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How do I approach the essay section of the TSA?

The essay section of the TSA is really nothing to worry about, as the tutors should only use it as a possibly entry point for questioning in your interview, and it is not numerically marked. You should just aim to demonstrate your reasoning process and that you can present a balanced yet guided argument. 

Your first step when answering the type of questions that come up in the TSA should be to carefully consider what your answer would be if you were forced to give one in a 'yes/no/maybe' format, as having a clear idea of what the general arguement is straight away will ensure that all of your essay is both answering the question and coherent. When it comes to Oxford essays, you're always better off to spend an extra 2 minutes thinking rather than writing, and a good tactic for impressing with your TSA essay is to present a clever and unique argument, rather than panic write.

If you answer maybe, make sure that the body of the essay doesn't come across as non-commital, and that there are valid reasons as to why a yes/no answer cannot be given. An obvious such reason would be that contextual factors greatly affect the answer to the question.

Most importantly, make sure that your essay is coherent and that there is some logic to the flow of your paragraphs. It will be more impressive if your essay reads as if you had the same plan and argument in mind throughout.

Sophie A.

6 months ago

Answered by Sophie, an Uni Admissions Test .TSA. Oxford. tutor with MyTutor


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Olivia K.

Degree: Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Bachelors) - Oxford, Magdalen College University

Subjects offered: .TSA. Oxford., Politics+ 3 more

.TSA. Oxford.
Politics
Philosophy and Ethics
Maths
-Oxbridge Preparation-

“About Me: I am a second year student at Oxford studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics. I have a real passion for Politics, specialising in American studies and British government in the last 100 years but I also come from a very ...”

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Degree: Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (Bachelors) - Warwick University

Subjects offered: .TSA. Oxford., Religious Studies+ 2 more

.TSA. Oxford.
Religious Studies
Maths
Economics

“Hello, I'm Jack and am studying politics, philosophy, and economics at Warwick.  Having recently been through the subjects I'm looking to tutor I feel like I know first hand what difficulties you'll be facing. I always found I wanted ...”

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Katie R.

Degree: Philosophy (Bachelors) - University College London University

Subjects offered: .TSA. Oxford., Religious Studies+ 2 more

.TSA. Oxford.
Religious Studies
Philosophy and Ethics

“Hello! My name is Katie and I'm currently an undergraduate studying Philosophy at University College London. My academic interests include philosophy of language, and political philosophy. I am a friendly, approachable person and I ha...”

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Sophie A.

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Degree: Politics, Philosophy and Economics (Bachelors) - Oxford, Balliol College University

Subjects offered: .TSA. Oxford., Politics+ 6 more

.TSA. Oxford.
Politics
Physics
Philosophy
Maths
History
Government and Politics
-Personal Statements-

“About Me I am a student at Oxford University studying PPE. I have a real passion for these subjects, and hopefully can help anyone who wishes to take these at a higher level, (a great choice), gain the skills needed to do so. Whi...”

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