The Biomedical Admissions Test, or BMAT, is an admissions test used by 8 medical schools in the UK – Brighton, Cambridge Imperial, Keele, Lancaster, Leeds, Oxford, and UCL.
Whereas the UCAT doesn’t have a set content to cover, the BMAT is much closer to a standard academic exam. The BMAT is described as having a ‘GCSE level curriculum’ but in practice, it’s closer to an A-level standard. Calculators may not be used throughout the exam.
Sections of the BMAT
Section 1 – Thinking Skills, 32 questions in 60 mins
The first section of the BMAT is all about assessing your analytical skills. There are 2 subtypes of questions asked in this section:
- Problem-solving, which requires you to interpret some data to solve a problem.
- Critical thinking requires you to interpret and logically analyse dome given answers and make conclusions about them.
It requires you to apply your understanding of error, percentages, basic statistics to gain conclusions from information.
Section 2 – Scientific knowledge, 27 in 30 mins
This section tests your scientific knowledge, covering similar content of 4 science subjects, maths, chemistry, biology, and physics. In general, the questions are supposed to be equivalent to hard GCSE level questions. However, as the BMAT pushes you to apply the content, it’s probably closer to the A-level standard. The full specification of this section is available here.
Section 3 – Writing task in 30 mins
A change of pace from the multiple-choice questions in the previous sections, here you must select one of 3 propositions. Once selected, the proposition will act as the title for you to base a short essay around and discuss it within one A4 page. You may be asked to explain the proposition, its implications, generate a counter-argument.
In sections 1 and 2, your raw marks (59 in total) are converted into the BMAT scale, which ranges from 1.0-9.0. Roughly speaking, most people score close to 5.0 which is about half-marks.
For section 3, your work is marked by two separate examiners. You are scored based on the quality of the content (1-5, 1 being low) and quality of English (A-E, A being high).
Your final score is based on an average of the two scores. For example, if one examiner scores you a 2D and another a 3B, you will receive a final score of 2.5C. If the discrepancy between the two scores is greater than 1 mark, your work will then be marked by a third examiner and will be reviewed by a senior assessment manager.
Sitting the BMAT, costs and dates
You can only sit the BMAT once per year but there are two opportunities to do this:
- – September sitting: Pros of this are that you get the results before you submit your UCAS application. Cons, not all universities (i.e. the University of Oxford) accept the September sitting.
- – November sitting: Pros, all BMAT Medical Schools accept this sitting. Cons, you receive your results after you have submitted your UCAS application.
Tests normally take place in an “approved local test centre” which are often nearby schools or in a similar place to the UCAT. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the test has been conducted online.
The BMAT costs £59 to sit the test, with an additional £30 fee for late registration. In addition, There is a BMAT Bursary which will reimburse the £59 if you meet the criteria found here.
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