On October 19th 2023, Oxford Maths applicants for 2024 entry sat the brand-new, partially computer-based MAT. This was one of 7 Oxford admissions tests to see changes in its format, but test-takers of all of these exams reported technical issues that prevented them from effectively sitting their test.
The test days of test-taking were considered disastrous by many and will have a large impact on how Oxford applicants are selected for interviews and places in this exam cycle. However, the Oxford Maths department has issued a statement saying that they will be offering additional, MAT-styled admissions tests for any applicants that were impacted by the technical issues. Let’s explore exactly what happened.
In short, this is what you need to know:
What Happened to the MAT in 2023?
Between October 19th and October 20th 2023, Oxford applicants across the UK arrived at testing centres to sit their Oxford admissions test for their application. Due to recent changes in exam administrator, all tests would now take place on computers using systems provided by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) (with the exception of the MAT and PAT, which were run with a hybrid system of computer-based questions and physical answer sheets). Below are the tests which were affected by this change:
As reported by The Guardian, the implementation of this new system led to a slew of technical issues that ranged from display issues to complete crashes. Many students claimed to have not been able to complete their exams, while others felt they had not performed as well as they should have due to the issues. School staff also claimed to be untrained and unprepared for the new exam format.
The issue was big enough for Oxford to confirm that applicants for English would not have their ELAT scores considered in their application due to the scale of difficulties faced for that exam. However, the MAT, which seems to have been less affected, have taken a different approach to dealing with these issues.
Second Oxford Maths Admissions Test in 2023
An update published by the Oxford Mathematical Institute states that an additional test will be offered to candidates who were impacted by technical difficulties. They emphasise that this test is optional and does not need to be taken by anyone happy with their MAT performance.
This new test will be in the style of MAT Q1. There will be 10 multiple-choice questions to complete and applicants will have 1 Hour to complete it. All questions will use the standard MAT syllabus.
The results of this additional test will be used alongside the original MAT sitting, although extra consideration will be made for those who were impacted by the issues. The MAT will be marked as normal because most applicants reportedly did not face technical issues during their sitting.
To be invited to this additional admissions test, applicants need to submit a special consideration form to the department, explaining that technical issues impacted their performance. This will need to be submitted before November 3rd, as this is the date that invitations will be sent out to all students who submitted a form. Oxford will also be contacting testing centres on the same day.
Applicants will receive a registration form which will need to be completed by November 10th in order to be eligible for the additional test. The test itself will be sat on November 14th at 9AM (although applicants in the USA may sit the test at a different time).
It has been requested by the department that these tests are held by schools and colleges, although remote invigilation for home testing can be arranged when necessary. It has been confirmed that this test will be fully paper-based and will be provided to exam invigilators for printing soon before the the 9AM starting time.
While the MAT is an exam created by Oxford, it can also be sat by applicants for Imperial College London and the University of Warwick. Applicants for these two universities can also sit this additional test if they were impacted by the technical issues,
How Can I Prepare for This Additional Test?
If you were impacted by technical difficulties during your MAT sitting and wish to take this additional test, you will likely want to prepare yourself for it before the testing date.
Thankfully, this test will be in the same format as the original Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT), which has been used by Oxford for many years. The format has changed a fair amount over the years, so this exam will be most similar to last year’s paper.
This test specifically will be based on Question 1 of the MAT, which is the multiple-choice portion of the test. This new test will have the same number of questions and you will have an hour to complete it. If you want to revise the format for these questions, we would recommend checking out our MAT Starter Guide.
As for how to prepare for this test, we would suggest working with MAT Question 1 practice questions, as these will be the types of questions you will be answering. You can find these questions in past papers or MAT question banks, although you can also practice with similar multiple-choice questions in past papers for the Test of Mathematics for University Admission (TMUA) and Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment (NSAA).
If you are due to sit this additional Oxford mathematics test, we wish you the best of luck. Whether or not you were happy with how your MAT sitting went, you should also have begun preparation for the Oxford Maths Interview. This is the next step in your application and potentially the most challenging. If you would like to boost your chances of success by working with Oxbridge Maths experts, discover our Oxbridge Maths Interview Programme, which gives you everything you need to impress your interviewer!
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