Admissions Tests and Shortlisting
The admissions tests can be quite different in nature, structure, pace and format to the exams which students may be experienced in taking in school, and thus preparation of this nature can be helpful and improve the students’ confidence.
For example, the LNAT is an on-screen test and includes a typed essay component. It is unlikely that a student will have experience of delivery a typed essay under timed conditions, even given the relatively low suggested word count, and thus preparation of this nature may be beneficial. .
The nature of the tests also vary, whilst some require and rely on the application of specific knowledge gained through the GCSE or early AS modules, others rely on more generic skills such as problem solving, critical thinking or comprehension. In general those admissions tests focussing towards the physical sciences and mathematics are of the former type, whilst those in arts and humanities tend to focus more on the latter.
Finally it is important that students realise that these exams are difficult and challenging and designed to stretch even the most able candidates. Many of the students who make applications to Oxford regularly achieve in excess of 90% in many of their formal examinations, therefore they are not used to either being unable to answer questions or answering incorrectly, and will expect to answer every question on the papers that they sit. This may not be the case with Oxford's admissions test and students who perform well on these tests may, in general terms, score around two thirds of the marks, which may not feel natural to the students given their recent experience.*
Further information about all of Oxford's admissions tests can be found at www.ox.ac.uk/tests.
* Note that this should not be considered as a pass mark and will vary from test to test and year to year, depending on the field of candidates and their relative perfromance.