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The English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT) is a pre-interview admissions test for applicants to English undergraduate courses at the University of Oxford and English at the University of Cambridge. Assessment arrangements for mature applicants to the University of Cambridge vary – please check the University of Cambridge website for details. It is one of the elements admissions tutors use to decide whether to invite a candidate for interview.
ELAT is a paper-based test lasting 90 minutes. It tests candidates’ close reading skills, and their ability to shape and articulate an informed response to unfamiliar literary material. Candidates write one essay comparing two passages, focusing on elements such as:
Candidates are given six poems or passages from drama and/or prose (fiction or non-fiction), and are asked to carry out this single task:
Select two of the passages (a) to (f) and compare and contrast them in any ways that seem interesting to you, paying particular attention to distinctive features of structure, language and style. In your introduction, indicate briefly what you intend to explore or illustrate through close reading of your chosen passages.
There will be some sort of link between the six passages, which will be explained in the introduction. Answer sheets will be provided to candidates.
Please note, prior to the 2018 test, candidates could compare two or three passages for ELAT. From this year's test onwards, they must compare two passages.