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BMAT Information – 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 BMAT 2017, how BMAT universities use your BMAT scores, as well as offering a step-by-step guide on what you need to do next. 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 BMAT Courses, Online BMAT Course and BMAT Question Bank?


What Does the BMAT Involve?

Unlike the UKCAT, the BMAT 2017 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, which you can sit in September or November. 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 exam is required by an increasing number of universities to study Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences for entry in 2017. You can see this list below – as well as whether or not they accept September results:

BMAT UniversitiesCourseDo they accept BMAT September results?
University of OxfordMedicine; Postgraduate (accelerated) Medicine; Biomedical SciencesThey only accept results from the November session for A100 Medicine and BC98 Biomedical Sciences. However, A101 Graduate Medicine will accept September or November results.
University of CambridgeMedicine; Veterinary MedicineYes.
University College London (UCL)MedicineYes.
ImperialMedicine; Postgraduate (accelerated) MedicineYes.
Brighton and Sussex Medical SchoolMedicineYes.
University of LeedsMedicine; DentistryYes.
Lancaster UniversityMedicineYes.
Mahidol University (Thailand)MedicineYes.
Thammasat University (Thailand)Medicine; DentistryYes.
Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (Singapore)Medicine No, they will only accept results from the November test session.
University of Leiden (The Netherlands)MedicineN/A

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, based on 2016 entry figures – we recommend visiting each individual university’s website for the most up to date information.

UniversityHow do they use the BMAT?
OxfordNumerical ranking established based on GCSEs and BMAT results. They do not ascribe equal weighting to all sections of BMAT. In 2016, weightings were: Section 1 = 40%, Section 2 = 40%, and Section 3 = 20%. In calculating the Section 3 score, double weight was ascribed to the ‘Quality of Content’ score and single weight given to the ‘Quality of English’ score (with A=5, B=4, C=3, D=2, E=1, and X=0).
CambridgeBMAT score used alongside Personal Statement and grades.
UCLBMAT scores used alongside UCAS application. No cut-off; 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. For 2016 entry, the minimum scores required were: a score of 4.5 in Section 1; a score of 4.5 in Section 2 and
a score of 2.5 and grade B 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. For 2016 entry, applicants without contextual data who scored 16 or above were invited for interview (the cut off score will vary each year).
LeedsThey 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). They do not use the quality of English score (A-E).

What Were Results For 2017 Entry?

Last year, the exam was sat in November 2016, for 2017 entry to medical school.

Average scores are usually around 5.0, and in last year’s exam, 8% of candidates scored 4.8 in Section 1. Around 9% of candidates scored 4.3 in Section 2. In Section 3, over 30% of students scored a ‘3’ for quality of content, and over 80% scored ‘A’ for quality of written English.

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 2017?

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 the BMAT 2017 is to complete past papers. You can find these on the Admissions Testing Service‘s 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 – our 2016 course for 2017 entry received a 99.4% recommend rate from our attendees.

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’s the Difference Between BMAT 2017 in September and November?

In April 2017, the Admissions Testing Service announced the alternative test session on 9th September 2017 at selected centres. The September exam is be the same format and the same level of difficulty as the November exam, and will be scored in the same way.

You can see key dates for 2017 below:

 BMAT SeptemberBMAT November
Registration opens3rd July 20171st September 2017
Standard registration deadline18th August 20171st October 2017
Late registration deadlineNo late registration deadline available15th October 2017
Test date9th September 20172nd November 2017
Results 29th September 201724th November 2017

Should I Take the Exam in September or November?

Ultimately, this is your choice – and 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 new 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 UKCAT 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 UKCAT preparation, work experience, extracurriculars and other commitments. You can hear from other students about when they decided to take their exam on our Are You Sitting the BMAT in September or November? blog.

So: will you be taking the exam in September or November? Vote below!


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.
  1. Register for the exam. You can then know which day it is going to fall on, so you can focus on your revision.
  2. Book a BMAT Course. Our courses can be booked by individuals or schools and have helped thousands of students achieve higher scores.
  3. Practice questions. Try our BMAT Question Bank.
  1. Still struggling? If you are finding any sections of the exam difficult, then you can book a private tutoring session with our experts.

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