The HAT (History Aptitude Test) is an admissions exam designed to rank the applicants to history-related courses at the University of Oxford
Read our comprehensive HAT guide
Everything you should know before taking the HAT test and how to be successful
The Oxford History Aptitude Test is an hour-long exam made up of just one long-response essay question. This single question will be an unseen source analysis. You will be given a documentary source from a period or region you probably won’t have studied before, with some explanatory notes, and a general question for you to respond to. The aim here is not to test your knowledge of a specific time period or historical concept, but rather to see how well you can adapt your existing knowledge to new information.
The HAT is set by Oxford University as a mandatory requirement for students applying for History, History and Economics, History and English, History and Modern Languages, or History and Politics.
Oxford University uses the HAT as a standardised format for assessing and benchmarking their applicants. The exam rewards source analysis and essay structuring over knowledge of a specific historical period, so that students taking different qualifications at school can access the syllabus. Oxford University uses students’ marks in the HAT to make decisions about which applicants they should invite to interview. The vast majority of applicants to Oxford’s highly competitive history courses will have similarly excellent grades, so an applicant’s HAT test score heavily influences this decision.
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