TSA Test Scores Explained

Advice & Insight From TSA Specialists

The Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) is a standardised test used by Oxford, Cambridge, and University College London (UCL), to assess a candidate’s problem-solving and critical thinking skills. The test is divided into two sections, and each section is scored separately. In this article, we will discuss TSA test scores, including average scores, trends in test scores, and the scores required to secure an interview – looking primarily at Oxford for the latter.

Average Test Scores

The TSA test is designed to be challenging, and it is normal for candidates to find it difficult. According to the official TSA website, the average score for Section 1 of the test is around 50%, while the average score for Section 2 is around 62%. These scores are based on the performance of all candidates who have taken the test – so that means if you are applying to Oxford, you are also competing against students applying to Cambridge and UCL. It is important to note that the TSA test is not like a traditional academic test, where getting a high score is the ultimate goal. Instead, the test is designed to provide a further data point for admissions teams, and as such a lower score does not necessarily mean that the candidate is not qualified for admission. However, a higher score can increase a candidate’s chances of being invited to an interview or being offered a place at Oxford, Cambridge or UCL.

Trends in Test Scores

TSA test scores have remained relatively stable over the years, with only small fluctuations from year to year. However, it is worth noting that the number of candidates taking the test has increased significantly in recent years, which could potentially affect the average scores. You can find exact data on the results from year-to-year on the CAAT (Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing website), which illustrates this.

Another trend that has emerged in recent years is a gender gap in TSA test scores. According to a report by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), female candidates tend to score lower on the TSA test than male candidates. The report suggests that this could be due to a lack of confidence among female candidates or a gender bias in the test itself. However, it is important to note that this gender gap is relatively small and does not necessarily mean that female candidates are less qualified than male candidates.

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Test Scores Required to Secure an Interview at Oxford

For candidates applying to Oxford, the TSA test is an important part of the admissions process. While there is no specific score required to secure an interview, a higher score can increase a candidate’s chances of being invited to an interview. According to the official Oxford website, the TSA test is used to identify candidates who have the potential to excel on the rigorous academic programs offered by the university. Remember that the score is likely to be used differently between different degree programs or colleges. Typically, a student who scores above 60% has a good chance of being invited to an interview. However, you must remember that these scores are not a guarantee of an interview, as the admissions process is highly competitive and many factors are taken into consideration. Remember that you will also need to excel across various other domains in the process, including your personal statement, academic transcripts, and references, and that the final decision is based on a combination of these factors and your performance at interview. However, a high TSA score can help to demonstrate your academic potential and thus increase their chances of being accepted to Oxford – or Cambridge or UCL, depending on where you have applied, of course.

Summary of TSA Test Scores

To summarise, TSA test scores remain relatively stable from year to year at around 50% average, indicating that this is a very difficult assessment (especially when one considers the quality of the cohort sitting the exam). You are likely to receive an interview offer if you score more than 60%, although numerous other factors will play into this decision. Preparing for the TSA through practice papers and an online question bank is therefore highly recommended, along with strengthening other parts of your application as far as possible.

TSA Test Scores Explained

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