PAT Scoring: What Is A Good PAT Score?

When you're preparing for the PAT one thing you're going to want to know straight away is how the exam is scored and what you can expect from your results. This guide will take you through everything you need to know about how your score is determined.

Last Updated: 16th September 2022

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When applying to Oxford to study a Physics-based subject, the PAT is an important step of the application process. 

Like any other Admissions Test, the PAT is one part of your university application so doing well in it is important. So understanding how the PAT is scored and your results presented to you will be one less weight to bear. 

Which is why we have put together this guide going over everything you need to know about the scoring and results of the PAT. 

When do you get your PAT results?

Firstly, you will likely be wondering when do you actually get your results. 

For students who sit the PAT on the 20th October 2023; PAT scores will be distributed to all applicants for Materials Science and Engineering, and to all unsuccessful applicants for Physics and Physics and Philosophy, shortly after college decision letters are sent in January.

The Oxford college you are applying to will already have your results so there is nothing you need to do. 

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How is the PAT Scored?

The PAT scoring is likely most aligned with what you are familiar with from schooling. 

The PAT has a mixture of multiple-choice and written answer questions, with the marks available totalling to 100.

Most questions will award you with 2-5 marks depending on the length and complexity of the question as well as your quality of answer in the case of the written responses. 

There is no negative marking in the PAT, therefore you will will not lose any of the marks you have accumulated. 

The raw mark is converted into a percentage which will act as your final result. 

What Can we learn from past PAT Scores?

Unlike the vast majority of the Admissions Test, previous PAT marks are presented in a way that contextualises the results more. 

The Admissions Report document shares information such as how many people sat the paper, and compared statistics with that of previous years. 

This is a helpful way in knowing where you stand, when doing past papers to grasp a better understanding of whether you actually done well or not. 

If you are interested in taking a closer look at the examiners’ reports, you can find them here.

Other than that, Oxford does not provide much information but from trends in the reports we can see a threshold mark, below which candidates will not be placed on the interview short-list. This mark will not be determined until the results of the tests are available.

The mean score on the PAT in 2020 was 49 with the highest score of 97 and a minimum of 8. Candidates seeking to gain an interview will be looking to score in the 60+ region. Obviously, the higher the better.

With this in mind, we can take a look at the 2021 PAT results. 

PAT 2021 Results

Below you can see the score distributions for the 2021 PAT. 

One thing it is particularly interesting is that it notes which applicants were shortlisted and those that were ultimately placed – note candidates receive this information after receiving their decision. 

There is a spike at 0, which Oxford has clarified represents those who did not register for the PAT test, applicants who had Covid or other special circumstances on the date of the PAT test, and applicants who have to do compulsory military service for whom acceptance is carried over from a previous admissions round.

It has been noted that the 2021 PAT was harder than the previous years with a mean mark of 43.1% – it was 49.5% in 2020. 

Oxford has citied the lower scores due to disruptions caused by the pandemic, and as a result set a higher automatic threshold than in previous years. This was set at 63% (confirming what was stated above, with 60+ being where you should be aiming for). 

PAT 2021

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what are good, average, and low PAT scores?

The distribution tables above provide an idea of what scores candidates have achieved, with a brief explanation of the tables themselves. But what actually is a good, average, or low score?

Based on what we have seen for the previous year’s results and the information provided by Oxford, we can see a pattern in regard to the scores. These can be categorised as follows:

What is a Good PAT Score?

It is generally agreed that anything from 60 and above is considered a good PAT score. Only the most exceptional applicant will achieve this. As you can see in the distribution charts above, around this mark is where there is a drop-off in the results. By achieving a 60 or higher, you will be placing yourself in a very competitive position with your Oxford application.

What is an Average PAT Score?

For the average PAT score, you would be looking at anything between 40 and 60.; the vast majority of applicants will find themselves in this category. The table above clearly demonstrates that applicants in this range will be shortlisted. 

What is a Low PAT Score?

Anything below a 40, therefore, is considered a low PAT score. From the table above, we can that very few applicants find them shortlisted with a score of 40 or below, and subsequently very rarely placed. 


Hopefully, from the above, you have a better understanding of how the scoring and results of the PAT works. 

What is key to remember is that the conversion table and the distribution of results are not set in stone and will fluctuate each year due to the perceived difficulty of the Admissions Test. 

The PAT is difficult, and it is designed to be that way, so do not feel disheartened if you feel you did not do your best as chances are everyone will have felt that way. 

Maximise your PAT score through effective PAT preparation.

The PAT is a vital component of your Oxford application so scoring highly can mean the difference between an offer or rejection. At UniAdmissions, we are experts at boosting your PAT score and maximising your chances of gaining a place.

Discover our PAT Programme by clicking the button below to enrol and triple your chances of success.

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