Maths test for Engineering courses

If you are applying to one of our University of Bristol Engineering courses, but you are not studying A-level Mathematics or equivalent, we may ask you to take a maths test.

This information is for students applying to start university in September 2020. (Information for students applying for 2021 entry will be available in autumn 2020.)

Engineering courses at the University of Bristol are challenging and students without A-level Mathematics or equivalent have struggled in the past. To ensure that applicants are prepared to succeed we:

  1. set an entry exam that assesses applicants’ ability to handle the mathematical challenges in the first year of the course; 
  2. offer support throughout the first year to address any issues. 

The maths test forms part of your pre-offer assessment and we will not be able to offer you a place if you do not take the test.

Booking your maths test

If we require you to take the maths test, our Admissions Team will contact you. We will send you an email explaining how to register online for your preferred test date.  

After you have booked your place we will send you further information about the day including times and locations.

On the day

The test takes place as part of your department's visit day. Most Engineering applicants will take the test in the morning. After you have finished the test, you will be taken to register for your department’s visit day and lunch will be provided.

Applicants to our Computer Science courses take a slightly different maths test, which takes place at the end of your visit day.

The visit day is a chance to meet staff and current students on your course and look around the department and laboratory facilities. Visit days incorporating the maths test will take place in March and April 2020.

View our visit days website for further information, including your visit day programme and information about travel and travel bursaries.

Preparing for the engineering maths test 

The maths test will last for 60 minutes. It will cover questions based on UK AS and A2 (A-level) topics that are fundamental to the first year of our Engineering courses.

The test is held in exam conditions. You will be provided with a formulae sheet and you can use a calculator, but you cannot use notes. 

Our Engineering maths test applicant information (PDF, 175kB) contains a list of learning resources to help you revise for the exam. We also publish a Engineering maths test specimen paper (PDF, 120kB) which is similar to what you can expect in the exam.

You will be given a formulae sheet in the exam which is similar to the formulae booklet given in the AQA exam. Familiarise yourself with this sheet, but note that it contains more information than required.

You can find specifications and past papers for UK A-level examinations on exam board websites, including AQAEdexcel and OCR.

We recommend that you read the applicant information well in advance of your test and prepare by taking the specimen paper in exam conditions.

Preparing for the computer science maths test

The computer science maths test will last for 60 minutes. The test is held in exam conditions and you will not be able to use notes.  The test is multiple choice and you will have access to a University of Bristol computer. 

Topics covered will include AS and A2 Mathematics Core 1, 2 and 3 and Mechanics 1 and 2 units. The test consists of three sections: maths (25 questions), quantitative comparison (14 questions), and graphs (6 questions).

You can find specifications and past papers for UK A-level examinations on exam board websites, including AQAEdexcel and OCR.

See Computer Science maths test applicant information (PDF, 340kB) for further information. 

Your test results

The department will pass your results to the Admissions Team, who are responsible for making decisions on offers. You will be informed of the decision on your application as soon as possible via UCAS.

Accessibility advice

If you are usually entitled to extra time in assessments, you must contact the Admissions Team in advance to request additional time. Please see the relevant applicant information document for your test for further information and contact details.

For advice on studying with a disability, contact our Disability Services team on +44 (0)117 331 0444 or

If you have questions or need to change your test date

If you are unsure whether you will be required to sit the maths test, need to change a booked test or if you have any questions about the process, please contact us: +44 (0)117 394 1649 or

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