What are the MAT and TMUA? Do my students need them?

Thursday 15th July 2021

As Year 12 students begin to research universities and have probably done exams to give an idea of predicted grades, it's worth considering the growing role of admissions tests for maths courses at university. The Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP) has been around for a long time, but the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT) and the Test of Mathematics for University Admission (TMUA) are much newer.

The MAT has been around since 2007, although the syllabus was revised slightly in 2018. It's required for maths and computer science courses at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London. The University of Warwick will take the MAT into account when making offers (they regard the TMUA in the same way). If the test is being taken for one of these universities, it will also be considered by the University of Bath and Durham University.

A level Further Mathematics isn’t required, and very little year 2 maths material is included. No calculator is allowed. The paper lasts 2 hours 15 minutes, and consists of Question 1 which has 10 multiple choice questions worth 4 marks each and then 4 further long questions worth 15 marks each (there are alternatives to some questions for those applying for computer science courses).

The TMUA is a more recent addition, having been around since 2017. No universities require the TMUA, but a growing number will take it into consideration when making offers. These include the University of Bath, the University of Cambridge (for computer science courses), Cardiff University, Durham University, Lancaster University, London School of Economics, the University of Nottingham, the University of Sheffield, the University of Southampton and the University of Warwick.

Again, the content is broadly AS Pure Maths but with a very strong emphasis on proof and logic for which some additional materials are provided. There are two papers taken in the same sitting, each lasting 75 minutes – making the total time the same as the MAT – and each paper has 20 multiple choice questions, with the second paper having a much greater emphasis on proof and logic.

The dates for the tests for next year have been confirmed as 2 & 3 November.

The AMSP provides a wide variety of support for admissions tests from On Demand Professional Development (ODPD) courses for those supporting students in school, to information sessions such as our Moving on with Maths events and our student support classes. In the East Midlands region, we'll be offering a seven-week course in the autumn term for students, Support for MAT & TMUA.

The excerpts below give a flavour of the style of assessment... multiple-choice doesn’t mean easy!

TMUA 2017 Paper 1

TMUA 2017 Paper 2

MAT 2018

By Caroline Wilson

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