Oxford Announces Biomedical Sciences Admissions Test (BMSAT)

Oxford is actioning various changes to its admissions testing process, including the introduction of a new admissions test for Biomedical Sciences applicants. Simply titled the BMSAT (Biomedical Sciences Admissions Test), applicants need to be prepared for this new test for the 2024 admissions cycle.

Last Updated: 6th May 2024

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Amidst a series of changes to its admissions testing process, the University of Oxford has quietly announced a brand new admission test for 2024; the Biomedical Sciences Admissions Test (BMSAT).

In this guide, we’ll explore what this test is, who needs to sit it and how it could potentially be used in future admissions cycles

What is the BMSAT?

The BMSAT stands for the Biomedical Sciences Admissions Test. This is a brand new admissions test being developed exclusively for Oxford’s Biomedical Sciences course. Currently, we have very little information regarding the format of the content of this admissions test, although we can assume that it will be based on the core sciences (as well as mathematics). 

Who Has To Sit The BMSAT?

As of the time of writing, the only course that the BMSAT is currently required for is Oxford’s Biomedical Sciences course (BC98). Any applicant applying to study this course will need to sit the BMSAT for their application to be considered.

When Is The BMSAT?

The BMSAT is being introduced in 2024 for 2025 Entry, meaning any applicants applying this year will need to sit the test. There currently is no set date for the test, although previous Oxford admissions tests have been sat in mid-October of each year. Therefore, we can assume that the BMSAT will take place at around the same time. 

How Do I Register For The BMSAT?

Oxford is currently working on a new method for running admissions tests following a series of technical issues during the 2023 admissions test period. This new process has not yet been revealed, so the registration process is also currently unknown. 

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Could the BMSAT Replace the BMAT?

One question that surrounds the BMSAT is its relation to the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT). Although the name references Biomedicine, the BMAT was primarily used for standard medicine courses in the UK, being adopted by 8 UK medical schools at its peak, including Oxford and Cambridge. 

However, there may be reason to believe that Oxford is looking to use an admissions test more similar to the BMAT for future medicine admissions cycles. This is because both Oxford and Cambridge use a very traditional teaching style in their medical schools that places greater emphasis on the scientific studies of medicine in the first three years. 

Because of this emphasis on science, combined with the high number of applicants each year, the BMAT was a very good measure to use in the shortlisting and offer-making processes. Section 2 of the BMAT was a test of scientific knowledge, which is extremely important for applicants applying to Oxbridge Medicine. 

However, the UCAT does not feature any questions relating to science, instead testing applicants on a variety of general skills including decision-making and verbal reasoning. While still helpful for admissions tutors, the UCAT may not provide as much useful information on each applicant compared to the BMAT, which tests general thinking skills alongside direct subject knowledge. 

So, depending on the format and content featured within the BMSAT (which is expected to be very science-focussed), there is potential that Oxford may be testing the viability of using this exam for its medicine degree in the near future. If that were the case, and the results came back positive, then applicants applying to Oxford would have to sit the BMSAT instead of the UCAT (although they would still need to sit the UCAT as well to apply to other UK medical schools). 

There is also the question of whether Cambridge would also implement this admissions test or develop an equivalent. Since Cambridge also emphasises scientific learning in its medicine course, it may well be the case that they seek to also use the BMSAT or a similar test in the coming years. 

However, this is all speculation so it should be assumed for now that Oxford and Cambridge will continue to use the UCAT for medicine admissions. 

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What Should I Do Now?

Until more details are announced regarding this admissions test, there is not much you can do that will be effective for your preparation. 

However, it is expected that more details will be announced soon, including information about the format, the exam’s content specification and at least one example paper to give you something to practice with. 

If you’re eager to start preparing as soon as possible, you may potentially find it useful to practice with BMAT resources, including past papers and question banks. However, there is no guarantee that the questions featured in the BMSAT will be similar to those in the BMAT, so it may be best to wait until an official announcement. 

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