This admissions test is taken for some Cambridge courses.
Last updated: 6 months, 4 weeks ago
The CTMUA is a pre-interview admissions test for applicants to the Computer Science course.
Here are some general resources related to the Cambridge Test of Mathematics for University Admission (CTMUA). Use this page as a hub to branch off and use other resources!
The CTMUA is used for a variety of maths-based courses in and out of Cambridge. The CTMUA is taken in the winter term of your application year (Year 13) and so it is used as supplementary criteria in your application, not as offer conditions. It is used along with the application form to decide if you are offered an interview. It is a computer-based test that assesses your mathematical thinking with a series of multiple-choice questions over 2 hours and 30 minutes.
This video 🔗 is an introduction to the CTMUA. It was created by CAAT (Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing) and so is a reliable source of information.
NOTE: Some colleges require you to take an at-interview assessment called the CSAT (Computer Science Aptitudes Test). You will still have to sit the CTMUA beforehand even if your college also asks you to take the CSAT if you are offered an interview. It is an independent test and all the information about this one, including practice papers, can be found here 🔗. You can find out whether your college requires the CSAT on the ‘entry requirements’ tab of the university’s course page 🔗.
You need to be registered for the test by a test centre; you cannot register independently. You must take the test at an authorised Admissions Test location. This is often yours or a neighbouring school, but it might not be. All of them can be found here 🔗.
Your centre needs to register all candidates typically between the beginning of September and the beginning of October. Requests for access arrangements can be made during this time, too. Your teachers/school staff might contact you about it or you might have to reach out to them; it is best to get this done as soon as possible to avoid late fees or missed registration.
The CTMUA costs £55 for home students (non-EU £65), though this can change over the years. This is often the responsibility of the applicant. There is a reimbursement scheme (for UK/EU students only) in place if it would be detrimental for you to pay the entry fee yourself. You’ll have to apply for reimbursement, usually by the middle of October. Don’t hesitate to do this if you need to; money should never be an obstacle to your application. More information about criteria and application can be found in the links below.
The nature of the CTMUA is to test your mathematical thinking. You are not expected to learn a whole host of new content/maths beyond your level. They are asking you to demonstrate how you can apply the knowledge you already have from school in a new style and format of questions. It is not recommended to take any preparatory courses so there is no need to be concerned if this is not an option for you. The questions are supposed to be very new to you and are designed in a way that makes them accessible to everyone, no matter which mathematics curriculum they’ve studied for.
One of the best things to do to prepare is to become familiarised with this new type of question so that you become used to the multiple-choice and computer-based test before the day of the actual assessment. The past papers (linked below) are a very good way of doing this. It might be a good idea to spend some time working through them, beginning without any restrictions, and reserving one for a ‘mock’ test, timed, and in exam conditions. Always take the time to thoroughly go through the papers you complete and compare them with worked solutions. It’s a good way of figuring out where your strengths/weaknesses lie, and what skills you ought to prioritise improving before you sit your test. This is just as important as sitting the past papers in the first place, even if it is time-consuming.
Cambridge Admissions Testing information 🔗 🌟 This is the link to the CAAT page which addresses preparing for the CTMUA: This resource is really valuable and is definitely worth a look. It has links to the CTMUA test specification, notes on Logic and Proof, and 3-4 past papers with worked answers. Remember that these resources were provided by the university themselves; the pages are aimed at prospective applicants and it would be very wise to comb through all explicit advice. The more at home you feel in all of these resources, the less likely it is you’ll feel out of your depth on the day. Being able to devise a calm and predictable environment- knowing what the test is, what it’s for, when, for how long, and where- is a very worthwhile way of preparing.
The YouTube channel ‘Mathsaurus’ 🔗 🌟 hosts a series of videos that work through and explain the 2019 TMUA paper.
The CTMUA is made up of two exam papers; you’ll take one straight after the other. They are made up of 20 multiple-choice questions each (40 total) and, together, they are 2 hours 30 minutes (75 minutes each). They will be taken at computers in your testing centre, not pen and paper like you might be used to. Calculators aren’t allowed during either paper.
Paper 1 is called Applications of Mathematical Knowledge. It is testing you on how you can apply your previous knowledge of mathematics in new situations. Paper 2 is called Mathematical Reasoning. This one does what it says on the tin and assesses how you handle mathematical reasoning, as well as simple ideas from the beginnings of logic. There is a ‘notes’ page on logic on the CAAT page linked below which should give you an insight into what this means if it is unfamiliar to you.
The test typically occurs in the first week of November (05/11 in 2020, for example). Your results will be released to you at the end of the month.
The Oxbridge Formula 🔗 has links to past/specimen papers and their answer keys.
Your overall score is based on performance on both tests. There isn’t a pass/fail system; you will be given a score from 1.0 (lowest) to 9.0 (highest) and you should simply aim to score as highly as possible. You’ll also be given a separate score for each paper, on the same scale, but this is informal and is not a part of your overall result. As you know, the questions are multiple-choice. Your final scores are based on how many correct answers you give, and you will not be marked down for incorrect answers.
A very small proportion of applicants achieve 7.0-9.0, so don’t worry if you don’t perform as ‘highly’ as you’re used to in A Levels. Always keep in mind that the admissions tests are part of an holistic admissions process that evaluates candidates with regard to many factors.
You can find your score, when they’ve been released, here 🔗. They won’t be shared with universities automatically; it is advised that you choose which institutions receive them (your UCAS choices which ask for CTMUA) as soon as possible after results are released, if you do not choose to do it before.