English literature admissions test (ELAT)

Article _University -admissions -tests -English -literature -admissions -test -(ELAT)

What is the English literature admissions test (ELAT) used for?

The English Literature Admissions Test is used to differentiate between highly qualified candidates for entry to the University of Oxford. It is used at the pre-interview stage to help decide who progresses to the next stage of selection.

What courses require the English literature admissions test?

The ELAT is used for a wide variety of English based courses at the University of Oxford. You will be asked to sit the ELAT if you have applied for any of the following:

  • English Language and Literature
  • Classics and English
  • English with:
    • Celtic
    • Czech (with Slovak)
    • French
    • German
    • Italian
    • Modern Greek
    • Portuguese
    • Russian
    • Spanish
    • Beginners Modern Greek
    • Beginners Portuguese
    • Beginners Czech (with Slovak)
    • Beginners Italian

What is the format of the English literature admissions test?

The ELAT follows a different format to many admissions tests, in that it involves just one essay paper lasting 90 minutes. The purpose of this essay is to test yours close reading skills, along with your ability to communicate ideas and present an argument succinctly.

You will be given around six pieces of poetry or prose, all loosely related in subject or theme, and asked to compare and comment on two or three of them of your choice. You can make this contrast ‘in any ways that seem interesting to you’, as long as you are clear in your introduction about what you aim to achieve with your analysis.

You are expected to focus your essay on the structure, language and style of the chosen pieces, exploring their use of allusion, syntax, imagery and similar linguistic techniques.

How and when do you take the English literature admissions test?

You can apply for the ELAT from September 1st, with entries closing on October 15th. The ELAT test takes place on November 6th.

Your school or college will need to enter you for the ELAT, as you cannot enter directly. If you are no longer at school or college, you will need to register with an independent test centre, which will process your application for you.

What does the English literature admissions test cost?

The ELAT costs nothing to sit at school or college, but you may need to pay an admin free at an independent test centre to cover their costs.

How to prepare for the English literature admissions test

The ELAT is not a test of knowledge, so there is no revision that you can do to prepare. You will not be expected to be familiar with the texts presented and it is not a test of how widely read you are. It is more concerned with your ability to interpret and compare different writing styles.

However, it is well worth downloading the sample papers, to familiarise yourself with the format of the test and get your mind working in the required way. You can download past papers.