The thinking skills assessment (TSA) Oxford differs from its Cambridge counterpart in that it is used pre-interview to help to decide which candidates are invited to take their application further.
The TSA Oxford is used for a variety of courses, which attract students from a range of backgrounds and qualifications. The test helps assess these different applicants on a level playing field.
There is exceptional competition for places at Oxford, and the TSA is used to help select the best students for the following courses:
The TSA Oxford goes further than the TSA tests for Cambridge or UCL in that there is an additional essay section to the test. The TSA Oxford comprises:
Both tests are taken together, with the multiple choice section taking 90 minutes and the essay 30 minutes. Neither is designed to test any existing or assumed knowledge, but rather to see how your mind works. The essay is not marked, but is forwarded to your chosen college as part of your application.
The TSA Oxford is taken on the same day as all other Oxford entrance exams, which in 2013 is November 6th. Entries open on 1st September and close on 15th October.
The TSA Oxford must be sat at your school or college, or at an approved open centre. You cannot enter yourself for the test, but must be entered by your school examinations officer or the test centre officials.
It does not cost anything to sit the TSA Oxford at the school or college that you currently attend. However, if you do not currently attend a school or college, then you may need to pay an admin fee to sit the test at an open centre.
As the name suggests, the thinking skills assessment does not test what you know, but rather your skills and aptitude for processing information, critically analysing data and arguments, and logical thinking. It also tests your ability to organise ideas and express them in written form.
You cannot revise for this kind of test, but you can familiarise yourself with the test format and the kind of questions that will be asked. Practice tests are available online to help you to prepare, along with a suggested reading list.