Learn about the entrance tests for the UPC international foundation year. This includes which tests you need to take, how to take them and how to prepare for your tests.
If you're successful at application stage, you’ll need to take one or two UPC entrance tests.
The test(s) you take will depend on the UPC course and optional subjects you intend to study.
What tests do I need to take?
|UPC for Humanities (UPCH)||UPC for Science & Engineering (UPCSE)|
|Critical Thinking (compulsory)||Biology|
|Mathematics (if choosing subject)||Chemistry|
UPCH: you must take one or two entrance tests. All applicants take the compulsory Critical Thinking entrance test. If you intend to study the Mathematics optional subject, then you must also take the Mathematics entrance test.
UPCSE: you must take entrance tests in the two optional subjects you intend to study.
How can I prepare for a test?
We strongly advise that you familiarise yourself with the practice entrance tests which are available online (see below) when you prepare your application and before you take the tests. These tests will give you a clear idea of the format and type of questions you will find in the actual entrance tests.
Each test is one-hour long and should be completed without the assistance of another person. However, you may use an English or bilingual dictionary and a calculator.
It may be useful to look at a GCSE or AS Level textbook to see the range of topics and disciplines covered in each subject. You’ll find suggestions on recommended resources below. Specific advice for Critical Thinking is given below.
Recommended resources for preparing for the entrance tests
- BBC Bitesize Biology GCSE Single Science
- Relevant preparation materials on the Seneca website (select Biology AQA GCSE Higher)
- BBC Bitesize for GCSE Chemistry Single Science
- Royal Society of Chemistry videos on GCSE laboratory practicals
- "Chemistry: A Very Short Introduction" book by Peter Atkins
- Other Chemistry Primers on relevant topics from Oxford University Press
- Make sure you have read though our specific advice
- Critical Thinking Skills: Effective Analysis, Argument and Reflection, by Stella Cottrell (Palgrave Macmillan)
- BBC Bitesize GCSE
- BBC Bitesize Highers (Scottish equivalent of AS/A Levels) (you do not need to go through the subjects on differentiation and integration)
- BBC Bitesize Physics
- Any recent AS/Year 1 A Level Physics textbook
For each subject, we provide two practice tests.
Practice UPC entrance tests
For Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics, UPC entrance tests have 30 multiple-choice questions. You can try the practice tests in this format, and you’ll receive feedback for each answer and an overall grade.
Critical Thinking entrance tests comprise of a short text and 10 questions to answer in short or longer paragraphs. The practice tests have the same format, and you will be able to assess the quality of your answers using the feedback notes for comparison.
You should also consider practicing in limited time: you'll have one hour only to complete the test on the actual test day, so time management is crucial.
Am I ready?
Your practice test score is derived from your first attempt at the test. If you’re answering at least 50% of the questions correctly, you could be ready to take the UPC entrance tests. This would also suggest that you should apply for the course if you haven't already. However, be sure that you meet the other entrance requirements.
Why do I need to take a test?
The entrance tests will help the Admissions Team decide whether you have the level of knowledge you need for the UPC course.
What score do I need to be considered for an interview?
If you achieve 50% or above in each entrance test, a UPC Admissions tutor will assess your application. Their decision regarding an invitation to interview will consider all elements of your application.
When will I take the tests?
If your application meets our entry criteria, we’ll invite you to take the entrance tests. We’ll confirm the test dates in your invitation email. Test dates are pre-scheduled and depend on when you submit your complete UPC application.
If you can't attend
If you can’t attend the test for any reason after applying, please inform us via email.
If you’re unwell before the test, it is best to reschedule. Likewise, please inform us via email.
You will not be offered the chance to retake the tests.
On each test date, the test site will be open for 24 hours. This period starts at 22:00 (UK time) the day before your test and ends at 22:00 (UK time) on the test day.
On the test day, you’re expected to start your first test at 09:00 (your local time). If you have a second test, you should start this at 10:45 (your local time).
How do I take the tests?
You’ll take our entrance tests online using a platform called UCL eXtend. Please see our guide on how to take the tests on UCL eXtend.
On your test date, you’ll need to log in to UCL eXtend with your eXtend username and password which will be sent to you the day before the test(s). Insert your username and the password to access and take your test(s).
Entrance test instructions
UPC entrance tests should be taken under exam conditions:
- You should take the tests on a computer, tablet or laptop. You should not use your mobile phone to take the tests.
- Make sure your device is fully charged or plugged in.
- Your phone must be switched off and not in the room with you.
- If your browser uses an advert blocker, ensure that extend.ucl.ac.uk is approved in your settings.
- You must not use the internet or seek help from anyone.
- You can use a dictionary for the entrance tests. We recommend non-technical dictionaries (English-only or bilingual). This is not essential, as the tests are designed so they can be completed without dictionaries.
- A simple electronic calculator can be used for the Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics tests. Below is a full list of suitable calculators:
- Casio FX85GT X
- Casio FX83GT+ (battery operated)
- Casio FX85GT+ (solar powered)
- Casio FX83MS (battery operated)
- Casio FX85MS (solar powered)
- Casio FX83ES (battery operated)
- Casio FX85ES (solar powered)
- Casio FX83WA (battery operated)
- Casio FX85WA (solar powered)
- If you’re unwell on your test date, please don’t start your entrance test. Instead, you should email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can arrange a later test date.
If you have any problems during the test(s), please contact the UPC team. We will only be able to respond during UK office opening hours (Monday-Friday 9am–5pm).