Entrance Examinations & Merit Awards 2020 Entry

Entrance Examinations & Merit Awards

Due to the current global situation regarding the Coronavirus pandemic we are currently reviewing whether it will be possible to hold the Entrance Exams on 30th June. As soon as any decisions have been made we will update this page. Thank you for your patience.

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


Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are not able to hold a second round of Entrance Exams in June 2020. Apologies for any disappointment but you will appreciate it is a matter beyond our control.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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  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 Examinations Application Form. The closing date for applications is 18 June 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 June 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 June 2020.

4. When will the exams be held?

You will need to sit two exams on Tuesday 30 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. What can I take into the exams?

Candidates are not permitted to take mobile phones, smart watches or any similar digital devices into the Entrance Examinations.  Unless specified otherwise below, no texts, dictionaries, atlases or other documents or equipment may be used:

  • Accounting & Finance- non-programmable calculators may be used. 
  • Art Portfolio – candidates must arrange to submit their portfolio by the date of the written exams.
  • Business and Management – non-programmable calculators may be used. 
  • Chemistry – a periodic table is provided and a calculator may be used. 
  • Economics – non-programmable calculators may be used. 
  • Geography (Physical) - Candidates are encouraged to bring a pencil, coloured pencils, a ruler and an eraser into this exam.
  • Geology - Candidates are encouraged to bring a pencil, coloured pencils, a ruler and an eraser into this exam.
  • 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 for the Further Maths paper). 
  • 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).

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. 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

13. Information for applicants sitting the Entrance Exams at Aberystwyth University

Information for the June exam session will follow shortly.


Thank you for choosing to sit the Entrance Scholarship examinations at Aberystwyth University on Tuesday, 28 January 2020.  This page contains all the information you will need for your visit to Aberystwyth:

  1. Campus and town maps
  2. Walking map from the car park above the Arts Centre to Penbryn (to follow shortly)
  3. Car Parking Permit
  4. Exam Timetable (if your subjects clash, you will sit one paper during the morning session and the other paper during the afternoon session)
  5. Subject Specific Regulations - what you are permitted to take into the exam with you
  6. Expenses claims form
  7. Programme of activities for parents/friends accompanying you to Aberystwyth
  8. Overnight accommodation 
    For the Entrance Examinations and Visitor Centre we are pleased to offer free overnight accommodation (bed and breakfast) in our on campus ‘Bunkhouse’. This offer is open to applicants and accompanying parents / guardians on Monday 27 and/ or Tuesday 28 January, subject to availability.
    Please note, to book accommodation you will need to complete a separate booking form in advance of your visit.

Please note that examinations will commence at 10.30am and 1.30pm.  You will need to register between 9am and 10am in the reception of Penbryn Hall (signs to direct you to Penbryn Hall will be in place on the day, together with signsto the car parking area).  Upon registering, you will be shown where your exams are being held.  There will be a room available nearby which your friends/family can use as a base for the day.

If you have any special requirements for the exams that you have not already informed us about, please let us know immediately.

There will be a student ambassador led tour of the campus leaving Penbryn reception at 3.45pm (lasting approximately 40 minutes) and you are very welcome to join that if you’d like to.  If you require transport to the train station at the end of the day please let us know when you register.

Entrance Examination Visitor Centre - Wednesday 29 January
For applicants sitting Entrance Examinations on campus on 28 January, we are pleased to offer the opportunity to extend your stay and discover more about Aberystwyth through our Visitor Centre on Wednesday 29 January.  Further information and booking form can be found here.

Please get in touch if you have any queries: scholarships@aber.ac.uk / 01970 622065.

We look forward to welcoming you to Aberystwyth.