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If you’re applying to Cambridge for Computer Science, you’ll have to sit the CSAT at the time of your interview. But how can you prepare for the CSAT? We’ve got 7 tips for preparation to ensure that you can master anything you’re faced with.

  1. Remember: you have until your interview to prepare for the CSAT. Much of the preparation you do for your interview will feed into CSAT practice, and vice versa.
  2. Past papers are always the best form of preparation; for the CSAT, there are three specimen papers available on the website. In addition, the MAT (especially the multiple choice style questions), and STEP I are cited as invaluable preparation by Cambridge. We offer worked video solutions to all of these papers on our website, as well as details about coming to our in person courses, designed with the CSAT questions in mind. 
  3. Although you are only expected to answer 10 questions (5 from each section) in the CSAT, it is worth answering all the questions on the specimen papers, or at least those that cover topics you have studied. I would recommend trying to do the papers in timed conditions, and then, out of the time constraints, answering the remaining questions that you didn’t choose to answer. The specimen papers are the most accurate representation of what the CSAT will be like, as it is written by the same people, so make the most of this resource! 
  4. It is also important, as with MAT preparation, to ensure that you are comfortable and familiar with all of the maths covered on the Pure A-Level first year syllabus. You can find a detailed breakdown of everything that you may be examined on in the CSAT in our free guidebook, accessible at stepmaths.co.uk/CSAT.  You should be confident with all the first year pure content, and anything you have so far covered in second year. Although it is not necessary to read ahead very far, and learn the entire syllabus before you study it in school, it is important to make sure all the skills you have so far accumulated are as strong as possible. 
  5. STEP I is also a great resource for CSAT preparation, as it poses content you are familiar with (the first year Pure Maths content) in new and unexpected ways. The style of question mirrors the second section of the CSAT, and the detailed mark schemes and video solutions on the STEPMaths website can help you see clear methods and techniques for navigating these complex and developed questions. 
  6. It is also important to make sure your mental arithmetic skills are up to scratch before the exam, as it is non-calculator. This is also important for your interviews. You don’t want to fall at a simple hurdle!
  7. The Project Euler questions echo the style of the CSAT questions, so trying to find solutions to some of these will really help when it comes to answering the CSAT questions. The skills will also be transferable to your interview.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you should now have a good idea of how to prepare for the CSAT. Why not also check out our top tips for sitting the CSAT, or our guide to what the CSAT actually is? Remember: the most important thing is to keep calm, and to not panic.

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