BMAT, NSAA and ENGAA to be Cancelled in 2024

The BMAT, NSAA, and ENGAA are all being discontinued by Cambridge Assessments Admissions Testing as of 2024. Find out everything we know about the situation so far, including how this change will affect your application.

Last Updated: 22nd November 2022

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It has been announced by Cambridge Assessments Admissions Testing (CAAT) that the BMAT, NSAA and ENGAA will be discontinued from the 2024 university application cycle. 

Those who will be applying to any courses that use these tests will have lots of questions about how this will affect them. 

At this early stage, the information provided by CAAT is not comprehensive but this guide aims to answer your questions as thoroughly as possible. This guide will also be updated as more information is released to ensure you can find everything you need to know. 

How Will You Be Affected? - Students

As the ones who will be sitting the tests, students are going to feel the brunt of the changes in 2024. You will need to consider the following: 

How Will You Be Affected? - Schools

For many students, support from their school is crucial in the application process. School faculties will need to be aware of these changes and how they can support pupils:

The BMAT, NSAA and ENGAA Are Ending, What Does This Mean?

The Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT), Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment (NSAA) and Engineering Admissions Assessment (ENGAA) are all admissions tests run by CAAT. These tests are designed to test the academic and cognitive abilities of applicants for specific university courses to determine their suitability for interview or admission.

In most cases, these tests were mandatory for all applicants as the results help in the shortlisting or decision-making process. With these three tests being stopped, have begun to replace them with alternatives. 

The most major change announced is the creation of a new admissions test to replace both the NSAA and ENGAA – the Engineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT). Most BMAT medical schools have also confirmed a switch to the UCAT in 2024.

Please bear in mind though that the only information that should be taken as fact is what has been provided by CAAT themselves. Everything is else speculation based on the surrounding context of these tests. 

Who is Cambridge Assessments Admissions Testing?

CAAT are a provider of assessments for educational institutes, employers and governments. They have been operating for over 15 years and are linked with the University of Cambridge, for whom they provide many of their admissions assessments.

On November 10th 2022, CAAT published a post stating that the four admissions tests would all cease operation starting in 2024. This will affect all universities that currently utilise these tests, including all international medical schools that use the BMAT. 

They have confirmed that the 2023 application process (for 2024 entry) will not be affected and that alternatives will be considered by all affected universities. 

When Will These Tests Be Ending?

As stated in the official post, the admissions tests for the 2023 admissions cycle will not be changed in any form, meaning that any applicants who are currently preparing their applications for 2024 entry will not be affected by these changes and should not alter their preparation plans.

These admissions tests will be removed in the 2024 admissions cycle for 2025 entry. Therefore, applicants who will apply during this period will be the first to experience the new, unannounced admissions tests for these courses. 

It is important to note that these changes do not stem from UCAS and will not affect your UCAS application.

Has The TMUA Been Cancelled?

Within the initial announcement made by CAAT, it was also confirmed that the Test of Mathematics for University Admissions TMUA would cease to run alongside the other admissions tests. While it is true that CAAT will no longer administer the TMUA, the exam will continue to run in 2024 under Pearson VUE. 

This news was announced at the same time as the ESAT reveal, but there does not seem to be any major differences within the exam itself. While full details are not confirmed yet, we do know that applicants will need register to sit the TMUA through Pearson VUE”s system and will need to pay the standard fee for sitting a Pearson VUE admissions test. The test will be available to sit over 3 days, from the 15th to 17th of October 2024.

We also know that Imperial College London will require applicants for certain courses to sit the TMUA, including Computing, Mathematics & Computer Science and Economics, Finance & Data Science. Imperial applicants will have the option to sit a later TMUA between the 7th – 9th of January 2025.

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What is Replacing the NSAA and ENGAA?

In January of 2024, it was announced by the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with Person VUE, that a new admissions test had been developed to replace both the NSAA and ENGAA. The Engineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT) has confirmed to be running over 3 days from the 15th to 17th of October 2024.

The ESAT will be required for applicants of all courses that previously used the NSAA or ENGAA, including Natural Science, Engineering, Veterinary Medicine and Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology. The test is also being adopted by Imperial College London for a wide variety of subjects within their science and engineering departments. 

The ESAT is set to be a multiple-choice test in a similar style to the NSAA. There will be five sub-test (assessments) within the test, but most applicants will be required to complete only 3, based on the course that is being applied for. These assessments relating to Biology, Chemistry and Physics, as well as two Mathematics assessments. 

We have covered everything we know about the ESAT in greater detail here, including how to register, how to prepare and what the test will look like. 

How Are BMAT Universities Responding?

We currently do not know how all of the 8 original BMAT universities will be responding to the cancellation of the BMAT. However, we are aware that two medical schools have already moved to the UCAT for 2023 applicants (2024 Entry), while Cambridge has confirmed that they will be switching to the UCAT for next year’s application cycle (2025 Entry).

In the table below, you will find the current decisions made by each BMAT university. This table will be updated as new information is released, so be sure to check regularly for any updates: 

University NameCurrent Decision Date Implemented
Brighton and Sussex Medical SchoolMedicine Applicants will be sitting the UCAT.2024 (2025 Entry)
University of CambridgeMedicine Applicants will be sitting the UCAT.2024 (2025 Entry)
Imperial College LondonMedicine Applicants will be sitting the UCAT.2024 (2025 Entry)
Lancaster UniversityMedicine Applicants will be sitting the UCAT.2024 (2025 Entry)
University of LeedsMedicine and Dentistry Applicants will sit the UCAT.2023 (2024 Entry)
Keele University (overseas applicants)Medicine Applicants will be sitting the UCAT.2023 (2024 Entry)
University of OxfordMedicine Applicants will be sitting the UCAT.2024 (2025 Entry)
University College London (UCL)Medicine Applicants will be sitting the UCAT.2024 (2025 Entry)

Why Are These Admissions Tests Being Removed?

A definitive reason for CAAT’s decision to remove these tests has not currently been provided, although there are hints to the reasoning within the official statement provided. Within the announcement, the following was stated: 

“The bespoke tests are operationally unsustainable over the medium term, given their significant complexity and the need to deliver them affordably to students and higher education institutions.”

The implication from this sentence seems to be the decision to remove these tests was financial, an issue that others have speculated was the cause.

Despite their links to the University of Cambridge, CAAT works with several universities both in the UK and abroad to provide admissions tests, most notably the BMAT and TMUA. CAAT charges a fee to each university for the service of developing and marking these tests, as well as charging applicants a registration fee to sit the BMAT and TMUA and additional fees for appeals and enquiries:

BMAT Application Fees

Registration Fee (UK/EU)£75/€88
Registration Fee (Non-EU)£100/€137
Application for Results Enquiries£38/€45/$52
Application for Appeals£38/€45/$52

CAAT offers bursaries for applicants who are at a financial disadvantage and receive benefits such as universal credit, learner support, asylum support and more. There is no stated limit to the number of bursaries given and applicants are required to provide evidence of one of these claims. 

No official figures have been provided regarding the costs of operation and fees charged to universities, but we can understand that the BMAT may have become financially unviable at these current rates. 

The NSAA and ENGAA are both subject-specific admissions tests used exclusively by the University of Cambridge. Applicants sitting these tests are not required to pay a fee and it’s unlikely that CAAT charges a substantial fee to Cambridge to use these tests.

Therefore, with no source of income linked to these assessments and the upcoming loss of income from the BMAT, we can speculate that the removal of these exams was for the sake of budgetary cutbacks. However, no sources from CAAT have confirmed this to be true. 

Regarding the BMAT, a separate reason for its cancellation could be due to questions regarding its reliability. In May 2022, the Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) published a retrospective cohort study assessing the BMAT’s predictive validity for medical school performance.

The results found no strong evidence that the BMAT was an effective tool for predicting performance at a university level. These negative results may have influenced the decision to cut the BMAT, although there is no evidence of this provided by CAAT. 

We now have a greater understanding of why this decision may have been made, but the most important thing to know is how this will affect applicants and schools…

How Will You Be Affected? - Students

Who Will Be Affected?

As previously stated, any applicants applying in 2023 for 2024 entry will not be affected by these changes. If you are due to sit any of these exams in 2023, you won’t be facing a new exam and should continue your preparation as normal.

Anyone who would have sat these exams in 2024 for 2025 entry and beyond will be affected by these changes. This will affect applicants for the following UK medical schools and university courses: 


University of Cambridge

Anyone who is reapplying to these courses during this admissions period will also be required to sit the new tests as opposed to the test they would have sat in their previous application. 

What Should You Do Now?

Currently, there is nothing that can really be done if these changes in admissions tests are due to affect your application. We currently do not know how far into the process of replacing these exams each university is at, so there is no way of knowing what test you’ll be preparing for until an announcement is made.

Some prospective applicants may wish to begin revising now, so our advice would be to revise subject knowledge and utilise any currently existing practice questions and past papers relevant to your subject. 

Although the format or question types may be different in the new admission tests, practising now will still help with your general ability to answer questions in admissions tests.

Depending on when these changes are revealed, applicants may have less time to prepare and get to know the exam format when compared to previous years. If this is the case, you will need to work quickly and potentially seek help from an application prep school or support service.

How Will You Be Affected? - Schools

Although the students will be the ones sorting their application through all these changes, it is also important for schools to be aware of these changes and adapt their support for their students accordingly.

Which Schools Will Be Most Affected?

Any school that wishes to support their students with entry into any of the affected courses will need to be monitoring this situation closely in order to ensure they provide the best support for their pupils. However, there is one type of school/college that will be more heavily impacted than others: 

What Should You Do Now?

As with students, there isn’t anything that can be done except for keeping yourself and your pupils educated on the matter. While it is important to let your pupils know that their application will likely be different, we don’t have concrete information on what will actually change and what content they will need to know. 

It is still important to encourage preparation in the early stages of their application, so, the best course of action for students is to continue with subject knowledge revision and practice questions from relevant admissions tests. Give them a variety of options, such as both multiple-choice and written practice questions, as we currently don’t know what question format will be used for future tests.

Now that more information has been revealed about the new ESAT, you’ll need to act fast in updating your resources so that your pupils will have access to relevant materials for their preparation. Remember that the preparation period your pupils have may be shorter than normal in 2024.  

For schools that use external services for university admissions support, or provide access to support from admissions prep schools, there should be no problem in continuing this relationship while these changes are taking place. 

Most prep schools and service providers are already aware of the issues and are developing ways to ensure their support is up-to-date and relevant for applicants in 2024. However, it’s a good idea to contact them and ask any questions you may have regarding their curriculum and resources.

If you aren’t currently working with an external support provider, you may wish to speak with one. The best admissions prep schools and support services design their syllabuses and resources to handle every aspect of the application process to ease the pressure off of your own faculty.

They will also be able to provide greater insight into the application process to your pupils as they work with current and former students with first-hand experience. 

Now that we a better understanding of how admissions will look in 2024, we are able to begin preparations for the next admissions cycle to ensure that all of the support we offer is up-to-date and accurate to the new admissions tests being used. We will continue to watch this situation closely as more updates are released, so be sure check in regularly to stay up to date. 

We will also be working non-stop to ensure that our support programmes seamlessly adapt to these upcoming changes. Changes in admissions tests are not uncommon, with major changes to certain tests occurring every 2 or 3 years in some form. Therefore we will be more than prepared for whatever decisions are made regarding the affect courses.

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