Breaking NEWS: New admissions tests to be launched Oct 2024

New admissions tests to be launched Oct 2024

The University of Cambridge and Imperial College London are to launch new admissions tests for science, engineering and mathematics-based degree courses. These tests can and will be used by other universities as part of the application process when selecting students. 

“The applicant experience is at the heart of our ambitions. With the number of applications expected to continue to rise over coming years, universities need to find ways to fairly select the best candidates while minimising the burden on our applicants.” 

Lizzie Burrows

Director of Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions at Imperial


Cambridge and Imperial will provide two sets of tests, ESAT and TMUA.

  • The Engineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT) will be used for degree programmes in Engineering, Natural Sciences, Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, and Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge, and Physics and most Engineering degrees at Imperial.
  • The Test of Mathematics for University Admission (TMUA) will be used for Economics and Computer Science degrees at Cambridge, and both the ‘Economics, Finance and Data Science’ and Computing degrees at Imperial. A number of other UK universities will also use the TMUA for assessing applications for mathematically-based courses.

What is the aim of the new admissions tests (the ESAT and TMUA)?

The aim of the new tests is to improve the experience of students applying for highly competitive undergraduate courses while helping universities to fairly assess the skills of the brightest applicants.

Lizzie Burrows, Director of Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions at Imperial, said “We hope that these tests will encourage other universities to use the TMUA and ESAT as assessments and streamline the admissions process for students.”

When will the ESAT and TMUA be sat by students?

The TMUA and ESAT will run test-sittings in mid-October 2024 and early January 2025 to reflect the two main deadlines for courses in the UCAS admissions process. Applicants to Cambridge must take the Autumn sitting.

Where will the ESAT and TMUA be sat by students?

The admissions tests will be delivered by Pearson VUE from 2024. Pearson VUE test centres have a global network of more than 5,500 locations in more than 180 countries where UCAT admissions tests (amongst other tests) are currently sat by students.

Will the ESAT or the TMUA replace the UCAT for prospective medical applicants?

Cambridge and Imperial will also be using the UCAT assessment for admission to their medical degrees from 2024, provided through Pearson VUE

Will there be a fee for students to sit the new tests (ESAT and TMUA)?

Applicants will be required to pay an administration charge to take the tests, in line with other comparable institutions, but a fee waiver will be applied for UK-based applicants who are eligible for free school meals or who meet a number of other widening participation criteria*.

Nicholson added: “It is important that cost is not a barrier to participation, and the model we are using for the fee waivers has been successfully used for other admissions tests supported by Pearson.”

*UK applicants eligible for free school meals, or in receipt of Pupil Premium payments can apply for a voucher which will cover the cost of the test. Those whose parents are on income support or in receipt of child benefit are also eligible and there are a number of other exemptions. Please use Cambridge and Imperial links for more information.

That’s a wrap on this latest breaking news. Stay tuned for the latest updates.

Before you leave, take 5 mins and reflect on what you’ve learnt from this

  • What surprised you? What was expected?
  • Will you need to sit either the ESAT or the TMUA?

Make a quick note of these reflections (bullet-points are fine) in your reflective diary. You might find it useful when answering medical interview questions!

Scroll to Top