BMAT 2020 results have finally been released by Cambridge Admissions Assessment!
The BMAT (Biomedical Admissions Test) is an admissions test required to apply to certain medical schools in the UK, such as Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial.
The BMAT 2020 results have been released and, in this article, we will go through the 2020 BMAT scores for Section 1, Section 2 and Section 3. We will also compare the 2020 results to previous years to see how the cohort has done comparatively to earlier years.
We will also cover what is a good BMAT score in 2020, and provide links to historical university BMAT cut-offs so you have a better idea of what to expect from your results.
How is your BMAT score calculated?
In Section 1 and Section 2 of the BMAT, you will get a mark for each correct answer. There is no negative marking, so you won’t lose marks for choosing the incorrect answer. Your raw score is then converted to a scale ranging from 1.0 to 9.0.
Extreme scores at either end of the scale are very rare with less than 1% of candidates achieving less than 1.6 or 8.8 in Section 1 of the 2020 exam.
This is in-line with the 2019 results where roughly the same proportion of candidates scores similarly. The only difference is in the bottom end, where just over 2% of candidates achieved a score of ~1.5.
The BMAT is intended to be very difficult, mostly in terms of the time-pressure associated with the exam, so it isn’t surprising that such a low proportion of candidates are able to score about 7.0.
What About Students Who Faced Technical Issues?
Undoubtedly, 2020’s sitting of the BMAT had some major issues which stopped candidates from performing at their best.
This didn’t affect all candidates, but over 80% of students who responded to our survey of over 900 students said they had faced issues.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll be analysing the score without taking into account too much of the technical problems.
BMAT 2020 Section 1 Results Explained
Cambridge Admissions Assessment (the organisation that administers the BMAT) have released cohort results for Section 1 of the BMAT in 2020. This is the distribution of scores for this year:
As you can see, the average score falls around the 4.5 mark which is similar to 2019, but very slightly higher. Another interesting point to note is that Cambridge Admissions Assessment have released more granular data than previous years’ as the increments for each bar increase by roughly 0.2 – 0.3.
In previous years, they have released scores with an increase of 0.5 between each bar. This change allows you to see more clearly the score differences in the median range, which most candidates will have received a score in the range of.
In 2019, around ~58% of candidates scored between 3.5 and 5.5.
In 2020, this has reduced marginally to ~56.5% between 3.5 and 5.5, which isn’t a significant change.
There is, however, a far more significant change when we look at scores above 5.5.
In 2019, just ~11.5% of students scored above 5.5.
In 2020, this has increased massively to ~21.9% who scored above 5.5.
This can mean one of a few things; either the cohort has gotten much more able with exams like the BMAT by preparing for the exam more intensively or for longer than previous years, or the exam in 2020 was easier than the previous year.
Realistically, it is probably a mix of both factors. Due to COVID-19, students have been able to set aside much more time to prepare for their medicine applications, increasing the average score. Along with a slightly easier exam when compared to last year, this has resulted in a much larger proportion of students getting “high” BMAT scores.
BMAT 2020 Section 2 Results Explained
As with Section 1, Cambridge Admissions Assessment have also released a score distribution for Section 2 of the BMAT. You can see this here:
It is clear to see, by comparing the Section 1 chart and the Section 2 chart, that students found the BMAT Section 2 much more difficult than BMAT Section 1 in 2020.
Section 2 focuses on scientific knowledge, whereas Section 1 focuses on Problem Solving (Critical Thinking and Problem Solving).
Not all students take all sciences when applying for Medicine, with the most common lacking subject being Physics. This general theme is usually the culprit to why BMAT Section 2 scores are lower than Section 1.
Although there are only 7 Physics questions in Section 2 of the BMAT, 7 marks can make a huge difference when it comes to your scaled score. A 7 mark difference in previous years from 15 to 22 would have meant a scaled scores of 5.2 to 7.2 – a huge difference of 2.0.
However, when we compare the 2020 BMAT Section 2 scores with 2019 scores, again the 2020 scores come out higher.
The mean score in 2019 was 3.5-4.0.
In 2020, the mean score is 4.6 which is significantly higher.
In practice, this probably equates to around 2-3 more correct answers.
Although it is difficult to get specific results from the information Cambridge Admissions Assessment have provided, marks outside of the median range for 2019 and 2020 BMAT Section 2 are fairly different.
Around 45% of candidates achieved scores above the 4.6 mark in 2020, compared ~58% of candidates who achieved above 3.5 – 4.0 in the 2019 exam.
However, this is a misleading figure since (as mentioned above) the granularity of the data is different from year-to-year. There are a huge portion of candidates in the 3.5 – 4.5 band from 2019 results, so it is unclear whether students have done worse on Section 2 in 2020 outside of the median score.
The data won’t allow us to reach that conclusion.
Finally, the BMAT 2020 Section 3 Results.
Unlike the other two sections, the BMAT Section 3 is scored on a slightly different scale of; quality of content – scored between 0 and 5; quality of English – scored between X and A.
Each year, by far the most popular score is a 3A.
The 3 in this score represents a reasonable argument that addresses the question fully, makes decent use of the material provided and also generates a reasonable counter-argument.
The A refers to the quality of English, which an overwhelming majority of 70% of students are able to achieve.
In the BMAT 2020, this is no different. Although most students sat the exam on a computer rather than pen and paper as normal, this doesn’t seem to have affected the essay section of the BMAT at all.
BMAT Cut-Off Scores for Universities
Some BMAT universities operate a cut-off score, which if you score below, your application will not be considered.
The threshold for these scores change each year, but to get an idea of the cut-off you can look at previous years’ cut-offs.
Here are links that will help you find out BMAT cut-off scores:
What is a good BMAT score 2020?
By using all of the data we have available to ourselves, we can assume a “good” BMAT score in 2020 is one that falls slightly above the average candidates.
This means that if you got a score in the range of 5.2 5.1 and 3.5A, you should pat yourself on the back.
You’ve outdone the majority of your cohort and achieved competitive scores for your medicine application!
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