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BMAT Test – A Free Guide to The BMAT Exam

The BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) is a two-hour pen and paper aptitude test required by a handful of medical, dental and veterinary schools. This page provides the headline information on the BMAT exam, including how BMAT universities use your BMAT scores.

Don’t forget to use all the subpages to make the most of the section!

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Why not check out our popular Online BMAT Course and BMAT Question Bank too?


What Does the BMAT Involve?

Unlike the UCAT, the BMAT assesses a combination of aptitude and knowledge testing a broad range of skills across three sections:

The exam is a two-hour pen and paper test. You can find out more about each section of the exam below:

BMAT SectionWhat does it test?Question formatTiming
Section 1Generic skills in problem solving, understanding arguments, and data analysis and inference.35 multiple-choice questions60 minutes
Section 2The ability to apply scientific knowledge typically covered in school Science and Mathematics by the age of 16 (for example, GCSE in the UK and IGCSE internationally).27 multiple-choice questions30 minutes
Section 3The ability to select, develop and organise ideas, and to communicate them in writing, concisely and effectively. One writing task from a choice of three questions30 minutes

Many students consider that due to the broad range of skills tested, coupled with the fact you can’t use a calculator or dictionary, it is a tough exam.

However, all past papers are available to download online from the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing website so with sufficient practice you should feel confident and well prepared. With these, we’d recommend starting with older past papers and then completing more recent ones as your revision progresses.

How Many BMAT Universities Are There?

The BMAT exam is required by an increasing number of universities to study Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. You can see this list below – as well as the results they accept:

BMAT UniversitiesCourseDo they accept BMAT September or November results?
Brighton and Sussex Medical SchoolA100 MedicineSeptember or November
ImperialA100 Medicine
A109 Graduate Medicine
September or November
Lancaster UniversityA100 Medicine & Surgery
A900 Foundation Year for Medicine & Surgery
September or November
University College London (UCL)A100 MedicineSeptember or November
University of CambridgeA100 MedicineSeptember or November
University of ManchesterA106 MBChB Medicine and A104 MBChB Medicine (with foundation year) International students only. September or November
University of LeedsA100 Medicine
A200 Dentistry
September or November
University of OxfordA100 MedicineNovember only (although Graduate Medicine Entry A101 is September or November)
KeeleA100 MedicineNOTE: Keele requires ONLY international students to sit the BMAT. September or November
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What’s the Difference Between BMAT Test in September and November?

BMAT September is an alternative test date for BMAT in November.

The test will have the same format and will be scored in the same way, and results from either session will be considered equally by medical schools, so when you take the test is your choice (although please note that if you are applying to Oxford, you will need to take the November exam).

Read more about the difference between the two exams on our BMAT September vs BMAT November page.

You can see key dates for 2021 entry below:

 BMAT SeptemberBMAT November
Registration opens22nd June 20201st September 2020
Requests for modified questions papers24th July 202030th September 2020
Registration deadline9th August 2020 (23:59 BST)1st October 2020 (17:00 BST)
Late registration deadlineNo late registration deadline available15th October 2020 (18:00 BST)
Test date5th September 20204th November 2020
Results released to test takers25th September 2020 (test takers only)27th November 2020
Fees£85 standard fee within the UK/EU
£122 standard fee outside the EU
No late fee applies.
£35 application for results enquiries.
£35 application for appeal.
£49 standard fee within the UK/EU
£83 standard fee outside the EU
£35 additional late fee.
£35 application for results enquiries.
£35 application for appeal.
Test centresCan only be taken at certain authorised test centres in the UK and internationally - see BMAT website for details.Can be taken at your school/college if they are a centre, or at one of the authorised test centres worldwide - see BMAT website for details.

Should I Take the Exam in September or November?

Ultimately, this is your choice – but remember you can only take the test once in the application cycle!

However, it’s worth noting that whereas before you could only sit the exam after submitting your UCAS application, the test session in September means you can now find out your BMAT score before applying to medical school. This means you can apply strategically with both your UCAT and BMAT scores in hand.

In addition, don’t forget that if you’re applying to Oxford you will need to sit the exam in November- even if you’re applying to other medical schools accepting September results.

When you decide to take the test will depend on a variety of factors – for example, how much time you will have over the summer for UCAT preparation, work experience, extracurriculars and other commitments.

For BMAT September, you will need to register yourself (using Metritests). For BMAT November, your school/college will need to register you.

Wondering when you should sit the BMAT? Take our quiz!

Take the BMAT September v November quiz

How Do BMAT Scores Work?

In Section 1 and Section 2, each question is worth one mark. All questions are either multiple choice or a short answer, and you mark your answers on a computer read answer sheet. Your raw score is then placed on a scale of 1 (low) to 9 (high) – it’s worth noting that there’s no pass or fail threshold.

The scores follow a normal distribution with the average student scoring around 5.0. The best candidates score 6.0 and exceptional candidates score 7.0 or above.

Section 3 is the essay section. This is marked by two examiners, who will give you an alphabetical score for your use of written English as well as a numerical score for the content of your essay. This is scored in the following ways:

Section 3: Written English (scored A, C or E)

Section 3: Quality of Content (scored from 1 to 5)

The two scores for your essay are then averaged to give your final score. So, for instance, if one examiner gave you 2A and another marked your essay 3C, your average score would be 2.5B. If there is a significant discrepancy, your essay will be sent for remarking by a third examiner.

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How Do BMAT Universities Use BMAT Scores?

Each medical school will use the exam differently, and this can even vary within a university (for example, different admissions tutors in Oxford or Cambridge).

Generally speaking, the results will be used in conjunction with your GCSE scores and UCAS points to decide who to invite to interview. Some universities place more emphasis on the score than others when allocating the weighting that your score will contribute overall. Not all BMAT universities will officially announce how they use the exam — so it’s essential you maximise your score in all sections!

Want to know how different BMAT universities use your BMAT scores? See our table below! Please note that this is only a guide – we recommend visiting each individual university’s website for the most up to date information.

UniversityHow do they use the BMAT?
OxfordYour chances of being short-listed rest on a number of factors, although we do rely heavily on BMAT scores and GCSE performance (where available) during short-listing. You should bear in mind that as we short-list the same number of applicants every year, and we use two variables (which carry the same weight), there is no actual BMAT cut-off. How well you need to do in BMAT will be entirely dependent on how well every other applicant does, and how well you have done in GCSEs (if you have taken them). A slightly weaker performance at GCSE may be compensated for by a very good BMAT score, and vice-versa. However, to offer a rough guide, we would suggest that the typical average applicant should be working towards a 6 (a 7 is still fairly rare) in sections 1 or 2; do note that sections 1 and 2 receive greater weighting (40% each) than section 3 (20%).
CambridgeBMAT score used alongside Personal Statement and grades.
UCLBMAT scores used alongside UCAS application. No cut-off but high scores in each section will strengthen an application; Section 3 essay used as discussion in interview.
ImperialBMAT cut-off scores are calculated each year, as a result of ranked candidate BMAT scores versus number of expected interview sessions. As a result, the absolute BMAT cut-off changes each year. However, the BMAT cut-off scores from previous admissions cycles may be used as a guide. For 2019 entry, the minimum scores required were: a score of 4.1 in section 1; a score of 4.2 in section 2; a score of 2.5 and grade C in section 3.
Brighton and SussexBSMS scores the BMAT out of 28 (9 marks for Section 1, 9 for Section 2 and 5 marks for each element of Section 3) we then rank all applicants according to their total score out of 28 and work down the rankings to fill our interview places. The cut off score will vary each year.
LeedsWe have decided on a method similar to our previous use of UCAT using the total score offered by each candidate which will be compared with all the other applicants to Leeds scores. Those in the top 20% will receive the full mark available for this part of their application and those in the bottom 20% will receive the lowest mark available for this part of their application. From this you can see that we do not use a pre-determined cut-off threshold. The BMAT total score will be calculated from a sum of the scores achieved in section 1, 2 and 3 although section 3 will have half the weighting of the other sections as it will be revisited during the interview stage of the selection process.
LancasterLancaster Medical School calculates the total BMAT score by combining the individual scores for Sections 1, 2 and 3. Section 1 is scored out of 9; Section 2 is scored out of 9; and Section 3 is scored out of 5 (for quality of content). We do not use the quality of English score (A-E).
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What Were Previous Year Results?

Average scores are usually around 5.0. You can see average BMAT results from last year on our BMAT Results 2019 blog.

You can also see more information about 2020 results on the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing website.

Remember too that your results are only valid for applications to BMAT universities in that academic year. You will receive your results via the Online Results system as a PDF document. Your results are then sent to all the BMAT universities you have applied to.

How Can I Prepare for BMAT 2021?

Preparing for your exam and want The Medic Portal’s top tips? Watch TMP tutor Allen’s three tips in 60 seconds below!

Section Preparation

You can visit our individual pages on Section 1, Section 2 and Section 3 for section-specific revision techniques – from reviewing your essays to practising your mental maths.

For Section 2, you can also visit the Assumed Subject Knowledge Guide, which details the scientific knowledge that Section 2 questions may draw on.

Past Papers

One of the best ways to prepare for BMAT is to complete past papers. You can find these on the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing website, or visit our BMAT Question Bank, which has over 500 practice questions.

It’s a good idea to work up to completing the papers in timed conditions to familiarise yourself with the timing and format of the exam, so that you’re prepared for the real test. You can also read our guide on BMAT Past Papers for tips on making the most of these resources.

BMAT Courses

Looking for expert preparation tips? Created by qualified doctors and education experts, our one-day BMAT Course is designed to boost your score. A survey of our 2019 course attendees found that 99% rated the course ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’.

You could also try our Online BMAT Course, which includes nine hours of tutorials for each section of the exam, including modules on Section 1 (Verbal, Spatial and Logical), Section 2 (Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths) and Section 3 (Essay Writing) – as well as access to our Question Bank.

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What You Need To Do

  1. Check if your chosen institutions require the exam. You can do this using the Medical School Comparison Tool. If they do, then start thinking about how you can best prepare for it.
  2. Register for the exam. You can then know which day it is going to fall on, so you can focus on your revision.
  3. Book a BMAT Course. Our courses can be booked by individuals or schools and have helped thousands of students achieve higher scores.
  4. Practice questions. Try our BMAT Question Bank.
  5. Still struggling? If you are finding any sections of the exam difficult, then you can book a private tutoring session with our experts.

Learn More:

Find out more about The Medic Portal and how we support students with their BMAT preparation on our About Us page>>

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