Top 5 tips for acing the ELAT | How to prepare for the ELAT (English Literature Admissions Test) | Advice on how to take the English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT)
By Alesha Williams
Oxford University uses the English Literature Admissions Test, or the ELAT test as part of the admissions process to evaluate applicants’ close reading comprehension and capacity to formulate and articulate a thoughtful response to unfamiliar literary material. There are many skills needed to succeed in the ELAT, including having to study English, which also presents the challenge of analysing unseen material. You’ll need to be able to compose a concise and well-organised written response in just 90 minutes for the ELAT paper.
Our knowledgeable English literature tutor online can be of assistance here. Online English literature tutoring can help you in performing well on the ELAT and securing a spot on your desired course at Oxford and Cambridge, because they are familiar with the exam content from personal experience, have tried-and-true strategies for answering the questions, and are aware of how the exam fits into the larger admissions process.
What is the English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT)?
The English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT) is an essay-based admissions exam designed to test whether applicants are qualified to enrol in Oxford’s English degree programmes. Six text passages in various formats are presented to candidates during the 90-minute test. Following that, they compose a reply based on two of these passages.
There are a lot of skills you need to develop in order to pass the ELAT and improve your chances of being invited for an interview, even though this is an admissions test used to judge solely based on the texts included in the paper and does not take your general familiarity with texts or previous coursework into account. Contact our team of ELAT specialists to get started for preparing for ELAT, or keep reading to find out more about how to prepare.
Which Oxford courses require the ELAT test?
Oxford University requires the ELAT in order to enrol in courses that include English as a language of study. These programmes consist of:
- English Language and Literature
- Classics and English
- English and Modern Languages
- History and English
It should be noted that the ELAT isn't the only admissions test required for the majority of these courses if you are applying to study English. The MLAT is also required for English and Modern Languages, the CAT is also required for Classics and English, and the HAT is also required for History and English for the University of Oxford or Oxbridge. Check out our helpful guide to which admissions tests are necessary for your course and links to additional guides on how to prepare for each to find out how to register for each separately.
What is included in the ELAT paper?
The ELAT is a paper-based test in which candidates are given six text passages (labelled (a) through (f)), all on the same theme. The theme will be given in the test introduction. You will be required to write one essay comparing two passages you've chosen, paying particular attention to language, imagery, syntax, form, and structure.
Although the six passages will all be on the same theme, they will be written in a variety of styles. These styles may include poetry, drama, and prose (both fiction and non-fiction), though not always. Additionally, the passages will be from various eras.
You will be provided with the authors’ names, the publications’ dates, and information about the passages’ prose style (novel, essay, etc.). You are only required to cite the authors and texts that are mentioned in the passages you choose to analyse.
Guidelines for the development of standardised tests have been developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Contact our ELAT experts for assistance in honing your essay-writing skills or preparing for other ELAT components.
How is the ELAT exam marked?
The ELat is designed to be graded out of 60. Each paper is graded by two examiners, who each assign a mark out of 30. These two marks are then added together to give you a total score out of 60.
Unlike many school-level English exams, no evidence of wider reading or prior knowledge of the texts or their contexts will be expected or awarded marks. The ELAT is a test of skill in which you will be asked to wrote one essay after comparing two texts. Instead, you will be able to include the following factors:
- Be observant when reading unfamiliar writing of all kinds.
- Display close reading skills by focusing on the implications of the text’s structure, language, and style.
- Shape and articulate an informed essay that is well-focused and organised and is based on contrasting and comparing two passages.
- Write fluently and accurately.
There are four bands for ELAT results. Who, what, where, when, why, and to you, the interviewee,
Each year, depending on the cohort of students and the exam paper, very slight changes are made to the number of marks required to reach each band. The scores for each of the four bands in 2020 are given below.
Band 1: 50 to 60
Band 2: 43 to 49
Band 3: 36 to 42
Band 4: 0 to 35
When is the ELAT?
The ELAT is scheduled for November 2nd. To ensure your eligibility, you must register for the exam through an authorised testing centre (see list below) before September 30.
There is no way to take the ELAT again. Your test centre can submit a special consideration form on your behalf if you feel that extenuating circumstances, such as being ill on the day of the test, caused you to perform poorly. However, applications must be turned in no later than five days before the exam.
How do you register for the ELAT?
You must have an authorised test centre register you for the ELAT on your behalf. Most candidates’ schools or colleges are authorised test sites, but you should double-check with your exams officer to be sure. If your college or school is not authorised, they may sign up to serve as a test centre at any time before 16 September. As an alternative, you can locate the nearest testing facility and sign up there via the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing (CAAT) website.
You will need to provide your personal information, UCAS number, the name of the university (Oxford), course, and course code, all of which can be found on UCAS or the specific subject page for your course, in order to register. Registration will begin on September 1st, and by September 30th, you must have your candidate entry number on hand as proof of entry.
Please be aware that you must register through a test centre before September 30 in order to sit for any admissions test at Oxford, including the ELAT.
How much does the ELAT cost?
Oxford University does not charge candidates to take the ELAT. However, some independent test centres do charge candidates an administration fee; for more information, get in touch with your nearby test centre.
When can you find out your ELAT results?
You can request your ELAT results as part of the standard feedback process, even though they won’t be made public by default. You do not need to send your results to Oxford University separately because they will receive the results of all tests in time for them to make their selections in November.
5 tips for preparing for the ELAT
1. Take practice tests under timed conditions.
One of the best ways to start preparation for the ELAT is completing practiced tests under timed conditions. This will help you get a feel for the kinds of texts and questions you’ll encounter on test day. Every past ELAT paper from 2007 to 2020 is available on the ELAT page of Oxford University. You can use these as practice papers.
You can determine how quickly you need to work on the exam by completing timed practice exams. You can also learn techniques for planning your answer, reading critically, articulate an informed response to unfamiliar literary text. and writing essays. One of the main challenges students who take the ELAT face is writing down all of their thoughts in the 90 minutes allotted, so making sure you are well-prepared for this will give you an advantage.
Top tip: Before starting your answer, Oxford University advises reading and annotating the passages for at least 30 minutes. This will not only give you time to plan a well-structured essay that includes all of your best analysis, but it will also guarantee that you select the appropriate passages to base your answer on. Start writing a little later than everyone else.
2. Read widely and in a range of forms and genres.
An essential part of preparing for the ELAT is reading widely and becoming familiar with a variety of forms and genres. You may be given passages in poetry, prose (both fiction and non-fiction), and drama on the exam, so it’s critical that you are skilled at applying close reading and analysis to all of these genres of text, regardless of your prior readings. Since the passages in the ELAT will also be from various eras, including medieval English, reading texts from various literary eras and time periods will help you better understand various types of language, much of which you won’t find in modern texts. Contrasting them by paying attention to their differences is a good way to begin.
3. Use the examiners’ comments to guide your practice answers.
For the ELAT, the university provides specifics on how your responses will be graded, in contrast to many other Oxford admissions tests. Make the most of Oxford’s ELAT page for sample essays with examiner comments to aid in your preparation.
Refer to the mark scheme as you write your response when you are working on answering practice questions. You should pay close attention to how perceptively you respond to the various writing genres you are exposed to, whether you can read closely and pay attention to how language, structure, and style interact, and whether your essay, which compares and contrasts the two passages, is organised and well-focused. You should have an understanding of how it fits within the context of the passage.
Consider marking the essay objectively by using the four results bands (see the section above titled “How is the ELAT marked?”). You can also request that a parent, teacher, or expert ELAT tutor mark your responses so that you can more clearly see where your strengths and weaknesses lie and what you can work on to get better. For the greatest chance of being invited for an interview, you should strive for answers that score in band 1 (50 points or more).
Our ELAT tutors have years of experience and are skilled at teaching students how to produce answers that are band 1 graded. To begin your ELAT preparation right away, get in touch with our team.
4. Practise analysing passages in your own reading
You can improve your close reading abilities by writing about brief passages from your own reading in addition to analysing the tests in the past papers that are provided. This will enable you to put your new skills into practice with texts from various genres and formats; familiarise yourself with how each writer uses the language You should also practise describing the choices authors make in their texts and the results of the strategies they employ, as you will be graded on these skills in the ELAT. Doing so will give you the ability to shape and articulate a proper response.
5. Get help from a professional ELAT tutor.
It's really important that you are prepared to perform as well as you can on the ELAT because your performance will determine how likely it is that you will be offered a spot on the course of your choice. Unfortunately, due to a lack of knowledge, skills, or resources, schools and colleges frequently aren’t prepared to offer specialised ELAT preparation. Therefore, we suggest hiring a qualified ELAT and admissions tutor to guide you through the procedure.
Many of our ELAT tutors have previous experience working as university admissions officers analysing personal statements, in addition to having many years of experience helping students prepare for the ELAT exam. They have accumulated a bank of previous questions over the years and have gained a thorough understanding of the marking criteria, so they are fully aware of what the examiners will be looking for.
Working with our tutor increases your chances of admission to Oxford, the best university in the UK for English Literature. Along with developing crucial independent study skills that will help you succeed in higher education, you’ll also gain a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the subject if you plan to study English Language and literature.
Additionally, you can rely on us to help you at every step of the admissions process to make sure that you not only pass the ELAT but also earn top A or IB grades and do well in your interview. To begin, get in touch with our team right away.