Access Programme: Admissions Test Event

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We added a new event to our access programme this year - focused on university admissions tests. We helped ~150 students understand their layout of their tests, and feel more confident with practice questions.

What is OxFizz’s admissions test event?

We are seeing an increased reliance on admissions tests across all colleges and faculties at Oxbridge. This is partly to replace the AS level marks which universities used to access – AS exams have been rolled back by recent government reforms.

We also know that many strong applicants are falling at this hurdle – and that students from disadvantaged backgrounds especially have less access to the resources and practice necessarily to reach their potential on these exams.

So we added this additional event into our programme. We designed it to level the playing field - building test knowledge, skills and confidence among students on our university access programme.

The event helped me realise that admissions tests aren’t as daunting as I anticipated
— 2019 student

How does the event work?

We know the candidates who do best on their admissions tests are the ones to practice regularly - receiving feedback and guidance on how they can continue improving.

So our aim wasn’t to try to teach or lecture students on their test - but instead to give them as much practice as possible with the types of questions they could be asked, and signpost to them places to find further resources after they leave.

Students were matched for the day with an expert volunteer from their subject area. They had a short introduction to their test, and then sat a timed practice exam - before having the opportunity to review their answers together as a group, and tackle further practice questions in the afternoon.

All students left the day with a personalised ‘action plan’ - with three SMART goals for themselves to continue to prepare going forward.

Did the event go well?

Yes - we were thrilled to observe high-quality support being delivered across 19 different admissions tests.

One way we measured the impact of the day was asking students to rate a series of statements about their admissions test, before and then after the event.

Following the event, students rated themselves higher on average across every metric - leaving the event feeling more knowledgeable about how to revise, more prepared and confident, and with a greater understanding of the layout of their test and where to find further resources.

We were also thrilled that:

  • 98% of students felt the event was a good use of their time

  • 99% of students enjoyed the workshops

  • 96% of students thought the event was well organised


What was it like to volunteer?

We’re really grateful to the 18 volunteers who supported our students at this event.

We were delighted to hear that the volunteers enjoyed the event as much as the students, with everyone either agreeing or strongly agreeing that they enjoyed volunteering at the event.

One volunteer who joined us for their first day, reflected that “The students were extremely intelligent and keen to learn, so it was very rewarding. The OxFizz team and other volunteers were all extremely friendly and helpful.”

Another enthusiastic volunteer summed up “The students who attended were very strongly motivated and a delight to work with!”

It was really helpful to speak to a graduate who has been through the process
— 2019 student

Will there be more events like this?

Yes, our admissions test event is part of a year-round programme. We aim to support candidates from the early stages of their application, right through to their Oxbridge admissions interviews in December.

Our next event will take place at the end of September, and this will focus on students university admissions interviews. Our volunteers will be supporting candidates with interview skills workshops, before running short practice interview sessions with them.

Last year we provided 1609 hours of support to sixth form students – triple that of previous years. In 2019, our aim is double that number again, providing over 3000 hours of support to talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Watch this space!

The students were extremely intelligent and keen to learn, so it was very rewarding. The OxFizz team and other volunteers were all extremely friendly and helpful
— 2019 volunteer
Lee Robertson