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Oxford MAT Test: A Comprehensive Guide

Table of Contents
Oxford MAT Exam - A Comprehensive Guide
Table of Contents

MAT (Mathematics Admissions Test) is carried out by the University of Oxford to test the students‘ mathematical abilities applying for mathematics and computer science related courses.

I. Latest changes in 2024 Oxford MAT test

1. The test organiser has not announced yet

As the partnership with Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing (CAAT) ended, the organiser of Oxford MAT test changed to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in 2023. However, the organiser of 2024 and the test dates have not yet been announced.

Note: The change of the organiser only affects the administration of Oxford MAT test, including registration, venue arrangements, and other examination procedures. It does not affect the setting of the test papers, which the Oxford Department of Mathematics will still undertake.

2. Elimination of question 7 from the test paper since 2023

Question 7 was eliminated after Oxford MAT test update in 2023. Students must cover questions 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 if they apply for Oxford’s computer-related courses, including Computer Science, Mathematics and Computer Science, Computer Science and Philosophy.

Applicants for maths-related courses will still answer the same questions: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

II. Key dates for 2024 Oxford MAT test

September T.B.D.

Registration for MAT test begins

September T.B.D.

Registration deadline for applying modified papers

September T.B.D.

Registration deadline for MAT test

October T.B.D.

Oxford MAT test takes place

Late November to early December

Interview invitations sent [1]

January of the following year

Results released [2]

[1]Oxford University notifies candidates who meet the requirements for an interview by email, also known as the “interview invitation.”

[2]Candidates applying to Oxford University have their MAT scores sent automatically. Candidates can request further feedback from the college they applied to.

III. Who has to sit the Oxford MAT test?

1. University of Oxford





Mathematics and Statistics


Mathematics and Philosophy


Mathematics and Computer Science


Computer Science


Computer Science and Philosophy


2. Imperial College London



Mathematics (3-year course)


Mathematics (4-year course)


Mathematics (Pure Mathematics)


Mathematics, Optimisation and Statistics


Mathematics with a Year Abroad


Mathematics with Applied Mathematics / Mathematical Physics


Mathematics with Mathematical Computation


Mathematics with Statistics


Mathematics with Statistics for Finance


3. Can applicants to Oxford maths and computer science courses use TMUA / STEP / BMO / IMO scores instead of MAT?

No. All applicants to Oxford maths and computer science-related courses must sit the Oxford MAT test. Still, Oxford recommends students submit their STEP scores.

4. Does the computer science course at Imperial College require students to sit the Oxford MAT test?

No. Students applying for computer science courses at Imperial College London must sit the STEP exam and cannot be replaced by MAT scores.

5. Can STEP or TMUA scores be submitted in addition to MAT for maths-related courses at Warwick University?

Yes. Warwick University’s maths-related courses accept MAT, STEP, and TMUA scores. The admission requirements can be lowered if the students score grade 2 or above in STEP or above 6.5 in TMUA (MAT scores at an equivalent level). For more detailed information, please refer to the official website of Warwick University.

IV. How to register the Oxford MAT test?

Due to the change in test organiser, the details of Oxford MAT test 2024 have yet to be released. Please refer to the Oxford official page for the latest information.

V. Test format

Delivery method

Offline paper-based test


150 minutes (two and a half hours)

Question type

Multiple-choice and short answer questions

Formula Booklet

Not allowed


Not allowed

Bilingual dictionaries

Not allowed

VI. How is it scored?

The Oxford MAT test is worth 100 points.

Question 1 consists of 10 multiple-choice questions (each worth 4 points), totaling 40 points.

Questions 2 to 6 are short answer questions, each worth 15 marks.

Questions 1, 2, 3 and 5 are required for all candidates, with candidates answering either Question 4 or Question 6 depending on the university and courses they apply to. Note: No points will be awarded for answering questions that are not required.

Students applying for the following courses are required for questions 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5:

  • Mathematics, Mathematics and Statistics, Mathematics and Philosophy at the University of Oxford;
  • Maths-related courses at Imperial College London;
  • Maths-related courses at the University of Warwick.

Students applying for the following courses are required for questions 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6:

  • Computer Science, Mathematics and Computer Science, Computer Science and Philosophy at the University of Oxford

VII. Contents assessed in Oxford MAT test

1. Updates in the syllabus

The MAT syllabus is not revised annually; the latest version of the document is the 2018 version.

2. Brevity of syllabus does not equal limited test scope

The MAT syllabus is concise and covers only the pure mathematics of A Level mathematics (excluding A Level further mathematics), which is less content than the whole A Level Maths syllabus.

However, the concise syllabus does not mean that MAT is simpler than high school maths tests. Oxford aims to provide a fair assessment by covering content commonly taught in high school mathematics courses, which ensures that most students know how to handle Oxford MAT test without facing unfamiliar concepts.

3. Beyond-syllabus questions

Some multiple-choice and short-answer questions cover knowledge such as number theory, recursion, and algorithms, which are not included in the MAT or the high school syllabus. However, students can still solve the questions by using the knowledge they have already learned, which aims to test their ability to apply learned mathematical knowledge to new problems. Hence, “beyond-syllabus” questions might appear in the MAT.

4. What will be assessed in Oxford MAT test?

The MAT includes questions typically taught in A Level mathematics courses, such as algebra, plane geometry, coordinate geometry, calculus, and probability. In addition, it covers popular topics from mathematical competitions, including number theory, as well as knowledge related to basic algorithms that are not tested in A Level mathematics and mathematics competitions.

For reference, the following two tables list the distribution of topics and difficulty of some MAT multiple-choice and short-answer questions in recent years.

Oxford MAT Test A Comprehensive Guide-1
Oxford MAT Test A Comprehensive Guide-2

For an in-depth analysis of MAT topics and difficulty, please refer to our blog “Oxford MAT Secrets: An In-depth Research.”

Oxford MAT Secrets - An In-depth Research

VIII. How difficult is Oxford MAT test?

Some indication of the changes in the difficulty of Oxford MAT test can be seen in the fluctuating trend of average scores over the last few years. (Check two sets of statistics below)

1. MAT average scores from 2007-2022

Oxford MAT Test A Comprehensive Guide-3

2. Comparison of Oxford MAT test scores across two time periods

Oxford MAT Test A Comprehensive Guide-4
Oxford MAT Test A Comprehensive Guide-5

The rise in the difficulty of the MAT exam in recent years reflects the growing mathematical proficiency of the candidates and the intensifying competition.

Please refer to the following blog for an in-depth analysis of the difficulty of Oxford MAT test.

Oxford MAT Difficulty Analysis

IX. How to prepare for the test? Is there any recommended resources?

1. Preparation strategies for Oxford MAT test

There are mainly two categories of the preparation strategies:

  • Systematic review + question practice
  • Question practice + targeted training

Students can choose a suitable strategy according to their circumstances.

The specific time to start preparing depends on whether the student has experience in STEP preparation, mathematical competitions, and their educational curriculum.

Please check the blog “How to prepare for Oxford MAT” for more detailed preparation strategies and planning suggestions for the Oxford MAT test.

2. Official preparation resources

Students can access preparation resources for the Oxford MAT test on the official Oxford Mathematics Department website, which includes lecture videos, past papers with solutions, and live classes.

Please refer to the following blog for more detailed preparation strategies for the Oxford MAT test.

How to prepare for Oxford MAT

3. UEIE “MAT preparation set”

The 2024 MAT standard course (7th edition), edited and taught by Xie Tao, includes the “MAT preparationset” – PDF materials, detailed lecture videos, and practice workbooks — and also the bonus of 2024 MAT categorised questions and MAT past papers with online problem-solving and analysis.

With a total of 23 lectures, approximately 23 hours of videos, and over 1000 pages of supplementary materials containing 1043 practice questions, this course provides thorough coverage of the Oxford MAT test.

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