The Aptitude Test

The aptitude test is designed to help us see how you approach different types of problems and think about maths. You will be very familiar with the maths included in the test and it won’t include topics from higher tier GCSE.

What might be on the test? 

The test is about mathematics and mathematical reasoning; we don’t ask anything about physics or any other subjects. You won’t be asked anything that requires you to have covered topics from Higher Tier GCSE mathematics.  Calculators are not allowed, but the numbers are not intended to catch you out.  You should be able to do division and multiplication with a written method, and solve equations that involve brackets and fractions.  It’s also worth you learning about prime factorisation and graphs of linear equations if you’re not already confident in those topics.

How can I prepare? 

The test will begin with some relatively predictable questions based on arithmetic and algebra, and if you think you might need to brush up on these you can use the following resources to ensure you are up to scratch: 

Ratios, rates and proportionality

An introduction to algebra

Solving equations and inequalities

Graphs and working with two variables 

If you find learning from these videos and quizzes works for you then you can use it to support your learning in the rest of maths GCSE and other some of your other subjects.  Some of the terminology used is American English (e.g. they say “slope” when we would say “gradient”) but the maths is very close to what you need to know for English maths exams. 

If you’re confident in your number and algebra skills but want to develop your problem solving then there are various websites that are worth looking at but start with these two: 

Past Papers from the UKMT Intermediate Maths Challenge

Interesting problems from the Nrich maths project

We have also provided here some example questions and solutions so that you can see what the test questions will be like:

Sample Questions

Solutions to Sample Questions (can you find the mistake?)

What if I have a bad day on the day of the test and don’t do very well? 

The chances are that you’ll do just fine, but if things don’t go well on the day we’ll still want to meet you to find out more about you, and you can demonstrate to us then what you’re really capable of.   

Enjoy it!

All these will seem very formal and serious but the test itself is a collection of puzzles that you will, hopefully, enjoy.  If you don’t get to the end of the test, or have to leave some answers incomplete, that doesn’t matter.