Student Advice


By Ben Maples  · Oct 27th 2021

Admissions tests have become more and more common at major universities as applications rise every year.


Those looking to study a Mathematics degree or a degree that is related in any way to Maths, will likely need to sit an admissions test. Universities have been offering admissions tests more and more as part of their university application processes over the years, with the TMUA being the most recent test offered by UK universities.

The TMUA is designed to test not only your mathematical application, but also your ability to reason out mathematical formulas.

TMUA Durham

What is the TMUA?

The TMUA is the Test of Mathematics for University Admission, a paper-based test that assesses the mathematical thinking and the reasoning skills of candidates hoping to apply for a Maths degree or any course that has Mathematics in it; it is sometimes known as the CTMUA. The TMUA was created by Cambridge Assessment Admissions Training (CAAT) and was launched properly in 2016.

There are two papers for students to sit, which is two-and-a-half hours long, which are designed this way:

Test Time Questions Description
Test 1
Mathematical Thinking
75 minutes 20 (multiple choice) Assesses a candidate’s ability to apply mathematical knowledge to situations. Looks at:
  • Algebra
  • Basic functions
  • Coordinate geometry
  • Differentiation
  • Exponentials and logarithms
  • Graphs of functions
  • Integration
  • Sequences and series
  • Trigonometry
Test 2
Mathematical Reasoning
75 minutes 20 (multiple choice) Assesses a candidate’s ability to justify and interpret mathematical arguments and deal with logic.

Candidates are not allowed to have calculators or dictionaries in the test either. Students will be allowed to try and work out the answers themselves on whiteboards or on bits of paper, but will not be allowed to use aids of any kind.

The TMUA is usually used for a Mathematics degree, but also for an Economics degree or a Computer Science degree.

Only a few universities in the UK actually offer TMUA papers as part of their admissions policy, which are:

It has been known for other universities to add the TMUA to their admissions policy or for any of the above to drop it as admissions procedures are constantly changing across universities in the United Kingdom.

Durham University and Lancaster University first began using the test in 2016, while other universities adopted the test as of 2017 onwards.

TMUA specimen paper

How is the TMUA scored?

Bizarrely for an admissions test, there are no pass or fail grades for the TMUA exam, meaning that there are no TMUA grade boundaries. A candidate’s TMUA results are instead given by the number of correct answers in both of the above papers. Students do not lose marks for incorrect answers and every single question has the same mark.

Despite there being no TMUA pass mark, the scores are then converted into a scale between 1.0 and 9.0. 1.0 is the lowest, while 9.0 represents the highest. It is possible to see the overall score for both test papers as well.

TMUA important dates

There are a number of important TMUA dates, with regards to registration, testing and when you will receive your TMUA results.

The important TMUA dates candidates need are:

Date Action
1st September Registration opens.
30th September Final date to request modified question papers.
1st October Standard fee registration closes.
15th October Late fee registration closes.
Last date to request Access Arrangements.
Last date to request reimbursement of fees.
5th November Test date.
30th November Results released to test takers.
4th December Last date for results enquiries.

These dates have been known to change and depend on the year of the course. With regards to results, they are not sent automatically to the institute that you are applying to, unlike the GAMSAT, where results are sent out to UCAS at the same time as those studying and then forwarded onto the relevant institutes.

If registration deadlines fall on public or national holidays, then the date is not extended further to accommodate this, so make sure you register in good time.

TMUA costs

The cost of the TMUA, like the dates of the test, can fluctuate and have been known to change depending on the amount of students applying and on interest rates. The costs are also different for foreign students looking to study in the UK.

The current cost of the TMUA are:

Cost Type
£55/€75 EU (UK included) standard entry fee.
£65/€92/$99 Non-EU standard entry fee.
£20/€30/$40 Additional late entry fee
Registrations made between 1st October and 15th October.
£35/€48/$51 Application for results enquiries.
£35/€48/$51 Application for appeal.

There may also be administration fees that are added on top of these fees by the test centre that you're registered with, although you will need to contact your test centre for information about whether or not they add an additional cost on top.


How do you revise for the TMUA?

TMUA preparation can be done in a variety of ways. If you can find any TMUA past papers (which can usually be found online), then you should be able to see the kind of questions that usually come up in the TMUA.

Since the TMUA is a test of your mathematical knowledge, it is best to look at GCSE, A Level or AS Level Mathematics prior to taking the TMUA test as this is likely what you will be tested on.

Another important thing to remember is that the test is multiple choice, this means that the test is not taken like a normal Maths test with marks for showing your working, you will be graded on your answers. We recommend looking at multiple choice Mathematics quizzes online and testing your abilities to answer questions from a selection.

Does the TMUA affect the offer I receive from my university?

Even though you cannot pass or fail the TMUA, the results you receive can affect the offer you receive from the university you're applying to.

Your offer may be reduced or increased depending on the results you receive. A good response may see you required to achieve lower grades, whereas a poor response may see your grade requirements increase.

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