Physics Aptitude Test (PAT)

Everyone who applies to study Physics or Physics and Philosophy at Oxford must take the Physics Aptitude Test. There are no exceptions. The Department of Physics is working in partnership with the Admissions Testing Service to administer the above admissions test.

The date for the test is 4 November 2020.

Please note that the format of the Physics Aptitude Test has evolved. In 2017 multiple choice questions were re-introduced and the physics and maths sections were mixed up with one another rather than being two distinct sections. New Sample paper

In 2015, multiple choice questions were eliminated. Long physics problems worth 20 marks were also eliminated in favour of shorter questions worth less than 10 marks each. Candidates are still urged to plan their time and attempt all the questions on the paper.

Candidates should look over a range of past papers. An old '2009 style' sample paper is also available, together with an old set of sample solutions. A new set of sample solutions for 2010 is also now available here.

Before you look at the sample solutions, we’d like to offer some words of caution:

  • don’t look at the solutions too soon – seeing an answer is no substitute for figuring it out for yourself
  • a solution presented here is by no means the only or the best way to solve the problem – it is just one possible route

Calculators have been permitted from 2018. Please note that the specifications changed in 2019 so please check: Specifications for Calculators used in the PAT to make sure the calculator you plan to use is allowed.

Formula sheets, tables and data books are not permitted.

Candidates are strongly advised to familiarise themselves with the format of the test and the syllabus.

Information on Preparing for the Physics Aptitude Test (PAT) can be found on the Physics and the Universitypages. There are no recommended texts for the PAT. A video of a talk at the 2018 Open Days on how to prepare for the PAT can be found here.

Candidates need to be entered for the Physics Aptitude Test (PAT) by 15 October via the Cambridge Admissions Testing Service’s website.