Frequently Asked Questions

Previous academic achievement

Should I take Further Maths A-level?

If your school or college offers Further Maths then we would normally expect you to take the opportunity. If your school can't teach Further Maths then we would base any offer on the maths you're taking. We understand that some students may only discover a love of mathematics in Year 12 and so only be able to take Further Maths to AS-level. We have some extension material for Single A-level Mathematicians.

I took the full Maths A-level in Year 12, rather than AS Maths and Further Maths, is this okay?

  • Yes, we have no problem with students taking the full Maths A-level in Year 12 and will count the A* achieved as going towards your conditional offer. We would then make you an offer based on you taking Further Maths in Year 13 (as a full A-level) and one other A-level.

Should I take a fourth A-level?

  • Our standard conditional offer is based on 3 A-levels, and there is no advantage to taking a fourth. We do not use UCAS tariff points, and we do not consider (for instance) BB in two subjects to be equivalent to an A in one. Of course, if you have the chance to do a fourth A level and you're confident it won't affect your grades in the other three, then you might enjoy studying the additional A level.

Are GCSE grades important?/What are the minimum GCSE requirements?

  • We have no minimum GCSE requirements. We do look at the proportion of 8/9/A* you've achieved at GCSE (where applicable) as part of your overall academic achievement on your UCAS form.

Is it worth applying if my predicted grades are not A*A*A?

  • It depends why you are not predicted to meet our offer. If your teachers feel that achieving an A* in Maths and/or Further Maths is unachievable for you, then it's likely Maths at Oxford is not the right course for you (though you can try doing past MAT papers to check). If your school has a policy of not predicting students A*, then you should consider applying. Again, try doing past MAT papers to check how you compare to other applicants. If you are not predicted an A in your third subject it's worthwhile talking to your teachers about why they haven't predicted you an A - if after that you think you are capable of achieving our offer you should consider applying.

Admissions and MAT

What preparation should I do for the MAT?

  • You should make sure that you are very familiar with your current mathematical studies and the material that is on the MAT syllabus. Doing the past papers is a good way of familiarising yourself with the style of the questions and the format of the exam. The best preparation for maths at university is to do mathematics questions which you find difficult, whether these are from MAT past papers or other maths exams or challenges. You might find the free resources for STEP preparation from the University of Cambridge interesting.

Can I have extra time for the MAT?

  • Yes, if you normally require extra time in exams then you should be entitled to extra time in the MAT. Your school or test centre can apply for any access arrangements when they register you for the MAT.

Can I sit the MAT even though I'm an international student?

  • Yes, we expect all candidates to sit the MAT, although they will do so at a sensible local time rather than 9am BST. Follow the instructions on the CAAT website.

Do you ask for STEP as part of your offer?

  • No, we will not ask for STEP or AEA as part of our conditional offer. You can find our standard conditional offers on our offer page.

I haven't studied philosophy, can I still apply to the Maths and Philosophy degree?

  • Yes, absolutely, studying philosophy is not a prerequisite for applying to the Maths and Philosophy degree. For more information see the Maths and Philosophy course page.

If I'm invited to interview, do I have to wear a suit/dress very smartly?

  • No, definitely not. We care about your mathematical ability, not your dress sense. Wear something that you feel comfortable in, and remember that Oxford in December is usually quite cold! 

Oxford and Maths

Which college should I visit during the open days?

Is there a college that's best for maths?

  • No. All of the colleges offer maths (for joint degrees, check which college offers your course) and they all provide excellent teaching. As the syllabus is set by the department, the maths you learn will not particularly differ from college to college.

How can I find out more about the specific courses in the degree?

Do you accept students for deferred entry?

  • Deferred entry applications in Mathematics, its Joint Schools, and Computer Science will be considered from applicants who have planned structured activities in their gap year; activities might include technical employment relevant to Mathematics, Statistics or Computer Science, teaching abroad or a gap year programme. If uncertain, applicants should raise any questions with the tutors at their chosen/allocated college; tutors may discuss details of the gap year during interviews. After discussion with the candidates, some deferred entry applicants may be offered an immediate place instead. There is no policy for making more demanding offers to candidates seeking a deferred offer. Tutors will typically set successful gap year applicants academic work to be completed during the year or the summer before their first term in Oxford. 

Do you require students to have a laptop?

  • Laptops are used in the Computational Mathematics practical sessions in the first year. If you don’t have your own, the department has several spare laptops that may be borrowed, however if you’re buying a computer for university, please do consider a standard laptop over a desktop, tablet or Chromebook, so that you can take the laptop to classes.