Imperial College London and Cambridge University Introduce New Admissions Tests

6 Feb, 2024 | Computer Science, Economics & Business, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine, University Preparation

The next cycle of UCAS applications will bring with it a notable new development: Imperial College London has announced that it will launch a series of new admissions tests for 2024, in collaboration with the University of Cambridge.

This joint venture will see computer-based assessments service Pearson VUE deliver admissions tests for Science, Engineering and Mathematics-based degree courses. 

This development aims to improve the experience of students applying to especially competitive undergraduate courses, while supporting universities in their assessment of applicants.

What Tests Will Be Offered?

Cambridge and Imperial will deliver two sets of tests for applicants: the Engineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT) and the Test of Mathematics for University Admission (TMUA). 

What’s the ESAT?

The ESAT will be administered for degree programmes in Engineering, Natural Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge. 

Applicants to Imperial College London applying for Physics and the majority of Engineering courses will also sit the ESAT.

What’s the TMUA?

The TMUA will be taken by applicants to Economics and Computer Science at the University of Cambridge. 

Imperial College London will also administer the TMUA for applicants to their Economics, Finance and Data Science course, as well as their Computing courses. 

In addition to Cambridge and Imperial, the TMUA will be used by a set of UK universities to evaluate applications for Mathematics-based courses.

How Will the Tests Be Delivered?

Both the ESAT and the TMUA will be administered by Pearson VUE, the certification and licensure branch of Pearson, beginning in October 2024. Students will complete new computer-based assessments at a designated Pearson VUE testing centre, with 5,500 locations available across 180 countries.

It’s expected that the new computer-based tests will remove the burden that can often be placed upon schools and teachers to act as test centres, while increasing the accessibility of applications for a global group of prospective students. 

According to Lizzie Burrows, Director of Marketing Recruitment and Admissions at Imperial College London, this testing format “…fairly select[s] the best candidates while minimising the burden on our applicants.”

What Other Admissions Tests Will Be Offered?

Students applying for undergraduate admission to Cambridge or Imperial in the 2024/25 application cycle will also see other tests delivered.

For admission to their medical degrees, Cambridge and Imperial will administer the UCAT assessment, also through Pearson VUE, and Law applicants to Cambridge will continue to sit the Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT).

What Is the Cost of the New Admissions Tests?

In line with similar institutions across the UK, applicants sitting the computer-based assessments will be required to pay an administration charge to take the tests. However, a fee waiver will be applied for UK-based applicants who prove eligible for free school meals or who meet the following criteria:

  • Students in receipt of Pupil Premium payments can apply for a voucher which will cover the cost of the assessment
  • Students whose parents are on income support
  • Students whose parents are in receipt of child benefits

For students based in the UK or the Republic of Ireland, the assessments will cost £75. For those located in another region, the test will cost £130. 

When Will the New Admissions Tests Take Place?

The TMUA and ESAT will administer test-sittings in mid-October 2024 and January 2025 to attract a diverse range of applicants. These dates reflect the two main deadlines for undergraduate courses in the UCAS admissions process.

Please note that applicants to Cambridge University must take the autumn sitting to be eligible for 2025 entry.

The undergraduate admissions process can often be a confusing one, especially with the addition of these new assessments. However, both the TMUA and ESAT aim to create an application cycle that prioritises fairness, equity and accessibility during the 2024/25 cycle.

Keep up to date with the latest UCAS personal statement changes and more with the OxBright Blog.


By Adam Kluge

Adam (he/him) recently completed his MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Oxford. His research exists at the intersection of law, politics, and history – and he welcomes opportunities to further explore these areas through personal and pedagogical practices. He completed his undergraduate degrees at Columbia University and will begin a PhD in Criminology at Oxford this autumn.

Boost your university applications!

Recommended articles

Which Career Is the Best Fit for Me?

Which Career Is the Best Fit for Me?

Choosing your career path is one of the first big steps you’ll take as a young adult, so it can often be a daunting prospect. However, the possibilities are endless, and as long as you base your choices on your personal preferences, passions and interests, your...

read more
How to Make a Study Schedule That Actually Works

How to Make a Study Schedule That Actually Works

Studying can sometimes feel like a daunting task, no matter how old you are or what level you’re studying at. You might be left thinking: How can I balance academics with my other commitments?  How do I stay consistent with a study schedule?  Is there a “good” or...

read more