What is the HAT?

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What is the History Aptitude Test (HAT)?

The History Aptitude Test (HAT) is an admissions test for applicants who are interested in pursuing a History-related undergraduate course at the University of Oxford. The test is conducted pre-interview and is one aspect of the application that admissions tutors use to decide if they would invite an applicant for an interview.

In this article, we will explain everything that you need to know about the HAT 2024. This is so you have a comprehensive and full understanding of what the test is about. This includes how do you register for the test, when do you take the test, how it is scored, and what the assessment is actually looking out for.

Who has to sit for the History Aptitude Test 2024?

The HAT is for applicants to the following courses at the University of Oxford:

  • History, 
  • History (Ancient and Modern),
  • History and Economics,
  • History and English,
  • History and Modern Languages, 
  • History and Politics
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Why do you have to sit for the History Aptitude Test 2023?

Most of the applicants to the University of Oxford have great personal statements, great references from their teachers and school, as well as stellar grades. Hence, with so many qualified applicants competing for the limited positions at Oxford, it can be difficult for the admissions tutors to choose between well-qualified candidates. Furthermore, applicants not only come from different schools, but they also come from different education systems worldwide. Hence, the HAT is one way Oxford uses to differentiate between candidates.

What is a good HAT score?

Admissions tutors consider the HAT alongside other aspects of the application. They also compare the scores of other candidates who applied to the same course. There is no specific mark that will guarantee a shortlisted application. However, one of the Oxford colleges revealed that in previous years:

  • the average HAT score for all History candidates was 57.2
  • average HAT score for shortlisted History candidates was 63.6
  • the average score for offer holders was 68.2

Hence, if other aspects of your application is stellar, you can expect to score an interview with a test result of around 63.6. However, do take note that this score would vary each year, based on the score distribution.

What does the HAT test in 2024?

The HAT aims to test candidates’ skills, instead of their substantive historical knowledge. Hence, this means that you don’t require prior knowledge of any specialist texts or historical knowledge before taking the test. It is such that the applicants would find it equally challenging, regardless of their school syllabus or the level of examinations that they have been taking. This allows candidates to not have an unfair advantage depending on the texts that they have studied previously.

During the test, candidates would be given an unseen source and are required to provide thoughtful interpretations. The test doesn’t provide any prior knowledge about its context. It aims to test the following attributes and skills: 

  • the ability to read carefully and critically;
  • the adoption of an analytical approach; 
  • the ability to answer a question relevantly; 
  • ability to handle concepts and select evidence to support points; 
  • originality and independence; 
  • precision and clarity of writing.

When are the HAT test dates in 2024?

The HAT 2024 test date is yet to be published. Keep up-to-date with the test registration dates for 2024 on the University of Oxford website.

However, it is likely to be around the same time as previous years.


The registration for these tests is not automatic. Simply completing your UCAS application or registering interest for the university course would not automatically register you for the test. 

To register, you must register through an authorised test centre. For most applicants, this is usually through their school or college. However, this can also be an open test centre, which you would be able to search online.  

You need your name, gender, date of birth, UCAS number (you would have this on your UCAS application). You will also need the name of the University, course, and course code that you are applying to. If you require any access arrangements, you need to submit evidence. 

Where can you take the HAT 2024?

You will be taking the HAT at an authorised test centre. Usually, if you were registered with your school or college, you would usually be taking your test in your school itself. However, this is not always the case, so do double-check! If your school is not an authorised test centre, it can apply to be one. You can speak to your school’s Exams Officer or career guidance counsellor about this to register your school as one.

If taking the test centre with your school is not an option, there are open authorised test centres all over the world. You can find the one nearest to you via Admissions Testing, and you can register with them.

How much does it cost to take the HAT 2024?

The administrators of the admissions test do not charge candidates for taking the HAT. However, some independent test centres would charge an administration fee to the candidates. These details are available when you contact them. These administration fees can vary as they would cover room hire, cost to invigilate the test, and so on.

What format will the History Aptitude Test 2024 take?

The History Aptitude Test consists of one question based on an extract from a primary source. The duration of the test is one hour. Using the primary source given, candidates are expected to offer thoughtful interpretations of the source, without knowing anything about its context. The HAT is a test of skills, specifically on being able to read carefully and critically and to craft an analysis using an analytical approach instead of substantive historical knowledge. It is designed such that all candidates are expected to find it equally challenging, regardless of the stage of education they are at or the difficulty of their school examinations. Hence, it does not discriminate against candidates who have different levels of historical knowledge at the point of test-taking.

How is the History Aptitude Test 2024 scored?

The History Admissions Test is marked on six main domains:

  • History insight and perceptiveness
  • Comprehension, content, and analysis
  • Use of evidence
  • Coverage
  • Structure, organisation, and relevance
  • Presentation and use of English

Each domain is given a mark on a 1-5 scale. Each domain has a different weightage, with the first three domains having a 4-point weightage, coverage having a three-point weightage, structure, organisation and relevance having a two-point weightage, and presentation and use of English having a one-point weightage. The mark that you get is multiplied by its weightage, and the points are totalled with a total possible score of 90. This means that if I scored four points in the structure, organisation, and relevance, I would be awarded eight points for that domain (4 x 2 = 8). However, the total added-up score is only a provisional score, and if the marker has any additional comments or thoughts, your final mark could vary slightly. 

HAT Components

For the first component, a high mark would be awarded if there is a clear predominance of high-level indicators, with few low-level indicators (defined below). For the second component, a high mark would be awarded for an advanced, intellectually mature understanding of the text. Similarly, a clear predominance of high-level indicators and low-level indicators are marked favourably. For the component on the use of evidence, your answer should be densely argued with close reference to the text and consistently substantiates points with well-chosen examples, and they have to be deployed precisely. 

The fourth component is marked favourably if it engages with an excellent range of themes and takes into account material from throughout the text. The fifth component is marked favourably is your answer has an excellent structure and flow, maintains a clear focus on the terms of the question throughout, is structured around well-chosen themes, and they are carefully prioritised. Lastly, the final component is marked favourably if there is a sophisticated use of English in terms of grammatical sense, sentence structure and vocabulary usage. It has to be clearly and neatly presented (handwriting matters!)

History Aptitude Test Indicators

High-level indicators could include the following: 

  • contains evidence of imaginative engagement with the text and a willingness to draw plausible historical inferences from it 
  • offers a critical reading of the text 
  • reflects carefully on the quality of the evidence (e.g. by noting that the author is an eyewitness writing within a decade or so of the events he describes)
  • registers that there may be important things that we do not know about the author that could have influenced his treatment of the events he describes 
  • therefore draws conclusions or makes suggestions with a degree of caution 
  • sees that the text is, nevertheless, full interest and has considerable historical value

Low-level indicators could include the following:

  • contains little evidence of imaginative engagement with the text or of deductive thought 
  • tends to read the text uncritically 
  • makes no attempt to evaluate the quality of the evidence, or merely asserts that the author is ‘biased’ without specifying why and how this may have shaped his representation of events 
  • tends to accept the author’s statements and judgments at face value

How will you know your HAT 2024 score?

Your test results for the HAT would not be automatically published to you. However, if you would like to know how you fared in your admissions test, you can request it as part of the usual feedback process. 

You do not report your results to Oxford separately or on your own as Oxford admissions tutors would receive the tests of all tests directly in time to make their shortlisting decisions, on which candidates they would like to invite for an interview, in November.

Can you retake the HAT 2024?

You are not allowed to retake the HAT within the admissions cycle that you are applying for. Oxford would not be allowing resits and would not be accepting marks if you took the HAT more than once in the same application cycle. 

However, if you were unsuccessful with your application and would like to reapply in the future, you would be able to retake the HAT in the next application cycle and use that for your next application. The HAT test results are only valid for one year, so you would have to resit it if you reapply. 


The HAT is an extremely crucial part of your Oxford application. Admissions tutors would be using it to determine if you have the necessary problem-solving and critical thinking skills to do well in your chosen subject at a University level. 

The HAT may seem challenging and daunting at first, but with preparation, you would be able to rise to the challenge! You can check out our other HAT guide articles as well as our HAT top tips (such as our Top 10 tips for preparing for the HAT article) to learn more. Oxbridge Mind also offers 1-1 HAT tutoring, and our expert HAT tutors can guide you to HAT success.


What does HAT mean?

The HAT is the History Aptitude Test (HAT), which is an aptitude test used in undergraduate admissions for some courses at Oxford. It tests problem-solving, critical thinking, and essay writing ability.

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