One autumn leaf
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Can I have some MAT preparation advice please.

For the MAT I sometimes can't even see the direction the question is going in (most of the time). With limited papers, how can I improve at the MAT fast. I tried one paper under timed conditions but felt overwhelmed by timing and couldn't think clearly. Im 100% certain I would run out of time if I tried the whole paper.

I've tried past questions but they do not seem to help me much with the next papers. This may be because I am looking at mark schemes quite often if I get stuck on a question. How long should I wait before looking at the mark scheme?

What would you recommend I do?
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Darth Caedus
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(Original post by One autumn leaf)
Can I have some MAT preparation advice please.

For the MAT I sometimes can't even see the direction the question is going in (most of the time). With limited papers, how can I improve at the MAT fast. I tried one paper under timed conditions but felt overwhelmed by timing and couldn't think clearly. Im 100% certain I would run out of time if I tried the whole paper.

I've tried past questions but they do not seem to help me much with the next papers. This may be because I am looking at mark schemes quite often if I get stuck on a question. How long should I wait before looking at the mark scheme?

What would you recommend I do?
Hi! So, the first and most important thing to remember about the MAT is that it’s meant to be hard! Everyone taking it will be a straight A/A* student applying for a high ranked university (usually Oxford, Imperial or Warwick), and as such you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself! Most years the average score amongst all applicants to Oxford, for example, is somewhere between 45 and 50 out of 100, and the average score of those who get offers is usually around 70 - don’t expect to be able to do it immediately! (I scored 64 last year, for example!)

The most important thing you can do to improve your MAT score is to practice. It is often difficult to see the direction questions are going in, but I think you tend to get a better sense of this with practice - on my first couple of MATs, I struggled to answer any of the questions, but by the actual thing it was much more approachable. I’m assuming you’re thinking of the doing the MAT this October, in which case, don’t do timed papers yet! It’s important to work on the problem solving skills, and ability to see where solutions might lie, before you start to put pressure on yourself to do it in a certain time. I didn’t start doing timed papers into the end of September last year; up until then, I just worked through the problems at my own pace. As your ability to handle the questions improves, you should find you are doing them quicker!

The limited number of papers is a legitimate concern; however, the best strategy is to use other, similar exams, in particular STEP past papers, available from https://www.admissionstesting.org/fo...ring-for-step/. These do differ in style somewhat, and also require higher level maths then the MAT, but are still extremely useful, and go all the way back to 1998! This STEP support programme (https://maths.org/step/) was also quite useful for helping with problem solving skills, and the UKMT papers (https://www.ukmt.org.uk) are also helpful for this. If you run out of these papers, there are also the TMUA papers to try (https://www.admissionstesting.org/fo...ity-admission/), which are again slightly different but still useful.

For general advice, I would say - talk through the problems! Explaining your reasoning in a question can be extremely helpful, enhancing your understanding of the question and you solution, or showing you any problems with your method. Ideally, this would be with teachers if they can spare the time, or with other maths students around the same level, but explaining a question even to someone who knows nothing about maths can help you, even if they don’t understand! Finally, I would also say that everything on the MAT can be tackled with AS-Level techniques (plus the A-Level techniques that they can ask about) - if you get stuck, think it through and try and work out which methods you already know could be applied!

Hope that helps, and good luck for your preparation! :burnout:
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