The mathematics aptitude test (MAT)

Article _University -admissions -tests -the -mathematics -aptitude -test -(MAT)

Applying to study mathematics at university?

If you are applying to uni to study mathematics you need to be aware that a small number of universities ask you to complete a special test as part of your application.

What is the mathematics aptitude test (MAT) used for?

The Mathematics Aptitude Test is part of the selection process used by both the University of Oxford and Imperial College London. It is used to help to identify the best candidates for courses such as mathematics, computers science and statistics.

The MAT is just a part of the selection process, and will be looked at in conjunction with your personal statement, GCSE results and predicted A-level grades.

What courses require the mathematics aptitude test?

The MAT is used by the two universities as part of the selection process for the following courses:


  • Computer Science
  • Computer Science and Philosophy
  • Mathematics
  • Mathematics & Computer Science
  • Mathematics & Philosophy
  • Mathematics & Statistics

Imperial College, London

  • Mathematics (3 & 4 year courses)
  • Mathematics (Pure Mathematics)
  • Mathematics, Optimisation and Statistics
  • Mathematics with Applied Mathematics/Mathematical Physics
  • Mathematics with Mathematical Computation
  • Mathematics with Statistics
  • Mathematics with Statistics for Finance

What is the format of the mathematics aptitude test?

The MAT is a two and a half hour written exam that is designed to test your abilities across a range of mathematical problems. The test has been written to be as accessible as possible, testing mathematical ability not just pure knowledge, and so you do not need to be studying Further Maths at A-level in order to be successful. The test is predominantly set using the C1 and C2 sections of the A-level maths syllabus.

How and when do you take the mathematics aptitude test?

Like many other Oxford University entrance exams, the Mathematics Admissions Test takes place at 9am on November 6th 2013. Applications for the test open on the 1st September and close on October 15th 2013.

If you are applying for one of the courses listed, you need to ask your school or college to enter you for the test. You cannot enter for the test directly. If you are not attending a school or college, you will have to find an independent testing centre, and ask them to put your entry in for you.

What does the mathematics aptitude test cost?

The MAT test is free of charge if you sit it at your school or college, however, you may have to pay a small fee to cover administration costs at an external test centre.

How to prepare for the mathematics aptitude test

Mathematics is a highly popular subject and so you should ensure that you are well prepared for sitting the testing MAT paper. Both of the universities involved offer guidance on how to prepare for the MAT. This includes the syllabus that is tested, test strategies and past papers to practice on. 

Read more about the MAT and its syllabus from the University of Oxford, or download past papers from Imperial College London.