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ESAT Test: A Comprehensive Guide

Table of Contents
ESAT Exam - A Comprehensive Guide
Table of Contents

ESAT (Engineering and Science Admissions Test) is carried out by the University of Cambridge and the Imperial College London, to test those who are applying for engineering or natural sciences related courses. It is designed to determine a candidate’s potential to achieve in an academically demanding undergraduate degree course, and tests a candidate’s ability to use and apply their scientific and mathematical knowledge.

I. ESAT Organisers

1. About the UAT-UK

The first ESAT test is delivered by UAT-UK (University Admissions Tests – UK), who is a not-for-profit organisation that owns and delivers two computer-based undergraduate admissions tests: the Engineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT) and the Test of Mathematics for University Admission (TMUA).

UAT-UK, established in 2023 as a joint venture between Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge, aims to improve the experience of students applying for highly competitive undergraduate courses while helping universities fairly assess the skills of the highest achieving applicants.

2. About the Pearson VUE

UAT-UK tests are delivered by Pearson VUE through their global network of more than 5,500 locations in more than 180 countries. Pearson VUE is the certification and licensure arm of Pearson, one of the world’s leading learning companies, providing assessment services to many institutions in the academic and admissions space.

II. Key dates for 2024/25 cycle

August 1st, 2024

Registration for test sitting 1 begins

September 16th, 2024

Registration deadline for test sitting 1

October 15th and 16th, 2024

ESAT test sitting 1 takes place

October 24th, 2024

Registration for test sitting 2 begins
(Not applicable to Cambridge applicants)

December 9th, 2024

Registration deadline for test sitting 2

January 7th and 8th, 2025

ESAT test sitting 2 takes place

6 weeks after the test day

Results release*

*You will receive your results via your UAT-UK account – a reminder Email will be sent to let you know your results are available. You will also receive an explanation of results document so that you can learn more about how to interpret your scores.

III. Who has to sit the ESAT test?

1. Cambridge University

Courses require you to sit the ESAT test:

2. Imperial College

Courses require you to sit the ESAT test:

  • Departments of Aeronautics, Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Design Engineering and Mechanical Engineering
  • Department of Physics

IV. How to register the ESAT test?

You may refer to the official UAT-UK website to see detailed procedures for registration. You should follow the guidelines to creat a UAT-UK account with Pearson VUE, book a test delivered by a Pearson VUE test centre and remember to finish the payment.

V. Test format

The ESAT consists of five parts:

  • Mathematics 1
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Mathematics 2

Each part lasts 40 minutes and contains 27 multiple-choice questions. Each part is separately timed. If a candidate finishes a part early, the time will not be carried over to the next part, so candidates should be careful to manage their time accordingly.

Most courses require candidates to complete Mathematics 1 and two further parts. However, the Engineering course at Cambridge requires the candidates to attempt three parts: Mathematics 1, Mathematics 2 and Physics.

Delivery method

Online computer-based test
(Erasable booklets are provided for working)


Each part lasts 40 minutes whilst most courses require 3 parts
Question type

Each part contains 27 multiple choice questions

Not allowed

VI. How is it scored?

Each correct answer will score 1 mark. No marks are deducted for incorrect answers.
Each part has 27 multiple-choice questions, with a raw score of 27 points, but the results for each part are reported on a scale that runs from 1 (low) to 9 (high). The scores for each part will be reported separately.

VII. Contents assessed in the ESAT test

The ESAT test is designed to be challenging to differentiate effectively between able applicants, including those who might have achieved the highest possible grades in school examinations.

You may download the ESAT specification from the official link: ESAT Specification

1. What will be assessed in the ESAT test?

Mathematics 1

  • Units
  • Number
  • Ratio and proportion
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Statistics
  • Probability


  • Cells
  • Movement across membranes
  • Cell division and sex determination
  • Inheritance
  • DNA
  • Gene technologies
  • Variation
  • Enzymes
  • Animal physiology
  • Ecosystems
  • Plant physiology


  • Electricity
  • Magnetism
  • Mechanics
  • Thermal physics
  • Matter
  • Waves
  • Radioactivity


  • Atomic structure
  • The Periodic Table (IUPAC conventions, Groups are labelled as 1-18)
  • Chemical reactions, formulae and equations
  • Quantitative chemistry
  • Oxidation, reduction and redox
  • Chemical bonding, structure and properties
  • Group chemistry
  • Separation techniques
  • Acids, bases and salts
  • Rates of reaction
  • Energetics
  • Electrolysis
  • Carbon/Organic chemistry
  • Metals
  • Kinetic/Particle theory
  • Chemical tests
  • Air and water

Mathematics 2

  • Algebra and functions
  • Sequences and series
  • Coordinate geometry in the (x, y)-plane
  • Trigonometry
  • Exponentials and logarithms
  • Differentiation
  • Integration
  • Graphs of functions

VIII. Will the ESAT test very difficult? Is there any recommended resources for test prep?

It takes time for us to analyse the ESAT sample questions as well as its specification. By far, one thing for sure is that the test will be very challenging based on the description from the specification.

UEIE will come with a new blog “How to prepare for ESAT” soon, within which we are going to analyse the difficulty of the ESAT test and share you some useful strategies for the ESAT test prep.

Please visit our ESAT prep page for the lastest ESAT test prep courses and resourses.

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