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Given that you probably won’t have studied engineering on its own before, the most important skills you can bring are from your Physics or Maths A-Levels. The sort of skills that will prove invaluable at university level are: 

  • Knowledge: the knowledge you have learnt from Maths and Physics A-Level will act as a great foundation for university engineering. 
  • Reasoning: the way in which you have learnt to reason mathematically to justify your answers is an important skill in an engineering degree. 
  • Diagrams: drawing clear labelled diagrams is an essential part of engineering. 
  • Problem solving: problem solving is an essential part of engineering, and you will have honed these skills through Maths and Physics A-Level. You can improve them even more by seeking extra problems or a higher level, for example on the UKMT website, or on one of the websites mentioned earlier in the chapter. Also, one of the advantages of studying for the ENGAA or the PAT is that the skills you learnt here will directly translate to university study. 

You can also bring skills from extra-curricular pursuits related to engineering. For example, if you have been given tasks and assignments during a work experience placement, the skills you learnt completing this will prove invaluable. 

Also, any engineering topics you have come to enjoy and understand through problem solving and reading will prove to be a good foundation for study at university. Although they may not always come up, the process of reading about and developing an understanding of a topic in the field is one that you will repeat countless times during self-study at university. 


Remember: look forward to it! You’ve worked hard to get to this point, and you’re going to study a fascinating degree at a world-class institution. You’re incredibly lucky!

If you want more tips for preparation, check out our guide to making the most of the summer before you start your Engineering degree.