The BMAT Basics | UniAdmissions Guide

The BMAT is an Admissions Test used by 8 UK Medical Schools as an alternative to the UCAT. There is some similarity between the two tests, but on the whole, the BMAT uses more genuine academic knowledge and problem-solving skill compared to the UCAT. Rest assured though, the BMAT is not insurmountable. Here, tricks and tips to maximise your score.

Author: Rachel Stevens

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The BMAT is an Admissions Test used by 8 UK Medical Schools as an alternative to the UCAT.

There is some similarity between the two tests, but on the whole, the BMAT uses more genuine academic knowledge and problem-solving skill compared to the UCAT. Rest assured though, the BMAT is not insurmountable. As ever, there are tricks and tips to maximise your score. 

In this guide, we will take you through the basics of the BMAT, such as the different sections and scoring. Read on to improve your understanding of the tricky test.

How is the BMAT Scored?

Due to the date of the exam (usually around the 4th of November for the November sitting) and the early UCAS submission requirement (15th October), you won’t know your BMAT score before applying for a Medical School. This is different to the UCAT where testing starts in July and ends in September.

This means that if you suddenly do terribly on the day (it happens to the best of us), that score will hang over your application to your detriment. To minimise this risk, and given the BMAT is harder than the UCAT, we recommend not making all of your four choices BMAT schools. That way, in the worst-case scenario, your other UCAT schools will be unaffected.

The BMAT consists of three sections:

For Section 1 and Section 2, you receive a score from 1 to 9, with one decimal place and 9 being the highest. For Section 3, you receive a number 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest and a letter grade. For the essay, the number is related to your quality of argument, whilst your letter refers to your quality of language (SPAG basically).

An example score, therefore, would be 6.5, 7.2, 4A. If you’re aiming for Oxbridge, you’re looking at aiming for 7s and a 5A, and anywhere else would be looking for comfortable 5s and 6s with a 4A.

Section 1: is probably the most entertaining section

In this section, you have some argument analysis questions and logical reasoning questions to answer. There is a huge variety, so our best piece of advice would be to go over all of the past papers, all of which are on the Cambridge Assessment website

Section 1 is all about thinking skills and students have approximately 110 seconds per question; this may sound like a lot but given that you’re often required to read and analyse passages or graphs, it can often not be enough. Nevertheless, this section is not as time-pressured as Section 2 so most students usually finish the majority of questions in time.

Familiarising yourself with the questions will show you what kinds of thought processes examiners are looking for. This can be a really tough section to prepare for. To ensure you’re ready with this tricky section, we recommend the UniAdmissions Medicine Programme. You’ll get over 250 hours of study and one-to-one sessions with BMAT experts.

Section 2: assesses your scientific knowledge

The consensus that Section 2 is only GCSE level is mostly a lie. The questions go far beyond the curriculum of any GCSE syllabus because the syllabus covers many exam boards. The questions cover Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics to around A-level.  

Most medical students take Biology and Chemistry at A-level, so odds are you’re unlikely to see anything new during the exam (except maybe revise your Ecology), but you’ll need to make sure your Physics knowledge is up to scratch. Electricity and Forces often come up, as do A-level topics like Potential Dividers. 

Don’t let the claim of GCSE level fool you, it’s a comprehensive test of sciences. Revise the GCSE syllabus of different exam boards, that way you’re covered for something that might not have been on your course.

Section 3: might actually be the easiest section

The essay is unusual in that it’s limited by space and you can only fill about 80% of an A4 sheet. Crucially, it’s straightforward to nab a minimum of a 3A. You can get a 3 simply by making sure you address every part of the question. 

Section 3 gives candidates 30 minutes to answer one question from a choice of three. These questions usually pertain to; Medicine, a current or social affair, or a quote by a famous figure. Along with the main question, there are usually sub-questions that need to be answered.

Getting an A is also easy since most of you probably got As and A*s in GCSE English. Use proper grammar and don’t use words you can’t spell. As for getting a higher score than a 3, think of unique and novel perspectives and practice your timings. 

Which universities require the BMAT?

The BMAT is required by several universities across the UK, some countries in Europe, and even as far-reaching as Malaysia and Australia. The test is an entry requirement at these universities for medical or dentistry courses.

  1. University of Cambridge
  2. University of Oxford Medical School
  3. Imperial College London
  4. University College London
  5. Leeds’ School of Medicine
  6. Brighton & Sussex Medical School
  7. Keele University (overseas applicants only, home applicants sit the UCAT)
  8. Lancaster University

Searching for BMAT support to strengthen your Medicine application?

The BMAT exam is a vital component of your Medicine application so scoring highly can mean the difference between an offer or rejection. At UniAdmissions, we are experts at boosting your BMAT score and maximising your chances of gaining a place to study Medicine.

Discover our BMAT Programme by clicking the button below to enrol and triple your chances of success.

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