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How to Prepare for the ENGAA Exam

How to Prepare for the ENGAA Exam

4 min Read|September 26 2023
|Written by:

Thomas Babb


If you’re applying for Chemical Engineering or Engineering at the University of Cambridge, then you’ll have to sit the Engineering Admissions Assessment (ENGAA) as part of the pre-interview criteria.

Structured as a two-hour exam that is completely multiple choice, this exam sets out to test a student’s problem-solving skills. There is no penalty for getting a question wrong, so you should always attempt, or at least guess, every answer on the paper. As there are many questions to get through in a short amount of time, two of the core skills that are tested within the ENGAA exam are fast calculation and time management.

In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about the ENGAA exam and ensure you’re as prepared as possible come exam day.

How is the ENGAA Exam Structured?

The ENGAA exam is made up of two sections, with students having 60 minutes to complete each one of these sections. This is a strictly non-calculator paper, with all the questions being in a multiple-choice format.

While the ENGAA contains a lot of knowledge that you will have covered during your A-Level Physics and A-Level Maths studies, there might be a few topics that you’re not too familiar with. Especially depending on how far through your syllabus you are, you may need to revise ahead to ensure that you have absolutely all the knowledge required.

Within the exam itself, you’ll only be tested on topics that are listed within the ENGAA specification, meaning you can actively revise from the most recent year’s specification to be in with the best chance of having a good idea of how to answer every question.

Here are the breakdowns of what you’ll face in each section:

  • Section 1 - Split into Section 1A, which focuses on Maths and Physics multiple-choice questions, and 1B, which has advanced questions on the same topics. Across the 40 questions (20 in each subsection), you should spend around 90 seconds per question. In total, that means you should spend 30 minutes on both Section 1A and Section 1B.
  • Section 2 - The second section focuses on advanced physics multiple-choice questions, only having 20 total questions. As you’re allotted the same amount of time, you’re able to spend around 3 minutes on every single question. This section is much harder than the first section, and will require you to bring a level of creativity to this complex question set.

Between these two sections, you can score a total of 60 marks (40 in Section 1 and 20 in Section 2).

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How is the ENGAA Marked?

While there are a total of 60 marks up for grabs, this does not mean that your final score will be out of 60. Instead, your score is translated into a scale from 1-9. While this is a multiple-choice paper, there are a minimum of 5 options per question, with the majority having either 8 or 7 options.

Due to this, if you were to guess every answer within Section 1, you’d score 6.5/40, on average. In section two, there are more options, meaning you’d get 3/20, on average. With this considered, Cambridge has ensured that those candidates that fall into the guessing range score a 1 on the paper.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of how the score scaling works:

ENGAA scores


As you can see, anyone that achieves 15/20 in Sections 1B and 2 will be able to secure a 9, meaning that a fair amount of students each year end up with top marks in the ENGAA entrance exam.



Typically, you should be aiming for a 6.0 or above across all of the Sections in order to have a good chance of receiving an offer from Cambridge.

How Should I Prepare for the ENGAA Exam?

UniAdmissions conducted a study on how significant the ENGAA exam was in regards to receiving an offer from Cambridge, with their results showing that it was incredibly important. Out of 31 applicants that scored 9.0 in section 1, 28 received an offer. Equally, seventeen out of twenty applicants that scored 15/20 or higher in the second section also received offers.

Due to this, if you want the best possible chance of getting an Engineering offer from Cambridge, then you should attempt to score as well as possible on the ENGAA exam.

If you’re looking for a top score, there are two main methods you should rely on:

  • Past Papers - Past papers are the single most useful resource that you can turn to when it comes to revising for the ENGAA exams. Not only does Cambridge provide every single past paper, but they ensure that there is ample documentation within the mark scheme, helping you to see exactly how previous answers were structured and answered.
  • Specification Revision - Just like in your other A-Level studies, you should use the ENGAA specification as a holy grail of information. Every single skill that you need to succeed will be listed within the specification, allowing you to move through this document and learn everything you need to perform well in the exam.
  • Working with a Tutor - Partnering with an online ENGAA tutor will allow you to supercharge your Maths and Physics skills, with their advice helping you to understand the abilities needed to do well on the exam. As previous ENGAA exam takers themselves, an online ENGAA tutor will be able to help shape your revision and ensure you’re ready come exam day.

By combining these three approaches, you’ll be well on your way to getting a top grade in your ENGAA exam.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a top ENGAA tutor to help you revise for this exam, then TutorChase is the easiest solution for you. All of our online ENGAA tutors have sat the ENGAA exam and achieved fantastic results. From there, many of them have gone on to study Engineering at top UK universities, like Cambridge.

Get in contact with us today, and we’ll find the perfect online ENGAA tutor for you to help you smash your upcoming exams.

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Professional tutor and Cambridge University researcher

Thomas Babb

Written by: Thomas Babb

Oxford University - PhD Mathematics

Thomas is a PhD candidate at Oxford University. He served as an interviewer and the lead admissions test marker at Oxford, and teaches undergraduate students at Mansfield College and St Hilda’s College. He has ten years’ experience tutoring A-Level and GCSE students across a range of subjects.

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