What is the TSA Oxford out of?

Advice & Insight From TSA Specialists

Section 1 comprises 50 multiple choice questions on the themes of problem solving and critical thinking. It is scored out of 50; there are 50 questions which are each worth 1 mark. There is no negative marking which means you will not lose marks for wrong answers. You will therefore be awarded a raw score between 0-50. This is then converted to a scaled score (see below).

Section 2 of the TSA (the essay) is reviewed by the admissions tutor(s) of the Oxford College you have applied to. It is marked out of 100 in a similar way to essays that undergraduates write at Oxford, with 60 or more being judged as a good performance, and 70 or above as very good. Although the essay is marked out of 100 it doesn’t mean that it is weighted double that of section 1; in fact, section 1 is usually weighted more highly. The score for the essay is also converted to a scaled score.

What happens to the raw scores?

Marks achieved on the TSA for Sections 1 and 2 are converted into scaled scores using a special statistical technique which factors in the question and overall test difficulty, allowing candidates’ scores to be compared directly.

What do TSA scaled scores look like?

You will receive a scaled score for each component of section 1, a composite score for section 1 as well as a scaled score for section 2.

The TSA scale usually runs from about 0 – 100 (although this varies from year to year) with scores always given to one decimal place. There is no definitive way of converting a raw score into a scaled score until after the whole cohort has taken the test, but it is possible to look at results from previous years to see what sort of correlations are made.

Competitive scores vary from year to year, but, according to historical data, a scaled score of 65 or more is usually considered competitive. The scale is designed so that typical applicants to the most highly selective courses will score around 60. The best applicants will score more highly, with 70 representing a comparatively high score. Only a very few exceptional applicants will achieve scores higher than 80; extreme scores are rare.

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