PPE | Prospective Students

How to Prepare for PPE

Introductory Reading

Applicants are not expected to have studied any philosophy, politics, or economics at school, but should be interested in the three subjects and be prepared to put their minds to problems of philosophy, politics, and economics presented to them.

We recommend that applicants read widely around the three subjects to help prepare for applying. PPE tutors will look for commitment and motivation to the course, as well as evidence of academic potential. They will want to know that a student has really engaged with the three subjects and has a passion for studying them.

We also recommend that applicants obtain a reasonable grasp of the workings of the social and political world in which we live. Reading a good quality daily newspaper is crucial to a successful application, along with watching and listening to news and current affairs programmes.

Some useful introductory texts are:


Thomas Nagel, What does it all mean?
Martin Hollis, An Invitation to Philosophy
Simon Blackburn, Think
Further Philosophy reading suggestions.


Jonathan Wolff, An Introduction to Political Philosophy
Various authors, Developments in British (French, German, East European etc.) Politics
Adrian Leftwich, What is Politics?


Paul Krugman’s books
Tim Harford's books
Further Economics reading suggestions (reading suggestions tab).

Preparing for the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)

The TSA is a test of verbal, spatial and numerical reasoning, and also asks you to write an essay in order to demonstrate that you can construct a cogent and clear argument. Whilst no particular knowledge assumed, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the format of the test, and try to do some practice.

Personal Statement

Please see here for advice on writing a personal statement for PPE.