MAT (Mathematics Admissions Test)

Important notice for all current applicants for Computer Science, Computer Science and Philosophy, Mathematics, Mathematics and Computer Science, Mathematics and Philosophy, Mathematics and Statistics: disruptions experienced taking the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT)

We are aware of the widespread disruption to the MAT this year, due to technical issues with the online test platform. 

We are encouraging all affected test centres (or candidates, if your test centre is unavailable) to complete the special considerations form

The Mathematical Institute will offer an additional test to candidates for whom we have received a completed special considerations form after experiencing disruption when taking the MAT on 19 October, whether they applied to Oxford, Imperial or Warwick Universities.

Candidates are not required to take the additional test if they are happy with how the MAT went for them on 19 October. For candidates who suffered disruption and wish to take the additional test, that test will supplement the information we already have.

On the 3 November, The Mathematical Institute will send out invitations for the additional test to all candidates who have been identified as having experienced disruption, as well as to test centres where that disruption took place. 

The invitation will ask candidates to complete a simple form to register for the optional additional test by noon on Friday 10 November. The test will take place on Tuesday 14 November at 09:00 GMT. 

The additional test will comprise ten multiple-choice questions in the style of (and with the syllabus of) MAT Q1, and candidates will have one hour to complete the test.

Where possible, the additional test will be hosted by schools or colleges. Where necessary, remote invigilation will be arranged at home. The additional test will be made available for printing just before the start of the test on 14 November. The additional test will be administered entirely by the University of Oxford. 

The Mathematical Institute is marking the MAT test as normal. College admissions tutors will have access to a candidate’s UCAS form, the results of the MAT test taken on 19 October, and the results of the additional test, if taken, as well as special consideration forms. Tutors will take all this information into consideration when deciding whether to shortlist a candidate. 

Oxford Mathematics will liaise closely with colleges to manage the situation.

What is the MAT?

If you are applying for one of the following courses you will be required to sit the MAT: 

The Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT) is a subject-specific admissions test, lasting 2 hours and 30 minutes and sat under timed conditions. The MAT is a hybrid test - with computer-based questions and a paper answer booklet. You will need to take this test at an authorised test centre which, in most cases, will be your school or college. All applicants taking this test will be able to practise by taking the 2022 past paper (or equivalent) as a hybrid test in advance of your test day. Please note that as the structure of this test has not changed, all the existing resources and past papers available here are still valuable preparation for you and we strongly recommend exploring these. 

The MAT is designed to be approachable for all students, including those without Further Mathematics A-level or equivalent. It aims to test the depth of mathematical understanding of a student rather than a breadth of knowledge. The mathematical knowledge and techniques required to do the questions are taken from a syllabus roughly corresponding to AS-level Maths, with a few extra topics from A-level Maths. If you're unsure what this covers, you can find the full MAT syllabus on the practice materials tab on this page.

Which questions you answer in the test depends on the course you are applying for. Details of precisely which questions you should attempt are given below. (Don't worry, you can also find these details in the instructions throughout the test.)

  • Mathematics, Mathematics and Statistics, and Mathematics and Philosophy applicants should attempt questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Mathematics and Computer Science, Computer Science, and Computer Science and Philosophy applicants should attempt questions 1, 2, 3, 5, 6
  • Oxford applicants who are also applying to courses at Imperial College London and/or the University of Warwick should attempt the questions required by the Oxford course they are applying for.

The first question on the test is multiple choice and contains ten parts, each worth four marks. Marks are given solely for the correct answers, though you are encouraged to show any working out. Questions 2–6 are longer questions, each worth 15 marks, and again, you will need to show your working. Part marks are available for the longer questions. You should attempt four questions from 2–6, the selection depending on the degree for which you are applying as above.

Please be aware that no calculators, formula sheets or dictionaries are permitted during the test. Further credit cannot be gained by attempting questions other than those appropriate to the degree applied for.

Why do I have to take a test?

Most applicants to Oxford University have great personal statements, excellent references, and are also predicted top grades. It can therefore be difficult for us to choose between so many well-qualified candidates, especially as applicants come from all over the world and take different qualifications.

Tests give us an extra piece of information for every student who has applied for a given course, wherever they are from. Considered together with the other elements of the application, this helps us to identify the very best candidates. However, there is no specific mark that will guarantee your application will be shortlisted. The tests vary each year, and your test score will be considered alongside the scores of other students who apply for your course.

How are the tests designed and reviewed?

When a department wishes to introduce a new admissions test for their course, there is a substantial consultation process within the University, including a pilot testing phase, designed to ensure that the test is suitable. Where appropriate, subject departments are encouraged to share common tests, or elements of tests, to ease the process of application for the student and administration for the school or college. Use of the tests is carefully reviewed and we undertake substantial statistical evaluation of each test.

How do I register?

Make sure you are registered for your Oxford admissions test anytime between 1 September and 29 September. 

Test registration isn't automatic and just completing your UCAS application won't register you for the test. You cannot register yourself for an admissions test. This must be done on your behalf through an authorised test centre. For most candidates this is their own school or college, but can also be an open test centre.

First, check Oxford's test centre portal to see if your school or college is already an authorised test centre. If you can’t find them listed, then get in contact with your exams officer as soon as possible and direct them to our information on becoming an Oxford/TCS test centre. Applying to become a test centre should be quick and straightforward, particularly if the school or college are used to running public examinations or have previously run Oxford’s admissions tests. New centres can be authorised until 15 September.

If for any reason your school or college cannot apply for centre authorisation or you are no longer in education, please read the information below on taking your test at an open centre.

Authorised schools, colleges and other test centres will be able to register candidates for Oxford’s admissions tests anytime between 1 September and 29 September.

Once your test centre has registered you for your test, you will receive an automated email giving you a candidate test registration ID. This email will also give you login details for the test platform and guidance on how to prepare for your Oxford admissions test.

Please make sure you have received this automated email with your candidate test registration ID and other instructions as proof of entry by midnight on 29 September.

To be registered, you will need to provide your centre with the following information:

  1. Name
  2. Date of birth
  3. Chosen course name and code (this is on the course webpage)
  4. UCAS ID number (you will have been given this when you opened your UCAS application)
  5. Email address (as it appears on your UCAS form)
  6. Details of any access arrangements you require (together with evidence to support your request unless your centre already has this information).

Registering at an open test centre:

If for any reason your school cannot become a test centre or your circumstances make this impractical, you can take your test at an authorised open centre. The list of current open centres is available on the Find a test centre page of the test centre portal. This will be expanded over the coming weeks as centres become authorised so if you can’t immediately find a centre, please check this regularly for updates.
Approved test centres can register candidates for Oxford admission tests anytime between 1 September and 29 September.

Please make sure you have your candidate test registration ID as proof by the time registrations close at midnight on 29 September.

If you cannot find a test centre within reasonable travelling distance of your home town, please contact the Support Team at TCS.

Do I have to pay?

We do not charge candidates to take this test. However, please be aware that some independent test centres do charge an administration fee to candidates; you should contact your centre for details.

Test preparation and practice materials

Read the candidate preparation checklist

Taking any type of test or exam can be stressful, but you can help build your confidence by doing some preparation ahead of time. You are likely to do better in the real test if you've had a chance to practise some sample or past papers, and got used to the format and timings of the admissions test you have to take.

The MAT is now a hybrid test, with the questions online and a printed booklet for your answers. However, you will still find it helpful to practise for the test with the past papers and other practice materials on this page. Please note that the MAT now consists of six questions not seven so the online practice test - although it is based on the 2022 past paper - is six questions, unlike the 2022 printed past paper you will find below. 

Our general advice is to follow these steps:

  1. Before 29 September (the registration deadline), check that you have received email confirmation of your test registration, together with your test registration ID and log in details (username and password) for the online test platform.
  2. Explore the test-specific practice materials for your test available below. 
  3. Watch the video demonstrating how to use the online test platform and prepare for your test. 
    Download the transcript for preparing for your online MAT.
  4. Once you have watched the videos and explored the practice materials below, we strongly recommend you have a go at your online practice test (click on the button below) based on the 2022 past paper. When practising, you can download and print the sample answer booklet provided or just write your answers on available paper. You might want not to look at this past paper in advance so that you can mimic the experience of taking the online test unseen and as if for real. Having a go at the online practice test will not only allow you to practise answering some past questions and learn the structure of the test. It will also allow you to familiarise yourself with the online test platform and the tools available to support you. These will include accessibility features such as increasing font size, using coloured overlays and high contrast. This will mean that on test day you are able to focus fully on the content of your answers. 
  5. Please note that you will not be able to access a score or any feedback on your online practice test.

Here are our top tips for preparing for the MAT:

  1. Watch the our video with our Mathematics tutor giving insights and tips on preparing for the MAT. 
    Download the video transcript
  2. Sit at least one past paper in test conditions. This is really important as it will help you get used to the questions you are required to attempt, how much time to allocate to each question and how to keep within the overall time limit.
  3. Check the syllabus: we strongly recommend that you check the details and ensure that you have covered the relevant material. Please note, the syllabus for the MAT changed in October 2018 in line with A-level reform: please view the relevant section on this page for further information.
  4. Read through the further resources provided on this page and practise doing the problems provided there. This will help you to develop your problem-solving skills and expand your mathematical knowledge.
  5. Watch this video produced by the Mathematics department on How to prepare for the MAT.
  6. Watch the Mathematics department's MAT livestream. This year's livestream runs from early August until November, but you can also access recordings of previous events.  

Note: You will find the solutions together with the tests listed in this section.

Don't worry if you find the past or specimen papers very difficult - they're supposed to be! All our tests are designed to stretch you further than you have been stretched before – most candidates will find them really hard.

Practise the online MAT

MAT answer booklet

Note: during the real test, for security reasons, the test platform will lock if you try and navigate away from it. If this happens accidentally, your test centre administrator will be able to unlock it again. 

MAT advice video

Our Mathematics Outreach Officer explains how to prepare for the MAT

Past and specimen papers

Blank workbooks

MAT blank answer booklet 2022

Past papers 

The University does not endorse or allow use of its tests that are protected by copyright for commercial use.

Specimen papers

The University does not endorse or allow use of its tests that are protected by copyright for commercial use

MAT syllabus

In order to reflect the new syllabus of AS-level Mathematics, we removed the following topics from 2018 onwards: the remainder theorem, radians, and the trapezium rule. We have added the following topics to the syllabus: combinations and binomial probabilities, derivative of ekx, differentiation from first principles, graphs of loga (x). Please note that we will continue to include sequences and series on the MAT syllabus, including arithmetic and geometric progressions and their sums, and the convergence condition for infinite geometric progressions.

View the the updated MAT syllabus for 2018.

Further resources

You may wish to take a look at the following online resources to help expand your mathematical knowledge. Please note that candidates are not required to take STEP, but may find it useful in helping them prepare for the MAT (although the questions are quite different in style.)

General admissions statistics

These reports provide summaries of the admissions process for the subjects of Mathematics, Mathematics and Statistics, Mathematics and Philosophy and Mathematics and Computer Science:

The following report provides a summary of the admissions process for the subjects of Mathematics, Mathematics and Statistics, Mathematics and Philosophy, Computer Science and Mathematics and Computer Science:

When do I take the test?

Depending on which test is being taken, this will be on one of the two dates given below, so a few weeks after the test registration deadline of 29 September.

2023 test dates:
19 October: CAT, ELAT, GAT and MAT
20 October: HAT, MLAT, PAT and Philosophy Test

We are aware that sometimes tests fall during school half terms which vary by region each year. Unfortunately due to the tight timeframes for processing applications, it is not possible to avoid this but we hope that by giving considerable notice of test dates, schools will be able to make plans for their students to sit tests either at their school or at an alternative test centre and candidates will make sure they are available to take the necessary test(s). You can find more information on test start times by location and the test timetable on our Information for schools, colleges and other test centres webpage.

Our admissions tests are an important part of our assessment process so please ensure your school, college or other test centre registers you for your test (or tests) by 29 September.

It is not possible to re-sit a test. If you feel you did badly due to extenuating circumstances, for example: if you were ill on the day of the test, your test centre can submit a special considerations form for you; or if there was some form of disruption at the test centre you can submit the form yourself. Application forms must be received within 5 days of the test date.

Remember to ensure you are registered for the test by 29 September, even if you feel exceptional circumstances may mean there is a risk you will not be able take it.

Our admissions tests are an important part of our assessment process for candidates and in order to make sure your application is as competitive as possible, we strongly advise that you make every effort to sit the test.

If you experience exceptional circumstances beyond your control which prevent this, please alert the college you have applied to as soon as possible.

If you have made an open application, please contact us using our contact form. In this case your application will be considered using the other information you give us as part of your UCAS form and alongside other candidates applying for your subject.

What if I am sitting the TMUA?

Please note, the Test of Mathematics for University Admission (TMUA) is used by several universities, but is not used by Oxford. We recommend that you check the course pages of the other universities you plan to apply to. As both the MAT and the TMUA test problem-solving skills in maths, it is likely that your preparation for both will overlap.


How do I get my results?         

Admissions tutors will receive the results of all tests directly in time to make their shortlisting decisions in November, so candidates do not need to send their results to us separately.

MAT scores will be automatically distributed to all applicants shortly after college decision letters are sent. Applicants will still be able to write to their college to request feedback.