Prep for passing 2024 Oxbridge Mathematics Aptitude Test (MAT)

MAT test practice

Oxbridge admissions tests

What is the MAT?

Mathematics is considered a competitive and demanding subject. Mathematics Admission Test (MAT) is a paper-based test. The questions are specifically related to mathematics. Several universities in the UK accept it to evaluate the mathematical abilities and reasoning skills of the candidates applying for the undergraduate mathematics-related course.

Before appearing for the test, registering yourself as a candidate in a recognised test centre is mandatory. The test centre must be an authorized body to run the admissions testing test.

History of MAT

Cambridge University developed mathematics as an assessment admission test in the year 2016. They designed the test format to evaluate the skills, a candidate has to have to manage the university’s level Mathematics courses and syllabus.

Eligibility and Test details

There are no eligibility criteria, instead, anyone can appear for the test, it is approachable to all, including those candidates who do not have A-Level Mathematics

MAT is a 2 hours 30 minutes long test with two papers. 

MAT test Format 

Mathematical Thinking

The first paper has 20 multiple-choice questions (MCQ), and the test duration is 75 minutes. The questions are prepared to assess the mathematical abilities of the applicants whether they can apply their mathematics knowledge to new situations. The paper is based on pure mathematics that includes, algebra, sequences, series, Geometry, trigonometry, integration differentiation, graphs, basic functions, etc.

Mathematical/Logical Reasoning

The second paper contains 20 multiple-choice questions, and the test duration is also 75 minutes for this. It is to assess the capabilities of the candidates whether they can apply the logic to solve the elementary concepts using mathematical arguments.

No calculators or dictionaries are allowed while taking the test. The best part is, there is no pass or fail in this test. The scores are determined based on the number of correct answers given by the candidates. Once the candidates request their results, the results are published, and feedback is provided.

When is the MAT test?

The MAT is conducted at the end of October or the beginning of November every year. It is optional at many universities while mandatory at many.

Preparation pattern:

Test syllabus, and format everything is mentioned on the official website of the authorized universities where the candidate registers. Candidates can also download the past papers and the answers, including other information for preparation.

Benefits of taking MAT

Candidates can assess their capability and aptitude towards mathematics
Scoring in MAT strengthens the candidate’s application for admission to the university.
It helps the candidates to be aware of the university’s Maths
The candidates take it as a challenge and prepare themselves accordingly

Key MAT Points

Many universities do not ask for any test and do not mention reducing A Level offer, no MAT test is required there.

Many types of research conducted across the UK prove Mathematics Admission Test has been a productive initiative and has good predictive validity.  A mathematics aptitude test is an examination based on the basics of maths as well as data interpretation. This is a testing criterion for many schools and colleges to check whether the applicant is fit for the course or not. It would be safe to say that MAT is often used as an admission test in many educational institutions.

How long is the MAT examination?

The examination goes for 2 hours and 30 minutes to be exact and one cannot take any breaks in between. The paper contains mostly MCQ pattern questions and certain explanatory ones where the rough calculations also have to show to showcase to the teacher how the answer has been derived.

Courses Requiring a Mandatory MAT

There are certain courses in universities or streams in high schools and when students select any one of them, they will have to sit for a mathematics aptitude test and that is not negotiable. These are courses are computer science, mathematics, and statistics, mathematics and philosophy, computer science and philosophy, etc.

Universities Requiring the MAT Certification

Most universities in the UK where the above-mentioned courses are studied ask the students to have an MAT pass certification for admission purposes. Specifically, universities like Oxford, Imperial, etc prefer students who have passed the MAT. 

Structure of MAT

There are 10 multiple choice questions in the MAT question and each one contains four marks. The test takers then answer another 4 long questions consisting of mainly 3-5 sub-questions which are usually 15 marks each. These longer questions are not MCQ-based, rather they need to be answered descriptively. One cannot choose which section will answer as all students must have to do all the portions. Both section 1 and 2 needs to be answered by every applicant.

How to get a high MAT score?

  • How is the score in the MAT test used in the future?
  • For any kind of examination, no matter how critical it is, practice is the first step toward achieving good grades. Every student should practice enough so that they are confident on the day of the examination.
  • The questions that come in the MAT examinations always come from something that the students are familiar with.
  • Furthermore, the questions will be presented in a manner to make them look unfamiliar, however, they are the ones from the chapters that the student has attended before.

MAT question types

The questions are done in such a manner specifically to test how familiar is a student with the subject. Furthermore, the understanding of the student of the subject and how he or she perceives the questions can also be determined through such question patterns. Students should be always reproducing a familiar method for answering the questions. The habit of tackling such questions should be built in the first place and that can only be done through rigorous practice much before the test.

MAT mock exams

Many mock examination websites offer timer settings to students for practicing. Experts always advise the students on using those websites and settings to their advantage. There are many math challenges out there such as UKMT and Olympiad, in which students can partake in assessing their current mathematical and analytical skills. The questions are not complex but they can seem confusing as often students are asked to look at a diagram or a graph and then asked to relate to some kind of a mathematical format.

Sample MAT questions

For example, students will often be provided with a set of graphs and asked to answer which one of them related to a mathematical formula from trigonometry such as cos(x) = cos(y).

Analysing the graph here is very important and students should do it effectively even though it will take a substantial amount of time.