The Student Room Group

Most challenging (and rewarding) Oxford PAT Questions - Part 1

Hey there!
I'm a current Oxford Physics Undergrad and I gave the PAT a couple of years back, and since then I've helped many of my friends and peers get into Oxbridge! Over all the sessions I've had with them, solving questions and whatnot, I've managed to make a list of the most challenging questions I've ever solved from the PAT. I'll be making a text-based list of them, and I'll link the Oxford Physics PAT Past Paper Webpage at the end, for the sake of tidiness. I'll also link some webpages where you can find solutions, but keep in mind that the "correctness" of these solutions is not always 100%.

In this post, I will handpick some of the most challenging questions from the first 5 years of the PAT papers that are available (2006-2010)!

Physics: Q3, Q4, Q14
Math: Q1 (need to find the shortcut), Q12

Physics: Q10, Q12, Q14
Math: Q7 (time may not be your friend here), Q11, Q12

Math: Q3 (easy if you find the clue), Q11 (easy but might struggle if you don't know the basics), Q12
Physics: Q15, Q23, Q26 (easy but some might find it difficult to understand the question), Q27 (not too hard, but great prep on 1D/2D motion)

Math: Q9, Q10 (need to be fast, otherwise easy question), Q12 (easy if you get the clue on which method to use)
Physics: Q16 (I personally struggled with some of the Archimedes-principle based questions haha), Q18, Q20, Q24, Q27 (not too hard but need to be quick)

Math: Q2 (not extremely hard if you catch on to it), Q5 (might mess up if careless + need to time yourself), Q6, Q8 (easy if you get the clue on which method to use), Q10 (easy, but also easy to miss out on an event)
Physics: Q15, Q20 (easy if you know your basics and it needs to come to you while solving haha), Q24 (a diagram will really help here; this Q really tests your understanding), Q25 (again not too hard, but you need to be really quick!)

Links and Other Helpful Resources:

PAT Guide by UniAdmissions:

Ultimate PAT Collection by UniAdmissions:

The above books have excellent marking schemes that are fault-proof unlike most other online sources. The books also come with their own past papers (created by UniAdmissions) which had questions that were similar to those on the real exam. Some of the questions were very different and needed you to think more out-of-the-box than your regular PAT questions. One more thing, the marking schemes bridged a lot of gaps in my learning, and this was essential as I wasn’t getting any external support to prepare for the PAT and Interview!

Oxford Physics Past Papers Website:

PMT for solutions:

Oxford PAT for solutions:

Physics and Math Courses for solutions (but only available for few years):

ExamQA for solutions (but only available for few years):

Hope this helps for now.

I will be making a series of posts over the next few weeks/months to help everyone applying to Oxford Physics this year!

Best of luck and feel free to comment below if you have any questions or need advice!
Reply 1
Hi there, thanks for making this. Just wondering if you had a worked solution for Q11 on the 2006 PAT paper? I simply don't understand why certain branches turn off ie. D and G and H make absolutely no sense to me as I dont know when current splits and doesnt split

Quick Reply