NSAA Tutors and Tuition at Mayfair Consultants
Mayfair Consultants offers comprehensive, expert support for NSAA preparation. We provide one-to-one tutorials, either in our London office or remotely, to give you the flexibility you need, wherever you may need it. Our team of exceptional tutors is just a phone call away, ready to adapt to your requirements. We assist with the online NSAA application procedure and test preparation, as well as offering interview advice, to support you in excelling in each step of your educational journey.
What is NSAA?
The Natural Sciences Admission Assessment (NSAA) is a written assessment required for the application to the Natural Sciences course at Cambridge University (refer to our page on Natural Sciences here). The examination lasts 2 hours and consists of 2 papers, each of which is 60 minutes long. All applicants need to undertake the questions in Mathematics, and they have freedom to choose to do questions in either Chemistry, Biology or Physics. NSAA results are used for selecting the best candidates for the interview stage, along with predicted grades, academic results, recommendations, and a personal statement. The syllabus of NSAA goes beyond the A-level curriculum, which the applicants would have covered by the time the exam is taken. NSAA is designed to be a challenging assessment, with the goal of differentiating between high-scoring applicants prior to the interviews.
What does NSAA assess?
The examination assesses the applicants’ abilities in Mathematics and in the science discipline of their choice (either Physics, Chemistry or Biology). There are two sections, taken consecutively, and the split between them is as follows:
Section 1: Consists of four parts, from which the candidate chooses two. It assesses knowledge of A-level level Mathematics and a chosen science subject. Section 1 lasts 60 minutes and contains 40 multiple-choice questions (20 in each part).
Section 2: Assesses advanced skills in the science of choice (either Physics, Chemistry or Biology). Candidates need to demonstrate their ability to solve complex problems and apply their knowledge to non-standard questions. Section 2 lasts 60 minutes and consists of 20 multiple-choice questions per part (only one part can be chosen).
Calculators are not allowed in any part of the test. A periodic table is included in the test as it is needed for candidates who choose chemistry questions. One mark is available for each question and no marks are deducted for incorrect answers.
What score should I be aiming to achieve?
As is typical for Cambridge pre-interview assessments, the results are reported on the Cambridge Suite scale ranging from 1 (low) to 9 (high). The scale is designed so that a typical applicant scores around 4.0. There is no pass or fail score or a rigorous cut-off mark.
Your NSAA results will typically be available to you in the second part of January. Results are reported separately for each part of the assessment.
What UK Universities use NSAA?
NSAA is specific for admissions to the Engineering course at Cambridge University.
How can I prepare for NSAA?
First, review the NSAA assessment specification. Schedule time to revise and to learn topics in the NSAA syllabus, that you have not covered at school. There is typically just over two weeks between the Oxbridge application deadline and your NSAA exam, so starting early and managing time efficiently is crucial.
Take particular care to notice how the specification have changed in recent years. Are there any new topics introduced this year? These are likely to come up in your exam, so take time to research and practice them. It is important to remember that a significant amount of material examinable for ENGAA is covered in your school classes. Focusing on mastering these courses’ syllabus is an excellent starting point.
Practice is key for this examination. Make sure you do the up-to-date specimen paper and the available past papers. Remember to select the science in which you feel most comfortable early on! You have on average 2 minutes per question in NSAA and hence, you are likely to find yourself under time pressure while doing the real exam. Practising past papers under timed conditions will help you feel more confident on the examination day. A revision technique often recommended by Oxbridge tutors is to attempt the questions again after you finish the practice paper and before checking the solutions. Take your time to go through the paper again to find and solve the questions that you could not do because of the time constraint. Then, practice any areas in your subject that you repeatedly get wrong.
Please note: in some years calculators were allowed and this enabled the candidates to solve some of the questions quicker. Remember to check if this was the case if you stumble across a question seemingly ‘impossible’ to be solved by hand.
If you are looking for more practice material, you can try the following:
- notice that the material for NSAA in Mathematics and Physics is very similar to that of ENGAA (Engineering Cambridge Examination), with questions frequently overlapping. If you expect to take up Physics in your NSAA or struggle with Mathematics, it might be helpful to do the recent ENGAA past papers as well.
- do the multiple-choice questions in A-level past papers (for example, in AS OCR Physics A, Biology A and Chemistry A) to get used to multiple-choice style questions
- use practice books such as “The Ultimate NSAA guide”, “NSAA Practice Papers” etc.
- use practice books developed for other Cambridge pre-interview assessments such as ‘‘The Ultimate ENGAA guide”. This book can be used to practice Physics and Mathematics questions. It was developed by a Cambridge alumnus and is good for structured guidance, exam tips and techniques.
Would you prefer to get professional help? At Mayfair Consultants we offer online and in-person tutoring to give you one-to-one, tailored support. We will support you in your endeavours at every step of your application and provide individualised resources and sessions that will help you develop your knowledge effectively and expand your strengths.
How to register?
If your school is registered to run the admissions test, ask your Exams Officer to register you for the test. The registration deadline is around the 15th of October of your application year. If your school does not run the Cambridge pre-interview examinations, you need to find an examination centre and register yourself.
How much does NSAA cost?
There is no registration fee to take NSAA. However, if you are registering via an authorized centre, there might be an administration fee. Please consult your centre of choice to confirm the costs.
NSAA Tutors & Experts in London and Online
Mayfair Consultants offers one-to-one NSAA tuition, either in our central London office or remotely, for our clients. Our team consists of exceptionally skilled specialists, with many holding postgraduate degrees, ready to support you at each step of the way. We will guide you on how to apply your knowledge to NSAA questions and tailor the approach to you, helping you reach your full potential quickly. If you would like to arrange private lessons or have any questions about our tuition services please call us on tel: +44 (0) 207 665 6606 or you can send us an email via our contact form.
Specimen question Paper Section 1:
Specimen Question Paper Section 2:
For NSAA admission statistics see the selected Freedom of Information Requests to the University of Cambridge, listed below.
(Apply year 2017 – 2019, offer holders): https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/nsaa_score_post_qualification_st
(Data per college (selected colleges only) in 2020):
Chemical Engineering & Engineering
Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences (H813) requires the Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment (NSAA).