Every university can claim to excel at something, whether it’s producing world-class rowers or putting on unforgettable parties. But with a strictly academic agenda and a desire to learn more about the UK’s graduates, we used the results from our psychometric tests to determine which university really is the best across a broad range of cognitive skills.

Using our psychometric test data from thousands of graduate assessments, we worked out the best mathematicians, logicians and communicators from the following tests:

best uk university

Which university has the best mathematicians in the UK?

Oxford has the best mathematicians (89%), followed by Durham (85%) and then CASS (83%).

Oxford’s seriously smart students got an average of 89%, compared to rival Cambridge’s score of 69%. The majority of graduates scored somewhere between 75–80%.

This data was sourced using numerical reasoning to evaluate thousands of graduates’ skills at calculus, graph reading and general mathematical knowledge from aptitude tests.

Which university has the best linguists in the UK?

Graduates from Wolverhampton (78%), followed by Cambridge (66%) and then Durham (65%) and Imperial (65%).

Analysing verbal data and critical thinking doesn’t come naturally to all. In fact, most university students scored 60–65%.

Which university has the best logicians in the UK?

Graduates from Harper Adams achieved the highest overall score of 75%, followed by Oxford (70%) and UCL (70%) in joint second.

Which is the best university in the UK overall?

When it comes to our aptitude tests, Oxford students averaged 77% across all tests, followed by the students of Wolverhampton (72%) and Harper Adams (72%).

UCL and Durham scored a respectable 71%, just beating Cambridge whose students averaged 67%.

Cognitive test results table

The University of Oxford averaged 77% across all aptitude tests. Its superiority in numerical reasoning, alongside above-average results in logic and communication, make Oxford number one.

University Numerical % Verbal % Logical % Average %
Cambridge 69 66 65 67
Cass 83 62 65 70
Durham 85 65 64 71
Glasgow 79 62 69 70
Harper Adams 82 60 75 72
Imperial 83 65 64 70
Kingston 64 53 51 56
Leeds 80 63 66 70
Leicester 76 58 58 64
Liverpool 81 62 64 69
Nottingham 80 62 51 64
Oxford 89 71 70 77
UCL 79 65 70 71
Westminster 80 55 64 66
Wolverhampton 79 78 60 72

Why are cognitive skills important to measure at university?

best uk university

Cognitive skills measure numerical, logical and verbal reasoning. Students with cognitive abilities such as these are more likely to secure jobs upon graduating - with companies increasing their attention toward online assessment tests.

Pre-screening tests are becoming a more common way to hire, and therefore a more important skill to improve.

Numerical reasoning

Numerical reasoning skills test university students’ ability to calculate mathematical problems under time pressure. It is a common test amongst business and finance graduates.

Logical reasoning

Logical reasoning skills test university students’ ability to solve complex problems. In these tests, test-takers are given a series of patterns and shapes to which they must work out the next sequence. Strong logical reasoning is a sign of excellent general intelligence.

Verbal reasoning

Verbal reasoning skills test university students’ ability to comprehend and extract key information from text passages. The true skill lies in identifying what is factual, inferred or not true about the text.