The Physics Aptitude Test

Required as part of your application

As well as submitting your UCAS application, we’ll ask you to take the Physics Aptitude Test, or PAT. This normally takes place at your school or college, and it gives us some more information to go with what you tell us on your UCAS application.

It’s part of the application process for everyone hoping to study Engineering Science (as well as Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Information Engineering and Mechanical Engineering).

Why do we ask you to take the test?

The number of students hoping to study Engineering Science is on the rise, and we have many more applicants than we do spaces. We also have increasing numbers of applicants who do not have UK GCSEs, whether that’s international students or UK students who’ve studied for other qualifications instead.

Most applicants to Oxford have great personal statements, excellent references and are also predicted top grades, and it can be hard for us to choose between so many well-qualified candidates. Our admissions tutors use your PAT results, alongside what you tell us in your UCAS application and your interview, to get a more well-rounded picture of you as an individual.

Do I also need to apply through UCAS?

Yes, you will also need to submit a UCAS application, just as you would for any other course. You will apply for the PAT test seperately, via Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing.

How can I prepare for the test?

Take a look through the topics that the test covers and make sure you’re up to speed. It’s also a good idea to have a go at some past papers under exam conditions to get a feel for what the test involves. You’ll find all of that here.

The Physics Department here at the University of Oxford has also produced some helpful tips on preparing for the PAT. Click here to read them

Don’t forget that calculators are now permitted when taking the test.

When will I take the test?

The test usually takes place in your own school or college - you’ll need to make sure that you’re available on the day. Find out the date of the next test.

How do I register for the test?

The Physics Aptitude Test is run by Cambridge Admissions Assessment Testing, and you’ll need to register with them.

You'll need to check whether or not your school or college is registered as a test centre. If they are not, they can follow this advice on how to become a test centre. If for any reason your school cannot become a test centre, or your circumstances make this impractical, you can take your test at an open centre.

Can I apply for access arrangements?

Your test centre will be able to apply for access arrangements for you if you have a permanent or long-term disability which might affect your performance such as a sight impairment, dyslexia or cerebral palsy. You may also be eligible for access arrangements if you have a short-term difficulty, such as a broken arm.

Check with Cambridge Admissions Assessment Testing to find out what access arrangements you're eligible for.