make you an offer. We asked Admissions Tutors why these tests are used and to what extent they are taken into account when making offers.


It’s impossible to be precise and quantitative about this, but admissions tests are an important part of the overall picture in any course that requires them. Tests are designed to provide evidence of aptitude for the relevant course, usually focusing on skills of reasoning and logic than prior knowledge. Furthermore, they are evidence that is contemporary with the application, unlike GCSEs which are over a year old by the time the test is taken.


Do see the official Oxford guidance here 🔗.
Doing well in the admissions tests is important in our decision-making process for shortlisting and will also be taken into account at interview when we decide on places. However, they are used alongside all the other information we hold on candidates: qualifications already achieved; predictions for examinations not yet sat; written work (if applicable); personal statement; and the academic reference. We also take into account contextual data throughout the Admissions process which helps us compare candidates who are from different backgrounds (within the UK). For more on this see here. 🔗 🌟


Admissions tests absolutely matter - they are taken into account very much. We wouldn’t run them otherwise. The weighting does vary a bit from subject to subject but all you can do is prepare a bit, and do your very best on the day. The tests are a real intellectual challenge so check out the past papers and don’t feel like you have to get everything “right”. Feel positive and energetic about it rather than thinking “I’m going to fail” because it’s not like that.

With thanks to the Admissions Tutors of Somerville. Jesus and Brasenose.