As the standard of university applications rises every single year, it has become more common for universities to offer entrance exams or aptitude tests as a way of determining who should be studying at their university.
While Russell Group Universities have always offered entrance exams, other universities have since caught up. The Cambridge Assessment (or the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate) has created a number of different exams, such as the LNAT or GMAT, however, the BMAT is chief among them.
What is the BMAT?
The BMAT is the BioMedical Admissions Test. It is usually part of the admissions process for students looking to study either medicine degree courses or biomedical sciences degree courses. Students applying for dentistry degree courses have also been known to sit the BMAT too.
The BMAT was started in 2001 and was developed by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES). To begin with, it was only the University of Oxford who used it as a requirement for medicine and physiology courses; the University of Cambridge, who used it for Medicine and for Veterinary Sciences and then by University College London (UCL), who used it for medicine. It has since become far more widespread.
What is the format of the BMAT?
The BMAT has a fairly simple format. The test is sat at an authorised open centre. The test is studied worldwide, so most countries should have a centre available for students who are looking to study them. Some students are allowed to study the test in their school or college, assuming that their institute is permitted to offer this).
The BMAT is a two-hour test which has three sections, which are:
- Section 1 - Aptitude Skills: Designed to test your generic skills, problem-solving abilities and your ability to understand arguments. You will also likely, have a Verbal Reasoning section. This section has thirty-two questions and takes sixty minutes.
- Section 2 - Scientific Knowledge and Applications: Designed to test the scientific and mathematical skills you will have covered in school at GCSE or A-Level. This section has twenty-seven questions and takes thirty minutes to complete.
- Section 3 - Writing Task: Designed to test your ability to communicate your ideas effectively. You will have three writing tasks and you will be asked to select one. This section takes thirty minutes to complete.
The first two sections of the test are multiple-choice questions. You cannot use dictionaries (bilingual dictionaries are also not allowed) or calculators in the examination. The test results for the BMAT are only valid for the year that they have been studied and cannot be extended further.
How are you scored for the BMAT?
The BMAT has two different scoring systems. For the first two sections, the raw marks for the sections are then converted into a nine-point scale. What is unusual is that the scores are given by decimal points. Rather than receiving a 7, for example, candidates will receive a 7.0.
The third section of the BMAT has two different BMAT scores; one is for the quality of the content and the second is for the quality of the written English. The quality of the content is marked on a scale of 0-5 (0 being the lowest and 5 being the highest). The quality of Written English is marked on a letter scale of A, C and E (A being the highest and E being the lowest).
Your examinations are marked by two different examiners, and their respective marks are then combined to form one overall score, which is then averaged out as a score between 1E and 5A. Your marks are then sent to the university, college, or school that you have applied to in picture form.
Is the BMAT being discontinued?
Yes, the BMAT will be discontinued. The exam will not be sat as of 2024, as Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing (CAAT) have announced that they will no longer be providing the papers for the exam.
The exam is still needed for 2024 admissions but is not needed for 2025 admissions. If you are planning to go to university in 2024, you will need to sit the exam, but if you plan on applying for university for 2025, then you will not.
Does this mean I won’t have to sit an admissions test for medical degrees now?
Not necessarily. It’s likely you will, but it depends on the choice of the university you’re applying to and their requirements.
Generally, if you are not sitting the BMAT, the chances are that you will need to sit the UCAT. You may also be asked to sit the GAMSAT, but this will also depend on where you are applying.
When do I get my BMAT results back?
The BMAT results are returned typically within a three or four-week period after completion of the test. Results will be returned to students either by a Statement of Results or by using the Test Portal Metritests, which displays your results in the same way that UCAS Hub does.
It has been known for students to receive the results earlier, but it is best to plan for the fact that you will most likely get your results back within three or four weeks.
Which countries offer the BMAT?
The BMAT Exam is worldwide, however, not every single country necessarily offers it. It is most commonly sat in Europe. The main countries that offer the BMAT are:
- Hong Kong
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
- United Kingdom (UK)
- United States of America (USA)
These countries can opt in and out of the BMAT at their discretion. The BMAT can also be used if you are applying abroad as well.
When can you take the BMAT?
The specific dates change every single year. It has been known for the BMAT to be offered multiple times a year, however, this can change. In 2020, the BMAT was changed from multiple tests a year to just one as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The BMAT is usually offered in November, so this is the most common schedule used:
|Requests for modified question BMAT papers
|Deadline: 30th September
|Late registration deadline
|BMAT Test date
The BMAT dates are subject to change. However, for the most part, this is the general schedule that the BMAT follows. You are generally given around a two-and-a-half-month period to prepare for the test once you have registered.
How much does the BMAT cost?
There are three different costs for students, one for students from the EU, one for students from outside the EU and an additional fee if you are applying later.
|Students in the EU
|Students outside the EU
|Late fee (additional payment)
The BMAT fee is different in each country and is also liable to change. We recommend checking to see that the institute that you are applying to require you to have the BMAT for their course, otherwise, you may find yourself out of pocket unnecessarily.
You can be reimbursed for your BMAT fee if you end up not taking the test, however, you will not be refunded any administration fees or any late-entry fees.
How can I prepare for the BMAT?
The best way to prepare yourself for the BMAT Test is to use any previous revision materials that you have used for Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics.
The BMAT website also has a number of helpful resources available for students as well, such as BMAT past papers and other useful resources for students. Other materials are also available, such as books and intensive courses.
Which universities require the BMAT?
Universities constantly chop and change their application processes and their admissions criteria, so it can be common for universities to drop the requirement for the BMAT.
These are the universities that require the BMAT prior to application:
|How are scores used?
|What scores are needed?
|Brighton and Sussex Medical School
|Scores are taken out of 37.
9 marks are assigned for section 1, 18 marks for section 2 and 5 marks for
|Imperial College London
|Results of your BMAT are assessed alongside your UCAS application.
Widening participation students:
|Lancaster do not use the quality of English score (A-E).
|Threshold is usually around 10.5.
|UCL, University of London
|Students who are eligible for Access UCL, (UCL’s contextual offer scheme), will be automatically flagged to the university, and their BMAT scores will be reviewed separately.
|Minimum score of 4.0 in each section. 2.5B required for Section 3.
|University of Cambridge
|No information available.
|No information available.
|University of Oxford
|No information available.
|No information available.
These scores are correct for 2023 admissions. As the BMAT is being phased out as of 2024, these scores will likely change.
What is the difference between the BMAT and the UCAT?
The BMAT and the UCAT are both used for judging the viability of a student applying for a medical-based degree, their focuses are slightly different.
The main differences are listed below:
|Knowledge and aptitude
|Cost (EU students)
|Cost (non-EU students)
The BMAT focuses on judging a candidate’s knowledge and aptitude for the subject they are applying for, whereas the UCAT only really tests the candidate's aptitude. The UCAT is studied or taken on the computer, rather than candidates having to write anything out.