PhilAT (Philosophy Test)

What is the PhilAT?

The PhilAT is a 60-minute test designed to test a candidate's philosophical reasoning skills. There is no expectation that you will have undertaken any formal study of philosophy, and it is not a test of philosophical knowledge. You will normally be asked to undertake a comprehension exercise and write a short essay or answer a structured question. 

Candidates should attempt Part A, which consists of one question, and one question only from Part B. The two questions you answer will be given an equal weighting, so you are advised to spend half of the available time on each of them.

All candidates applying for Philosophy and Theology are required to sit the Philosophy Test (or PhilAT).

If you are applying for Philosophy, Psychology and Linguistics (PPL) or Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE), you need to take the TSA only. 

If you are applying for any Philosophy and Modern Languages course at Oxford, you need to take the relevant parts of the MLAT. Please note that the content of the Philosophy section of the MLAT is the same as the PhilAT mentioned here but you should register for the MLAT. 

How do I register?         

Candidates can register for their test between Thursday 15 August and Friday 4 October 2024. Further details on the registration process will be communicated at the earliest opportunity. 

Please note that if you are normally eligible for particular access arrangements for public examinations such as GCSEs and A-levels you will also be eligible for these arrangements for your Oxford admissions test(s). You should expect to be able to produce evidence of this need when you register for your test. If you need to speak to your school about whether or not you are eligible for an access arrangement or producing evidence we strongly recommend that you do this before the end of term.

Test preparation and practice materials

We recommend exploring the test preparation and practice materials below.

The PhilAT is a 60-minute test designed to test a candidate's philosophical reasoning skills. There is no expectation that you will have undertaken any formal study of philosophy, and it is not a test of philosophical knowledge. You will normally be asked to undertake a comprehension exercise and write a short essay or answer a structured question. 

The practice test allows you to familiarise yourself with the new online test platform and format for 2025-entry. Please note that as this is for practice only, you will not be able to submit this for a score or feedback after taking the test.

PhilAT practice test

Although the test platform has changed, the content of the test is similar to in previous years so working through past papers will still be very valuable preparation and should help you to feel confident on test day.

Past papers

Preparation advice

The following information, written by an Oxford tutor, outlines the different types of questions you will come across in the test and discusses ways to approach them. 

The University does not endorse, or allow use of, its tests that are protected by copyright for commercial use.

When do I take the test?

Candidates will take the PhilAT on 22 October 2024 at Pearson VUE test centres.