Oxbridge ELAT test papers for 2023 entry

We hope you find our ELAT test practice useful.

Oxford’s English Literature Admissions – ELAT Test Practice

If you are applying for one of the following courses you will be required to sit the Oxford ELAT: English Language and LiteratureClassics and EnglishEnglish and Modern LanguagesHistory and English.


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What does the ELAT test?

  • The Oxford ELAT is designed to test a candidate’s close reading skills, and their ability to shape and articulate an informed response to unfamiliar literary material.
  • You will be asked to write one essay comparing two passages, focusing on elements such as language, imagery, syntax, form and structure.
  • It’s a paper-based test, lasting 90 minutes and sat under timed exam conditions.

School Entrance Tests has its own YouTube practice test videos channel. For example, our Thinking Skills Assessment YouTube video below:


ELAT Instructions

Select two of the passages (a) to (f) and compare and contrast them in any ways that seem interesting to you, paying particular attention to distinctive features of the structure, language and style. 

Your ELAT will contain:

  • 6 passages on the same theme.
  • Taken on a mixture of different forms: poetry; fiction prose; non-fiction prose.
  • Dating from different periods of English literature.
  • Author names and publication dates will be provided

Whilst, you are not expected to introduce any references to other texts or authors, the examiners will reward your ability to:

  • respond knowledgeably to different kinds of English writing.
  • Show close reading skills.
  • Describe the effects of style, structure and English language.
  • Create a structured, focused essay from your comparison of two passages.
  • Write fluently and accurately and fluently.

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Further information

Notes for Candidates

Changes to ELAT from 2018

Please note, that prior to the 2018 test, candidates could compare two or three passages for ELAT. Since then, they must compare two passages. The ELAT marking criteria were also updated in 2018.

ELAT Admissions Test practice