The Written Test

All applicants who meet the entry criteria will be invited to sit a written task online on 13th February, 2014. Further details about the task will be provided via email when the programme contacts those who have applied via the Clearing House to notify them if they meet the entry criteria in early February 2014. Programme staff appreciate a prompt response to the invitation to sit the written task.

  • There will be no appeals procedure for those not invited to stage 3 - the selection event.
  • You will receive a limited amount of information about your performance on the written task when we let you know the outcome. The feedback has to be limited due to the number of applicants involved.

Previous test papers:


Why does Lancaster use a screening instead of rating information provided via the application form along a number of dimensions - it seems unfair compared to other programmes!

The written task was introduced as part of a move towards competency based selection. A number of competencies and values (or attitudes) have been found to be important in the successful completion of a clinical psychology training programme. It is obviously in both the programme's and in the candidates' best interests that those who are selected have the ability, whilst using the extensive support mechanisms available, to complete the programme.

The written task assesses four competencies; analysis and critical thinking, relevant skills and knowledge, effective written communication and professional behaviour. Written communication skills and knowledge specific to Clinical Psychology are not assessed at any other stage.

We invite all applicants who meet the minimum entry criteria to undertake the written task as an alternative to the traditional short-listing procedure. The reasons for this are two-fold. We were not able to demonstrate that our previous short-listing procedure (rating information provided on application forms) was reliable despite working hard to refine it and we feel this makes the procedure seem like a lottery both to candidates and qualified clinicians. Also, we want to make the process more equitable and open to as many people as possible who have the required qualifications. For example, we found in the past that having a postgraduate degree can make the difference between getting an interview and not. Often, people cannot undertake post graduate study because of financial or other pressures. Having a postgraduate degree may demonstrate a certain level of ability. Not having a postgraduate degree does not prove that you don't have the ability yet that was the logical inference we were making. The written task will give every candidate the opportunity to demonstrate their ability rather than us trying to judge that through the application form.

A full research report into the predictive validity of application forms and our written task is available here.

Can you reschedule the task for me please?

Unfortunately it is not possible to reschedule the written task. All applicants must take it at the same time or information on the content of the task could be shared amongst applicants. The evaluation of the results and selection procedure needs to happen immediately after the test has concluded - thus we have to schedule the test for a particular time.

I am registered dyslexic - can I have more time on the test?

Yes - If you have specific support, ICT or access requirements please contact the programme office urgently on 01524 592970, if you have not already done so, in order for us to make any necessary arrangements. Relevant documentation should be received by the office by 5pm on Friday, 31st January 2014 - no arrangements can be made if you contact us after this time. Although invitations to take the written task will not be issued until slightly later, we require information about additional needs as soon as possible (prior to invitations being issued).

Please note that all applicants will have to complete the task electronically and we cannot support a handwritten task submission.

Those with a registered disability will proceed to the selection event when they score 60% on the written task, as this is an essential admission criterion, even if the top 70 scores are all over 60%.

How can I do well on this test?

Candidates who do well on the test tend to remember the obvious: write well and keep within the suggested word limit. As we are specifically assessing your written skills, we are very interested in whether you can write grammatically and to the point. If your work is littered with basic errors, you will not progress further. We also want to see some degree of critical appraisal. This does not mean drawing in real life articles of relevance but it does mean being able to reflect on the meaning of the abstracts in a critical (but not overcritical) way. You should also concentrate on the material presented - and not speculate too much on what is missing. We strongly advise all applicants to use the earlier versions of our written task, provided on this website to practise beforehand.

Why are you including a stats test when clinical training is about much more than that?

First and foremost let us be extremely clear that the written test is not a stats test. It does have some numerical questions and a couple of stats questions but the vast majority of marks are for performance on the paragraph-construction element. Everyone would probably agree that an ability to write clearly is essential for a career in clinical psychology. Those judged to have this ability are invited to the selection event. In order to progress to an offer of a place on the programme, candidates must demonstrate other competencies found to be important in the successful completion of clinical psychology training.

Could you please let me know what to expect in terms of task questions? What should I revise for?

There are samples of the written task at the top of this page.

Are the answers for the past task available?

No, we cannot provide past task answers.

DClinPsy Insight

The Lancaster Course look to recruit you as a person and allow you the freedom and space to develop into the type of clinical psychologist you want to be

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