Engineering Admissions Assessment (ENGAA)

This admissions test is taken for some Cambridge courses.
Last updated: 4 months ago

Description

The Engineering Admissions Assessment (ENGAA) is a pre-interview assessment that’s considered as part of your application to study Engineering (as well as Chemical Engineering via Engineering) at the University of Cambridge.

How to Prepare

Here are some general resources related to the Engineering Admissions Assessment (ENGAA). Use this page as a hub to branch off and use other resources!

Because most applicants receive high grades in school, the ENGAA helps Admission Tutors assess the academic potential of candidates who may look similar on paper. Although the ENGAA is an important part of your application, it’s used alongside other aspects of your application to assess your suitability for the Engineering course, so it isn’t the be-all and end-all of your application. Nevertheless, with sufficient practice and understanding of the test structure you can become more confident in your abilities when sitting the ENGAA.

The Basics: Overview

The ENGAA is a two hour long pre-interview exam that is wholly multiple choice and is designed to assess how applicants apply their existing knowledge and problem-solving skills to potentially unfamiliar situations. You must register for the ENGAA via an authorized testing centre which, for a lot of applicants, will be their school/college. If you are not able to take the assessment at your school/college, you’re able to find an authorized open test where you can take the assessment centre via this link 🔗. The registration deadline for the ENGAA is typically in mid-October, with the assessment date being in the start of November, but make sure to check Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing 🔗 for the registration and assessment dates when you apply.

The Basics: Who needs to take it?

All applicants for Engineering (H100) or Chemical Engineering via Engineering (H810) are required to sit the ENGAA. If you are a mature student applying to a mature college you may be invited to sit an at-interview written assessment instead of the ENGAA. In addition to the ENGAA, some colleges require applicants to sit an additional college-set written assessment at interview. Currently, these colleges are:

King’s 🔗,
Gonville and Caius 🔗,
Peterhouse 🔗,
Robinson 🔗,
and Trinity 🔗.

Please refer to each college’s website for further information on these at-interview assessments.

The Basics: Structure

The ENGAA consists of two sections; Section 1 and Section 2, which are both 60-minute long, no calculator multiple-choice papers.

Section 1 contains Mathematics and Physics multiple-choice questions, and is split into two parts: Section 1A, which contains 20 multiple-choice questions on Maths and Physics; and section 1B: which contains 20 multiple-choice questions on Advanced Maths and Physics. All questions in Section 1 are of equal weighting: you will score 1 mark for every correct answer, and 0 marks for incorrect answers. You are expected to spend 90 seconds on each question in Section 1, and are advised to split you time equally to spend 30 minutes on Sections 1A and 1B.

Section 2 contains Advanced Physics multiple-choice questions. There are 20 multiple-choice questions in this section, which you are given 60 minutes to complete. As such, you have slightly more time to answer questions in Section 2 (3 minutes on average) when compared to Section 1 (90 seconds on average), but the questions in Section 2 are designed to be more complex and require more creative thinking skills.

The ENGAA is supposed to cover content which you are familiar with from your A-level studies. However, there may be some topics in the ENGAA specification which you may have not covered yet or still struggle with. It is recommended that you cover these topics thoroughly before sitting the ENGAA. Please refer to this link 🔗 in order to find the most up-to-date test specification.

The Basics: Marking

Similarly to many other pre-interview assessments at Cambridge, the ENGAA is graded on a scale from 1.0 to 9.0, where the average candidate is expected to score a 4.0. There is no set score necessary to be invited for interview as it varies from college to college, and the distribution of ENGAA scores may vary from year to year.

Preparation

Past papers are probably the most important resource when preparing for the ENGAA. A specimen paper and all past papers for the ENGAA are provided on the University of Cambridge’s Engineering website 🔗, and are an invaluable resource when preparing for the assessment. Because the number of ENGAA past papers is limited, you can also attempt Physics Aptitude Test (PAT) 🔗 past exam papers for revision, which is the assessment sat by applicants for Physics, Material Sciences, and Engineering at Oxford. The PAT is less time-pressured than the ENGAA, but the questions are slightly harder.

Below are some additional resources which discuss how best to prepare for the ENGAA:

This video 🔗 outlines the basics of the ENGAA, as well as tips and tricks when preparing for it.
This video 🔗, which is a follow up to the previous one, explains the approach to solving some past ENGAA questions.
This article 🔗 outlines some tips in preparing for the ENGAA.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some tips and tricks from current Cambridge Engineering students on how to ace the ENGAA. Remember, these are just personal opinions, so take them with a pinch of salt!

Since there is no penalty for an incorrect answer, I would recommend guessing answers if you feel that you’re running out of time. You might also want to leave more difficult questions to the end in order to pick easy marks first, seeing as all questions are weighted equally.

You definitely don’t need to spend money on external resources to prepare, especially as they are often not affiliated with the test. Isaac Physics 🔗 is a great website where you can find physics and maths questions in a similar style to ENGAA questions.

Time management and fast calculation are key, so make sure to practice some full practice papers under timed conditions instead of just attempting single questions.

Because the ENGAA is a fairly new exam, there aren’t many past papers available, so make sure to use them wisely! I personally started my revision by attempting one of the ENGAA papers under timed conditions to gauge my capabilities and areas for improvement, and only towards the end of my revision did I attempt the remaining ENGAA papers.

Some preparation resources which I found useful were Professor Povey's Perplexing Problems 🔗, which was a puzzle book geared towards university applicants, and iWantToStudyEngineering 🔗, which is a website that contained lots of practice questions.

Don’t worry if you don’t finish all the questions in time -- the ENGAA is designed to be difficult and most applicants are in the same boat as you.