All applicants for September 2024 will have received an email about the status of their application. Applicants can access their profile here.  (Updated: 05/04/24)

Headteacher's Blog 2: The application process
(21 November 2022)

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Hello all

Our application deadline is approaching, and we have been busy organising the admissions test, and the preparation workshop for students who applied by the Early Bird deadline. If you’ve not yet heard from us about the admissions test and the workshops, keep checking your emails this week.

If you’re still unsure about applying, I wanted to try to settle some nerves about the process.

Predicted grades

If you have not received your predicted grades from your school, please do not worry. You should just put what you expect to achieve. We will not use what you enter to determine whether to make you an offer, and we will verify your predicted grades with your teacher reference.

The personal statement

The personal statement may be something that is a bit daunting, so I wanted to give some advice.

  • You don't need to write lots. You should aim for around 400 words.
  • On the other hand, don't write nothing! It is our chance to get to know you, and for you to demonstrate that you have thought carefully about your application.
  • Be yourself, and write it yourself. It should be your voice.
  • If you are not sure what to write about, we suggest thinking about some of the following (you do not need to address all of them):
  • Why you are interested in your subject choices
  • Any career aspirations 
  • Any academic achievements 
  • Anything your have done that shows your interest in the subject beyond your GCSEs
  • What in particular about ICLMS appeals to you
  • Other skills or qualities that you have that you think would make you a good candidate for ICLMS. 

The admissions test

The admissions test is meant to test your mathematical thinking and problem solving. You do not need to know any A level maths. It contains GCSE content and below only. You can find the full list of topics here and our practice paper here. The mark scheme is here. It is meant to be challenging, so if you find the practice paper hard, don’t be put off. It probably means that others have found it challenging as well. As schools teach GCSE maths in different orders there is a small chance that there will be a question on a topic you haven’t covered. You may still be able to work it out!

Remember that there are three sections, and the questions at the start of section B should be easier than those at the end of section A, so think about how to time yourself.

We have teamed up with Cambridge Maths School to produce a second practice paper, so you have more opportunity to practice. This will be on the website by the end of the week. My advice would be to work through the first practice paper and try all the questions, then go carefully through the solutions. After that, you should try the second paper in timed conditions.

The interview

The interview will be 20 minutes long. We will start by asking about your personal motivations for applying to ICLMS, and then we will guide you through some new mathematics. We are looking to see how you learn and think, and don’t expect you to know all of the answers straight away. My advice would be to make your thinking clear, and say it out loud, even if you don’t know what to do. It should feel like having a one on one conversation with an ICLMS teacher.


Nerves are a normal part of taking a test and having an interview. It is normal to be nervous, so don’t be worried about being nervous. All you can ask of yourself is that you tried your best, and you should be proud of that. If you don’t apply you will never know whether you would have got an offer. So if you’re in two minds about whether to apply, give it a go! There is nothing to lose, and the test and interview are excellent preparation for future tests and interviews. We only have a small number of places, so if we don’t make you an offer, please don’t think this means you are not good enough for A level maths, or to go to Imperial for university. There are plenty of other excellent sixth forms out there.

You can listen to some Maths School students (both current and former) talk about how they found the application process on our Instagram page.

I’m looking forward to reading all of your applications and seeing you at the admissions test on 11th December.

Yours mathematically

David Lee


Imperial College London Mathematics School

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