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HAT Tutors - History Aptitude Test Oxford

HAT Tutors – History Aptitude Test Oxford

The History Aptitude Test , known at the HAT is used for the selection of candidates for all degree courses involving History at Oxford. The HAT tests the skills and potential of the student for the study of History at Oxford University, and provides an objective basis for comparing candidates from different backgrounds, including mature applicants and those from different countries. Our HAT Tutors are highly experienced and will guide you through preparing for the HAT Exam.

History Aptitude Test Oxford – HAT Tutors

There are three parts to the History Aptitude Test at Oxford: first, a series of questions based on historical writing. Second a short essay and finally a single question, based on a primary source. The test lasts two hours, and candidates are advised to spend at least half an hour reading the texts, thinking and planning answers. Detailed information can be found here about the test. HAT past papers from 2005 can be practiced here.

The University of Oxford provides the following guidance on which skills are tested namely:

  • the ability to read carefully and critically
  • the adoption of an analytical approach
  • the ability to answer a question relevantly
  • the ability to offer a coherent argument
  • precision, in the handling of concepts and in the selection of evidence presented to support points
  • historical imagination
  • originality
  • precision, clarity and facility of writing
  • Depth of knowledge will not be tested
  • Development of own historical knowledge in questions

The History Aptitude Test exam takes place usually in the first week on November each year and successful candidates are then invited for an Interview. Pupils can also arrange to have the test at their school regionally in the UK. International students can arrange to have the test at their school or British Councils in the host country.

You will be required to take the HAT if you are applying to study one of the following subjects at Oxford:

  • History
  • History (Ancient and Modern)
  • History and Economics
  • History and English
  • History and Modern Languages
  • History and Politics


The test requires a written response to a passage from a primary source. You do not need to know anything about the author of the source or its context. You will be given some information about the primary source on the first page, followed by the passage and then a specific question pertaining to the passage. The test is 60 minutes long. You are encouraged to spend a third of that time reading the passage and planning your answer, with the rest of the time devoted to writing your answer.


The HAT is looking to test skills rather than knowledge. Candidates need to show an ability to read critically, communicate their thoughts precisely, provide evidence to support and argument, and to say something original and relevant to the question.


History and Economics and History and Modern Languages candidates will be required to sit more than one test (e.g. the MLAT for History and Modern Languages Applicants). You will need to be registered for both tests separately.


Marking criteria:


A maximum of 5 marks can be achieved per section. To achieve highly in each category, you will need to display mostly high-level indicators, as listed below:


  • Historical insight and perceptiveness
    • imaginative engagement with a text
    • good critical reading of the text
    • recognising that the text has historical value
    • recognising the author’s subjectivity
  • Comprehension, content and analysis
    • analytically driven argument
    • good reflections on the text and a clear demonstration that the core components of the text have been understood
  • Use of evidence
    • excellent close references of the text to formulate a strong argument.
    • The close references must be well-chosen and used efficiently
  • Coverage
    • engagement with an excellent range of themes
    • using material from multiple aspects of the text
  • Structure, organisation and relevance
    • the argument must have excellent structure and flow, with a good focus on the question throughout and careful prioritisation of well-chosen themes
  • Presentation and use of English
    • language must be sophisticated, grammatically correct, and neatly presented with excellent sentence structure


Registration for the HAT:

You will need to register yourself for the HAT through an authorised test centre. This could be your school/college or an open test centre. You can find your nearest test centre via Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing at . It is worth inquiring into whether your school/college is already registered as a test centre. If it is not, members of staff could arrange to register it any time before the 30th September. Some advice for how to do so is here: You must be registered by the 15th October. You will take the HAT in this test centre in November, and a shortlist for interviews will be announced later in November. Results for the HAT are not automatically published but can be requested as part of the feedback process.


When you register, you will be asked to provide:

  • Your name, date of birth, and gender
  • Your UCAS number
  • The name of the university, course, and course code you are applying to
  • Details of any access arrangements


Further Information:

  • No specific mark guarantees that your application will be shortlisted, since your results are compared to those of other candidates applying the same year.
  • For practice materials, please click on the official Oxford HAT website link provided below. Here you will find multiple excellent resources to prepare for the HAT, including a workshop video, a webinar, past papers, and mark schemes.


How Mayfair Consultants can assist you:


HAT Tutors & HAT Courses are delivered 1-1 and online with past paper practice and expert advice from past History Degree Graduates from Oxford Colleges. Many of our tutors hold PhDs and other postgraduate qualifications in History, indicative both of their passion for, and expertise in, the subject.

If you’d like arrange private lessons or have any questions about our History Aptitude Test (HAT) tuition services in London and or HAT tutors and courses please call us on Tel: +44 (0) 207 665 6606 or you can send us an email via our contact form.

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