Music Aptitude Test explained

The Music Aptitude Test (MAT) is a component of the secondary school admissions based on music scholarship. MAT can be used for selective and non-selective schools.

Schools in Sutton and surrounding areas that use the MAT:

  • Glenthorne High School

  • Carshalton High School for Girls


The MAT typically comprises of 2 stages. The first stage is a written paper based on audio tracks either live or pre-recorded. 4 areas are assessed:

  1. Pitch

  2. Melody

  3. Texture

  4. Rhythm

The second stage is a live performance audition.


The MAT is not an extremely common selection test. Each school will vary their exact exam wording and number of questions, but the MAT is primarily based on the Bentley test. This usually comprises 60 questions over 4 areas.

Students need to begin preparing early, I would recommend at least 6 months in advance of the exam. There are a variety of free and paid resources online. I high recommend you purchasing copies of mock/ practice exercises and tests to familiarise with answering these questions.

For the performance audition, make sure to play an interesting piece that is not on an exam syllabus. The piece and performance needs to stand out. Prepare well with a good piano teacher, focusing on bringing the piece to performance level. This means more than just playing the correct notes, at a good tempo with rhythm. It means phrasing, colouring, shaping, voicing and stage presence. I recommend working to memorise key sections, so that if a mistake is made, the performer can easily recover with little hesitation.