Preparing for the PAT 2020

27 Jun 2020 - 9:00am

This course, which runs over the summer, is designed to improve your physics and maths problem-solving skills and help you prepare for the Physics Aptitude Test.

The 2020 'Preparing for the PAT' course will run with full study days on Saturday 27th June and Saturday 10th October. Both of these will be online.

Registration for this course is now closed.


This course is for year 12 students from state-funded schools, academies and colleges with little or no history of successful applications to the University of Oxford who are interested in applying to study Physics, Physics and Philosophy, Engineering or Materials Science. It is intended for students who are thinking of sitting the Oxford Physics Admissions Test in 2020.

Why take this course?

Students applying for places to study Physics, Physics and Philosophy, Engineering or Materials Science will be required to sit the Physics Aptitude Test (PAT) as part of the admissions process. This course is designed to prepare students for the PAT by developing their mathematical thinking and problem solving skills.

What's in the course?

This year, there are two streams to the course - an online-only stream (50 participants) and a face-to-face stream (100 participants).
The course consists of two study days and three summer assignments. There will also be some online support available.

Two face-to-face study days

The two study days will take place on Saturday 27th June and Saturday 10th October. The sessions will focus on developing problem solving skills which will help with tackling some of the questions within the PAT. Each day will feature workshops where students will be supported by existing students at The University of Oxford. Those on the face-to-face stream will be invited to Oxford for the October study day. Both study days will be streamed online for course participants.

Three summer assignments

These will consist of sets of questions to help develop thinking skills and problem solving techniques. The assignments will be marked by a student’s mentor and feedback provided via an online platform.

Online support

This is designed to consolidate the problem solving skills the students have developed. Students will be able to post questions to tutors and replies will be posted on an online platform.

Course fees

The cost of the course is £60. (This applies to both the online-only and online-plus-face-to-face courses.) If you will have trouble meeting the cost of the course, please indicate this in the appropriate place on your application form, as we may be able to provide financial support.
Students will be expected to make their own travel arrangements to get to the venue for the face-to-face study day.
We can provide some support for transport costs if this would otherwise prevent students from attending the course.

Priority will be given to applicants where:

  • You would be the first generation of your family to attend university.
  • You have been eligible for one or more of free school meals, pupil premium, Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and/or 16-19 bursary during secondary school
  • You live in an area with a low rate of progression to higher education. If your home or school is POLAR4 quintile 1, 2 or 3 then you meet this criterion. You can check your postcode here .
  • You live in an area with a high level of socio-economic deprivation.
  • You attend a school with little or no history of successful applications to The University of Oxford to study Physics, Engineering or Materials Science.

St Peter's College Scholarships

St Peter’s College is delighted to be funding three places on this course for Year 12 students, thanks to the generosity of one of their alumni. The places are reserved for students from the North West of England; the successful applicants will also be invited to stay overnight in Oxford for the October study day, with the costs of travel, accommodation and board fully covered. All those eligible for the scholarships who gain a place on the course will be considered for them automatically, and the three chosen candidates will be contacted directly when the places on the course are offered.

Feedback from participants

I felt the event really helped me understand how to solve problems methodically.

I really enjoyed it, my student mentor was really friendly and supportive.

I’ll be honest, it was just really good. The workshops were all useful and the student ambassadors were great.

To apply for a place

Applications for places on this course are now open. Please complete this online form. The deadline is 09:00 on Monday 18th May. We will tell you whether you have been given a place by Monday 8th June 2020.

This programme of support has been made possible by the generous support of Dr Tony Hill, Oxford University Alumnus.

For more information contact: