HOW UNIVERSITIES USE BMAT

The BMAT is used differently by every university and we recommend that students take the time to understand exactly how the exam is assessed and how much weight it carries when applying to different medical schools and even setting a BMAT target score. It’s always good to be well-informed, so we have highlighted how different universities weigh the BMAT. Students applying for Oxbridge, UCL and Imperial (amongst others) require the BMAT.

Cambridge interviews more than 90% of students who apply, so the BMAT score isn’t vital for making the interview shortlist. However, it can play a huge role in the final decision- for example, 50% of overall marks for your application may be allocated to the BMAT. Thus, it is essential you find out as much information about the College you’re applying to, especially as the Medicine application process (and the BMAT weighting) is dictated by the individual College.

Oxford typically receives thousands of applications each year and they use the BMAT to shortlist students for interview. Typically, 450 students are invited for interview for 150 places. Thus, if you get offered an interview- you are doing very well! Oxford centralise their short listing process and use an algorithm that uses your % A*s at GCSE along with your BMAT score to rank all their applicants of which the top are invited to interview. BMAT sections 1 + 2 count for 40% each of your BMAT score whilst section 3 counts for 20%. In calculating the Section 3 score, double weighting is ascribed to the score with single weighting given to the Quality of English score.

UCL makes offers based on all components of the application and whilst the BMAT is important there is no magic threshold that you need to meet in order to guarantee an interview. Applications with higher BMAT scores tend to be interviewed earlier in the year.

Lancaster first introduced the BMAT into their application process in 2015. The overall BMAT score for each applicant is calculated by adding the total score from each Section, with a maximum score of 23. However, the Section 3 Quality of English score is not taken into consideration.

Applicants who achieved scores ranging between 9.7-16.4 (average score of 11.8) were invited to interview and students with scores in the 9.7-16.1 range (12.0 average) received offers.

Imperial employs a strict BMAT cut-off for each section of the BMAT. This exact cut-off value changes every year, but in the past has been approximately 4.5 – 5.0 for sections 1 + 2 and 2.5B for section 3. Thus, students who fail to achieve this score are automatically rejected.

Imperial also tend to further sub-divide their cut-off process into four distinct bands, with those in Band 1 being invited to interview first and having a significantly greater applicant to interview ratio. Applying this in numerical terms, historically 90% of applicants with Band 1 BMAT scores are invited to interview, compared to only 7.5% of those meeting the minimum Band 4 cut-off requirement.

In 2016 the cut-off BMAT scores to get into Band 1 of the Imperial banding system was as follows:

Band 1
Section 1: 5.4;
Section 2: 5.2;
Section 3: 3.5 and grade B

In 2016 entry to medicine, the cut-off BMAT scores to get into Band 2 of the Imperial banding system is as follows:

Band 2
Section 1: 4.7;
Section 2: 4.7;
Section 3: 3.0 and grade B

The BMAT replaced the UKCAT at Leeds in 2014 and contributes to 15% of your academic score. You will be allocated marks based on your rank in the BMAT, but there is no strict cut-off. Applicants in the top 20% of the BMAT will get the full quota of marks for their application and the bottom 20% will get the lowest possible mark for their application. Thus, you can still get an interview if you perform poorly in the BMAT (it’s just much harder!). Leeds will calculate your BMAT score by attributing 40% to section 1, 40% to section 2 and 20% to section 3. Section 3 score is also taken into consideration during the interview stage. Overall, the weighting of the BMAT is equivalent to 50% of the personal statement weighting and 15% of the academic scoring weighting.

Brighton started using the BMAT in 2015, so little is known about how they use it in their decision-making process, but does have a strict cut-off when considering students suitable for interview. Applicants can score a maximum of 28 points, with Section 3 (10 points) being weighted slightly more than Section 1 and 2 (9 points each).

In 2015 the cut-off score was 15.1 and in 2016 it was 16.0.

International medical applicants are required to take the BMAT, which is used alongside students’ academic performance, personal statement and references in assessing suitability. UK medical applicants are required to take the UKCAT examination.

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