Entrance Examinations & Merit Awards 2020 Entry

Entrance Examinations & Merit Awards

Entrance Examinations & Merit Awards are optional for students studying any undergraduate degree scheme at Aberystwyth.

You will be required to sit two exams from the choice of subjects we offer. Each exam lasts for an hour and a half.

The exams are set and marked by our academic departments, so they don’t follow any particular syllabus, but they should be a similar standard to A-Level exams.

Scholarship Brochure

Depending on the marks you achieve in both papers, there are 4 levels of awards:


1. Faculty Scholarships – £2,000 per year
We have 20 faculty scholarships available, which are worth £2,000 a year, as well as guaranteed accommodation in a University property for the duration of the course. See also No. 4 below. Our academic faculties allocate these awards based on excellent performance in the Entrance Examinations.

3. University Scholarships – £1,000 per year
We have 50 university Scholarships to award to the candidates scoring the highest aggregate marks of both examination papers. Successful candidates receive £1,000 for each year of their course. University Scholarship holders also receive guaranteed accommodation in a university property throughout the length of their course.

2. Merit Awards – £1,000 in the first year
We offer approximately 250 Merit Awards each year to students who do well in the Entrance Examinations but narrowly miss out on attaining a Scholarship. Merit Award holders receive £1,000 during the first year of their course. See also No. 4 below.

4. Unconditional Offers
Strong performance in the Entrance Examinations can result in the University confirming your place without further conditions, resulting in an unconditional UCAS offer. Candidates who do not receive an award may be given an unconditional offer on the basis of their strong performance in the Entrance Examinations.

1. Which exam papers should I choose?

Please ensure you choose subjects which are relevant for the degree scheme you wish to pursue. If you don’t sit exams in appropriate subjects, this may affect your eligibility for an award and/or reduced offer.

It's a good idea to look at some of these Past Entrance Exam Papers to get a feel for the type and level of questions likely to be asked, but please note that the format of exam papers may change from year to year.

2. How can I apply? I live in the UK.

If you live in the UK you can apply quickly and easily via the Online Application Form. Alternatively, you can download an Entrance Scholarship Application Form. The closing date for applications is 18 January 2020.

You can choose to sit the exams either here at Aberystwyth University, or at your school/college. Candidates wishing to come to Aberystwyth to sit the exams will need to make their own travel and accommodation arrangements. If you come to Aberystwyth you will be able to combine your visit with a Departmental visit, and we will contribute towards your costs (you will receive further information by email if you opt to sit the exams here).

If you prefer to sit the exams at your school/college you are welcome to do so, provided your Exams Officer confirms that they are willing to make the necessary arrangements. You MUST obtain their permission before submitting your application form.

3. How can I apply? I live outside the UK.

If you live outside of the UK you will need to complete the Entrance Scholarship Application Form and return it to us (by email or post) by 15 January 2020.

You are welcome to come to Aberystwyth to sit the exams at the University, or it may be possible for you to sit the exams outside of the UK. Please note that, for administrative reasons, the exams may only be taken outside of the UK either:

(a) In conjunction with one of our partners in Europe - please contact them directly if you wish to sit the exams at their centres:

(b) At a school/college which has been validated to hold A-level or equivalent qualifications which have been accredited by a UK exam board. You will need to provide evidence that your school/college is accredited to hold UK exam board examinations when you submit your application. Applications received without this evidence will NOT be accepted.

If you wish to sit the exam outside of the UK the deadline to return your application form is 15 January 2020.

4. When will the exams be held?

You will need to sit two exams on Tuesday 28 January 2020 - one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. The exams last for one and a half hours each.  Unfortunately it is not possible to take the exams on any other day.

Here is the Entrance Exams Timetable. Please note that the timetable shown is for guidance - you do not need to select one paper from the morning session and one from the afternoon session - if both of your subjects are timetabled for the same time, you will take one exam during the morning session and the other during the afternoon session.

5. What if I have special exam requirements?

Candidates who have specific examination requirements for their normal school examinations (e.g. extra time, use of a PC, etc.) must submit with their application a letter/email from their school confirming their requirements. Eligible candidates may be entitled to 25% extra time, and arrangements as per normal school examinations, please see our Policy on making reasonable adjustments for applicants sitting the Entrance Examinations.

6. Can I take texts/dictionaries/calculators into the exams?

Please see below regulations for individual exam papers:

  • Accounting & Finance: non-programmable calculators may be used
  • Art – Portfolio Inspection: candidates are asked to liaise with the School of Art to arrange a Portfolio Inspection before the last date of the Entrance Examinations
  • Business and Management: non-programmable calculators may be used
  • Chemistry: a periodic table is provided and a calculator may be used
  • Drama: candidates are not allowed to bring texts into this examination
  • Economics: non-programmable calculators may be used
  • English and English & Creative Writing: candidates are not allowed to bring texts into this examination
  • European Languages (French, German, Spanish): candidates MAY NOT use a dictionary
  • Film & Television Studies: candidates are not allowed to bring texts into this examination
  • French: candidates should answer questions from separate sections in separate answer books, where instructed to do so
  • Geography (Human and Physical): candidates may not use an atlas
  • Mathematics: candidates are permitted to use calculators (provided they are silent, self-powered, without communication facilities and incapable of holding text or other material that could be used to gain an unfair advantage). Candidates should provide their own calculators. Candidates may take into the examination any 'Information Booklets' approved by their examining board for use in examinations (Statistical Tables will be provided). Candidates should answer questions from separate sections in separate answer books, where instructed to do so
  • Physics: all relevant information will be contained within the paper, but candidates may take into the examination room any ‘Information Booklets’ permitted by their Examining Boards for use in those examinations if they wish. Candidates are permitted to use calculators (provided they are silent, self-powered, without communication facilities, and incapable of holding text or other material that could be used to gain an unfair advantage)
  • Welsh (IG and IF): candidates are NOT ALLOWED to bring texts or dictionaries into this examination

7. Is there a mark scheme?

The marking scheme does not follow a particular A-Level syllabus and is intended as a general guide only. Not all of the criteria are necessarily relevant to all subject areas.

  • 80-100%: Shows originality, insight, critical ability. Excellent content, very few errors, showing good knowledge of the principles and concepts of the subject. Candidates own opinions should be evident. Excellent presentation (i.e. logical sequence, sensible division of material, clear style). Excellent analytical and interpretive skills
  • 70-79%: Evidence of understanding and insight. Very good content, few errors. Good presentation and clear expression. Good analytical and interpretive skills.
  • 60-69%: Promise of future development. Good content, relatively few errors, relevant points covered. Some evidence of understanding and insight. Satisfactory presentation. Able to analyse and interpret information.
  • 50-59%: Sound knowledge of the facts and principles, most points covered, but some errors and omissions. Reasonable presentation. Able to evaluate information.
  • 40-49%: Some lack of content, clarity lost in places, little evidence of consistent understanding. Frequent errors or omissions, presentation poor.

8. How will I be paid?

You will receive payments in two equal instalments direct into your bank account – the first at the start of December and the second at the start of March. If you hold a Scholarship you will receive payments for each year of your course (provided you attend at least 70% of your first-year lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, etc.) Merit Award payments are made during the first year only.

9. Information for Schools and Colleges

All exam papers and materials for the exams will be sent to the nominated Examinations Officer approximately one week before the exams. There is no charge associated with sitting the Entrance Examinations, but the University is unable to contribute to any invigilation or room booking costs which may be incurred.  If you only have one candidate sitting the exams you will not need to invigilate them continuously over the duration of the exams (provided they are in a secure room/office and do not have access to the internet, books, reference materials, mobile or electronic devices). Normal exam arrangements apply.

10. Current award holders:

We are very pleased to announce the winners of our Entrance Scholarship competition. Many congratulations to all winners and their schools or colleges.

11. Benefactors

The provision of our Entrance Examinations have been made possible by generous donations from a number of benefactors over the years. Some awards have restrictions placed on who can receive them. It is not necessary to apply for a specific Scholarship – if your exam results are sufficiently high we will award a suitable Scholarship to you. However, you should let us know if you are the son of a Nonconformist Minister and therefore eligible for consideration for the David Morgan Thomas of Caterham Memorial Scholarship. We have published a list of our Benefactors and the terms and conditions associated with individual awards online.

12. Terms and Conditions