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 2007-16, 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.pdf.

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: