UCL Moves From BMAT To UCAT For 2025 Entry Medicine

It has been announced by University College London that they will be moving from the BMAT to the UCAT for their medicine course admissions starting in 2024 (for 2025 Entry). Find out why this is happening and what it means for medicine applicants.

Author: Matthew Amalfitano-Stroud

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It has been announced by University College London that they will be moving away from the BMAT in favour of the UCAT as the admissions test for all medicine applicants starting in 2024 for 2025 Entry. 

This means that applicants for UCL Medicine, starting from next year, will be required to sit a completely different admissions test from applicants of previous years, including those applying in 2023 for 2024 Entry. 

In this guide, we. will explore why this is happening, how you or your students will be affected and what will need to be done to adjust to these changes. 

How Will You Be Affected? - Students

As the ones who will be sitting the tests, applicants of UCL medicine in 2024 and onwards will be impacted by these changes.

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 this change to adjust their support:

Why is UCL Changing from the BMAT to the UCAT?

This is due to several cutbacks being made at the company, with the BMAT being the largest admissions test affected. It has been confirmed that the BMAT will run as normal in 2023 for 2024 Entry, meaning UCL medicine applicants for this year will still be taking the BMAT. 

However, starting from 2024 (2025 Entry), it has been confirmed that UCL will be implementing the UCAT for all medicine applicants. This does not come as a surprise as all BMAT universities will need to move away from the test next year. The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is the most widely-used medicine admissions test in the UK, currently being used by over 30 medical schools

UCL was not the first university to make this change, as Imperial College London has also confirmed the switch to the UCAT, while the University of Leeds and Keele University already switched to the UCAT for 2023 medicine and dentistry applicants, meaning they have opted to make the change before the test is discontinued. It is still not confirmed how the other 4 BMAT universities will approach this change, but it is expected that most will move to the UCAT rather than developing a new test or repurposing the BMAT. 

Prepare for the UCAT easily and effectively with support from UniAdmissions. 

At UniAdmissions, we have spent over 10 years preparing students for the UCAT, as well as the other aspects of their medicine application. We have developed a comprehensive syllabus and work with the best medicine tutors to ensure our students have the best chance of earning their place at medical school. 

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How Will You Be Affected? - Students

Firstly, it is important to emphasise that 2023 (2024 Entry) medicine applicants at UCL and Imperial will still be required to sit the BMAT in October of this year. The change to the UCAT will not be implemented until next year’s application cycle. 

For those who will be applying in 2024 for 2025 Entry, the major change is simply that they will need to sit the UCAT instead of the BMAT. A new admissions test will not be created and the standard UCAT will be required by all applicants. 

How Can I Prepare For The UCAT?

Thankfully, the UCAT is a well-established medicine admissions test that has been operating since 2006 (the test was previously known as the UKCAT). The UCAT is a computer-based test of general thinking skills that is split into five distinct sections:  

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Decision Making
  • Abstract Reasoning
  • Situational Judgment

Most of the sections are not specific to medicine but instead test various general comprehension skills, with the short time limits and number of questions usually being the biggest challenge. Some of the questions are comparable to Section 1 of the BMAT, although there is much greater variety in the types of questions being asked. 

The UCAT is unique in that it cannot be revised for in a traditional sense as the test does not have any required knowledge other than general skills and techniques. The best way to prepare is to work through practice UCAT questions and sit properly timed mock exams in order to improve your technique. 

Various resources are available to support you in this, including question banks, example tests and section guides that offer helpful techniques. We have created a number of free UCAT guides that explain each section in detail, while our Medicine and UCAT Programmes offer expert support through one-to-one tuition, resources, intensive courses and more.  

This is not the only change that UCL medicine applicants will be facing in 2024, as all applicants starting from next year will also be facing the brand new UCAS Personal Statement format. Traditional free-form statements will no longer be accepted from 2024, with UCAS instead opting for a questionnaire-based statement that requires applicants to answer 6 questions relating to their application. Applicants in 2023 for 2024 Entry will still be required to write their Personal Statement in the traditional format.

How Will You Be Affected? - Schools

As a school, this specific change will not greatly impact your current support as you will simply need to inform any affected students of the change and support them with UCAT preparation instead. As the UCAT is such a prominent admissions test, you will likely have some form of support in place for applicants. 

Remember that these changes will be implemented in 2024, not 2023, so applicants due to sit the BMAT in October 2023 will still be required to do so. 

While UCL and Imperial have confirmed their change, there are still 4 universities that have not made announcements yet;  most notably Oxford and Cambridge. While it is likely most of these universities will move to the UCAT, we are currently unsure what Oxford and Cambridge are likely to use as a replacement. 

While the UCAT is the easiest option for these universities as it is already established and used by many medical schools in the UK, Oxford and Cambridge are both highly competitive and regularly use their own admissions tests for subjects outside of medicine. Some suggest that they may each adopt a new admissions test for their medicine applicants, or repurpose the format of the BMAT. However, this is currently speculation as there have been no hints as to the future of Oxbridge medicine. 

For now, this is all the information available regarding the BMAT universities. Below you will find our current track of the 8 UK BMAT universities and their current decisions for admissions in 2024 and onwards: 

University NameCurrent Decision Date Implemented
Brighton and Sussex Medical SchoolTBCTBC
University of CambridgeTBCTBC
Imperial College LondonMedicine Applicants will be sitting the UCAT.2024 (2025 Entry)
Lancaster UniversityTBCTBC
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 OxfordTBCTBC
University College London (UCL)Medicine Applicants will be sitting the UCAT.2024 (2025 Entry)

We will continue to provide updates are they are made available, so be sure to check back regularly and sign up for our newsletter for the latest on Oxbridge and Medicine applications. If you or your child are looking for support in the medicine application, our Premium Medicine Programme offers the perfect support system to ensure they have the best chance of gaining an offer. 

No matter what changes, secure your place at medical school with UniAdmissions

No matter what changes in the admissions process, UniAdmissions will always be prepared to offer the most relevant and highest-quality support for you or your child. We have developed an expert curriculum over the last 10 years that gets results, meaning you are in safe hands. 

Discover our Medicine Premium Programmes below and find out how you can enrol and triple your chances of success.

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