TSA 2024: What is the TSA? 

3 min read

The Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) is an admissions test used by Oxford to assess the problem solving and verbal reasoning skills of applicants to certain, usually essay-based subjects. It was previously administered by Cambridge Admissions Assessment Testing. However, in 2024 the University of Oxford announced that they would be implementing a new testing procedure. The university will provide you with more information in the Spring.

In this TSA guide article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the TSA 2024. 

what is TSA

Which Universities Require the TSA?

TSA Oxford

A two-hour test you’ll take before your admissions interviews when applying to certain courses. You can read on for more information below.


The TSA UCL is a 90-minute multiple-choice test. It applies to applicants for European Social and Political Studies (ESPS) and International Social and Political Studies (ISPS).

Candidates take the test in either January or March.

Who has to sit the Oxford TSA?

Applicants to Oxford for any of these subjects have to sit both TSA Section 1 and TSA Section 2:

  • Experimental Psychology
  • Geography
  • Human Sciences
  • Philosophy and Linguistics
  • Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)
  • Psychology and Linguistics
  • Psychology and Philosophy

Applicants to Oxford for these subjects will have to sit TSA Section 1 only:

  • Economics and Management
  • History and Economics

So if you’re applying for any of these degrees, read on!

When are the TSA test dates in 2024?

TSA test dates
Make sure you know all the key dates

For Oxford and Cambridge applicants, the actual TSA test date has not been published yet. It is likely that the test will take place at the end of October and you will need to have registered by the end of September. The deadline for applying for any modifications to the papers (e.g. enlarged print) if you need those will be sometime in the middle of September. Check out our article for more information on the Cambridge and Oxford TSA test date.

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What format will the TSA 2024 take?

Oxford TSA

You will sit the TSA Oxford at a test centre, which may be your school or another open test centre if you cannot take it at a school. Our TSA Online Course is the perfect place to start understanding the format and question types in the exam.  

TSA Section 1 

Section 1 is a 90 minute, 50 question, multiple choice exam. The TSA questions consist of 25 problem solving questions, which will test your ability to reason mathematically, and 25 critical thinking questions, which test your verbal reasoning ability. The test mixes the two question types throughout the paper, and questions generally get harder as you go. 

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    TSA Section 2 

    Section 2 is a 30 minute essay written from a choice of 4 questions, assessing your ability to structure an argument and communicate your ideas clearly, concisely and effectively. The essay questions are not subject-specific. 

    If you’re looking for a TSA study guide for preparing for Section 1 or 2, check out our TSA past papers for questions!

    Where can I take the TSA 2024?

    If you are taking the TSA Oxford, you’ll need to take it at an authorised test centre. Your school or college may already be one, and if not they can apply for this – speak to your Exams Officer to find out and register.

    what is Oxford TSA

    How much does it cost to take the TSA 2024?

    Cambridge Assessment (who administered the TSA) did not charge candidates for the TSA. Oxford university will announce if this will change. However, your test centre may charge a fee to cover room hire, invigilation etc., so to find out if there will be any cost to you, speak to your test centre. 

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    How is the TSA 2024 scored?

    TSA Section 1

    The test awards one mark for each correct answer. The marks are then converted using some clever statistics (the Rasch statistical technique, if you’re interested) to account for question and overall test difficulty so scores are comparable. You’ll receive a score on a scale from 0-100. Typical applicants (specifically those applying to these top universities) will score around 60. 70 and above is a comparatively high score and 80 and above is exceptional. 

    TSA Section 2

    There isn’t really a standard way the essay is marked. The testing centre will send admissions tutors a copy for them to read and they will have their own way of marking or assessing your work. 

    Check out our article on ‘What is a good TSA score?’ for more information.

    How will I know my TSA score?

    For the Oxford TSA, you’ll get a sheet on the day with some information to keep safe, and in January 2025 (date TBC) you can view your score for Section 1. You probably won’t get any feedback on Section 2 as it isn’t centrally marked, it’s just read and assessed by admissions tutors. At interview, tutors may potentially discuss your TSA, so they may disclose your score or mention your essay then, but this is by no means guaranteed. 

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    Can I retake the TSA?

    You can’t retake the TSA within the admissions cycle you’re applying for. If you were unsuccessful with your application this year and decide to reapply in future, you would have to sit the TSA again. 


    The TSA is a very important part of your university application. Admissions tutors will use it to judge whether you have the critical thinking and problem solving skills to excel in your chosen subject at degree level. The TSA may seem daunting at first, but with preparation you will be able to rise to the challenge! Check out our other TSA guide articles and TSA top tips to learn more. We also offer 1-1 TSA tuition. Our expert tutors can also guide you to TSA success!


    What does TSA mean? 

    The TSA is the Thinking Skills Assessment, which is an aptitude test used in undergraduate admissions for some courses at Oxford. It tests problem solving, critical thinking and essay writing ability.

    What does TSA stand for?

    TSA stands for Thinking Skills Assessment.

    What is the TSA?

    The Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) is an exam for undergraduate admissions to some courses at Oxford. It has two sections. Section 1 is multiple choice and tests critical thinking and problem solving, and Section 2 is an argumentative essay.

    Which universities require TSA for admission?

    Several universities in the United Kingdom require the TSA as part of their admission process. Some of these universities include the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, University College London (UCL), and Imperial College London, among others.

    What is the format of the TSA exam?

    The TSA exam comprises two sections: Section 1 and Section 2. Section 1 is a multiple-choice test that assesses a candidate’s problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Section 2 is a writing task that requires candidates to write an essay on a given topic. The test duration is 2 hours and 30 minutes, and candidates must complete both sections of the exam.

    How can I register for the TSA exam?

    Candidates can register for the TSA exam through the official website. The registration process typically involves creating an account, selecting the exam date and location, and paying the registration fee (if applicable).

    How can I prepare for the TSA exam?

    Candidates can prepare for the TSA exam by studying relevant topics, practising past papers, and improving their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. We also recommend familiarising yourself with the test format and marking scheme.

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