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TSA Test Oxford

Advice & Insight From TSA Specialists

The TSA Test is used extensively at Oxford – more so than it is at any other university (perhaps a little ironically, given that it was developed by Cambridge). Here, we will consider the structure of the TSA as it is used at Oxford, which courses use the TSA, and a few tips on how to prepare.

What is the structure of the TSA Test for Oxford?

The Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) is a test designed by Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing,  part of the University of Cambridge, to evaluate a student’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills. However, as stated, it is used by the University of Oxford for admissions purposes. The TSA consists of two papers: Section 1 and Section 2. Section 1 is a multiple-choice test consisting of 50 questions in 90 minutes. It evaluates a candidate’s problem-solving, critical thinking, and numerical reasoning skills. The questions are divided into three categories: problem-solving, critical thinking, and numerical reasoning. The problem-solving questions test the ability to understand a situation and provide a solution. The critical thinking questions assess the ability to evaluate an argument and draw logical conclusions. The numerical reasoning questions test the ability to interpret numerical data and solve mathematical problems. Section 2 is an essay paper consisting of one question that the candidate has to answer in 30 minutes. The essay question can cover a broad range of topics and requires the candidate to provide a well-structured and well-written argument. The essay assesses the candidate’s ability to communicate ideas effectively and critically analyse information. Thus the TSA’s aim is to evaluate a candidate’s overall academic ability, particularly in subjects that require critical thinking and problem-solving skills, such as economics, philosophy, and law

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How does Oxford use the TSA? Which courses use the test?

The TSA test is used by the University of Oxford for admissions to certain courses, and it is one of several assessments used by the university to evaluate applicants’ academic potential. Oxford courses that require both Sections 1 and 2 of the TSA include, Experimental Psychology, Human Sciences, Philosophy and Linguistics, Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE), Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics.

The joint-honours course in History and Economics and Economics and Management both require section 1 but not the essay section.

Of course, you should be aware that courses at Oxford can also require various additional assessments – for example, candidates applying for Law are required to take the National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT), while candidates applying for Mathematics and Computer Science are required to take the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT).

Equally, you should be aware that the TSA is simply one factor considered in the admissions process, rather than a ‘be-all and end-all’ admissions test. The university also evaluates candidates’ academic record, personal statement, and reference letter. In addition to these core components, the TSA test provides an extra measure of a candidate’s academic potential, particularly in subjects that require critical thinking and problem-solving skills. As stated, it is not designed to test a candidate’s knowledge of a particular subject, or the discipline to which they are applying, but rather their ability to think critically and solve problems. This means that candidates from a wide range of academic backgrounds can take the TSA test, as long as they have the necessary problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

TSA Oxford: Tips

First, ensure that you understand the structure of the exam that you are required to sit – do you need to sit both sections, or just the first? When you know this, you should prepare as extensively as possible with past papers and through online courses. Practising with past papers is a great way to get familiar with the types of questions that will be asked on the TSA exam. It will also help you to identify areas where you may need to improve your problem-solving or critical thinking skills. Meanwhile, the use of a question bank will allow you to add to this core skill, and hone in on areas of particular weakness – and note particular areas of strength. You should also ensure that you practise time management throughout – you will need to allocate your time effectively in order to complete both sections of the exam.

TSA Test Oxford

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