On the ELAT

This page is a one stop shop for the materials on the Cambridge and Oxford websites, relating to the ELAT: the aptitude test which all Oxbridge Literature applicants take prior to the announcement of the interview cohort.

The exam has been recently updated and now requires students to compare 2 passages from a choice of 6, rather than the previous ‘2 or 3’.

The focus is still about exploring technical knowledge and expressing opinions in an objective comparison of the passages chosen.

It can help students to practice at first simply with unseen passages before trying to work comparison into the mix – it is also worth noting that this is a 90 minute paper – speed and accuracy of thought is important and one should not dwell on the need to ‘complete’ the analysis: I would contend that no piece of unseen commentary written under timed conditions can be complete.  As ever, though, I recommend the SCASI mnemonic as my route in – hopefully a route which should enable all students to write with confidence in some areas.


The materials from the websites are below:

CU website

OU website

A video from CU:

An introduction to the English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT)


Practice and Past papers:


47477-elat-sample-paper (1) – spectacularly unhelpful in this form since 5 passages cannnot be publiushed ‘for copyright reasons’.






A guide to approaching unseens (not comparative):

student version unseen guide.


Good luck!