Problem Solving in University Admissions Tests: Supporting students through the examinations



Admissions tests are being used by an increasing number of universities to identify students suitable for their undergraduate STEM degrees. Some of these examinations form part of the university offer and some can be used to lower A level offers on particular courses.

This professional development course looks at the three main admissions tests for undergraduate Mathematics degrees: the MAT, TMUA and STEP examinations as well as some of the other mathematically inclined admissions assessments.

The course will also include materials suitable for use in general classes to develop students’ problem solving skills so that students gain the knowledge and awareness to be able to access problems in a variety of contexts.

The course will be split into a morning session on the early admissions tests (MAT, TMUA and other pre-interview admissions assessments) running from 9:00 - 12:00 and an afternoon session focussing on STEP from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. Teachers are invited to attend either or both sessions and may join us for lunch in any of these cases.


  • To provide information about the MAT, TMUA and STEP examinations.
  • To provide an opportunity to think about, discuss and hear others' experiences of supporting students to develop their problem solving skills.
  • To experience the level of maths in the problems in order to gain insight into the challenges of supporting students to develop appropriate problem solving skills.
  • To introduce useful resources to use with students.
  • To provide advice on how to set up problem solving support in a school or college.

Who will benefit from attending?

This course is suitable for any teacher or aspiring teacher of A level Maths who wishes to find out about university maths admissions tests and the support that is available for students preparing for these examinations.


Developing a problem solving mind-set In this session you will learn about the mindset that students need to develop in order to be successful when taking admissions tests.

Hands on with MAT, TMUA and other admissions assessment problems
In this session you will get a chance to try a variety of questions from the MAT and TMUA examinations and other November assessments and discuss what students can learn from completing those questions.

Information about the MAT and TMUA examinations and other university entrance assessments 
This session will lead you through the key information about the MAT, TMUA and other mathematical assessments sat in November of Year 13.

Getting students started – initial problems
In this section you will encounter some ideas and resources that will help you start your students off with developing their problem solving skills.

Information about STEP examinations and university entrance
This session will lead you through the key information about STEP and the different universities and courses that may use it.

Hands on with STEP problems
In this session you will get a chance to try a variety of questions from the STEP 1, 2 and 3 examinations and discuss what students can learn from completing those questions.

Setting up support
The final session of the day will look at how you can set up some in-school support for students preparing for admissions tests and find out about the support that students can access elsewhere.


This course is designed for teachers from state-funded schools, colleges and academies. Teachers from independent schools can apply for a place but will not receive any bursary for attendance.


All state schools, academies and colleges whose teachers attend the course are entitled to a bursary of £200 for every teacher from their school who attends. This is paid on confirmation of attendance by the course leader and is subject to the school/college finance department providing payment details.

Schools in Priority Areas are entitled to an additional £50 bursary.

Key Facts

Event ref:




Curriculum focus:

University admissions tests

Mathematical focus:

Problem solving

Event format:

Face-to-face Professional Development

Event length:

6 hours


East of England


Centre for Mathematical Sciences,
Wilberforce Road,


Mon 27th Jun 2022

Course times:

09:00 - 16:00

State-sector subsidy:


Priority Area subsidy:



Printable Version


If you have any queries about this event, please do not hesitate to contact:

Kristin Coldwell
[email protected]
01223 764604

The AMSP, through MEI, holds the NCETM CPD Standard

National Centre for Excellence in the teaching of Mathematics

View all events

Share this event