What Is ESAT 2024?

5 min read
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Unveiling the details of ESAT 2024 through careful examination.

The Engineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT) is scheduled for October 15-17, 2024 and January 2025. This computer-based assessment evaluates your proficiency in subjects like Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

As you prepare to prove your mettle, the ESAT offers a unique opportunity. The convenience extends globally, with test centres spanning over 5,500 locations across 180 countries. This flexibility ensures that your journey to Cambridge begins right where you are.

Who Needs to Take the ESAT exam?

Applicants wishing to take the following subjects at Imperial College London or the University of Cambridge will need to take the ESAT:

Imperial College London:

  • Aeronautics, Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Design Engineering and Mechanical Engineering
  • Physics

University of Cambridge:

  • Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Natural Sciences or Veterinary Medicine
  • Engineering

The ESAT Test Format Explained

The ESAT might seem complex at first glance, but its format is actually quite straightforward! Here’s a breakdown to help you understand what to expect on test day:

Part 1: The Compulsory Round (Mathematics 1)

This 40-minute section kicks off the ESAT for everyone. It focuses on foundational mathematical concepts that are crucial for many Cambridge courses. So, dust off your problem-solving skills and get ready to showcase your quantitative abilities!

Part 2: Tailored Assessments for Your Course

After conquering Mathematics 1, the ESAT gets specific. You’ll take two additional 40-minute sections that align with the requirements of your chosen programme. Whether you’re aiming for Engineering, Natural Sciences, or Veterinary Medicine, the tests will be tailored to match the specific knowledge needed for success in your field.

Here’s the catch: You’ll need to select these two additional sections during registration. Make sure to check the course pages on the Cambridge website to see which ESAT parts are required for your program. Don’t worry, you won’t be able to change your mind at the test centre, so choosing wisely during registration is key!

Multiple Choice Throughout

Good news! The entire ESAT is a multiple-choice affair. This means you’ll be presented with a range of answer options for each question.  Carefully analyze each choice and select the one that best reflects your understanding.

Remember: There’s no penalty for guessing! Unlike some exams, the ESAT doesn’t deduct points for incorrect answers. So, if you’re unsure about a question, it’s always best to take a shot at the answer you think is most likely correct.

That’s it! With this knowledge of the ESAT format, you’re well on your way to conquering the test.  Now you can focus on honing your subject knowledge and practicing your test-taking skills.

A Simple Step-by-Step Guide to ESAT Registration

Conquering the ESAT is a two-part challenge: acing the test itself and navigating the registration process. Don’t worry, registering for the ESAT is a breeze with this handy guide!

Step 1: Mark Your Calendar (Registration Opens August 1st!)

The first step is to mark your calendar! Registration for the ESAT opens on August 1st, 2024. Make sure to note this down so you don’t miss the window.

Step 2: Gather Your Essentials

Before you dive into registration, gather a few key things:

  • A valid email address
  • Your preferred method of payment (debit/credit card or bursary voucher, if applicable)
  • Your chosen course (this will help you determine the additional test sections you need)
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Step 3: Create Your UAT-UK Account

Head over to the official ESAT website and navigate to the registration section. Here, you’ll need to create an account with Pearson VUE, the organization that delivers the ESAT.

Step 4: Select Your Test Date (October or January)

The ESAT is offered in two testing windows: October and January. Remember, if you’re applying to Cambridge University, you must take the ESAT in October. Double-check the deadlines (more on that in a sec) to ensure you choose the right window for your application timeline.

Step 5: Pick Your Battleground (Test Center Selection)

The beauty of the ESAT is its global reach! You can choose from a vast network of Pearson VUE test centres spanning over 5,500 locations across 180 countries. Select the centre closest to you for a convenient and stress-free testing experience.

Step 6: Choose Your Weaponry (Additional Test Sections)

Based on your chosen Cambridge course, you’ll need to select the two additional 40-minute sections that complement your programme’s requirements. Refer to the Cambridge course webpage for specific details on required ESAT sections.

Step 7: Secure Your Spot (Payment Time!)

Finally, it’s time to secure your spot! The ESAT has a registration fee of £75 for UK and Republic of Ireland candidates, and £130 for those taking the test internationally. You can pay using your debit/credit card or a bursary voucher (if you’re eligible).

Bonus Tip: Stay Alert for Deadlines!

While registration opens in August, remember that there are deadlines to consider. Specific deadlines for each test sitting (October and January) will be announced closer to the registration period. Keep an eye on the ESAT website for the latest updates.

With these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to registering for the ESAT! Now you can focus on preparing to showcase your academic talents and take that first step towards your dream course.

Please remember that if you are applying to study at Cambridge, you will need to take the test in October.

Costs and Bursaries:

Savings formula, representing Costs and Bursaries for ESAT.
Navigating ESAT expenses with a strategic formula for success.

Navigating the ESAT journey comes with a nominal entry fee, set at £75 for candidates taking the test in the UK or Republic of Ireland, and £130 for those opting for global test centres. This fee, payable during the booking process using debit/credit cards or bursary vouchers, contributes to the seamless administration of this comprehensive assessment.

For candidates facing financial constraints in the UK, an invaluable opportunity presents itself in the form of bursary vouchers. Eligible candidates can apply for these vouchers, allowing them to book the ESAT free of charge. The commitment to inclusivity is evident as ESAT strives to eliminate financial barriers, ensuring that deserving candidates have the chance to showcase their potential on a level playing field.

Embarking on the journey to conquer the Engineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT) requires more than subject knowledge; it demands a strategic approach and meticulous planning. This comprehensive checklist serves as your roadmap to navigate the intricacies of ESAT preparation, ensuring you’re well-equipped for success.

How to Prepare for the ESAT?

1. Strategic Section Selection:

Maximise your score by strategically choosing sections that contribute significantly to your overall mark. Experiment with various section combinations using past papers to identify the most effective approach. Early exposure to Oxbridge admissions test papers provides a solid foundation for the challenges ahead.

2. Adapt to the New Format:

Stay ahead of the game by thoroughly understanding the latest instructions and format changes introduced in the ESAT. Clarify the distinction between compulsory and optional sections to devise a time-efficient plan. It’s crucial to remain vigilant about outdated resources, ensuring familiarity with recent updates and intricacies.

3. Master the Syllabus:

Ensure a robust understanding of AS-level knowledge covered in your Year 12 A-Level or IB material. Recognise the diverse backgrounds of ESAT candidates and align your preparation to accommodate these variations.

4. Timed Practise with Past Papers:

Architectural blueprints symbolizing ESAT engineering challenges.
Building success in ESAT 2024 with precision and expertise.

Simulate exam conditions to acclimate yourself to the challenging time constraints of the ESAT. Analyse your answers critically, delving into your thought process during the exam. Past NSAA papers offer a valuable parallel experience, contributing to a comprehensive preparation strategy.

5. Diversify Practise Beyond Past Papers:

Engage with additional resources to enhance your problem-solving skills. Participate in UKMT maths challenges for quick problem-solving, especially in the maths section. Explore Physics Aptitude Test (PAT) papers or ENGAA past papers for a higher difficulty level in physics. Leverage platforms like Isaac Physics and the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge to acquaint yourself with varied question styles. Extend your practice to other university admissions assessments for a well-rounded and thorough readiness.

Remember, ESAT preparation goes beyond getting correct answers; it’s about honing your problem-solving skills and understanding your unique approach to questions. With this strategic guide, you’re not just preparing for a test – you’re mastering the art and science of ESAT success, ready to confidently face whatever challenges the exam presents.

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Bottom Line

As you embark on your ESAT journey, remember: this is not just an exam; it’s an opportunity to showcase your problem-solving prowess. The strategic approach you’ve cultivated, coupled with a solid foundation in AS-level knowledge, positions you for success.

Stay confident; the ESAT is your chance to shine. Embrace the challenge, knowing that every question navigated is a step closer to your academic goals. The timed practices, diversified resources, and meticulous planning are your allies. Trust your preparation, and face the ESAT with resilience.

For personalised guidance and to amplify your readiness, consider partnering with an ESAT tutor. Our experts are dedicated to unlocking your potential, ensuring you face the ESAT with confidence. Your journey to triumph awaits – seize it with determination!

Ready to Excel? Book your free consultation with Oxbridge Mind Tutors today. Your success story starts here.


Can I solely rely on past papers for ESAT preparation?

While past papers are valuable, comprehensive preparation involves more. Understanding the syllabus, mastering core concepts, and practising time management are equally crucial. Ensure a well-rounded approach for optimal results.

How should I adjust my preparation for the new ESAT format in 2024?

Acknowledge the format changes by focusing on updated resources. The evolving style may resemble other Oxbridge tests. Begin practising with relevant materials, gradually adapting to the expected problem-solving approach.

Is AS level knowledge sufficient for ESAT, or should I revisit A-Level content?

ESAT aligns with AS level knowledge, but variations exist among exam boards. Thoroughly review your Year 12 A-Level or IB material. Ensure familiarity with the syllabus, addressing any specific requirements for your chosen sections.

Can I use calculators during the ESAT exam?

No, calculators are not permitted in the ESAT exam. Practise mental calculations and enhance your ability to solve mathematical problems without external aids.

How can I manage time effectively during the ESAT exam?

Prioritise sections strategically. Understand the compulsory and optional components. Timed practice, especially with past papers, helps refine your approach and ensures you’re well-prepared for the tight time constraints.

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