Some Colleges and subjects now use tests to help selection. However, like all the other bits of the process, admissions tests are only one part of the process, and you shouldn't worry too much about them. Check the University admissions website to find out which Colleges use tests in which subjects. It's also a good idea to go on the test's website to see its format and to try out some sample questions.
Some private companies claim that they can coach you to do better at admissions tests - you should be wary of them and don't pay for any such services. The tests are all designed to test your ability and not your knowledge – for many of the questions there is no right (or wrong) answer – all answers will show how you think and that's something that can't be coached.
Medicine and Veterinary Sciences
Everyone applying to be a Vet or a Medic has to take the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT) in the November before their interview. The test can be taken at your college or any other official examination centre under national examination conditions.
You have to register and pay for your test. If you are a home student and you are worried about the cost of the BMAT you may be eligible for a refund; contact the Cambridge Admissions Office to find out.
The BMAT website has useful information about the format of the test and some sample papers as well.
The languages department has their own test which applicants take when they are in Cambridge. It is free, so you don't have to register separately to sending your application form in. The test asks you to read a passage in English (300-350 words) and then to answer two or three questions about it in one of the languages you study at college. It assesses your written grammar, accuracy, ideas and vocabulary in the language. You aren't expected to know the exact terms for every word used in the short passage.
You can find more information about the written test, including a sample, on the Modern Languages department's website.
Almost all colleges ask you to meet an offer that includes STEP (Sixth Term Examination Paper) for Maths. You will only be asked to sit the STEP if you are offered a place.
This test is taken in your school or college and they will enter you once the details of your offer are sent to you. The test is based on material from your syllabus so no extra knowledge is required. The combination of papers you take depends on the subjects you are doing at college; people who do Maths and Further Maths are asked to take a different set of papers to those just doing Maths.
The Thinking Skills Assessment Test (TSA) is used in some colleges for some subjects. It is not knowledge based, but is a test of logic/thought processes. Colleges can also set their own tests and exams as well. You won't need to register or pay for these and they are taken in colleges during the interview period.