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Archaeology Admissions Assessment Guide

Everything you should know before taking the Archaeology Admissions Assessment and how to be successful!

WHAT IS THE Archaeology Admissions Assessment?

The Archaeology Admissions Assessment is a pre-interview test that applicants are asked to sit prior to their Cambridge interview. The test is not designed to assess any particular course content (since students do not normally study archaeology at school, and may not all be familiar with the same historical periods), but rather measures a candidate's skills in analytical thinking, argument-writing, using evidence, and writing under timed conditions.

WHO NEEDS TO SIT THE Archaeology Admissions Assessment?

The Archaeology Admissions Assessment is set by Cambridge University to all candidates shortlisted to interview for Archaeology at all Cambridge Colleges.

HOW IS THE Archaeology Admissions Assessment STRUCTURED?

The Archaeology Admissions Assessment involves reading one passage of text (around 500 words in length) selected from two options before answering two questions relating to said passage (chosen from a list of four questions). The paper is an hour in length and answers are expected in a long-form, essay format.

CAN I CHOOSE WHICH QUESTIONS I ANSWER IN THE Archaeology Admissions Assessment?

Applicants choose which of two passages they wish to focus on for the entirety of the exam, before selecting two out of a possible four questions to answer.

HOW IS MY SCORE IN THE Archaeology Admissions Assessment USED?

As the Archaeology Admissions Assessment is a pre-interview test taken by applicants who have already been shortlisted for interview, it has perhaps a less important role in the selection process than other admissions tests taken prior to interview selection. Applicants taking the Archaeology Admissions Assessment will have their test results and scripts considered by admissions tutors alongside their interview performance, meaning that an impressive performance in the test could help bolster a less impressive interview performance, and vice versa.

WHAT IS A GOOD Archaeology Admissions Assessment SCORE?

Since the exam is by nature subjective, made up of long response essay question, it is near-impossible to say that any one score will guarantee acceptance onto your chosen Cambridge course. Since the Archaeology Admissions Assessment is used as an assessment tool among a wider context of factors, such as your academic grades and teacher reference, there is no fixed pass mark or automatic threshold.


The Archaeology Admissions Assessment is a test of skills, such as critical thinking, analysis, and essay-writing, rather than of any particular content knowledge. 

Although the content is not specific to any school syllabus, the skills that you will be using to take the test will be those taught and practised in humanities A-level (or equivalent) courses, such as History, Sociology, Classics, and many more. We therefore recommend using your school studies as an example from which to practise the relevant skills. It can be difficult to identify tasks and exercises to practise these skills; our specialist tutors who have experience of advising students taking other qualifications and help them fill in knowledge gaps.

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How to register for the Archaeology Admissions Assessment

WHEN IS THE Archaeology Admissions Assessment IN 2023?

The Archaeology Admissions Assessment will be sat by students who have been invited to interview by a Cambridge college. There is no specific date published for the test, and colleges will reach out to shortlisted applicants via email to inform them of the test date and arrangements when they are invited to interview. Cambridge Interviews mostly take place in the first three weeks of December.


If you are invited to take the Archaeology Admissions Assessment, all the information you require to attend and sit the test will be included in an email from the college you have applied to; there is no need to worry about finding information or make arrangements beforehand!

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO TAKE THE Archaeology Admissions Assessment?

The Archaeology Admissions Assessment is free of charge for shortlisted applicants.


Tips from a Successful Cambridge Archaeology Student

HOW CAN I PREPARE FOR THE Archaeology Admissions Assessment?

  1. Practice Regularly: Consistent practice is the key to success. Work through sample questions and past papers to improve your critical reading, writing, and analytical skills.
  2. Enhance Your Reading: The Archaeology Admissions Assessment relies heavily on your ability to interpret and understand passage of text. Engage with a wide range of literature, academic articles, and philosophical texts to expand your reading comprehension.
  3. Develop Writing Skills: Refine your essay writing abilities by practising different types of essays and seeking feedback from teachers or mentors.
  4. Time Management: During preparation, practice answering questions within the allocated time limits. Time management is crucial to completing all sections of the Archaeology Admissions Assessment effectively. The University website keeps past papers available so that applicants can test themselves in timed conditions. If you’ve worked your way through these, we at Oxbridge Applications keep a bespoke bank of true-to-reality mock tests available for purchase in our admissions resource hub.
  5. Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated with the latest news and developments in your chosen field. This will not only enhance your essay writing but also prepare you for potential interview questions. On our blog we endeavour to keep potential applicants up to date on everything admissions-test, so be sure to check in there for more news.
  6. Ask expert advice: Request feedback on your practice essays and responses from teachers, mentors, or peers. Constructive criticism will help you identify areas for improvement and refine your approach. Previous Cambridge Archaeology graduates, such as our mentors here at Oxbridge Applications, are also a great source of knowledge to draw on, as they can give you an accurate picture of what it means to perform like a successful Cambridge applicants!

Archaeology Admissions Assessment PREPARATION MATERIALS

In addition to official Archaeology Admissions Assessment past and specimen papers on the Cambridge Website, we at Oxbridge Applications have written a series of additional mock papers. Our students have 33% more questions to practise with. Our mock Archaeology Admissions Assessment papers are included with our admissions test tuition. All of our Archaeology Admissions Assessment tutors are highly-trained Cambridge graduates who can share their personally insights of having sat the test. You can contact our Oxbridge-graduate Consultants on +44 (0) 20 7499 2394 or email [email protected] to discuss which of our test training would suit you best. We also have an online testing portal for students who want to sit the exam in timed, test conditions.

WHAT IS THE BEST STUDY GUIDE FOR THE Archaeology Admissions Assessment

At Oxbridge Applications, we pride ourselves in providing up-to-date advice and unrivalled expertise. As well as collating information from publicly available sources, we also conduct our own research into the application process; for example, by surveying the thousands of students we support each year. Speak to an Oxbridge Applications expert today for advice on your specific situation!


How to Pass the Archaeology Admissions Assessment?

The best advice we can offer to succeed the Archaeology Admissions Assessment exam is to begin exam preparation early and practise often.

Most students who don’t make it through the interview stages and feel their Archaeology Admissions Assessment results let them down tell us that they didn’t spend enough time familiarising themselves with the type of questions that can arise. They typically say that they were caught off guard by a particular question and it put their timings off for the rest of the test.


Since no subject-specific knowledge is required for the Archaeology Admissions Assessment, challenge yourself to begin working through past papers and familiarising yourself with the questions as soon as possible.


Reflect on your personal strengths and weaknesses. No two students should have the same revision strategy for the Archaeology Admissions Assessment, since you all have varying abilities. Try to identify which aspect of the process - be it text reading, answer-planning, or essay-writing - is the biggest struggle for you, then tailor your strategy accordingly!


Don’t restrict your practice materials: Once you have tried all of the real past papers, and have moved on to additional materials like our bespoke Archaeology Admissions Assessment papers, you should then look wider at similar materials. For example, take a look at History or Classics papers for different A-Level exam boards or for the IB to obtain diverse materials of study.


Work with a friend or teacher to discuss questions and identify your own personal revision goals. Working with others can be a huge motivation and keep you on track in the weeks and months leading up to the test. We have specialist Archaeology Admissions Assessment tutors who can work with you one-to-one to refine your test technique.


Strategic Guidance

Unsure about your Oxbridge application? In our one-hour consultation, our experts strategise your application, assess your potential, and resolve queries to maximise your success. Contact us at [email protected] or +44 (0) 20 7499 2394.

Archaeology Admissions Assessment Private Tuition x4

Available all year-round and includes 4 private admissions test tuition sessions and four test papers, which are marked by expert Oxbridge-graduate tutors.

Archaeology Admissions Assessment Private Tuition x6

Available: Year-Round and includes 6 private admissions test tuition sessions and six test papers which are marked by expert Oxbridge-graduate tutors.

Past Archaeology Admissions Assessment test papers

Prepare for your admissions test with our mock papers.

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