Mathematics Admission Test: A Guide for Maths Applicants

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Everything you need to know about the MAT 2024

MAT stands for the Mathematics Admission Test. It is one of the aptitude tests used for the admissions process in the University of Oxford, Imperial College London and the University of Warwick. If you’re applying to Mathematics, Computer Science or other related courses in any of the aforementioned universities, then read on to find out everything you need to know about MAT 2024. 

What is the MAT

MAT is a subject-specific admissions exam for the aforementioned universities. It’s a two and a half hour long written test on mathematics. Candidates take the MAT exam as part of their initial application to these universities. The universities then make a shortlist of candidates based on their results in the MAT and their UCAS application, and invite them for a series of interviews. The interviews are the last stage of the admission process, after which the universities send out their admission offers to successful students.

Format of the MAT

MAT is a 2 hours and 30 minutes written test taken at authorised test centres all over the world. The MAT test has two sections, the first being a multiple-choice answer-based section, and the latter, a proof-based section.

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Question 1: Multiple-choice questions

In this section, there are 10 multiple-choice questions, each worth 4 marks. Marks are given solely for the correct answers, though students are encouraged to show any work. The questions themselves range across all of the topics in the MAT syllabus which we will discuss shortly. Every candidate must attempt this section.

Question 2-7: Proof-based questions

In this section, each candidate must attempt 4 proof-based questions from 6 questions depending on the courses they are applying to. Each question is divided into sub-parts which are usually arranged in increasing order of difficulty. Each question is worth a total of 15 marks with half-marks awarded for partial progress made in any of the parts.

Depending on the course the candidate is applying to, they are required to attempt different questions. The details for 2024 admissions cycle will be updated on each university’s website; for more information please click on the appropriate institution.

University of Oxford

If you are applying to the University of Oxford in 2024, you have to attempt the following MAT questions:

  1.  Mathematics, Mathematics and Philosophy, Mathematics and Statistics: 2, 3, 4, 5 
  2. Mathematics and Computer Science: 2, 3, 5, 6 3
  3. Computer Science, Computer Science and Philosophy: 2, 5, 6, 7

Imperial College London and University of Warwick

If you are applying to any of the Mathematics and joint courses to the University of Warwick or the Imperial College London, you should attempt the questions: 2, 3, 4, 5.

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    Syllabus of MAT

    According to the CAAT website, MAT 2024 aims to test the depth of mathematical understanding of a student in the fourth term of their A-levels (or equivalent) rather than the breadth of their knowledge. It 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).

    Before sitting for the MAT, you want to make sure you are confident in each of the topics listed below by doing Oxford MAT past papers. During your MAT revision, you should address your strengths and weaknesses and prioritise accordingly. Our MAT tutors can be extremely helpful in your revision process as they will be able to streamline your revisions and provide resources to brush up on the following topics.

    MAT Questions

    Below is a full list of topics to be tested on the MAT 2024.

    PolynomialsThe quadratic formula. Completing the square. Discriminant. Factorisation. Factor Theorem.
    AlgebraSimple simultaneous equations in one or two variables. Solution of simple inequalities. Binomial Theorem with positive whole exponent. Combinations and binomial probabilities.
    DifferentiationDerivative of xa, including for fractional exponents. Derivative of ekx. Derivative of a sum of functions. Tangents and normals to graphs. Turning points. Second order derivatives. Maxima and minima. Increasing and decreasing functions. Differentiation from first principles.
    IntegrationIndefinite integration as the reverse of differentiation. Definite integrals and the signed areas they represent. Integration of x^a (where a = −1) and sums thereof.
    GraphThe graphs of quadratics and cubics. Graphs of sin x, cos x, tan x, √x, ax, loga x. Solving equations and inequalities with graphs.
    Logarithms and powersLaws of logarithms and exponentials. Solution of the equation ax = b.
    TransformationsThe relations between the graphs y = f (ax) , y = af (x) , y = f (x − a) , y = f (x) + a and the graph of y = f (x).
    GeometryCoordinate geometry and vectors in the plane. The equations of straight lines and circles. Basic properties of circles. Lengths of arcs of circles.
    TrigonometrySolution of simple trigonometric equations. The identities tan x = sin x/cos x , sin2 x + cos2 x = 1, sin(90-x) = cos x. Periodicity of sine, cosine and tangent. Sine and cosine rules for triangles.
    Sequences and seriesSequences defined iteratively and by formulae. Arithmetic and geometric progressions. Their sums. Convergence condition for infinite geometric progressions.

    More MAT Topics

    Besides the aforementioned topics, for mathematics and computer science students, it is useful to have some familiarities with the following topics as well for MAT.

    InductionWeak induction, Strong induction, proving with induction.
    Graph TheoryDefinition of nodes/vertices, edges, paths, cycles. Theorems on trees and cycles. Graph algorithms like breadth-first search, depth-first search etc.
    Linear RecursionsSolving systems of linear recursive sequences.

    Where can I take the MAT?

    You will sit the test in either your school or college or a local test centre. Any school or college can register to become a test centre, following the instructions on the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing website. Although your school has to register for the test, it is your responsibility to make sure your school knows that you should be sitting the MAT.

    If your school or college cannot register to become a test centre, you will instead sit the test at a local test centre. You can use the Find a Test Centre service to locate eligible test centres nearby.

    Important dates for MAT 2024

    Below are the important dates of MAT 2023, the dates of MAT 2024 might change, but these dates are good reference points as the registration and exam dates usually happen around the same time every year.

    1 September 2023Registration opens Test centres can register candidates from this date
    29 September 2023 at 18:00 (BST) Registration closes
    19 October 2023Test Date

    Cost of the MAT

    Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing does not charge candidates who have applied to a course requiring the MAT at the University of Oxford.

    Some centres charge an administration fee to candidates sitting the MAT which covers the cost of invigilation, dispatch costs and room hire which are essential for running the test –  contact your centre for details.

    Can I retake the MAT?

    There is only one MAT testing date per year so you won’t be able to retake the exam until the next year. You take the MAT as part of your application to the universities, so if you retake the exam as part of your new application, your chosen universities won’t know you’ve taken the test before.

    How do I prepare for the MAT?

    We have specific articles on this topic. If you’re looking for tips for taking MAT, then head over to our Oxbridge Guide. You can also access MAT past papers to help in MAT preparation. 

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