CAT Exam 2024: A Full Guide

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Essential resources for CAT Exam 2024 preparation.

The Classics Admissions Test (CAT) at Oxford University is a pivotal assessment. It evaluates language proficiency in Greek and/or Latin or aptitude for mastering new languages.

We’ll delve into the intricacies of the CAT. This includes offering insights into its purpose, format, and significance for prospective applicants. Whether you’re gearing up to take the CAT or seeking valuable information about Oxford’s admissions process, join us as we navigate through the essentials of this crucial examination.

What is the CAT?

So, what about CAT exam? The Classics Admissions Test (CAT) holds significance as Oxford University’s method of assessing candidates’ suitability for undergraduate courses related to Classics. Primarily, the CAT serves a dual purpose. It evaluates candidates’ existing proficiency in Greek and/or Latin languages. Furthermore, it assesses their capacity to acquire new linguistic skills. For applicants aiming to pursue studies in Classics at Oxford, proficiency in these languages is fundamental. The CAT is therefore a critical component of the admissions process.

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The Importance of CAT for Your Oxford Application

The Classics Admissions Test (CAT) holds significant weight in the Oxford application process, particularly for candidates aspiring to study Classics-related courses. Along with your Classics personal statement, a strong performance in the CAT can significantly enhance your chances of securing admission to Oxford University. It serves as a crucial indicator of your linguistic proficiency and aptitude for studying Classics at the undergraduate level.

Conversely, a low CAT score can have adverse effects on your application, potentially impacting your chances of receiving an interview invitation. It’s worth noting that approximately 96% of Classics applicants receive interview invitations, making the CAT an essential component in distinguishing candidates in a highly competitive pool. You can talk to one of our advisors about Oxbridge Classics interview tutoring to see how we can support you.

Therefore, achieving a competitive CAT score is vital to ensuring that your Oxford application stands out and increases your likelihood of progressing further in the admissions process.

Courses That Require Applicants to Take The CAT

The Classics Admissions Test (CAT) is a prerequisite for applicants to various undergraduate courses offered at Oxford University. These courses include:

  • Classics
  • Classics and English
  • Classics and Modern Languages
  • Classics and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Candidates applying for any of these courses must successfully complete the CAT as part of the admissions process. The test serves as a means to assess candidates’ linguistic proficiency and aptitude, ensuring that admitted students possess the necessary skills to excel in their chosen Classics-related programme at Oxford University.

What’s the Age Limit for CAT Exam?

There is no age limit for candidates appearing in the CAT exam 2024. Regardless of age, individuals can apply to take the CAT exam, provided they meet the eligibility criteria, which typically require candidates to hold a degree with the required marks. 

This inclusive policy ensures that individuals from diverse backgrounds and at various stages of their academic or professional careers have the opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency in Classics and pursue undergraduate studies at Oxford University.

CAT Exam Dates

Oxford University have not published the exam dates yet. However, it is likely that they will be at the end of October/beginning of November. You can check the exam dates on their official website.

What’s the CAT Entrance Exam Fees?

The University of Oxford have not yet announced if there will be a fee to take the CAT entrance exam. 

The CAT Format

The Classics Admissions Test (CAT) is structured into three distinct parts, each meticulously designed to assess different aspects of candidates’ proficiency and aptitude in Classics-related subjects. Here’s an in-depth look at the format of the CAT:

Latin Paper (1 hour):

  • Question 1: Candidates are presented with a passage of Latin poetry and tasked with translating it into English. This section evaluates candidates’ comprehension of poetic language, metre, and stylistic devices, with a focus on accuracy and interpretation.
  • Question 2: Candidates encounter a passage of Latin prose and are required to translate it into English. This segment assesses candidates’ understanding of grammatical structures, vocabulary usage, and contextual meaning within prose passages.

Greek Paper (1 hour):

  • Question 1: Candidates engage with a passage of Greek poetry, translating it into English. This portion evaluates candidates’ proficiency in deciphering poetic language, metre, and literary devices, emphasising precision and interpretation.
  • Question 2: Candidates encounter a passage of Greek prose and must translate it into English. This section tests candidates’ grasp of grammatical constructions, vocabulary nuances, and contextual comprehension within prose texts.

Aptitude Test (1 hour):

  • Section A: This segment assesses candidates’ understanding and application of linguistic concepts in a real language context. Candidates analyse linguistic structures, identify patterns, and demonstrate their comprehension of language mechanics.
  • Section B: Candidates demonstrate their adaptability to learning new languages by engaging with unfamiliar linguistic elements. This section evaluates candidates’ ability to discern patterns, make connections, and adapt their language skills to new contexts.
  • Section C: Candidates showcase their knowledge of English language mechanics, including grammar, syntax, and semantics. This section focuses on candidates’ ability to identify and manipulate linguistic elements within English texts.

The CAT’s comprehensive format ensures a thorough assessment of candidates’ linguistic proficiency, analytical skills, and adaptability, providing Oxford University with valuable insights into candidates’ readiness for pursuing Classics-related studies at the undergraduate level.

4 Proven Tips to Help You Prepare for the CAT

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Focused preparation for CAT Exam 2024.

Preparing for the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) requires a strategic approach and dedicated effort to excel in each section. Here are four proven tips to help you prepare effectively:

1. Take Practice Tests Under Timed Conditions:

To familiarise yourself with the CAT format and build your confidence, practice completing sample tests under timed conditions. This will help you improve your time management skills and adapt to the pace required for each section of the exam.

2. Read About and Study Linguistics in Your Own Time:

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Reviewing materials for CAT Exam 2024.

Enhance your understanding of linguistic concepts by reading books, articles, and academic papers related to linguistics in your spare time. Familiarising yourself with linguistic theories, structures, and terminology will strengthen your analytical abilities and comprehension skills, preparing you for the aptitude test section of the CAT.

3. Work on Your Translation Skills:

Dedicate time to honing your translation skills by practising translating passages from Latin and Greek into English. Focus on maintaining accuracy, clarity, and fidelity to the original text, while also paying attention to nuances in language and literary devices. Regular practice will improve your proficiency and confidence in translation, enabling you to tackle the Latin and Greek papers with ease.

4. Get Help From a Professional CAT Tutor

Consider seeking guidance and support from a qualified CAT tutor who can provide personalised instruction and feedback tailored to your individual needs. A professional tutor, such as those at Oxbridge Mind, can offer valuable insights, targeted practice exercises, CAT tutoring and effective strategies to help you maximise your chances of success.

By following these proven tips and dedicating yourself to diligent preparation, you can approach the CAT exam with confidence and increase your chances of success in securing admission to Oxford University for Classics-related courses.

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Final Words

In conclusion, the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) is a critical step in the journey towards studying Classics at Oxford University. By understanding the format of the CAT, its importance in the admissions process, and implementing effective preparation strategies, you can increase your chances of success in this rigorous examination. 

Whether you’re aiming to excel in translation, linguistic analysis, or English language mechanics, diligent preparation and guidance from professionals, such as Oxbridge Mind, can significantly enhance your performance. Take the first step towards your academic aspirations today and embark on a path to success with the CAT. Good luck!


Is the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) mandatory for all Oxford University applicants?

The Classics Admissions Test (CAT) is not mandatory for all applicants to Oxford University. However, it is required for admission to undergraduate courses related to Classics, including Classics, Classics and English, Classics and Modern Languages, and Classics and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. Applicants to these courses must sit for the CAT as part of the admissions process.

Is CAT exam tough?

The CAT focuses on candidate’s aptitude for Classical languages and tests their ability to analyse linguistic features. As the test focuses on application of skills, rather than just being knowledge-based, some candidates find it difficult.

Can I take the CAT multiple times to improve my score?

Oxford University allows candidates to take the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) only once per admissions cycle. Multiple attempts within the same admissions cycle are not permitted. Therefore, it’s essential to adequately prepare for the exam and strive to achieve the best possible score during your initial attempt.

What is considered a competitive score in the CAT?

The competitiveness of a score in the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) can vary depending on the applicant pool and the specific course applied for. While there is no set threshold for a competitive score, candidates should aim to achieve a score that reflects their proficiency and aptitude in Classics-related subjects. It’s essential to consult with Oxford University’s admissions office or refer to past statistics to gauge the competitiveness of your score.

Are there any alternative assessments accepted in place of the CAT for Oxford admissions?

Oxford University typically does not accept alternative assessments in place of the Classics Admissions Test (CAT) for undergraduate courses related to Classics. However, candidates with extenuating circumstances may request accommodations or alternative arrangements for taking the CAT. It’s recommended to contact Oxford University’s admissions office directly to inquire about specific circumstances and alternative options available.

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