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12th July 2023
This blog explains everything you need to know about huge changes to the BMAT that are happening next year.

The BMAT: Withdrawn From 2024

The Bio-Medical Admissions Test, or BMAT, has been a constant feature in the UK Medical School application process for many years. So it’s no surprise that news of the BMAT being cancelled from 2024 has left a lot of people feeling uncertain.

Read this blog to find out all of the facts on what’s currently happening with the BMAT – as well as what it all means for your Medicine application!

What Is Happening To The BMAT In 2024?

Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing (the organisation which runs the BMAT and lots of other tests) announced in November 2022 that from 2024, they will stop offering the BMAT.

This means that it won’t be possible for any Medical School to ask its applicants to sit the BMAT – even if they wanted to. There won’t be an exam paper to give people!

Will The BMAT Be Used In 2023?

In 2023, the BMAT is available as normal. So, if you’re currently applying for Medicine (2024 entry) and planning to take the BMAT in October 2023: there’s no need to panic.

Six UK universities – Imperial, Oxford, Cambridge, Lancaster, Brighton & Sussex and UCL – are using the BMAT this year as usual. However, Leeds, which is usually a BMAT uni, has already switched to the UCAT for 2024 entry. It’s worth knowing this to avoid confusion when you’re reading about Leeds admissions and see that the BMAT is mentioned for previous years.

Imperial and UCL have also confirmed they will definitely switch to the UCAT for 2025 entry.

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Why Is The BMAT Being Discontinued?

Cambridge Assessment decided to discontinue the BMAT primarily, it seems, because the exam was too difficult and expensive for them to keep running. They are also discontinuing other, similar tests used by Oxbridge only.

As they explain, these are complex tests which require a lot of checking and preparation to run. The overall number of people who take the BMAT each year is relatively small, so the cost-benefit ratio for Cambridge Assessment to keep running small, high-effort tests for an equally small group of universities was probably becoming pretty unfavourable for them.

The key thing to remember is that this isn’t a university-level decision. Universities won’t be able to keep using the BMAT from 2024, even if they might have wanted to.

What Does This Mean For My Medicine Application This Year?

If you’re applying for Medicine in 2023, for a 2024 start, this is nothing to worry about.

The BMAT will go ahead as normal in October 2023, so you don’t need to change anything (unless you were planning on taking it solely to apply to Leeds). You’ll also still be able to take the BMAT in October and target your application to BMAT unis if your UCAT doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped.

If you weren’t planning on taking the BMAT this year anyway, you might find it useful to know that you now have one more Medical School open to you with the UCAT: Leeds!

It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that as it’s a new change this year, we don’t know what Leeds University’s UCAT threshold might be, so it might be hard to target your application strategically unless the university releases specific info on this.

What Does This Mean For My Medicine Application Next Year?

If you’re going to be starting your Medicine application next year, forget about the BMAT: it’s not happening. But what will universities be accepting instead?

Here is what you can expect:

  • Imperial – fully switching to the UCAT
  • UCL – fully switching to the UCAT
  • Lancaster – likely switching to the UCAT
  • Brighton & Sussex – likely switching to the UCAT

And what about Oxbridge? We can’t yet say for certain what will happen with these two. Oxford and Cambridge might introduce their own tests as they already run in-house admissions tests for some subjects, or they could stick with the UCAT like other universities.

At the moment, we’d suggest keeping a close eye on university websites and applicant mailing lists – that way, you’ll be the first to know when their new policies are announced for next year and you’ll be able to prepare accordingly.

We will, of course, be doing our best to keep you updated too. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter if you haven’t already!

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