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 5 November 2020.

Changes to the PAT: As you may notice when going through past papers, the PAT has undergone various changes in the past few years. In 2015, multiple-choice questions were removed, and longer 20 mark questions were replaced by shorter 10 mark questions. In 2017, multiple-choice questions were re-introduced and the physics and maths sections were mixed up. The 2020 test will take the same format as the past papers from 2019 and 2018, however the older papers will still be of use when preparing. Please note that specified calculators are permitted.

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

The current calculator specifications to be used in the PAT are: Specifications for Calculators. Please 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.