Maths Admissions Test

Important information regarding the October 2018 MAT

For the attention of mathematics teachers:

Due to A-level reform in the UK, and specifically syllabus reform of A-level Mathematics, the syllabus for the MAT is changing from October 2018. This change will affect prospective applicants currently in Year 12 (or equivalent) who will be sitting the MAT in October 2018. In order to reflect the new syllabus of AS-level Mathematics, we will be removing the following topics from the syllabus: the remainder theorem, radians, the trapezium rule. We will be adding the following topics to the syllabus: combinations and binomial probabilities, derivative of $e^{kx}$, differentiation from first principles, graphs of $\log_{a}(x)$. Please note that we will continue to include sequences and series on the MAT syllabus, including: arithmetic and geometric progressions and their sums, convergence condition for infinite geometric progressions. As such, if there is flexibility in when a teacher is covering sequences and series, we would recommend that students are taught this material either at the end of year 12 or at the beginning of year 13 (prior to October half-term). 

Key dates

15th October 2018, 6pm BST: You need to have registered for the MAT by this time and date (late registrations are not accepted). In order to register, please follow the instructions on the Admissions Testing Service website. Please note that you must sit the MAT in a registered test centre. Your school or college can register, but this takes a minimum of 24 hours.

31st October 2018: This is the date you will sit the MAT. All applicants for Maths and its joint schools must sit the test on this date, otherwise your application will not be considered further.

Early December 2018: Around this time you are told whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not, on the basis of your MAT score and UCAS form.

January 2019: You find out whether you've received an offer. After this you may ask for feedback from the college you applied to, including what MAT score you achieved.

About the test

We cannot interview all our applicants in the time available, so we shortlist around 35% of applicants in order to interview around three applicants for every place. We use the information from the test (the total score, and how it is made up) together with all the details of your UCAS application and information about school background to decide who to shortlist. The Admissions Test is set with the aim of being approachable by all students, including those without Further Mathematics A-level, and those from other educational systems (e.g. Baccalaureate and Scottish Highers). It aims to test the depth of mathematical understanding of a student in the fourth term of their A-levels (or equivalent) rather than a breadth of knowledge. 

How to register for the MAT

You will sit the test in either your school or a local test centre. Any school can register to become a test centre, following the instructions on the Admissions Testing Service website. Please note that schools must apply to become new test centres by the 30th September. The school must then register you for the test via the Entries Extranet. Although your school has to do this, it is your responsibility to make sure your school knows which test you should be sitting. For Maths, Maths and Computer Science, Maths and Philosophy, and Maths and Statistics candidates should register to sit the MAT. 

If your school is unable to register to become a test centre, you will have to sit the test at a local test centre. You can use the Find a Test Centre service to locate eligible test centres nearby.

The registration deadline for applicants is 6pm BST, on the 15th October 2017. Please note that we cannot consider late registrations, and if you do not register to sit the MAT we cannot consider your application further. Note that submitting your UCAS form does not mean you are registered for the test - you must register separately.

In the course of registering for and sitting the MAT, you will provide information about yourself. If you are applying to the University of Oxford, the University is the "data controller" for this information, which means we decide how to use it and are responsible for looking after it in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation and associated data protection legislation. You can read our privacy notice here.

How to prepare for the MAT

We strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with the format of the MAT.  The test will be in a similar format as it was in 2007-17, with the modification (introduced in 2014) that there will be 5 answer choices for each multiple choice question, rather than 4. The test lasts 2½ hours. The mathematical knowledge and techniques required to do the questions are taken from a syllabus roughly corresponding to the C1 and C2 modules from A-level maths, though the questions are set more variously than A-level questions. If you're unsure what this covers, please look at the PDF icon syllabus.

The first question on the test is multiple choice and contains 10 parts each worth 4 marks. Note, as above, that there will be a change to the number of answer choices for each part from 2014 from 4 possible choices to 5. Marks are given solely for the correct answers, though applicants are encouraged to show any working in the space provided. Questions 2-7 are longer questions, each worth 15 marks, and candidates will need to show their working. Part marks are available for the longer questions. Candidates should each attempt 4 questions from 2-7, the selection depending on the degree for which they are applying. Details of precisely which questions you should attempt are given below, in the rubric on the front page of the test and throughout the paper.

  • Mathematics, Mathematics & Statistics, Mathematics & Philosophy applicants should attempt questions 1,2,3,4,5
  • Mathematics & Computer Science applicants should attempt questions 1,2,3,5,6
  • Computer Science, Computer Science & Philosophy applicants should attempt questions 1,2,5,6,7

You should practice doing the test under exam conditions, as time management is an important skill. Before the test you should be very familiar with C1 and C2 material - some students also find that looking at STEP can help them to prepare (although the questions are quite different in style). 

We recommend taking a look at the following online resources to help expand your mathematical knowledge:

Past papers

PDF icon Syllabus  (updated for October 2018)

Specimen papers

PDF icon Specimen paper a

PDF icon Specimen paper b

Test papers

PDF icon Test07 (average score amongst all applicants 56.9, amongst shortlisted applicants 63, amongst successful applicants 75.2)

PDF icon Test08 (average score amongst all applicants 58.7, amongst shortlisted applicants 68, amongst successful applicants 77)

PDF icon Test09 (average score amongst all applicants 51.3, amongst shortlisted applicants 61.2, amongst successful applicants 70.5)

PDF icon Test10 (average score amongst all applicants 49, amongst shortlisted applicants 61.4, amongst successful applicants 69.3)

PDF icon Test11 (average score amongst all applicants 50.3, amongst shortlisted applicants 63.3, amongst successful applicants 71.3)

PDF icon Test12 (average score amongst all applicants 52.1, amongst shortlisted applicants 63, amongst successful applicants 68.2)

PDF icon Test13 (average score amongst all applicants 44.8, amongst shortlisted applicants 54.2, amongst successful applicants 60.6)

PDF icon Test14 (average score amongst all applicants 48.4, amongst shortlisted applicants 63.1, amongst successful applicants 71.5)

PDF icon Test15 (average score amongst all applicants 43.7, amongst shortlisted applicants 56.3, amongst successful applicants 62.7)

PDF icon Test16 (average score amongst all applicants 50.3, amongst shortlisted applicants 66.7, amongst successful applicants 73.1)

PDF icon Test17 (average score amongst all applicants 51.3, amongst shortlisted applicants 68.7, amongst successful applicants 73.6)

PDF icon Test18


Access arrangements

If an applicant normally has special arrangements when taking a test we would expect any such arrangements (e.g. extra time, writing aids, etc.) to be allowed as per usual. When your school or test centre registers you, they can select any access arrangements that need to be in place during the registration process. However, in line with the University's English Language requirements, we do not permit the use of foreign language dictionaries during the test (nor extra time solely for the use of dictionaries).

Important things to note

  • No calculators, formula sheets or dictionaries are permitted during the test.
  • Only answers written in the booklet will be marked. There are spare blank pages at the end of the test paper.
  • Further credit cannot be gained by attempting questions other than those appropriate to the degree applied for.

Mathematics at University

Find out whether you want to study maths at university by learning more about our research and how maths at university differs from maths at school.

Which Course?

See which of our four undergraduate degrees (Mathematics, Mathematics and Statistics, Mathematics and Philosophy, Mathematics and Computer Science) interests you the most.

How to Apply

A guide to the application process for applicants, as well as key dates.

Our Offer

A guide to the conditional offers made by our department for all undergraduate courses.