Written work gives us an idea of how you think and write, so it is important that you submit a piece which demonstrates this and best meets the below criteria. You do not have to meet all these criteria in the piece you select, but please ensure you are aware of what admissions tutors want to see. Please submit a piece that you believe demonstrates the best of your ability.
If you are a pre-qualification applicant, we understand the impact COVID-19 has had on your schoolwork, and that this may have restricted the range of written work you’ve completed. We would normally expect you to submit a marked essay produced in the normal course of your school or college work, and that it should not have been rewritten after marking. We understand that this may not be possible at present, so please describe the circumstances under which your work was produced on the cover sheet provided. You and your teacher will both fill in this form. Tutors will take the information into account.
If you are a post-qualification, or mature applicant, you can decide (although it is not necessary) to produce a new piece of work, as you may want to give a clearer reflection of your current abilities. Again, we understand that this means it may not be possible to have it marked. Please use the space on the cover sheet to describe the circumstances in which the work was produced. If you have further queries, please contact the college to which you wish to apply to discuss your options.
Normally, tutors would prefer to read an analytical discussion of a topic (or topics) in the field of English literature, although an English language topic may be suitable. You can send us an excerpt from your course work, EPQ, or any piece of written work you’ve done. This could include a timed essay or a brief critical commentary, although we understand that those give you less scope to show what you can do. We suggest not submitting a commentary because this displays a very similar skill to that assessed by the ELAT (see below). However, if that is the only option available, it would be fine. Please do not submit a piece of creative writing. The piece you choose must not exceed 2,000 words but you’re welcome to submit an excerpt from a longer piece if you think it represents your best work – if so, please add a note to explain the context of the excerpt.
Tutors will assess written work using the following criteria:
- Attention to the literary aspects of chosen texts
- Sensitivity to the creative use of language
- Evidence of careful and critical reading
- An analytical approach
- Coherence and structure of argument and articulacy of expression
- Precision in the handling of concepts and in the evidence presented to support points
- Relevance to the question
- Independence of thought
More information on how to submit written work and specific requirements can be found on the University of Oxford website.
Joint Schools applicants can find additional information on written work and selection criteria on the Joint School pages. History and English applicants are required to submit two pieces of written work.
The college to which you apply will request written work from you and provide details of how to send it to them. Please do not send written work to any Faculty addresses (@ell.ox.ac.uk). Thank you.