Young student

About the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) UCL

The Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) is a 90-minute, multiple-choice test, which is used for applicants to European Social and Political Studies (ESPS) at UCL.

Test format

The TSA UCL is a paper-based test. It consists of 50 multiple-choice questions, testing problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Section What does it test? Questions Timing
Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) Problem-solving skills, including numerical and spatial reasoning. Critical thinking skills, including understanding argument and reasoning using everyday language. 50 multiple- choice questions 90 minutes


The TSA is a multiple-choice test giving 1 mark per question.

Scores are calculated on the TSA scale to one decimal place (running approximately 0–100). The scale is an estimate of the candidate’s ability, which makes scores comparable by factoring in question and overall test difficulty, using the Rasch statistical technique.

The average TSA score of an applicant to UCL is in the high 50s, with only around 10% of applicants scoring over 70.

Marking of the TSA UCL is automated. The Admissions Testing Service does not accept requests for re-marks.


Candidates take the TSA as a paper-based test, on an ESPS assessment day. Candidates will be informed when they need to take the TSA by the university.


The Admissions Testing Service does not release TSA results directly to candidates. Results will be passed to UCL.