Which state secondary schools use the Music Aptitude Test?

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Many Secondary State and Grammar Schools receive more applications than available places.  In this event, places are allocated according to the oversubscription criteria set out in the School’s admissions policy.   Music is playing an increasingly important part in the community life of the school, and applicants may therefore request to be considered for entry on the grounds of musical aptitude in the event of oversubscription.

Many schools choose to allocate up to 10% of places to applicants demonstrating an aptitude in music as determined by the school’s testing procedure. Students admitted on musical aptitude often are able to bypass the school’s admission area catchment requirements which is one of the main reasons why this test is so important to many students. Most schools will hold their Music Aptitude Tests in Autumn 2015 for September 2016 entry.

If you are thinking about schools to list on your Common Application Form, then also have a think about preparing in advance for the Music Aptitude Test if you are intending to try for entry on this scheme. You can use these online tests to practice each of the four sections of the MAT. Here are some schools that used the Music Aptitude Tests (MAT) testing procedure in 2012 for 2013 entry. Please check that these schools are still offering the MAT for 2014 entry. This list is not exhaustive. Please do let us know if we have missed any schools from the list. Langley Grammar School
Northampton School for Girls
Parmiter’s School
Leventhorpe
The Bishop’s Stortford High School
The Hertfordshire and Essex High School Dame Alice Owen
Highgate School Queens’ School (Bushey)
Rickmansworth School
South West Herts School consortium
St Anne’s Catholic School, Southampton
St Clement Danes
St Paul’s Way Trust School
The Hertfordshire & Essex High School and Science College
Uxbridge High School
Ashmole Academy 24th May 2013 – uses an enhanced MAT.Our test only covers 2 of 6 sections.
Bushey Meads School
Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School
Chelsea Academy
Watford Grammar School for Boys
Watford Grammar School for Girls
William Ellis School
Wymondham College
Haberdashers’ Aske’s Crayford
Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham
Prendergast Hilly Fields
Bristol Cathedral Choir School
Hackney New School

Other schools using a variation of the MAT (see footnote)*: Hockerill Anglo-European College, Herts Chancellor’s School Mill Hill County High School (see here for sample tests) Camden School for Girls


Here is a sample test used for many, but not all, of the schools listed above. You can try sample tests online at the Music Aptitude Test web site. The test consists of 60 questions of four types: Pitch, Melody, Texture and Rhythm.

  • Pitch: candidates listen to two sounds and have to indicate whether the second sound is the same as the first, or whether it is higher or lower.
  • Melody: candidates listen to two tunes consisting of five notes. Candidates have to decide whether the second tune is the same as the first or if one of the notes has been altered.
  • Texture: candidates listen to a number of notes played together at the same time; this is called a chord. Candidates need to decide whether or not each chord has two, three or four notes.
  • Rhythm: candidates listen to two patterns of notes and have to decide whether the second pattern is the same as, or different from, the first, and where any difference occurs.
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