Thinking Skills Assessment

Thinking Skills Assessment

Students are assessed to see the competence teaching and learning that they have undergone. Assessments are also used to determine whether the students are ready to go through advanced learning programs. It is why three UK-based institutions - the University of Cambridge, University College London and University of Oxford use Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)for their admissions and selection process. The University of Oxford requires TSA for the courses Economics and Management; Experimental Psychology; Geography; Philosophy and Linguistics; Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE); Psychology and Linguistics; and Psychology and Philosophy. The administrators of the respective universities check the students' analytical skills, thinking ability, and language accuracy. TSA is a two-hour exam. It consists of:

-    Thinking skills assessment: this section is made up of spatial, numerical reasoning. Students need to understand, analyse and reason. They are given 90 minutes to solve the questions which are in the multiple choice format.

-    Writing task: this section tests the students' written skills. The students have to express, interpret and make arguments through writing. They are given 30 minutes to write the essay. Students have a choice of selecting one from the three questions.

Students will enjoy taking TSA as it increases their proficiency. Plus, they can prepare by themselves at their own pace. Students need to have good grammatical and analytical skills. They need to think freely and make their arguments make sense. Students can go through past year assessments to get a feel of what is expected of them. Overall, TSA is a pre-interview test. It's part of the admissions and selection process.

Difficulties Students Experience

Many students struggle, and experience a tough time as they don't have the required skills. They didn't prepare well. Some students struggle with the writing part and getting essays done is not their cup of tea. They are not able to think properly due to the pressure and stress. And even if they do a bit of thinking, they are unable to get the right flow of ideas. Students feel that assessments and tests put unnecessary pressure. But then they shouldn't be having difficulties because of them are straight out of high school, and the knowledge and skills are still fresh. Many students don't bother to go through sample papers because they don't have the time. They should seek assistance from academic councillors and talk out the problems. It will prove to be very helpful.

Tips to Crack TSA

TSA has its share of positive points for students. According to, it gears students for the job market. In the professional environment, employers applaud strong analytical thinking skills. Through such abilities, they are able to find solutions, reach out to their clients and make good profits. Students need to develop and work to gain critical thinking skills as this will get them go places. Here are some ways, they can crack TSA:

-    Aim for a successful career: by doing so, students will automatically develop and improve their thinking skills. They should learn to interpret and analyse, and these two core competencies can also be developed easily through assessments and tests.

-    Read: by actively reading; a person lets their imagination take over. Students can read and analyse novels, magazines or newspapers. It has the same impact. The only difference is that via novels they can apply creative thinking; and via newspapers, they can relay what has already been stated by the reporter.

-    Problem-Solving: students can develop their problem-solving skills by doing mathematic problems in algebra and calculus etc. They can also go through word problems to interpret and analyse.

-    Observe: by seeing and noticing everything around; a person becomes aware. Students should often go for walks in parks or around the locality. It will refresh their minds and sharpen their skills.

-    Explain: students should try to get an explanation for everything. They can ask the teachers to explain if they don't understand a theory or a concept. The students should concentrate the way the teacher gives the explanation.

-    Reflect: students should give themselves time to process and examine the information. It can only happen through proper channelling that is concentration. By doing so, they are looking at alternatives, weighing things out and trying to make out the consequences. It is also a much-needed skill.

TSA should be regarded as a guide and not a test. By doing so, students will not feel pressured or stressed out. They will take out time to prepare for it and give it their best shot. TSA is not just for getting into any particular program. It's a stepping stone towards a career. 

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