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# MAT Prep Thread 2017 [2nd November 2017] watch

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1. 2017 Unofficial Mark Scheme

Hi!

I've seen a few threads about this year's Mathematics Admissions Test floating around and thought it might be time to start the official thread for everyone who plans to begin preparation over the summer. The key dates for the exam are here.

Good luck everyone!

Credit to Euclidean for the following OP.

Thank you to Gome44 for the thread inspiration

It's worth studying C3 and C4 before beginning MAT preparation for a better understanding of the concepts behind trigonometry/calculus

Start with the earliest papers you can find and ideally try and complete them all by the exam. The papers before 2007 are of an older style and do not follow the same specification as current papers but are good practice nonetheless

The earlier papers are somewhat easier than current papers so be careful to not become complacent when scoring highly on early papers

Aim to do as many past papers as possible as timed mocks, exam technique is essential to success in the MAT

Resources:

Exam Syllabus
MAT/AEA/STEP Past Papers
Official Webpage
MAT Preparation Powerpoint
MAT Section B Tips PDF
MAT 1992-1995 Solutions

Exam Information/Layout:

The exam is 150 minutes (2 hours 30 minutes) long

There are 5 specific questions to be completed depending on your course

The first question consists of 10 multiple choice questions all worth 4 marks each

All answers to questions are submitted on plain paper

Formulae sheets and calculators are not permitted

Compasses are permitted

Graph Sketching:
Spoiler:
Show

Find the asymptotes of the curve

Determine if and where the curve intercepts the coordinate axis

Determine if there exist turning points/points of inflexion for the curve

Find the limits (if they exist) of the curve

Things to Look for:
Spoiler:
Show

Opportunities to use the discriminant conditions for a quadratic equation, for example:

Any equation representing the or coordinate of the point of intersection of a tangent to a curve must have one repeat real root:

It is also worth noting that the gradient of the tangent and the curve at the above point are the same

The shortest distance between a point and a line is found by taking the normal to the line which passes through the point

When asked to find the correct graph for a function, try substituting important values into the function to rule out possibilities. For example, 2013 Q1D.

Be aware of useful inequalities:

2. Hello Everyone,
I am an American student who is planning to do Math for undergrad. I will be applying Oxford, Imperial, etc. Can any of you who have taken the MAT test (Mathematics Admission Test) recommend some good prep books for this exam or give me an idea of what you did to prepare? It would be especially interesting to know if you were an international student
3. DrFrostMaths.com

I'm doing it this year, the resources on this website are great.
4. Is there any good way to revise for MAT? Like any videos online out there which help with techniques, how to approach, what to think etc.
5. Hi, my name is Alessandro and i come from Italy, i want to study at Oxford in Computer Science i know that i do a Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT), my question is there exist online test preparation and topics to study for this test? And i've another question, when is time to do a application for 2019 in Computer Science? Thanks for the responses
7. Just tagging previous posters to let you all know that we now have an official MAT thread. alexquarto2310, if you're a 2019 applicant (so am I! ) you won't be applying until near the start of the 2018-19 academic year and you'll sit the MAT in November 2018, so it's quite early for you to start worrying about all this stuff at the moment.
8. (Original post by Sonechka)
Just tagging previous posters to let you all know that we now have an official MAT thread. alexquarto2310, if you're a 2019 applicant (so am I! ) you won't be applying until near the start of the 2018-19 academic year and you'll sit the MAT in November 2018, so it's quite early for you to start worrying about all this stuff at the moment.
Okay Thanks for this informations!
9. (Original post by alexquarto2310)
Hi, my name is Alessandro and i come from Italy, i want to study at Oxford in Computer Science i know that i do a Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT), my question is there exist online test preparation and topics to study for this test?

That page contains a link to the test syllabus. The syllabus is based on the first two core modules of Mathematics A Level. I don't know how that compares to the Italian syllabus, but I hope most of the topics are familiar; you might need to do some self-study using textbooks. You should make sure you know all this material thoroughly.

That page also contains 13 past papers or sample papers. Do as many of those papers as you can. You will probably find the questions difficult: we need to set difficult questions to identify the best students. I suggest that at first you don't worry about speed: just get used to tackling the problems. You'll get faster with practice.

And i've another question, when is time to do a application for 2019 in Computer Science? Thanks for the responses
The deadline is likely to be October 15th, 2018 (at least, the deadline has been October 15th for some years, so I don't expect it to change). Note that you have to register separately for the MAT, and that involves finding a test centre: your school should be able to register as a test centre, but don't leave it to the last minute.

Gavin
10. (Original post by gavinlowe)

That page contains a link to the test syllabus. The syllabus is based on the first two core modules of Mathematics A Level. I don't know how that compares to the Italian syllabus, but I hope most of the topics are familiar; you might need to do some self-study using textbooks. You should make sure you know all this material thoroughly.

That page also contains 13 past papers or sample papers. Do as many of those papers as you can. You will probably find the questions difficult: we need to set difficult questions to identify the best students. I suggest that at first you don't worry about speed: just get used to tackling the problems. You'll get faster with practice.

The deadline is likely to be October 15th, 2018 (at least, the deadline has been October 15th for some years, so I don't expect it to change). Note that you have to register separately for the MAT, and that involves finding a test centre: your school should be able to register as a test centre, but don't leave it to the last minute.

Gavin

Thank you!
11. hi everyone
i am considering oxford so i feel like i need to prepare for the MAT.
i tried a paper and failed spectacularly.
any advice? i read somewhere that they are designed so you cant prepare for them. i feel incredibly unprepared and would appreciate any response
12. (Original post by lowkeymaths)
hi everyone
i am considering oxford so i feel like i need to prepare for the MAT.
i tried a paper and failed spectacularly.
any advice? i read somewhere that they are designed so you cant prepare for them. i feel incredibly unprepared and would appreciate any response
Okay i can help you with the maths section, with the computer science part i guess the past papers are your best bet. Anyway for maths part, firstly you need to do theory, i guess watch some khan academy video on Trigonometry and calculus then go on with the past paper, if you want a reference book the i can suggest

Algebra : Hall and Knight higher Algebra
Calculus : I A Maron Problems in calculus
Trigonometry: SL Loney Trigonometry

If you do practice from these books after watching all the video lectures from khan academy I am pretty sure you can ace the maths part.
13. (Original post by lowkeymaths)
hi everyone
i am considering oxford so i feel like i need to prepare for the MAT.
i tried a paper and failed spectacularly.
any advice? i read somewhere that they are designed so you cant prepare for them. i feel incredibly unprepared and would appreciate any response
Which MAT paper did you try? Some are definitely harder than others Probably the two sample ones are the gentlest by way of introduction.

And why did you feel it went badly? Lack of experience with the style of question? That will come with some practice. Did the solutions make sense? Also remember very few students will score very highly - the MAT is designed to be difficult for most of the people who take it.
14. (Original post by RichE)
Which MAT paper did you try? Some are definitely harder than others Probably the two sample ones are the gentlest by way of introduction.

And why did you feel it went badly? Lack of experience with the style of question? That will come with some practice. Did the solutions make sense? Also remember very few students will score very highly - the MAT is designed to be difficult for most of the people who take it.
i sat the 2007 MAT in exam conditions and got around 35%
i heard that the 2007 paper was the easiest and i heard that it was based off C1 and C2. the problem was i couldnt work out what the question was asking, as once i had worked that out i usually came to the right answer. i guess ill just have to keep practising
15. (Original post by lowkeymaths)
i sat the 2007 MAT in exam conditions and got around 35%
i heard that the 2007 paper was the easiest and i heard that it was based off C1 and C2. the problem was i couldnt work out what the question was asking, as once i had worked that out i usually came to the right answer. i guess ill just have to keep practising
You definitely want to do some papers under exam conditions, but I think it's probably best just thinking about/mulling over some of the questions first and worrying more about time management once the style and format of the papers becomes more familiar.
16. (Original post by kchp123)
Hello Everyone,
I am an American student who is planning to do Math for undergrad. I will be applying Oxford, Imperial, etc. Can any of you who have taken the MAT test (Mathematics Admission Test) recommend some good prep books for this exam or give me an idea of what you did to prepare? It would be especially interesting to know if you were an international student
17. Hi lowkeymaths, I'm a current student at Oxford studying mathematics and philosophy. Don't worry about getting a low score when you start preparing for the MAT - that's quite normal.
If you look at this document: https://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/system/fi...nts/Mathsgroup feedback 2016.pdf
You'll see that even some people getting 36-40 marks out of 100 were offered places to study maths at Oxford and some getting 96-100 marks were not. You don't have to aim for 100%, and even getting it won't guarantee you a place. Instead, aim to understand the material and enjoy playing around with it; that's what the tutors are looking for - that you enjoy maths, and that they will enjoy teaching you.

You can prepare for the MAT, but I disagree entirely with Rishabh_01 as to how to prepare. You do need to know the C1 and C2 material well, and more than that, understand it. However, reading books is not the best way to gain a greater understanding - working with the maths is. There is a very limited number of MAT papers and I'm sure you will want to save a lot of them till closer to the exam. There is not, however, a very limited number of STEP questions. Admittedly a lot of STEP questions require more knowledge than MAT ones, but many also do not.
The only book I would recommend to you is this (free) one by Stephen Siklos: https://www.openbookpublishers.com/product.php/342/advanced-problems-in-mathematics--preparing-for-university?342/advanced-problems-in-mathematics--preparing-for-university
It
is a book of STEP questions with answers. I would suggest attempting all the questions which you believe yourself to have the required knowledge for and spending as much time on them as necessary. Don't try to do them under exam conditions at the moment - the exam is still months away. Instead, spend as much time as you need - whether that be hours or days - so that you get the opportunity to approach the questions in various different ways and gain a greater understanding of the material involved. Only when you believe yourself to have an answer should you look at Siklos' answer. This way you will get the maximum benefit - not from Siklos having taught you, but from you having taught yourself.Do remember, neither the STEP or MAT is easy, and when you practice now you will likely spend a lot more time than you would like, and get a lot less right than you would like. But now is now and then is then, so just worry about practicing now, you can worry about doing well later.
18. Three months to go!
19. (Original post by Somniare)
Hi lowkeymaths, I'm a current student at Oxford studying mathematics and philosophy. Don't worry about getting a low score when you start preparing for the MAT - that's quite normal

...

This way you will get the maximum benefit - not from Siklos having taught you, but from you having taught yourself.Do remember, neither the STEP or MAT is easy, and when you practice now you will likely spend a lot more time than you would like, and get a lot less right than you would like. But now is now and then is then, so just worry about practicing now, you can worry about doing well later.
Thanks so much for this thought-out response!

I have some questions for you:

(1) How can I improve with regard to the geometry questions? Is there a curriculum that outlines all the geometry concepts in depth? If you'd refer to [MAT SPECIMEN B], question 4, you'd see what I mean. The theory behind the problem doesn't seem especially complex, yet I had no idea how to approach the two-line (let alone three-line) path problems.

(2) Why do you think the people with abysmal MAT scores got in? My first thought was that they were Eton boys with connections, but I'm not sure why any of them would choose Maths over PPE.

(3) Do you know your MAT score? If so, what was it? Additionally, how do you think you did on the interview? Do you think it got you in along with or in spite of your MAT score?

(4) This is more into interview territory, but I want to ask just in case I don't get the opportunity to get a question answered by an actual Oxonian: would you recommend feigning ignorance during an interview? It appears that the purpose of the interview is to judge how well you can use the tutors' advice to get through problems you would otherwise be unable to solve, not to merely wow them by answering the questions correctly. So if I act like I don't get a problem, and then "have an 'aha' moment", would this help me (as opposed to getting to a problem that I legitimately cannot solve and still not seeing the answer despite the tutors' guidance)?

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