Preparing for the HAT
All candidates for Oxford degree courses involving History must sit the History Aptitude Test (HAT). Students can often feel a little uneasy about the test at first, because its format has changed over time, and it is very different from A-level exams. To help make the test a less daunting prospect, I have created an introductory guide to what it entails and how best to prepare.
How is the HAT structured?
From autumn 2018, the HAT will feature one question only, based on an extract from a primary source, to be answered in one hour. The question will follow the format and mark scheme of Question 3 of past papers, of which the Oxford History site contains an archive for further reference.
How should I prepare for the HAT?
- Candidates should look at Question 3 of past papers, and ideally mark schemes, to familiarise themselves with the format. It is advisable to sit at least one past paper under timed examination conditions, to get a feel for the pace required.
- Although the examiners are at pains to stress that no additional study is necessary, some candidates nevertheless feel that their historical background knowledge is not broad enough to understand the primary source sufficiently well. If this is the case, then an accessible summary of world history might help them to feel better prepared. Candidates may sample a few of the following selections, and choose one according to their personal preference:
- DK, The History Book (DK Big Ideas)
- Adam Hart-Davis (ed.), History (DK)
- Philip Parker, World History (DK Eyewitness Companions)
Please do get in touch with Keystone Tutors if you are looking for a HAT tutor to support your preparations for the Oxford HAT. We have a number of tutors with extensive experience of the test, many of whom have successfully sat it themselves.
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