How important is the TSA Oxford?
Advice & Insight From TSA Specialists
The TSA is used by Oxford University (and Cambridge University for entry to their “Land Economy” undergraduate course) to assess candidates’ suitability for a number of their undergraduate courses.
How much emphasis does Oxford put on the TSA?
Since Oxford receives such a high number of excellent applications for many of their degree courses, they need some way other than school grades or predicted grades to tell applicants apart. Oxford admissions tutors find the tests useful and they take them very seriously. Test scores are looked at alongside side applicants’ school grades, predicted grades, references from teachers, personal statement, and, if invited, performance at interview.
The TSA is very important, therefore, because admissions tutors don’t get sufficient information from school grades alone. And since school grades can often reflect a student’s background and privileges, the TSA allows students who haven’t had many advantages in education to show off their various skills. In this sense, it helps to level the playing field and it allows students from all backgrounds to be compared more evenly.
Why else is the TSA important?
The thinking skills tested in the TSA are the generic academic skills needed to achieve in higher education, so the exam helps admissions tutors to see if you have the right sort of skills needed for your course. The TSA is also a test of perseverance and endurance, and in this respect, it provides tutors with a good indication of which students are deemed suitable for undergraduate study. Furthermore, the TSA can help determine which applicants are systematic and logical in their thinking, and whether they can reason in a coherent way.
How much weighting is the TSA given?
Oxford tutors themselves have stated that the TSA test typically counts for more than your personal statement when they are making decisions about who to invite for interview. Your personal statement is still important, however, especially as you will be applying to other universities. But with this in mind, you should invest a good amount of time in test preparation. After all, it is one of the best predictors of who gets into Oxford.
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What if my score is not as high as I would like?
It is also important to know that even if your score on the TSA is below where you would expect it to be, this does not mean that your application will fail. For example, there might be special extenuating circumstances that Oxford may take into account.