The TMUA is a compulsory exam for Computer Science and Economics applicants to the University of Cambridge.
The Test of Mathematics for University Admissions (TMUA) is used by some UK universities as part of their undergraduate admissions process for courses in mathematics, computer science, economics, and related subjects. The TMUA allows students to demonstrate the thinking and reasoning skills required to study mathematics or mathematical science courses at university level. It is the most time pressured of the university admissions tests, so requires diligent practice to master.
The test is designed to differentiate between the highest achieving students. There is no pass or fail mark for the test, and a ‘good’ score will depend on the university course applied for. The results of the test are used in different ways by different universities. For example, scores are considered in the process shortlisting Cambridge candidates for interview and determining reduced grade offers. Good TMUA scores generally support a student's university applications by providing additional standardised information.
Our TMUA Handbook is a free resource for students, parents, and teachers. It details the admissions test requirements for each university, our recommended preparation plan, our timing recommendations, and useful exam technique tips.
To many students, the TMUA 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 TMUA tuition and personalised preparation strategies, which have led many students to admission at their first-choice university. .
The Vantage TMUA programme consists of five key elements which give students the best chance of success on the TMUA:
Unique to Vantage, the TMUA Primer Course is the most comprehensive TMUA preparatory course. It bridges the gap between A level (or equivalent) content and the TMUA, both introducing new techniques that go beyond the A level and offering new perspectives on the school-level material used in the exams. It also covers in detail the ideas from logic and proof which feature prominently on Paper Two. The course includes 10 lessons, in video and written form, each providing a systematic and thorough introduction to a prominent theme of TMUA 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. Please note, our current TMUA Primer Course is designed for the 2023 exam specification. We expect only minimal changes to the specification in 2024 due to the change in administration, and the TMUA Primer Course will be updated accordingly, including for students who have already enrolled on the programme. Details of the new specification are expected by May 2024.
Our TMUA programme includes detailed past paper solutions (in video and booklet form) for all TMUA past papers, as well as solutions for over 25 years of MAT multiple-choice questions (1996-2022) for extra practice. 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. Due to the relatively small number of TMUA past papers available, we also provide an original TMUA-style practice paper, complete with solutions.
All Vantage students have the benefit of regular mentoring sessions over the course of their exam 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.
Many Vantage students opt to include individual tuition as part of their TMUA course. It is the most personalised support we offer and ensures any and all doubts can be addressed, whether they pertain to specific questions or broader topics and concepts. It also provides an opportunity for students to explore questions further, pursue their own interests, and – most importantly – ask questions. Beyond merely understanding a successful approach to a question, it’s very important for students to understand why their approach to a question didn’t work, which is uniquely well-served by one-to-one discussion with a specialist TMUA tutor. Discussion can be also particularly beneficial for mastering the ideas from Logic and Proof which feature in Paper Two.
All Vantage students are invited to attend our interactive online problem solving workshops over the summer. Run each week by Olympiad enthusiast, problem solving aficionado and expert TMUA 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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"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."