# MAT Prep Thread 2018

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Poll: What do you think you scored in the 2018 MAT exam?
0-10 (9)
3.4%
11-20 (6)
2.26%
21-30 (3)
1.13%
31-35 (10)
3.77%
36-40 (7)
2.64%
41-45 (10)
3.77%
46-50 (17)
6.42%
51-55 (19)
7.17%
56-60 (31)
11.7%
61-65 (30)
11.32%
66-70 (28)
10.57%
71-75 (23)
8.68%
76-80 (20)
7.55%
81-85 (18)
6.79%
86-90 (8)
3.02%
91-100 (26)
9.81%
Thread starter 2 years ago
#1
Preparation,Strategies:

Edit: just adding in Euclidean's OP from a couple of years ago. Edited by Lemur14 for the new spec

Thank you to Gome44 for the thread inspiration

It's worth studying the second year single pure content before beginning MAT preparation for a better understanding of the concepts behind trigonometry/calculus. However, as noted in the syllabus, the only 100% necessary part of this for the MAT is sequences and series

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 papers up to 2017 are also now of an old specification, however will be more similar to our specification than the older ones.

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

Note the following changes of the specification from 2018: In order to reflect the new syllabus of AS-level Mathematics, we will be removing the following topics from the syllabus: the remainder theorem, radians, the trapezium rule. We will be adding the following topics to the syllabus: combinations and binomial probabilities, derivative of , differentiation from first principles, graphs of loga(x).
Resources:

Exam Syllabus
2016 MAT Preparation Thread
2017 MAT Preparation Thread
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:

Something important: Please register for the MAT as soon as possible because many centres have a limited number of seats and stop accepting applications for the MAT.

2
2 years ago
#2
Make sure you know the material on the syllabus (http://www.cs.ox.ac.uk/admissions/un...labus_2018.pdf) thoroughly.

Then look at past papers (http://www.cs.ox.ac.uk/admissions/un...and_past_tests): attempt the questions, and then compare your answers to the model answers. At first, don't worry too much about speed: spend as much time on each question as you want. The questions are difficult, and so you need to get used to the style. As you do more past papers, you'll get faster at them. Towards the date of the MAT itself, start doing past papers to time. Also, attempt the questions on a print-out of the paper itself, so you get used to using the space available (there are blank pages at the end).

In the longer questions, there is often a progression of ideas through the different parts. Be on the lookout for where you can use the results of earlier parts in later parts.

Give enough explanation to persuade the marker that you understand. Alternatively, give enough explanation that would help one of your colleagues to understand. Partial marks will be given for partial explanations.

In the multiple choice questions, if all else fails, guess: there is no penalty for incorrect answers. Better is if you can eliminate some of the options, and then guess from the remainder.

Think about which questions you find easier. You might want to attempt them first, to build your confidence, and to make best use of the time available.

Gavin
1
Thread starter 2 years ago
#3
(Original post by gavinlowe)
Make sure you know the material on the syllabus (http://www.cs.ox.ac.uk/admissions/un...labus_2018.pdf) thoroughly.

Then look at past papers (http://www.cs.ox.ac.uk/admissions/un...and_past_tests): attempt the questions, and then compare your answers to the model answers. At first, don't worry too much about speed: spend as much time on each question as you want. The questions are difficult, and so you need to get used to the style. As you do more past papers, you'll get faster at them. Towards the date of the MAT itself, start doing past papers to time. Also, attempt the questions on a print-out of the paper itself, so you get used to using the space available (there are blank pages at the end).

In the longer questions, there is often a progression of ideas through the different parts. Be on the lookout for where you can use the results of earlier parts in later parts.

Give enough explanation to persuade the marker that you understand. Alternatively, give enough explanation that would help one of your colleagues to understand. Partial marks will be given for partial explanations.

In the multiple choice questions, if all else fails, guess: there is no penalty for incorrect answers. Better is if you can eliminate some of the options, and then guess from the remainder.

Think about which questions you find easier. You might want to attempt them first, to build your confidence, and to make best use of the time available.

Gavin
Hi Gavin,
I currently hold offers to read CS at UCL(my firm) and Imperial. Most probably I will be going to UCL.
I am an International applicant. Is it worth applying to Oxford next year after completing one year of university (because I missed this year's deadline)?

I found the MAT to be rather easy. Does having a high score on the MAT bolster our chances of gaining an offer?
Would additional knowledge of programming and database management look good on one's personal statement?

I would be really happy if you could answer the above queries.
0
Thread starter 2 years ago
#4
(Original post by gavinlowe)
Make sure you know the material on the syllabus (http://www.cs.ox.ac.uk/admissions/un...labus_2018.pdf) thoroughly.

Then look at past papers (http://www.cs.ox.ac.uk/admissions/un...and_past_tests): attempt the questions, and then compare your answers to the model answers. At first, don't worry too much about speed: spend as much time on each question as you want. The questions are difficult, and so you need to get used to the style. As you do more past papers, you'll get faster at them. Towards the date of the MAT itself, start doing past papers to time. Also, attempt the questions on a print-out of the paper itself, so you get used to using the space available (there are blank pages at the end).

In the longer questions, there is often a progression of ideas through the different parts. Be on the lookout for where you can use the results of earlier parts in later parts.

Give enough explanation to persuade the marker that you understand. Alternatively, give enough explanation that would help one of your colleagues to understand. Partial marks will be given for partial explanations.

In the multiple choice questions, if all else fails, guess: there is no penalty for incorrect answers. Better is if you can eliminate some of the options, and then guess from the remainder.

Think about which questions you find easier. You might want to attempt them first, to build your confidence, and to make best use of the time available.

Gavin
I solved all the papers since 2002 to 2017 (found 2002-2006 on Dr. Frost's website). I am taking around 1-2 minutes per question for section A (18-19 minutes in all). I am spending around 15 minutes per question for the other questions.

Should I also go through Dr. Knuth's Concrete Mathematics considering there was one question taken from his book in 2016?

Can I apply for both Maths & CS and Computer Science in the same college?

How about Dr. Richard Earl's book on A-Level Maths?
1
2 years ago
#5
(Original post by r_gup)
Hi Gavin,
I currently hold offers to read CS at UCL(my firm) and Imperial. Most probably I will be going to UCL.
I am an International applicant. Is it worth applying to Oxford next year after completing one year of university (because I missed this year's deadline)?
We do consider applications from students at another university. However, we need to see a good reason for switching; and the fact that you've had an extra year of education would be taken into account when considering your application (as is the case with all contextual information).

I found the MAT to be rather easy. Does having a high score on the MAT bolster our chances of gaining an offer?
Would additional knowledge of programming and database management look good on one's personal statement?
The MAT is one of our primary assessment tools, so of course a high score would be beneficial. My experience is that interviews are a more reliable indicator of suitability for the degrees, though.

(Original post by r_gup)
Should I also go through Dr. Knuth's Concrete Mathematics considering there was one question taken from his book in 2016?

Can I apply for both Maths & CS and Computer Science in the same college?

How about Dr. Richard Earl's book on A-Level Maths?
Certainly reading plenty of mathematics, and attempting the exercises, will help you to become better at Mathematics. It's unlikely that there would be another question from Knuth's book in the near future; but if you can understand everything in it, you will have learnt a lot (note to others: this book is more challenging that I would recommend to most prospective applicants). From what you say, it sounds like you're already completely on top of A Level Maths, so it's not clear that Richard Earl's book will be so useful to you (sorry Rich!).

You can only apply for a single subject.

Gavin
2
Thread starter 2 years ago
#6
(Original post by gavinlowe)
We do consider applications from students at another university. However, we need to see a good reason for switching; and the fact that you've had an extra year of education would be taken into account when considering your application (as is the case with all contextual information).

The MAT is one of our primary assessment tools, so of course a high score would be beneficial. My experience is that interviews are a more reliable indicator of suitability for the degrees, though.

Certainly reading plenty of mathematics, and attempting the exercises, will help you to become better at Mathematics. It's unlikely that there would be another question from Knuth's book in the near future; but if you can understand everything in it, you will have learnt a lot (note to others: this book is more challenging that I would recommend to most prospective applicants). From what you say, it sounds like you're already completely on top of A Level Maths, so it's not clear that Richard Earl's book will be so useful to you (sorry Rich!).

You can only apply for a single subject.

Gavin
Thanks a lot Professor Gavin . It is not that I am completely on top of A-Level maths , but in India , we often encounter topics and questions which are quite difficult ( The STEP and MAT pale in comparision to certain Indian papers.)

Are there any topics related to computing which could help with the MAT?(There was a question on recursive depth some years ago)
Something like radix trees,graphs, nodes etc.
0
Thread starter 2 years ago
#7
(Original post by gavinlowe)
We do consider applications from students at another university. However, we need to see a good reason for switching; and the fact that you've had an extra year of education would be taken into account when considering your application (as is the case with all contextual information).

The MAT is one of our primary assessment tools, so of course a high score would be beneficial. My experience is that interviews are a more reliable indicator of suitability for the degrees, though.
Certainly reading plenty of mathematics, and attempting the exercises, will help you to become better at Mathematics. It's unlikely that there would be another question from Knuth's book in the near future; but if you can understand everything in it, you will have learnt a lot (note to others: this book is more challenging that I would recommend to most prospective applicants). From what you say, it sounds like you're already completely on top of A Level Maths, so it's not clear that Richard Earl's book will be so useful to you (sorry Rich!).

You can only apply for a single subject.

Gavin
Professor, I can't understand everything. I am using it in conjunction with Cormen/Dasgupta.

Which book would you recommend for pprospective applicants? I would love to know.

How are candidates with previous university eduction assesed?
Another thing which I wanted to ask is as to how my professor would be able to predict the marks obtained in the first year,
since college would start on the 24th of September , and the deadline for submitting the application is on the 15th of October.
0
2 years ago
#8
(Original post by r_gup)
Thanks a lot Professor Gavin . It is not that I am completely on top of A-Level maths , but in India , we often encounter topics and questions which are quite difficult ( The STEP and MAT pale in comparision to certain Indian papers.)

Are there any topics related to computing which could help with the MAT?(There was a question on recursive depth some years ago)
Something like radix trees,graphs, nodes etc.
No specific knowledge is required for the MAT beyond that on the published syllabus. There's a list of recommended readings at

Gavin
0
2 years ago
#9
Two quick questions gavinlowe.
Last year I was rejected by Oxford pre interview partly because I was so unprepared for the MAT.
My first question is, if I do decide to reapply to Oxford for 2019 entry, is their any disadvantage because I will be a gap year applicant?
The oxford website does not really mention anything negative about gap years, but I do know that of all the courses, maths is probably the only course where admissions tutors do not like gap year applicants. I will definitely be learning A level further maths over my gap year (I did IB HL math, so I havent learned anything about mechanics), and keeping up my maths skills throughout the year by tutoring at my school.

My second question is, are gap year applicants expected to have higher MAT scores than other applicants?
0
2 years ago
#10
(Original post by Rohan77642)
Two quick questions gavinlowe.
Last year I was rejected by Oxford pre interview partly because I was so unprepared for the MAT.
My first question is, if I do decide to reapply to Oxford for 2019 entry, is their any disadvantage because I will be a gap year applicant?
The oxford website does not really mention anything negative about gap years, but I do know that of all the courses, maths is probably the only course where admissions tutors do not like gap year applicants. I will definitely be learning A level further maths over my gap year (I did IB HL math, so I havent learned anything about mechanics), and keeping up my maths skills throughout the year by tutoring at my school.

My second question is, are gap year applicants expected to have higher MAT scores than other applicants?
See http://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/study-here...sked-questions or http://www.cs.ox.ac.uk/admissions/un...20applications for information about the policy concerning deferred entry.

As you would be applying post-qualification, you will have had an extra year's education than most candidates. For that reason, you would be expected to do a bit better in the MAT than others.

Gavin
1
Thread starter 2 years ago
#11
(Original post by Rohan77642)
Two quick questions gavinlowe.
Last year I was rejected by Oxford pre interview partly because I was so unprepared for the MAT.
My first question is, if I do decide to reapply to Oxford for 2019 entry, is their any disadvantage because I will be a gap year applicant?
The oxford website does not really mention anything negative about gap years, but I do know that of all the courses, maths is probably the only course where admissions tutors do not like gap year applicants. I will definitely be learning A level further maths over my gap year (I did IB HL math, so I havent learned anything about mechanics), and keeping up my maths skills throughout the year by tutoring at my school.

My second question is, are gap year applicants expected to have higher MAT scores than other applicants?
Are you from India? Where are you applying now?
0
Thread starter 2 years ago
#12
When should we start discussing problems? Lets wait for some more people to join the group.
0
2 years ago
#13
(Original post by gavinlowe)
Certainly reading plenty of mathematics, and attempting the exercises, will help you to become better at Mathematics. It's unlikely that there would be another question from Knuth's book in the near future; but if you can understand everything in it, you will have learnt a lot (note to others: this book is more challenging that I would recommend to most prospective applicants). From what you say, it sounds like you're already completely on top of A Level Maths, so it's not clear that Richard Earl's book will be so useful to you (sorry Rich!).
Nothing to apologize for, but just by way of clarification the book is at the Further Maths and first year university level - not A-level maths. Having said that it's not particularly directed towards computer scientists either, much more at the mathematician's needs
1
Thread starter 2 years ago
#14
(Original post by RichE)
Nothing to apologize for, but just by way of clarification the book is at the Further Maths and first year university level - not A-level maths. Having said that it's not particularly directed towards computer scientists either, much more at the mathematician's needs
Hi Dr. Richard, I am intending to apply to Worcestershire for Maths and CS.
0
2 years ago
#15
Assuming this is supposed to parallel the STEP preparation threads, it would be good to produce a suitable initial post (c.f. the initial post on the STEP prep thread: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...php?p=72855566)

I think this essentially has to be maintained by the person who started the thread, but what I'd suggest is making a (temporary) new thread specifically for trying to put together such an initial post (or maybe even a google doc, assuming you can link to one on here), and then when it gets to some kind of usable state, it could be copied across to the first post of this thread.

Note that although I'd probably want to contribute to such a thread I'm not particularly wanting to be in charge of it (and will have limited internet access over the next week or so as well).

Thoughts?
0
2 years ago
#16
(Original post by r_gup)
Are you from India? Where are you applying now?
Yes I am Indian. But I do not live in India, I live in Germany. So I am applying from Germany.

I applied last year, and got rejected from oxford, and after that I made Warwick my firm for maths.
0
2 years ago
#17
(Original post by DFranklin)
Assuming this is supposed to parallel the STEP preparation threads, it would be good to produce a suitable initial post (c.f. the initial post on the STEP prep thread: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...php?p=72855566)

I think this essentially has to be maintained by the person who started the thread, but what I'd suggest is making a (temporary) new thread specifically for trying to put together such an initial post (or maybe even a google doc, assuming you can link to one on here), and then when it gets to some kind of usable state, it could be copied across to the first post of this thread.

Note that although I'd probably want to contribute to such a thread I'm not particularly wanting to be in charge of it (and will have limited internet access over the next week or so as well).

Thoughts?
last years initial post was helpful https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=4814360
But not gonna lie, it is nowhere as detailed as the STEP threads initial post. I would say Dr. Lowe's initial post on tips and tricks for the MAT could be merged into the initial post from the 2017 thread in like a google doc, and then as you said when we start getting closer to the exam we can copy and paste it onto this thread.

Just my two cents .
0
Thread starter 2 years ago
#18
(Original post by DFranklin)
Assuming this is supposed to parallel the STEP preparation threads, it would be good to produce a suitable initial post (c.f. the initial post on the STEP prep thread: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...php?p=72855566)

I think this essentially has to be maintained by the person who started the thread, but what I'd suggest is making a (temporary) new thread specifically for trying to put together such an initial post (or maybe even a google doc, assuming you can link to one on here), and then when it gets to some kind of usable state, it could be copied across to the first post of this thread.

Note that although I'd probably want to contribute to such a thread I'm not particularly wanting to be in charge of it (and will have limited internet access over the next week or so as well).

Thoughts?
Yes. I will post the statistics and relevant data in a day or two. The CS stats are

Computer Science stats for 2016:-

Computer Science stats for 2017:-

Maths Stats for 2015:-

Maths Stats for 2016:-

Maths Stats for 2017:-

They have been taken from Keble College's website.
0
2 years ago
#19
You guys are early this year, because of the linear A-levels I guess I've moved this to the maths exams forum, stuck it and changed the title (since Oxford isn't the only uni using MAT).

Good luck everyone!

Edit: If anyone wants to make an OP for this thread which is just as detailed as the STEP one, you're welcome to; just ping me or one of the maths STs and we can edit it i in.
0
Thread starter 2 years ago
#20
(Original post by Sonechka)
You guys are early this year, because of the linear A-levels I guess I've moved this to the maths exams forum, stuck it and changed the title (since Oxford isn't the only uni using MAT).

Good luck everyone!

Edit: If anyone wants to make an OP for this thread which is just as detailed as the STEP one, you're welcome to; just ping me or one of the maths STs and we can edit it i in.
Thanks a lot. I will be more involved with this thread from tomorrow. What is an OP by the way?
0
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