Applicants wishing to apply for undergraduate courses in Engineering, Materials Science, Physics, and Physics and Philosophy at Oxford are required to sit the pre-interview assessment PAT (Physics Aptitude Test). The test date in 2021 is scheduled for November 4.
PAT, a two-hour subject-specific admissions test, is designed for candidates who have studied the first year of A-level (or equivalent) Maths and Physics, and covers similar material to that of the GCSE and A-level syllabus. However, its syllabus might include the content that is not covered in ordinary school curriculum. Thus candidates need to do some independent study or training.
Although the PAT score is one of the elements that admissions officers consider, candidates are still suggested to get as high a score as possible. Since competition into world's top universities like Oxford is always fierce (e.g, 2018-2020 average successful rate of Physics and Philosophy course is 9%), the higher the score, the greater chance for applicants to stand out. Admission statistics show that the mean mark of PAT taken by applicants applying for the 2021 entry of BA Physics is 49.1, and most placed candidates achieved 66 and above.
Below are some advice on PAT preparation:
How to Prepare:
1. Read through the syllabus and work on the topics that are not covered at school or you are not familiar with.
2. Practice on all the past papers as much as possible. Although the exam has evolved over time and the recent papers will be more similar to the future ones,going through all past papers still provides a good steer as to the likely content of future papers.
3. Watch the PAT webinar that goes through some of the past questions, which is available on Oxford’s websites.
4. Sit the past and sample papers under timed conditions and mark them, to get as much realistic experience as possible.
5. Find resources such as books, websites, test papers from other assessments or competitions, such as Physics Olympiad or UK Senior Maths Challenge to practice and get familiar with questions and solutions, and expand relevant knowledge scope.
If you are in need of professional advice on tackling challenging PAT, please don’t hesitate to contact us!