Music Scholarships for Secondary Schools: Information about the MAT (Music Aptitude Test)

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Musical Aptitude Test - Specimen test paper (answer sheet)

MAT – Specimen paper answer sheet

We have created a target set of training materials for the Music Aptitude Test in conjunction with music technology experts. These sample tests are created in line with the MAT syllabus and will help you prepare for the test. Our test materials  Blank test sheets and answers are available to download on our dedicated Music Aptitude Test web site.


Many students will be sitting their Music Aptitude Test (MAT) in the next few weeks for admission to State Secondary Schools in London and further afield. My blog posts about the MAT have definitely been getting lots of hits as parents look around for information regarding the 60 question multiple choice test.

The questions are all played on a CD. It is somewhat similar to the aural tests and ear listening games, except that you rarely hear an instrument that you will recognise, it is usually a series of electronic beeps. This is done to level the playing field and not give any one instrumentalist an advantage over another. Here is the breakdown of what to expect from the MAT.


There are 4 sections to the test as follows:

Pitch: For these questions candidates listen to 2 sounds and have to indicate whether the second sound is the same as the first, or whether it is higher or lower. There are 20 of these questions and some of the pitches are less than a semitone apart.

Melody: For these questions candidates listen to 2 tunes consisting of 5 notes. Candidates have to decide whether the second tune is the same as the first or if one of the notes has been altered. If there is a change, candidates will be expected to identify which note has been altered by giving the note number. There are 10 questions.

Texture: For these questions candidates listen to a number of notes played together at the same time. Candidates need to decide whether or not each chord has 2, 3 or 4 notes. There are 20 questions.

Rhythm: For these questions candidates listen to 2 patterns of notes and have to decide whether the second pattern is the same as or different to the first. Each rhythm will be 4 beats in length. There are 10 questions.


What happens next?

The highest scoring candidates will be invited back to perform either on their chosen instrument or vocally and there is a totally free choice of piece. Candidates will also have to clap back a rhythm and will be asked a music related question. Their aptitude is gauged from these performances and once again the opportunity to use the voice allows access to all children regardless of previous experience.

How Can I Prepare for the MAT?

See this earlier blog post for various online tests that are similar to the MAT. Also ask your teacher to go through lots of these questions in the lesson as preparation for the MAT using both the online games and standard aural tests. Pay particular attention to the Pitch question as this is one of the hardest sections due to the use of intervals smaller than a semitone. Pianists are definitely at a disadvantage when it comes to this section as we are not used to hearing anything smaller than a semitone, but most other instrumentalists, particularly string players, will be more likely to have heard microtones – even if they were unintentionally made when playing out of tune!

Read more online:

Practice online for the Music Aptitude Test (MAT)
Coping with stage fright

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About Lorraine

Head Teacher at the SE22 Piano School, a private piano teaching practice in East Dulwich, South London. I work with a fantastic team of teachers offering piano, harpsichord & music theory lessons to adults and children from the age of 4. www.se22piano.co.uk
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