5 steps to prepare for the ENGAA

Applying for Engineering at Cambridge University has honestly been one of the most tiring things I’ve done. And I haven’t even had the interview yet if I get that far.

So far the hardest part has been revising for the ENGAA. There is so little guidance, but having watched several videos on it, I’ve gathered together the main tips I could find so you don’t have to.

What is it?

The ENGAA is the admissions assessment required for Cambridge Engineering applicants. It is an extremely time-pressured exam, with problems that require a different skill set to typical A level questions.

Start preparing early

I have to admit, I left my preparation way too last minute. I would advise you to start preparing before the September term starts, but make sure you still have your holiday!

If you are reading this and your test is soon, don't panic! Just follow as many tips as you can from down below and good luck!

Do past paper questions

Ok so at this point, you’ve probably already had a look at past papers and seen that there aren’t many there. Like pretty much only the 2019 paper and the specimen. There are other papers from 2016 onwards, however, the format of the test has been changed since 2019. While this is the case, it doesn’t hurt to have more practice from the old layout.

I have also seen that the BMAT Section 2 maths and physics questions are very similar to the paper 1 questions that you will be doing. But if you want to use these, you will have to pick out the relevant questions as they are not separated.

Try to do papers under exam conditions. As I mentioned above, this is a time-pressured exam, and the more experience you can get the better.

Finally, when you do the questions, there is no doubt that you will do some wrong. I don't mean that to be condescending, it is just a matter of fact. I have done awfully on the majority of the papers. The questions are different from what you will have seen before, so please don't worry if you don’t do as well as you expected when practising. Even for the test, 60% is considered to be a good score.

Time saving

The average guideline is that you spend 1 and a half minutes on a question in paper 1, and 3 minutes on a question in paper 2. I don't think it is at all necessary to stick to these time limits, some questions will be much easier than others and may only take a matter of seconds to complete.

What to do the night before and on the day

Make sure you have plenty of sleep, the test requires a lot of concentration for 2 hours. Use a pencil to work out things so you can quickly mark down your answer without having to change from pen to pencil. Don’t panic if you don’t manage to finish all the questions, just make sure you answer as many as you can without rushing too much.

Also, be aware of your exam centre’s requirements, so what time you need to be there by and what you need to bring. This will stop you from panicking when you don’t need to at the last minute.

Good luck!

I hope these tips were useful for you so you know where to go next with your preparation. Whenever you are taking the test, I wish you the best of luck. If it does go to plan, well done! If it doesn’t, do not worry about it, if you have followed the advice above, then other people will have found it just as hard as you, and the average will be lower than usual.

Thanks for reading!

Year 13 student applying for Engineering at university, and also loves a cheeky coffee

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store