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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.
The six passages will be linked by a common theme, which will be given in the introduction. Candidates may choose any two of the six to compare. Answer sheets will be provided.
Please note, prior to the 2018 test, candidates could compare two or three passages for ELAT. Since then, they must compare two passages. The ELAT marking criteria were also updated in 2018.
The test takes place on Wednesday 30 October 2019, usually at 09.00 GMT. The scheduled start times for international centres will vary, depending on where they are in the world. For exact timings, please check with your school or centre.
Find out more about registration and Access Arrangements.