TSA Guides

 
 
 
 

The Definitive Guide to TSA Section 1: Critical Thinking

Written by: Matt Amalfitano-Stroud

So, you’re about to venture into the TSA and have come to understand the first section is Critical Thinking. What is Critical Thinking you ask? Here in this guide, we will dive deep into this question and more so you’re better prepared for the exam when you sit it!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

THE BASICS OF THE TSA

In case you haven’t seen it already, let’s start things off with an overview of the TSA so you know exactly what the assessment is all about. 

 
 
 
 
Exams Ninja Question Mark Icon

What is the TSA?

The Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) is a 90- minute2-hour computer-based test used by various universities in the UK and abroad. There are quite a few courses that require the test, so you could be taking the TSA if you’re applying for anything from Psychology to Geography!

The test itself is split into two parts: a 90-minute, multiple-choice Thinking Skills Assessment and a 30-minute writing task.

In Section 1, you’ll be tested on two major areas, problem-solving and critical thinking. Both types of questions are mixed together on the paper and not categorised, so it’ll be down to you to figure out which is which when you get the paper. 

Section 2 will provide you with four questions to choose from, focused on very broad subjects to answer in an essay format. These questions can cover anything from politics to philosophy to ethics so be prepared to step outside of your revised knowledge. Note that this section is only included within some courses that require the TSA Oxford, meaning only certain Oxford applicants will be required to write this essay. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

TSA Structure

How is the TSA Scored?

Scoring for the TSA is different between each section of the test, due to its vastly different question formats. 

Section 1 is the only of the two sections to be marked by Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing, the examining body behind the exam. 

The raw marks from the exam (e.g. the number of correct answers) are converted on a scale between 1 and 100, which varies from paper to paper based on the difficulty of the questions. The score that this conversion provides will be the final result for Section 1. 

Here are the 2021 results for Section 1 of the Oxford TSA, as well as the results specifically for Critical Thinking:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

TSA Oxford Section 1 Scores (2020-21)

TSA Oxford Section 1 Critical Thinking Scores (2020-21)

The average scores for Section 1 will of course vary from year to year but will typically sit around 65 points for both, which is reflected in these results.  

 
 
 
 
 
 

When is the TSA sat?

Applicants taking the TSA Oxford sit the exam in the first few days of November at an approved testing centre, while the TSA UCL is taken online. 

You will need to register to be able to sit the TSA, which can be done by speaking you your school/college’s exams officer. You can learn more about booking your place on the Cambridge Assessments Admissions Testing website. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

There’s plenty more to learn about the TSA, which you can find in our Definitive TSA Guide!

 
 
 
 
 
 

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM TSA SECTION 1

The TSA isn’t especially different from other papers that you would have sat in the past, but let’s take a few moments to quickly familiarise yourself with the exam’s layout and requirements.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Exams Ninja Paper 1 Icon

The two sections of the TSA are split between two different papers, much like most other admissions tests. We’ll focus on the first paper here to keep things brief.

At the beginning of the exam, you will be given the question and answer papers for Section 1. Here’s what a standard question page will look like:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Nothing too exciting, right? 

Each page will contain a maximum of two questions and your answers will be listed from A – E. Like other exams, you will be allowed to use the question paper for any notes or working out that you need, as you won’t be permitted extra paper throughout the exam. Calculators are also not allowed in the TSA. 

One interesting thing we can take away from this example page is a chance to look at the general differences between problem-solving and critical thinking questions. As we already mentioned, the two types of questions aren’t categorised or labelled, but there are noticeable differences between the question types.

The basic difference between the two is that problem solving requires definitive solutions to a question (very often numerical based) while critical thinking is more focused on the evaluation and understanding of a subjective statement or argument. 

These different requirements are easy to see when looking at the question layouts; the concise explanation of the problem and definitive answers of Question 20 vs the longer, descriptive questions and analytical answers of Question 21.

If you didn’t guess already, Question 20 is a pretty typical problem-solving question while Question 21 is a textbook example of critical thinking. Knowing the difference between the two will save you heaps of time in the actual exam!

Once you’re comfortable with Critical Thinking, we have a guide on TSA Problem Solving available for you to read!

 
 

The TSA is a critical part of your application, let us help you get it right! 

 
 
 
 

With our TSA Preparation Platform, you’ll get access to guides, tutorials and practise questions for every section of the TSA. Try your free demo today and find out how Exams.Ninja can boost your score!

 
 
 
 
 
 

THE CRITICAL KNOWLEDGE FOR CRITICAL THINKING

There’s a lot to think about with critical thinking, but it’s important to keep a clear head when preparing for the exam. Let’s take a quick look at what critical thinking is actually all about. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Exams Ninja Brain Icon

So what is Critical Thinking? 

Essentially, critical thinking is the ability to objectively analyse and evaluate an issue to form a judgment. In fact, that’s exactly how Oxford Languages defines it!

It’s a concept that’s been around for centuries and goes as far back as ancient Greece (famous for its philosophers of course!). And when asking “what can it be used for?“, the easier question would be “what can’t it be used for?” Critical thinking is essential to everyone’s lives and even though we’ll be discussing how you can be “skilled” at critical thinking, it’s an ability that everyone possesses at some level.

But this is the TSA we’re talking about, so your critical thinking skills are going to need to be at an academic level! What are some key elements of critical thinking?

 
 

A consistent and systemic approach to your thinking.

Understanding reasoning in arguments.

Identifying inconsistencies and errors in arguments. 

Finding and using links between arguments or statements.

Recognising implications within statements.

Correctly articulating arguments or counter-arguments.

There’s plenty more to consider on top of this, but these are all very core principles when answering a question in a critical manner. 

The Critical Thinking Process

As we said, everyone is capable of thinking critically, but that’s not to say that everyone always does. Critical thinking is an active process, not something that you will just do naturally. It may come easier to some, but it’s still something that isn’t automatic, otherwise you wouldn’t be tested on it! 

That’s where your analytical process should come into play. Using the TSA as an example, when reviewing a stimulus (such as a passage, quote, piece of data), you should be asking yourself questions about what you’re looking at. These will be pretty basic questions like “Who?“, “What?” and “Why?“, all relating to the context of what you’ve been given. Before you can begin to answer the real question, you need to ask yourself these small questions so you can properly understand what is being talked about. 

Who said it?

What was said?

Why was it said? 

How was it said? 

What you do from there will depend on what the question is actually asking. For a multiple-choice question, it will often be a matter of dissecting the stimulus for an answer, while longer form answers will want you to articulate a much deeper answer at the stimulus or create an effective counterargument. However, that’s a topic for Section 2

THE QUESTION TYPES OF TSA CRITICAL THINKING

TSA critical thinking questions get you to comprehend the components of a solid argument and want you to dissect them. They usually fit into one of five categories:

Why don’t we dive into each one?

 
 
 
 
 
 
Exams Ninja Speech Bubble Icon

Identifying Conclusions

What is a conclusion?

A conclusion is a summary of the arguments being made and is usually explicitly stated or heavily implied.

Conclusions are commonly mistaken for “Premise” which is a statement from which another statement can be inferred or follows as a conclusion.

Here is an example to help you separate them both:

“Most actors are celebrities” (Premise)

“Andrew Garfield is an actor” (Premise)

“Therefore, Andrew Garfield is probably a celebrity” (Conclusion)

Here is another example:

Consider this statement: My mom, being a woman, is clever as all women are clever.

Premise 1: My mom is a woman. Premise 2: Women are clever. Conclusion: My mom is clever.

This example is clear and the conclusion is explicitly stated, sometimes it might not be stated.

Consider this statement: My mom is a woman and all women are clever. The same conclusion can be drawn from the statement.

You may be asked whether any of the alternatives “cannot be reliably concluded” on occasion. This basically asks you to explain why one choice cannot be chosen as the final option. The following are some frequent reasons:

Over-generalising: My mom is clever therefore all women are clever.

Being too specific: All kids like sweets so my son also likes sweets.

Confusing correlation with causation: Lung cancer is much more likely in patients who drink water. Hence, water causes lung cancer.

Confusing cause and effect: Lung cancer patients tend to smoke so it follows that having lung cancer must make people want to smoke.

Exams.Ninja Tip 

Keep these bits in mind when identifying conclusions:

  • Conjunctives such as “Hence”, “Thus”, “Therefore” and “It follows” give you a clue as to when a conclusion is being stated.
  • Other words such as “Because” “as indicated by”. “in that”, “given that” and also “due to the fact that” will usually be identified as premises.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Assumptions and Flaws

Other critical thinking questions may ask you to uncover assumptions and flaws in the reasoning of a piece.

Let’s get to defining both terms to get a clearer understanding:

Assumptions are plausible statements that may be made based on the given facts is referred to as an assumption.

Flaws are a part of the piece which is inconsistent with the rest of the piece. It basically undermines the crucial components of the overall argument being made.

Consider this example: My mom is clever because all doctors are clever.

Premise 1: Doctor’s are clever. Assumption: My mom is a doctor. Conclusion: My mom is clever.

The conclusion flows naturally even though there is only one premise because of the assumption. The argument relies on the assumption to work. Bear in mind that the assumption could also be a flaw. If you consider the statement above, what if the mother was not a doctor? This would result in a flaw.

You might be asked to identify flaws within an argument. It is vital to understand the types of flaws to look out for. These are similar to the ones discussed before (over-generalising, being too specific, confusing cause and effect, confusing correlation and causation). Assumptions may also be a flaw.

Exams.Ninja Tip 

Try not to confuse premises and assumptions. A premise is a statement that is explicitly stated in the passage. An assumption is an inference that is made from the passage.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Strengthening or Weakening Arguments

BEL

BEL is the holy trifecta that will strengthen or weaken an argument.

B – Balance

A good argument will always have two sides of the story (beliefs, views, counter-argument) – however the key is to delicately dismantle these ideas and also understand why they are wrong.

E – Evidence

An argument that is based on facts, statistical backing and the further available evidence is a lot stronger than one which is based on emotions, value judgements and subjective statements. You simply can’t argue with data on paper.

L – Logic

All parts of the argument should fit well into an overriding view or belief.

If you are required to strengthen an argument, you ideally want to look for evidence to back it. This could be statistics, facts and evidence which addresses the counterarguments. Similarly, when asked to weaken an argument you would do the opposite.

Exams.Ninja Tip 

In order to use the BEL Methodology, it is often best to read the question before reading the passage. You will have a much better idea of what you’re looking for and are more likely to find it quicker after cementing it in your mind.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Matching Arguments

There will be questions that will test your skills in identifying similarities between two arguments about different topics. You are essentially looking for similarities within the structures or the pattern of the arguments.

To put this in context, here is an example:

“James’ grades have improved a lot recently. Either he is putting more effort into his homework, or he has been less distracted in lessons. I know for a fact that James hasn’t been doing his homework, so it must be that he’s paying more attention in class”

Which of the following most closely parallels the reasoning used in the above argument?

The first step will be to identify the structure of the example argument. You may be able to do this by identifying key points and how they are arranged within the passage.

In this case, the structure of the argument is:

X = James is putting more effort into homework.

Y = James is paying more attention in class.

Therefore, Y must be true.

Either X is true or Y is true.

  • X cannot be true.
  • Therefore Y must be true.

The next step will be identifying which of the answers offers an argument that accurately represents the structure of the example reasoning. Some of the answer may follow similar structures however contain tiny discrepancies which make the answer incorrect.

Exams.Ninja Tip 

These questions will not be centred around the same topic as the argument in the text, but instead, will ask you to match an argument that follows the same structure. You could approach this by replacing names or subjects in the original texts with algebraic letters (X or A, B, C) as the subject is irrelevant and is a distraction from what the question is asking you.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Identifying Principles

There will questions which are going to examine an applicant’s ability to identify the underlying principle within an argument.

What is a principle?

It is a general recommendation that can be applied to a number of cases.

When you come past these sorts of questions, you are expected to extract the fundamental principle from the single case presented in the passage and also see where it has been applied in other cases.

It will not be explicitly presented to you, so you will be required to obtain it for yourself.

In order to do this, get a solid understanding of what the passage is saying, including both the conclusions reached and the reasoning behind them.

Exams.Ninja Tip 

Restate the argument or situation in your own words. If the passage is an argument, it’s good to identify the conclusion and support. If the passage is situational instead of argumentative, restate the situation in your own words. What’s happening, and how do the pieces of action affect each other?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

HOW CAN I IMPROVE MY CRITICAL THINKING?

With all these techniques to consider, it might be difficult to know how you can implement everything in an effective way, especially for the TSA! Let’s see what you can do to boost your critical thinking skills!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Exams Ninja Though Bubble Question Icon

1. Read as Much as Possible

There’s a practically unlimited amount of content available to practice from because any kind of opinionated or argumentative piece can be looked at critically! Remember that the TSA isn’t about your knowledge of a subject but your ability to apply various skills, including critical thinking, in a variety of contexts.

The way you approach your reading could go hundreds of ways; you could read about things you know, things you don’t know, things you agree or disagree with and so much more!  At the end of the day, what you read doesn’t matter too much to your practice, it’s how you use and think about the content.  

 
 

2. Study Examples

The internet has given people a whole new way to express their thoughts and opinions, and plenty of people take full advantage of this! Studying how other people discuss and argue topics will give you a much broader spectrum of knowledge on how critical thinking can manifest in different scenarios

You could look at anything from carefully constructed essays to brief comments, all of these will display some principles of critical thinking. One important thing to remember is to not take anything that you see as objectively correct when it comes to your own approach. What works in some cases may not work in the TSA, and some examples you find may end up being perfect examples of poor critical thinking or argument development

 
 
 
 

3. Answer Questions

 
 
 
 

At the end of the day, this practice is going towards increasing your chances of success in the TSA, so you need to be sure that you know how to answer the questions!

Practice TSA questions are of course the best place to start. You’ll often hear people raving about worked solutions because they really are the best way to revise exam questions! We would recommend using TSA.Ninja, which features over 500 of them.

When you’re ready to take a step further, mock exams are the way to go. Whether or not you try them in exam conditions and time limits is up to you, but you should definitely do one realistic mock exam before the real thing.

 
 
 
 

4. Develop and Understand you Mental Process

 
 
 
 

Your process for approaching stimuli and answering questions will be the key to your success and is what all these other tips will aid you in developing. Your mental process is unique to you, so no amount of guides and tutorials will be able to fully develop it for you. While taking on tips and tricks will help you to improve certain techniques along the way, your overall thinking patterns are yours and yours alone. 

Understanding how you think things through is super important to successful critical thinking. You should be self-aware of your reading and writing processes in order to utilise them in the most effective way. As we said, following the previous tips, as well as taking notes about your mental process, will ensure that you can enter the TSA with confidence! 

You can learn the best way to plan out this revision with our TSA 6-Month Preparation Timeline!

 
 
 
 

Get access to over 500 of true difficulty TSA questions.

 
 
 

The TSA Preparation Platform is the most effective way to boost you understanding of critical thinking! With over 500 questions, each with a worked solution, as well as a collection of full exam papers at your disposal, you’ll become an expert thinker in no time! Click below to try your free demo!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

TSA CRITCIAL THINKING PRACTICE QUESTIONS

It’s time to put everything you’ve learnt to practice. Try to answer all of these questions and then check out the worked solutions to see if your mind was in the right place! Remember to identify each type of question.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Exams Ninja Multiple-Choice Questions Icon

TSA Practice Question 1

Sadly, the way in which children interact with each other has changed over the years. Where once children used to play sports and games together in the street, they now sit alone in their rooms on the computer playing games on the Internet. Where in the past young children learnt human interaction from active games with their friends this is no longer the case. How then, when these children are grown up, will they be able to socially interact with their colleagues? 

Which one of the following is the conclusion of the above statement?

A) Children who play computer games now interact less outside of them.

B)The Internet can be a tool for teaching social skills.

C) Computer games are for social development.

D) Children should be made to play outside with their friends to develop their social skills for later in life. 

E) Adults will in the future play computer games as a means of interaction.

The correct answer is A. 

C is incorrect and D is a possible course of action rather than a conclusion. B and E are possible inferences but not the conclusion of the statement. The overall conclusion of the statement is that the way that children interact has changed to the solitary act of playing computer games. 

TSA Practice Question 2

Tom’s father says to him: ‘You must work for your A-levels. That is the best way to do well in your A-level exams. If you work especially hard for Geography, you will definitely succeed in your Geography A-level exam’.

Which of the following is the best statement Tom could say to prove a flaw in his father’s argument?

A) ‘It takes me longer to study for my History exam, so I should prioritise that.’

B) ‘I do not have to work hard to do well in my Geography A-level.’

C) ‘Just because I work hard, does not mean I will do well in my A-levels.’

D) ‘You are putting too much importance on studying for A-levels.’

E) ‘You haven’t accounted for the fact that Geography is harder than my other subjects.’

The correct answer is C. 

Although it can be argued that A, B, D and E are true, they are not the best answer to demonstrate a flaw in Tom’s father’s argument. C is the best because it accounts for other factors determining success for the Geography A-level exam such as aptitude for the subject. 

TSA Practice Question 3

‘We should allow people to drive as fast as they want. By allowing drivers to drive at fast speeds, through natural selection the most dangerous drivers will kill only themselves in car accidents. These people will not have children, hence only safe people will reproduce and eventually the population will only consist of safe drivers.’

Which one of the following, if true, most weakens the above argument?

A) Dangerous drivers harm others more often than themselves by driving too fast.

B) Dangerous drivers may produce children who are safe drivers. 

C) The process of natural selection takes a long time.

D) Some drivers break speed limits anyway.

E) Most dangerous drivers are also more skilled drivers and able to avoid harm to themselves.

The correct answer is A. 

C does not severely affect the strength of the argument, as it is only relevant to the length of the time taken for the effects of the argument to come into place. D is incorrect, as people breaking speed limits already would not negate the argument that speed limits should be removed, but could even be seen as supporting it. These people may count as the ‘dangerous drivers’ who would be ultimately weeded out of the population. 

B may affect part of the argument’s logic (as it undermines the idea that dangerous drivers are born to dangerous drivers), but the final conclusion that dangerous drivers will end up killing only themselves still stands, and so the ultimate population of only safe drivers may be obtained. The fact that one dead dangerous driver could have produced a safe one does not necessarily challenge the main point of this argument. 

A if true would most weaken the argument as it states that a fast driver is more likely to harm others and not the driver themself, which would negate the whole argument. E has the same potential effect but ultimately does not cover the full spectrum of the argument by specifying “most” rather than all.  

TSA Practice Question 4

A survey of a school was taken to find out whether there was any correlation between the sports students played and the subjects they liked. The findings were as follows: some football players liked Maths and some of them liked History. All students liked English. None of the basketball players liked History, but all of them, as well as some rugby players liked Chemistry. All rugby players like Geography.

Based on the findings, which one of the below must be true?

A) Some of the footballers liked Maths and History.

B) Some of the rugby players liked three subjects.

C) Some rugby players liked History.

D) Some of the footballers liked English but did not like Maths and History.

E) Some basketball players like more than 3 subjects.

The correct answer is B. 

Since ‘some footballers’ that like Maths are not necessarily the same ‘some’ who like History we can exclude A and D. Equally, while C may or may not be true, we are not given any information about rugby players’ preference for History, so it is incorrect. We know that all basketball players like English and Chemistry, and that none of them like History, but as we do not know about a third subject they may like, E is incorrect. 

TSA Practice Question 5

“Zips and buttons are on the opposite side of women’s clothing relative to men’s. This is because high society always dictated clothing style, and women in high society would historically have had someone to dress them. Therefore the fastenings were positioned for the convenience of the servant and not the wearer. In our age, very few people have a servant to dress them. Therefore buttons and zips on women’s clothing should be moved in accordance with the style of men’s clothing.”

Which of the following statements best describes the principle supporting this argument?  

A) The needs of the majority should be of foremost importance.

B) It would be more cost effective to make all clothes the same way.

C) Traditions are of little value as times change.

D) It would be easier for women to fasten clothes if buttons were reversed.

E) Style is no longer dictated by high society.

The correct answer is A 

The passage argues that as most women’s needs have changed, the style of clothing should change. This is derived from the principle that the needs of the majority should be prioritised. 

TSA Practice Question 6

Poor blood supply to a part of the body can cause damage of the affected tissue – i.e. lead to an infarction. There are a variety of known risk factors for vascular disease. Diabetes is a major risk factor. Other risk factors are more dependent on the individual as they represent individual choices such as smoking, poor dietary habits, as well as little to no exercise. In some cases, infarction of the limbs, and in particular the feet, can become very bad and extensive with patches of tissue dying. This is known as necrosis and is marked by affected area of the body turning black. Necrotic tissue is usually removed in surgery.

Which of the following statements CANNOT be concluded from the information in the above passage?

A) Smoking causes vascular disease.

B) Diabetes causes vascular disease.

C) Vascular disease always leads to infarctions.

D) Necrotic tissue must be removed surgically.

E) Necrotic tissue only occurs following severe infarction.

F) All of the above

The correct answer is F. 

Smoking and Diabetes are risk factors for vascular disease (not a cause). Vascular disease does not always lead to infarction. The passage does not give sufficient detail about necrotic tissue to conclude C or D. 

TSA Practice Question 7

Global warming is a key challenge facing the world today, and the changes in weather patterns caused by this phenomenon have led to the destruction of many natural habitats, causing many species to become extinct. Recent data has shown that extinctions have been occurring at a faster rate over the last 40 years than at any other point in the earth’s history, exceeding the great Permian mass extinction, which wiped out 96% of life on earth. If this rate continues, over 50% of species on earth will be extinct by 2100. It is clear that in the face of this huge challenge, conservation programmes will require significantly increased levels of funding in order to prevent most of the species on earth from becoming extinct.

 Which of the following are assumptions in this argument?

  1. The rate of extinctions seen in the last 40 years will continue to occur without a step-up in conservation efforts.
  2. Conservation programmes cannot prevent further extinctions without increased funding.
  3. Global warming has caused many extinction events, directly or indirectly.

A) 1 only

B) 2 only

C) 3 only

D) 1 and 2

E) 1 and 3

F) 2 and 3

G) 1, 2 and 3

The correct answer is D. 

1 and 2 are assumptions. The information given does not necessarily lead on to the conclusion that these extinction events will continue without further conservation efforts. Equally, there is nothing in the passage that says conservation efforts cannot be stepped up without increased funding. However, 3 is not an assumption, because the passage states that global warming has caused changed weather patterns, which have caused the destruction of many habitats, which have led to many extinction events. Thus, it is given that global warming has indirectly caused these extinctions, and so the answer is D. 

TSA Practice Question 8

People who can afford to pay for private education should not have access to the state school system. This would allow more funding for students from lower-income backgrounds. More funding will provide better resources for students from lower-income backgrounds, and will help to bridge the gap in educational attainment between students from higher income and lower-income backgrounds.

Which of the following statements, if true, would most strengthen the above argument?

A) Educational attainment is a significant factor in determining future prospects.

B) Providing better resources for students has been demonstrated to lead to an increase in educational attainment.

C) Most people who can afford to do so choose to purchase private education for their children.

D) A significant gap exists in educational attainment between students from high income and low-income backgrounds.

E) Most schools currently receive a similar amount of funding relative to the number of students in the school.

The correct answer is B.

A is irrelevant to the argument’s conclusion. Meanwhile, E does nothing to alter the conclusion, as the fact that schools receive similar funds does not affect the fact that more funding could provide better resources, and thus improve educational attainment. C actually weakens the argument; by implying that banning the richer from using the state school system would not raise many funds, as most do not use it anyway. D does not strengthen the conclusion as stating that a gap exists does not do anything to suggest that more funding will help close it. B clearly supports the conclusion that more funding, and better resources, would help close the gap in educational attainment. 

TSA Practice Question 9

If the blue party wins the general election, they will implement all of the policies of their manifesto, including an increase in the number of soldiers enlisted in the army. If the army has more soldiers, it will build a new military base in Devon to accommodate them. Therefore, if the blue party wins the election, a new military base will be built in Devon.

Which of the following most closely follows the reasoning used in this argument?

A) If David does not pay his road tax, his car will be confiscated by the local council. If David’s car is confiscated, he will not be able to travel to work. Therefore, if David does not pay his road tax, he will lose his job.

B) If a car passes a speed camera whilst travelling at more than 70mph, it will be photographed by the speed camera. If a car is photographed by a speed camera, a speeding ticket will be sent to the owner. Therefore, if John’s car is driving along the road at 80mph, he will receive a speeding ticket.

C) If Omar does well in his A-level exams, he will be accepted at Durham University to study classics. If he is accepted at Durham University, he will graduate in Durham Cathedral. Therefore, if Omar does well in his exams, he will graduate in Durham Cathedral.

D) Grace is travelling home from Birmingham. However, the fuel on her car is running low. In order to make it home, she needs to refuel her car. In order for her to refuel her car, she has to leave the motorway and visit a petrol station. Grace arrives home, therefore she must have visited a petrol station.

E) If Country X is further south than Country A, crops will be planted earlier in the year than they are in Country A. If crops are planted earlier, they will be ripe sooner in the year. Crops in Country X are ripe earlier in the year than crops in Country A. Therefore, Country X must be further south than France.

The correct answer is C. 

The question follows the reasoning of “If A happens, B will happen. If B happens, C will happen. Therefore, If A happens, C will happen”. Only C) follows this reasoning correctly. 

A) and B) are both incorrect because they assume things will happen which have not been stated in the reasoning. In A), it is not stated that David will lose his job if he cannot travel to work, therefore this is incorrect. In B), John’s car may not necessarily pass a speed camera, so B) is incorrect. E) also contains incorrect reasoning. It is not stated that either of the things mentioned are necessary for crops to be ripe earlier, so we cannot know from what is stated that Country X is further south than Country A. 

D) is correct, but follows different reasoning. D) reasons as “A must happen for B to happen. B must happen for C to happen. Therefore if C happens, A must have happened”. This is not the same as saying If A happens, B will happen. Grace could visit a petrol station yet still not arrive home. 

TSA Practice Question 10

Vaccinations have been one of the most outstanding and influential developments in medical history. Despite the huge successes, however, there is a strong anti-vaccination movement active in some countries, particularly the USA, who claim vaccines are harmful and ineffective.

There have been several high-profile events in recent years where anti-vaccine campaigners have been refused permission to enter countries for campaigns, or have had venues refuse to host them due to the nature of their campaigns. Many anti-vaccination campaigners have claimed this is an affront to free speech, and that they should be allowed to enter countries and obtain venues without hindrance. However, although free speech is desirable, an exception must be made here because the anti-vaccination campaign spreads misinformation to parents, causing vaccination to rates to drop. 

When this happens, preventable infectious diseases often begin to increase, causing avoidable deaths of innocent members of the community, particularly so in children. Thus, in order to protect innocent people, we must continue to block the anti-vaccine campaigners from spreading misinformation freely by pressuring venues not to host anti-vaccination campaigners.

Which of the following best illustrates the principle that this argument follows?

A) Free speech is always desirable, and must not be compromised under any circumstances.

B) The right of innocent people to protection from infectious diseases is more important than the right of free speech.

C) The right of free speech does not apply when the party speaking is lying or spreading misinformation.

D) Public health programmes that achieve significant success in reducing the incidence of disease should be promoted.

The correct answer is B. 

The passage discusses how anti-vaccine campaigns cause deaths by spreading misinformation and reducing vaccination rates. It claims that therefore in order to protect people, we should block the campaigners from spreading such misinformation freely. Thus, it is made clear that this action should be taken because the campaigners cause deaths, not simply because they are spreading misinformation. Thus, B is the principle embodied in the passage, and C is incorrect. A actually demonstrates an opposite principle, whilst D is a somewhat irrelevant statement, as the passage makes no reference to whether we should promote successful public health programmes. 

That was a lot to work through, but the work doesn’t stop there! There are loads more questions to try out, so get as many done as you can to perfect your TSA technique! 

We’ll have even more TSA practice questions on Exams.Ninja soon, so keep an eye out!

 
 
 

We’ve covered a lot of ground, and unfortunately, there’s still more to go. You’ve still got Problem Solving and Section 2 to worry about, as well as maintaining you’re critical thinking skills! That’s why it’s so important to make the most of your preparation time and the resources you have available to you.

The TSA is intended to be a difficult test in order to separate a group of very talented people. That thought may put a lot of pressure on you, but remember that you’ve already come this far, so you deserve to be ranked amongst these talented people (because you are one)! 

 
 
 
 

It’s time to start thinking about your university application, including your revision for the TSA!

 
 
 

Exams.Ninja’s TSA Preparation Platform will help you prepare for the big day. You’ll have access to tons of amaing resources, including:  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Training Temple- Access 29 expert tutorials alongside our tips, tricks and revision guides to build up you thinking abilities. 

 
 
 
 
 

Practice Dojo- Over 500 practice questions, complete with expertly crafted worked solutions, all available for you to attempt at any time. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Exam Arena- Try out our collection of 19 TSA past papers in realistic exam conditions. Boost your confidence in time for the real thing! 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Start your TSA prep today and maximise your chances of success.