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So, you’re in the middle of diligently preparing to take the ECAA. But knowing the content inside-out won’t help if you have no idea how to take the exam! We’ve got a fool-proof approach to making the most out of your time in the exam room and impressing the admissions tutors.

Section 1:

The first section of the ECAA is very time pressured: you want to get through as many answers as you can in the time given. You want to be splitting your time 50/50 between the problem solving and mathematical questions.

With some of the questions, you may be able to use a technique of elimination, to find the best multiple choice answer, by getting rid of the ones that are incorrect. This will really help you when you are against the clock, and as there are no marks for working – if you can clearly see the answer there is nothing to lose! 

Specifically with the maths questions, you need to try and work out the answer as quickly as possible. Do not worry about detailed records of your workings, if you can clearly see a step in your head, don’t write it all out. You need to get to the correct answer as quickly as possible, so you can cut some corners – as long as these don’t jeopardise the accuracy of your solution! 

Our advice for Section 1 of the TSA, which is similarly time-pressured, could also come in handy here.  

Section 2: 

When it comes to Section 2, you need to strike a balance of reading the text enough to familiarise yourself with it, and still having time to write a good and well-thought through response.

You probably want to allocate yourself about 10 minutes to just read through and get to grips with the text and what it is saying. Try and annotate it clearly, underlining crucial passages and keywords, so you completely understand it. 

When it comes to writing the essay response, see our post on preparing for the essay section of the TSA. Here, there are lots of top tips about writing a written response under timed conditions, and how to make it concise and clear, and cut out the waffle!

Bear in mind however that the written responses for the ECAA will be shorter, so it is not always necessary to include an introduction and conclusion-a sentence will suffice. You may also get two written questions that you have to answer in the ECAA. Make sure you answer both, as they are not two options!


Remember: keep calm. As long as you work quickly and efficiently, you’ll be able to show yourself at your best. If you want to know more about the ECAA, check out our guide to the ECAA, or our comprehensive free guidebook to preparing for the ECAA.