The History Admissions Test (HAT)

What is the History Admissions Test (HAT)?

The HAT consists of one question, based on an extract from a primary source, to be answered in one hour. It is taken under exam conditions, at a Pearson VUE centre, and will be online.

We use an admissions test because it gives us an objective basis for comparing candidates from different backgrounds, and to differentiate between candidates predicted the same (high) grades. It is designed to be challenging, and you will be asked to offer thoughtful interpretation of the source without knowing anything about its context. The HAT is a test of skills, not knowledge, and will test the following:

  • Your ability to read carefully and critically
  • Your adoption of an analytical approach
  • Your ability to keep your answer relevant to the question
  • Your precision in handling concepts and selecting evidence to support your points
  • Your historical imagination
  • Your originality and independence
  • Your ability to write clearly and concisely

How can I prepare for the HAT?

The HAT is an important part of how we assess applications, so you are advised to spend some time preparing. As it is not a test of knowledge, you cannot revise for it, but you can do some preparation.

The test now takes place online but as the structure and content have not changed you will still find it helpful to practise for the test with the past papers and other practice materials on this page. Past papers from the previous seven years, and their mark schemes, are provided below to give you an idea of how the test works. We strongly recommended that you answer at least one practice test in the time allowed (one hour). Don’t worry if you find it hard – it’s supposed to be!

Once you have watched the videos and explored the practice materials below, we strongly recommend you have a go at the online practice test (click on the link below) which is the 2023 past paper. You might choose not to look at this past paper in advance so that you can mimic the experience of taking the online test unseen. Having a go at the online practice test will allow you to familiarise yourself with the online test platform and the tools available to support you.  This will mean that on test day you are able to focus fully on the content of your answers. 

Coming soon: Practice the online HAT 

Further Information

How do I register?  Register with Pearson VUE between 15 August and 04 October 2024 
When do I take admissions tests? Tests will be between 21 October and 31 October 2024
Where do I take the HAT? At a Person VUE test centre
Special considerations If your school or college has applied for adjustments to your public examinations, you should take the admissions tests under the adjusted conditions.
Will my application be disadvantaged if I can’t take the test? Every year we have candidates who cannot take the test, and we evaluate their application on the basis of the information available.

Additional tests needed for Joint School applications

Course Additional Tests How do I register?

When do I take admissions test?

Ancient and Modern History

No additional tests required

History and Economics TSA TBC TBC
History and English No additional tests required    
History and Modern Languages MLAT



History and Politics

No additional tests required


Help Videos

Watch our videos about the tests and how to take them!


History Admissions Test (HAT)


History and Economics

Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)

History and Modern Languages

Modern Languages Admissions Test (MLAT)