Guide to mathematics tests for undergraduate admissions
A guide to the Maths test we expect students to undertake if they wish to apply to Bath for an undergraduate Maths course.
Acceptable Maths tests
We consider the following Mathematics tests if you make an application to our degrees in Mathematics or Statistics (including joint degrees with Computer Science or Economics):
Why do we use these tests as part of the admissions process?
For students studying A levels or Pre Us, these tests provide us with another way to determine your potential to study at Bath, and helps promote fairness, allowing for the recognition of additional study through alternative offers.
For applicants studying other qualifications or who have not studied A level Further Mathematics, these tests help us to ensure that you are academically prepared for the advanced mathematics content of our courses.
If you study certain qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma, we do not consider additional Mathematics tests. Our typical requirements for qualifications awarded outside the UK often require you to also sit one of these tests. If you study qualifications for which we do not publish typical requirements, please contact Undergraduate Admissions for further guidance.
What are the benefits of taking a Mathematics test?
While taking a Mathematics test is not always essential, they help you prepare for the type of study you will encounter on your degree. They also help to develop your problem-solving skills and enhance understanding of your A level content
How will these tests affect my offer?
How we use these tests depends on what qualifications you are taking. If you study A levels or Cambridge Pre-Us, a Maths test may either be required or entitle you to an alternative offer (depending on your level of Further Mathematics).
If you study A level or Pre-U Mathematics and Further Mathematics:
Taking a Mathematics test may mean you are eligible for an alternative offer where the requirement for your third subject (not Mathematics or Further Mathematics) is one grade lower than our typical requirements.
If you take the MAT or TMUA we will receive your score before making a decision on your application. If you perform well and are successful in gaining an offer, you will be made our alternative offer.
If you do not take MAT or TMUA (or if you do not perform as well) and are successful in gaining an offer, you will receive our typical offer and an alternative offer including STEP/AEA papers.
If you study AS level Further Mathematics or no Further Mathematics:
If you study Further Mathematics at AS level only or you do not study Further Mathematics, you will be required to take one of these qualifications as part of your offer.
If you sit either the MAT or TMUA, we will hold your application until we have received your results so we can take them into account when making a decision.
How do we know if you are taking a Mathematics admissions test?
If you have decided to take either the MAT or TMUA, you should declare it in the ‘pending qualifications’ section of your UCAS application.
If you do not list MAT or TMUA on your UCAS application, we will assume that you are not taking them and any offer we make will be based on STEP or AEA.
If you are considering taking STEP or AEA, you do not have to declare it on your UCAS application. If we make an offer, it will automatically include STEP or AEA (either as a requirement or as part of an alternative offer).
How do I sit a Mathematics admissions Test?
Tests are sat at registered test centres, which may be your school or college. If your school or college is not a registered test centre, they can apply to be one. Your school will also need to be the ones to register you for the test.
The MAT and TMUA exams take place in October or early November.
The STEP and AEA papers are both sat in June and quite often at the end of A level examinations.
You can find further information on how to register for these tests here.
If you live outside of the UK, there are many countries with registered test centres for either the MAT or STEP qualifications. You can find them here by selecting your country and the qualification you wish to take.
You may also be able to get advice from your local office of the British Council if the exam board website does not contain all of the information that you require.
Which STEP paper should I sit?
There are three STEP papers and we do not specify a particular one in our offers.
STEP 1 is based on A level Mathematics.
STEP 2 is based on A level Mathematics and some of A level Further Mathematics.
STEP 3 is based on both A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics.
Are the tests graded and what are we looking for?
STEP is graded in ascending order U: 3, 2, 1 and S. We look for applicants to obtain 2 in any STEP paper.
The AEA paper has three grades: U, Merit and Distinction. We look for applicants to obtain a Merit.
MAT does not follow a conventional grading system and performance fluctuates each year. We are therefore precluded from specifying a specific result.
TMUA offers scores of 1.0 to 9.0, with 9.0 being the highest. However their values do change each year, so we are not able to set a standardised requirement. Your results will be assessed in conjunction within the context of the TMUA results for that year. You can request TMUA to release your results to the institutions that you have applied to.
How should I prepare for my test?
If you are unable to get additional support from your school or college, there are plenty of online resources that can help you prepare: - Cambridge run an online STEP Support Programme - MEI offer online support for STEP and MAT - NRICH offer online advanced problem-solving modules - The Advanced Mathematics Support Programme run various problem-solving events - Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing have links to support MAT applicants
We would recommend using some of these resources to familiarise yourself with the syllabus, test format and examples of previous papers.