Please see below for answers to your questions submitted via our test centre bulletin. So far as possible these have been categorised and put in alphabetical order.
You will see that there are a lot of questions relating to test management on test days. Comprehensive information on all topics relating to this will be covered during the lead up to test day and TCS will be providing training and guidance on this.
Answer booklets for hybrid tests
Address for answer booklets??
Candidates for the MAT, PAT or MLAT (Russian or Modern Greek only) will access their test questions online but complete printed answer booklets. It is the test centre's responsibility to scan and upload these answer booklets to Oxford/TCS. Guidance on how to do this will be available shortly but this will be done via the Test dashboard which will shortly be added to the test centre portal. Centres have until 4pm UK time on Tuesday, 24 October to upload and return these.
Who do we contact if we don't receive PAT answer booklets?
All answer booklets for PAT and MAT have now been dispatched. If you do not receive these by next Tuesday, you will be able to download and print your own copies from the Test Dashboard on the test centre's portal from Monday, 16 October.
Hard copies of answer booklets for the MLAT (Russian or Modern Greek only) will not be sent but will be shared via email for downloading and printing locally.
How will you want the HAT booklet returned? Will there be a pre-paid pick up arranged? My school is actually closed so would prefer to drop off to a depot if possible as staff will not want to hang around waiting for a scheduled pick up.
The HAT is an fully online test and submission is automatic at the end of the test. There is no booklet. This is true of all fully online tests (not PAT, MAT and MLAT (Russian or Modern Greek only). If for any reason, internet connection is lost when the candidate completes and submits their test, a contingency process will automatically generate a zip file containing all the test content which can then be uploaded by the test centre.
Our students prefer to use their own laptops, however we want to set up spare laptops just in case theirs are broken down. Can we use their login details to set up spare laptops just in case?
Good idea. Login details can be used on other laptops and the switch to another device can happen even during the test if a computer/device manifests issues. Ideally compatibility checks should be conducted as instructed on the registration portal in advance.
Managing test days: emergency/arranged breaks
Do the students get their time back if they go to the toilet during the test?
The centre administrator can stop their clock by "locking" and "unlocking" the record. All test centres will be given guidance on how to do this.
If a candidate has rest breaks, how will these be managed when they are completing online tests?
This is covered in our Test dashboard guidance but the test centre administrator will be able to pause or lock a candidate's test and unlock it via the test dashboard.
Managing test days: extra time/access arrangements
Our centre has a student registered for the MAT (with extra time). Please can you confirm if we need to manually add the extra time or will the extra time be incorporated into the online platform? Does the platform have a clock/count-down timer? Will the platform automatically when the exam duration is up?
If the centre requested extra time under access arrangements at the point of registration, the allocated time will be automatically added to the duration of the test and will be visible on the clock timer displayed at the top middle of the test screen. For example, eligible candidates who have been registered for 25% extra time for HAT will have 15 min added to the 60 min duration of the test. The clock timer will turn yellow when there are 5min left on the clock.
Access arrangements: centre receiving confirmation that it was approved for candidates?
Confirmation regarding access arrangements is not needed. However, as outlined via the instructions provided at the time of registration, schools/colleges must be able to provide evidence of need should this be requested by Oxford or TCS.
Managing test days: preparing candidates
We have produced some guidelines on practical preparation for candidates to cover before, during and after their test. This is available to download and share from individual test pages and from the Preparing Students tab of the Information for schools, colleges and other test centres webpage. We will also be communicating directly about this with all applicants who subscribe to our Choosing Oxford newsletter.
Managing test days: test submission
We are running a practice session on HAT. In the real online test does the test save and upload automatically or does it need to be saved by the candidate and uploaded by ourselves (the test centre) to Oxford?
The online practice tests are html links which imitate the testing platform. These htmls do not store the answers or the scripts. During the actual test, the candidate’s responses will be automatically saved throughout the duration of the test. Once the candidate has completed their test and clicked on SUBMIT, no further changes can be made. This process is automated and does not involve test administrators. (The process is different for hybrid tests with paper answer booklets.) There is a contingency process if internet connection is lost at the time of submission and a zip file of the completed test will be automatically available to upload via the test centre portal.
Managing test days: start times
If offering the ELAT without any other associated test, do we still start two hours later than the regularly announced test time on October 19?
Yes. The schedule of the test was designed to accommodate candidates who take two tests.
Managing test days: test login/access
What is the specific web address the students need to log into to complete the MAT test?
The link to the testing platform was provided to candidates in the confirmation of registration email. Note: they will only be able to access this once you have marked them as present via the test dashboard available on the test centre portal which you have used to register candidates. This test dashboard is not visible yet but will become so in the next few days.
How to conduct a test? On which website should pupils log in?
On test day, once you have marked your candidate/s as present via the Test dashboard on the test centre portal (not visible yet) and launched the test, the candidate will be able to access their test using their own login details (emailed directly to them upon test registration) via the test portal on their allocated computer.
How will I access the MAT test questions?
Once you have marked your candidate/s as present via the Test dashboard on the test centre portal (not visible yet) and then launched the test, the candidate will be able to access their test using their own login details on the computer they are using to take the test on the test portal.
Where do we go to complete the online attendance register?
How to complete attendance register after login?
This is covered by TCS's test dashboard guidance. This dashboard will become visible shortly on the test centre portal you have used to register students using your same login (email address) and password.
How do the passwords get into the exam room if the students are not allowed to write them down or take their phones into the room?
Candidates are asked to login and change their password to something memorable well ahead of the test day(s). The user name is their email address as entered into the registration portal by the exam officer. Exam officers can also recover the login credentials on the day of the test via the 'Registered candidates' section on the registration portal.
I'm a little confused. If the candidates are not permitted access to the internet, how do they access your portal for the test?
Candidates are asked to log in and change their password to something memorable well ahead of the test day(s). The user name is their email address entered into the registration portal by the exam officer. Exam officers can also recover the login credentials on the day of the test via the 'Registered candidates' section on the registration portal. The link to the testing portal will be circulated via the test centres' bulletin. We advise you to bookmark the link on all the devices which will be used for testing in your school or test centre.
This is the first year we have administered Oxford online tests. Can you please give information and guidance on where we find/access the test on the day of the exam?
The link to the testing platform was provided to candidates in their confirmation of registration email. The link to the testing portal will also be circulated via the test centres' bulletin in case this is needed. Training and guidance on managing tests is being provided for all test centres.
Could we have some instruction on using the portal/where we will find this etc. I understand some people have been emailed about training but unfortunately I have not. Will there be a link to a video etc
This is covered in the Test dashboard guidance. All centres will be given this information either via a link to a recorded webinar or via a live session.
How will the candidates access their dashboard on testing day? Can this be set up before test day on the centre's devices?
This is covered in the Test dashboard guidance. On test day, candidates will have to be marked as present by the test centre administrator via the portal they already have access to and have used to register students. This will be done via a Test dashboard which is now visible on the test centre portal. Once this step has been completed, the test centre administrator can launch the test and candidates will be able to login to the test portal using the credentials they have been given, on the device they are using to take their test.
In the latest bulletin it says candidates can only access their test if given permission by the centre - please give instructions on how we give this permission.
This is covered in the Test dashboard guidance but you must first check your candidate's ID and mark them as present.
Managing test days: contingency
Contingency - if there is interruption to testing due to wifi failure or power cut and we move to a different set of computers on a different server mid-test, can candidates restart from where they left off, or will the work be lost? Does the test platform work on Apple MACS running Chrome? What if the invigilators cannot work the system to pause a test for rest breaks - the EO admin will not be in the test room to do this. What are the special considerations if the TATA system does not save a test?
Internet connection is needed to start a test but not during the test and to scan and upload answer booklets for hybrid tests (MAT, PAT and MLAT (Russian and Modern Greek only). In case there are interruptions to the testing platform, the candidates can use another digitally-compliant device. As all responses are automatically saved, candidates will be able to resume their test from the point they left off without losing their responses or any allocation of time. If internet connection is disrupted when a candidates is finishing their test and submitting, a contingency process will automatically generate a ZIP file with their responses which can then be uploaded by test administrators.
MAC OS devices and Chromebooks are only permissible as an exception and so should not be used without prior arrangement through TCS. Any student using a Mac or Chromebook device must use Google Chrome to access their test. Users of Windows devices can use either Firefox or Google Chrome.
The test centres can set up additional centre administrators to help manage the test days via the Test Monitoring Dashboard. We recommend doing this in advance of test day and means that multiple administrators can manage the tests..
The information on special consideration is available on the Information for schools, colleges and other test centres webpage. Please note that the form used for requesting special consideration will not be available until 9am UK time on Thursday, 19 October.
There is a state-wide earthquake drill during the ELAT test. Can we pause the test for a few minutes and then proceed with the test? The student and proctor will not be leaving the room. Is there a form fir the incident report that needs to be submitted?
Yes, that's fine. The test dashboard allows the test administrators to lock/unlock a candidate's test at any time. Locking the test will stop the test timer. When the candidate is able to resume the test and the administrator 'unlocks' the test, they will be prompted to log a reason for the disruption.
Managing test days: test dashboard
Do we need to load any software on the computers for online tests prior to the exams or will we instructed on how to access the test? Our computers and printers/scanners are all up to the technical level you require.
No special software is required. We will circulate the link to the testing platform which registered candidates already have login details. Test centres will need to approve their registered candidates to take the test via the test centre dashboard once their ID has been checked so they can be marked as present on test day. Once this has happened, you will be able to launch the test and the candidate will be able to login to their online test using the device and credentials provided to them. If, for any reason, the candidate does not have these, the test centre administrator/Exam Officer will be able to access these via the Registered Students section of the test centre portal. test dashboard.
How does the Lead invigilator manage the test in the test room? Do I, as the Exams Officer, create a login for them? I can't be in the exam room the whole time so I shouldn't login, should I? Please can we have some instructions on actually running each test? Especially as the HAT is going to start half way through the PAT!
This is covered in the Test dashboard guidance but test centres can set up additional centre administrators to help manage the test days. We recommend doing this in advance of test day and means that multiple administrators can manage the tests. If helpful, you can also check the ID and mark as present, candidates for the later tests, whether or not they are sitting an earlier test as well. There is no security risk to doing this as they will not be able to access the later test until the scheduled test time.
Managing test days: test timetable
Hi, I have just read in your bulletin that the HAT test does not start at 9am, but can't see what time it is due to start. I also need to know the computer spec, whether it needs a webcam etc.
The HAT starts at 10am UK time. (This is to allow some candidates for some courses to also take an earlier test.) No webcams are required. See the Test timetable for more information.
We have a student registered for the ELAT & the HAT, both are showing on different days and times, ELAT at 11am on 19th & HAT at 10am on 20th? Does she do both on the day of her choice?? How does that work?? Why the late start for those only doing the HAT and nothing else?? Very confusing ! Please advise urgently.
Candidates must sit their test at the specified time. This is true whether they are taking one or more tests. The timetable has been designed to allow for taking of multiple tests. In this case, your candidate will be one of a few students who will be sitting a test on both 19 and 20 October.
Hi what time is the PAT test on 20 October and where will the question paper show up?
Given that these admissions tests are computer-based, to maintain test security and ensure the integrity of this assessment process, it is essential that centres abide by the local start times listed. If you are based in the UK, then the PAT test takes place at 9am on Friday 20 October and lasts 120 minutes. Please the Test timetable for more information.
Test portal: online tools
We are running MAT/CAT and ELAT exams from out centre this year and I need to check about the advice you have given about computer compatibility. I have obviously done the launch test on my computer, but you recommend we perform a technical compatibility test on all computers being used by candidates. Do we need to get each candidate to log on to the computer they will be using with their login before the test day and do the test using the launch button? I did try logging in with my details on one of the computers to be used but the launch button was greyed out.
We advise the schools and test centres to ensure that all the devices used for testing are compatible. Candidates who will be using their personal devices have been asked to complete a technical compatibility check under BYOD guidance. Candidates are able to logon to the test portal in advance of test day but will receive a warning that they have not been logged as present and cannot access the test yet. They will only be able to start their test once their test centre has marked them as present on test day and granted access by launching the test.
MLAT- accent hotkeys for French/Spanish- will these be given on screen - or can we provide a list of hotkeys- or should students learn them in advance. Will they be penalised marks if accents are not present.
The virtual keyboard will automatically include special characters for each respective language.
Contact details/help desk
In the event of the test platform not working on the day of the tests, is there a phone number we can use to get through to you ASAP?
We are working on setting up a call centre, more details to follow.
Hello, please can you let me know the procedure for exam day - i.e. the website we need to go to and also a phone number for emergency contact , in case the test doesn't open etc.
Thank you, we are working on setting up a call centre, more details to follow via the bulletin.
Will there be a help-line available on test days - if there are issues, we can't be writing emails and waiting for a response. We will need to speak to someone immediately.
We are working on setting up a call centre, more details to follow.