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Teachers’ Guide: UCAT (UKCAT) and BMAT

Revising for the UCAT and BMAT can be one of the most daunting aspects for students applying to medical school. This page will detail tips for teachers on how to help your students prepare for these entrance exams.

2019 Update: UKCAT has been renamed UCAT. Read more about the UKCAT to UCAT change here


How can I explain UCAT (UKCAT) to my students?

UCAT is an aptitude test for medicine, assessing skills across five sections:

It is used by the vast majority of medical schools, although not quite all of them, and that means essentially every applicant will take the exam. See which medical schools use UCAT on our UCAT guide.

The exam is open for registration in May, with the first testing available in July, the last in early October. The UCAT website is very comprehensive and contains practice papers students can use in their preparation. When the applicant feels ready to take the test they can choose when to take it. Students can also use the questions in our UCAT Question Bank.

UCAT is used in selection procedures in a variety of ways: some medical schools have a cut-off score, others incorporate the score into their points system.

Students will know their UCAT score before they make their medical school applications, so it’s essential they apply strategically depending on the strength of the score. You can see how medical schools use UCAT scores here.

How can I explain BMAT to my students?

BMAT is split into three sections:

Students can sit the BMAT either in September or October – and it’s worth noting that if students take the BMAT in September, they will then be able to apply strategically with their score before the UCAS deadline.

Are your students wondering when they should sit the test? You can point them toward our quiz, Should I Take the BMAT in August or October?

Whereas most medical schools use the UCAT, only a handful use the BMAT – so many students do not need to take the test if they don’t apply to these universities. You can see which schools these are on our BMAT guide.

How can I help students with their UCAT and BMAT?

Practice is key to achieving top UCAT and BMAT scores. Help your students by encouraging them to sit past papers in class or at home, and encourage them to use our BMAT Question Bank and UCAT Question Bank.

If your school has a Medical Society, you could suggest completing practice papers or questions as a group and going through the mark scheme together to get them familiar with the exam formats. BMAT papers are available on the Admissions Testing website and UCAT papers are available here.

Where can my students find BMAT preparation tips?

Aside from completing past papers, students may often be stuck with revision techniques. For the BMAT, encourage them to practice their mental maths by suggesting they go without a calculator for a month or so! For BMAT science questions, suggest that they make use of the Assumed Subject Knowledge Guide, which details all material that may appear in Section 2.

You could suggest students make colour-coded mind-maps or revision cards for the different topics they’re not so confident on. For the BMAT essay, you could go through past essay questions and plan your answers as a class – see our Section 3 blog on how to structure these. You could also direct them to our BMAT guides for Section 1, Section 2 and Section 3 for top preparation tips.

Where can my students find UCAT preparation tips?

For the UCAT’s Verbal Reasoning section, help your students familiarise themselves with reading large passages of text by encouraging them to bring in a news article and explain it to their partner. To practice Situational Judgement, you could go through past papers’ scenarios as a class and check the mark scheme.

You may also want to direct students to our blog on Situational Judgement Top Tips. Our detailed UCAT pages on our Application Guide provide detailed information on all aspects of the exam, including Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, Decision Making and Situational Judgement.

You could also consider buying Mastering the BMAT or Mastering the UCAT for your classroom for students to use during their revision sessions.

Can you run UCAT or BMAT Courses at my school?

If you have a group of students applying to Medicine, a good way to help them with their preparation may be a BMAT or UCAT course.

If there are just a few students interested, this option is still available – we could combine them with another school. Contact us on our Book A Course page to find out more about how we can help.


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