10 Tips for the ENGAA

3 min read

UPDATE: Please note that CAAT has announced that they will be discontinuing the NSAA and will no longer administer the test from 2024. Candidates looking to apply for Natural Sciences or Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge for 2025 entry and beyond will be required to take the ESAT.

How to Succeed in the Engineering Admissions Assessment

As explained in the article ‘What is the ENGAA?‘, the Engineering Admissions Assessment, or ENGAA, is a two-hour multiple choice paper for prospective undergraduate students. Though admissions statistics are not publicly available, it is intuitive that an applicant wishing to confirm their place must score highly on the entrance test to have a chance at receiving an interview.

Oxbridge Mind ENGAA experts have compiled their advice to ensure a higher score in your application to Cambridge. It has been broken into ten distinct points, as shown below.

Top Ten Tips

1. Mock Paper Practices

Nothing will prepare an applicant for this examination like past papers. Oxbridge Mind provides a compilation of all the ENGAA past papers dating back to 2016, along with their respective mark schemes.

2. Understand the Syllabus 

To ensure that students from various backgrounds across the globe are tested on a level playing field, the ENGAA has a standardised syllabus. It is available on the Cambridge Undergraduate Engineering website. Applicants should thoroughly inspect this specification with a view to reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses. Ensure that any gaps in your knowledge are filled before sitting the final exam.

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3. Work Consistently

Motivated and consistent revision for this examination is what separates the wheat from the chaff. An applicant who begins their preparations early and is highly organised and consistent is far more likely to succeed. This may also help students still studying within a college or sixth form environment to prevent burnout over Oxbridge Admissions. 

4. Replicate Exam Conditions

The most effective way to use mock papers is to replicate exam conditions. Students who are used to practising with no calculator, textbooks, or distractions will be far more focused in the final examination. Moreover, familiarity breeds confidence and working under exam conditions will help perfect your timing strategies and intellectual perseverance.

5. Spot Patterns in the Mock Papers

Whilst using the mark schemes to grade past papers, aim to identify any shortcuts in reaching the final answer. Is there a possibility of eliminating all the other options? Are there examples of topics that are repeatedly tested every year? Applicants must be deft in all that they do to maximise their potential, and spotting patterns in the way the entrance tests are set is no exception.

6. Formalise a Question Strategy

At the heart of high school physics and engineering are a few key concepts exploring energy conservation and force balances. There will always be a variety of questions testing these topics. Prospective examinees may wish to practise setting up these equations, as well as the speed of interpreting and drawing diagrams from a densely-worded question. As a general rule of thumb, focus on building tried-and-tested frameworks that you can apply to commonly tested concepts. 

Download Free ENGAA Worked Solutions

    7. Learn Important Equations by Heart

    A common pitfall that many fall into when studying mathematics and physics is that they stumble on remembering relevant equations. Given the standard of Engineering at Cambridge, one way to save time on these complex questions is to train in fast recall. Knowing all of the important equations using physical flashcards, or even spaced repetition software such as Anki, is a great way to practise in short spaces of time.

    8. Practise Written Mathematics

    ENGAA is set apart from many other major STEM high school tests in that no calculators are allowed. Students wishing to succeed must hone their written arithmetic and algebra with a focus on speed and accuracy. 

    9. Challenge Yourself

    Those preparing for the ENGAA may find that some parts of their preparation are too simple. For those wishing to academically challenge themselves, consider external resources. Isaac Physics tests a variety of questions across a range of academic abilities whilst the Maths Olympiad and Physics Olympiad provide more challenging revision questions. Some students may wish to read ahead into the Cambridge Engineering course, perhaps studying standard University-level mathematics or A-Level Further Mathematics.

    10. Extracurricular Activities 

    Cambridge Tutors are not simply looking for a student who can reel off pre-learnt material, rather, they seek students who truly love Engineering. Most extracurricular projects will provide students with more engaging ways in which to interpret difficult problems. They also lend increased motivation. The Cambridge Engineering department provides a brief pre-university reading list for those interested, as well as advice on Extracurricular Engineering.

    To summarise, a student wishing to succeed in the ENGAA must work consistently, and review their own techniques regularly. Using ENGAA mock papers, and analysing the syllabus will help prospective applicants more than anything else.

    We, at Oxbridge Mind, hope that your preparation is successful, and welcome you to read our more thorough breakdown of ENGAA Section 1, and ENGAA Section 2.

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