MAT (Mathematics Admissions Test)

The MAT is a compulsory admissions test for students applying for mathematical courses at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London.

Next Exam
TBC for 2024
Prerequisite knowledge
A level/IB first year
Download our comprehensive MAT Handbook
For students, parents, and teachers

About the MAT

The MAT is designed to test a student’s ability to apply the ideas they have learned in their mathematical studies to novel problems and unfamiliar settings. The exam presents a fiendish combination of question difficulty and time pressure, and requires thorough practice to master. It does not test breadth of knowledge beyond first year A level, IB, or equivalent syllabuses.

The results of the test are used in different ways by different universities. For example, scores are considered when shortlisting candidates for interview and giving reduced grade offers. Good MAT scores generally support a student's university applications by providing additional standardised information.

Our MAT Handbook is a free resource for students, parents, and teachers. It details the precise admissions test requirements for each university, our recommended exam preparation plan, our timing recommendations, and many useful exam technique tips. It also contains a comprehensive MAT syllabus, enhanced with useful examples, in Appendix 1. The MAT Handbook is downloadable from the button above.

Format and Content
Key Information
  • The test is 2 hours and 30 minutes long, separated into two main sections: multiple-choice and long form.
  • The multiple-choice section (Q1) comprises 10 questions, which must be answered by all candidates.
  • Candidates must answer 4 further questions from the long form section (Q2-6), which depend on the course applied for. These questions require longer answers and a greater demonstration of workings.

The following universities take the MAT into consideration as part of their admissions process:

Vantage Preparation Programmes for the MAT

To many students, the MAT seems like an overwhelming obstacle in the university admissions process, far surpassing any of their previous exams in difficulty and time pressure. With rigorous preparation and practice, students can reliably improve their score. Vantage programmes provide MAT tuition and personalised preparation strategies, which have led many students to admission at their first-choice university. All of our MAT tutors are experts who hold an Oxbridge degree in additional to experience as an examiner, professional teacher or Oxbridge interviewer.

Vantage programmes consist of six key elements which enable students to excel on the MAT:

MAT Primer Course

Unique to Vantage, the MAT Primer Course is the most comprehensive MAT preparatory course, tailored to the most recent version of the syllabus. It bridges the gap between A level (or equivalent) content and the MAT, both introducing new techniques that go beyond the A level and offering new perspectives on the school-level material used in the exams. The course includes 10 lessons, in video and written form, each providing a systematic and thorough introduction to a prominent theme of MAT questions. Each lesson has an accompanying worksheet with detailed solutions, and in total there are more than 200 original questions to ensure students master the necessary skills.

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Past Paper Solutions

Our MAT preparation courses include solution videos and booklets to all publicly released past papers (2007-2023) and ten years of legacy papers (1996-2006). The solutions were written and delivered by our founding director, Rowan Wright, and designed in consultation with our team of qualified teachers, admissions test examiners, and Oxbridge supervisors. Rather than merely presenting a method which works, the solutions focus on how a student can generate the required ideas and think through a problem systematically. This enables students to gain the full benefit of past paper practice, coming away from each question with a complete understanding and ready to tackle variations in future.

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Mock Exam Marking

In our experience, students lose an average of 2-3 marks (out of 15) on each long form question solely due to poor written presentation and explanation. Our mock exam marking service is provided exclusively by Vantage team members who have been admissions test examiners, who therefore understand precisely what’s required to gain all the marks. With each marked mock, students receive an accurate estimation of score and a detailed report with actionable feedback.

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Individual Tuition

Many Vantage students opt for MAT tuition as part of their MAT preparation. It is the most personalised support we offer and ensures that all doubts can be addressed, whether they pertain to specific questions or broader topics and concepts. It also provides an opportunity for students to work with an expert MAT tutor to explore questions further, pursue their own interests, and – most importantly – ask questions. Beyond merely understanding a successful approach to a question, it’s crucial for students to understand why their approach to a question didn’t work, which is uniquely well-served by one-to-one discussion.

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Mentoring Sessions

All Vantage students have the benefit of regular mentoring sessions over the course of their MAT preparation, ideally attended along with their parents/guardians. All meetings are held with our founding director and are completely tailored to the student’s specific goals. The aim of these sessions is to review students’ progress, address doubts or concerns, provide motivation, and create actionable plans to resolve any difficulties. Personalised mentoring enables students to ensure they are staying on track for success and provides vital support over what is often a long process of preparation.

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Live Workshops

All Vantage students are invited to attend our interactive online problem solving workshops over the summer. Hosted each week by Olympiad enthusiast, problem solving aficionado and expert MAT tutor Carlo Scarian, these classes provide a fun change of pace from the more technical focus of our Primer Courses and the rigidity of past paper problems, instead focusing on general problem solving principles and cultivating the mindset of a mathematician. Students are given access to some problems to think about before each session to gain the most benefit.

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In addition to our comprehensive MAT programme, we offer ad hoc services for mock exam marking and individual tuition:

MAT Programme 2024

Course Summary

Our MAT programme enables students to excel on the MAT and ensures the best chance of success.  Students benefit from the combination of video and written resources, live workshops, and feedback on marked mock exams.

  • Complete access to the MAT Primer Course
  • Complete access to solution videos and booklets for past papers from 1996 to 2023
  • Three mock exams marked by admissions test examiners, including detailed feedback reports
  • Access to live problem solving workshops
  • Three mentoring sessions with Vantage founding director, Rowan Wright
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Mock Exam Marking


Students should focus on perfecting their style of written presentation and explanation to maximise their MAT score, which can be challenging without guidance. Receive feedback from real examiners with our mock marking service.

  • One mock marking credit is redeemed for one marked mock exam paper.
  • The mock marking service is provided solely by Vantage team members who have been recent admissions test examiners.
  • Students are provided with an accurate score and a feedback report detailing actionable areas for improvement.
  • Suitable for students on our MAT programme who would like additional marked mocks, or as a stand-alone service.

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Individual Tuition


Individual tuition can be extremely beneficial for MAT students. It provides the opportunity to ask questions, develop problem solving technique, and receive personalised support tailored to your individual interests.

  • One tuition credit costs £150 and is redeemed for 1 hour of individual tuition.
  • Tuition can be used for troubleshooting any concerns with past papers, to fortify weaker topics, or for hands-on training in problem solving.
  • Our tuition is provided by highly qualified members of the Vantage team, including admissions test examiners, Oxbridge supervisors, and qualified teachers: nothing is outsourced to undergraduate students.
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Book a free consultation with our founding director, Rowan Wright, and:

Discuss your university course choices

Determine the most advantageous admissions test combination for your chosen courses

Formulate a personalised preparation strategy and receive actionable advice

Discuss Vantage course options

Hear from our students

"Rowan from Vantage is the real deal, a rare blend of being a sufficiently brilliant mathematician to have a complete, deep and intuitive grasp on the difficult problems set in admissions tests, but also a great teacher who is able to explain the thought process in a way students can understand. I cannot recommend him highly enough."

Achieved 1 in STEP II and S in STEP III