The BioMedical Admissions Test is an aptitude test which needs to be taken to apply for many of the world’s best schools to study Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine. But what makes a good BMAT score?
One of the questions that we get asked most frequently is “what is a good BMAT score?” or “is my BMAT score good enough to get me into X?”.
Unfortunately, it’s certainly not as simple as that – there’s no way to say that every score above a certain cut-off score is considered ‘good’ and that your score is ‘bad’ if you’re below that. Your BMAT score will only form one part of your application, along with your academic results, personal statement and interview performance and everything is taken into account by admissions tutors, so a good BMAT score will not make or break an application, but it certainly helps to perform well.
How BMAT scoring works…
For Sections 1 and 2, you will gain 1 mark for each correct answer and 0 marks for each incorrect answer. Your raw mark will then be placed on a scale from 1 to 9 to make up your score for each section. These scores are distributed normally so most students score in the middle part of the range and scores at the two extremes are very rare, with the average student scoring 5.0. Strong candidates score around 6.0 and exceptional candidates score around 7.0. A distribution for Section 1 in 2017 is shown below and the full analysis of results for last year can be found here: https://www.admissionstesting.org/Images/425094-bmat-explanation-of-results.pdf
In Section 3, marks are awarded separately for quality of content and quality of English.
For quality of content, the examiners will consider whether or not the candidate has fully addressed the question, the structure of the essay and the use of general knowledge, current affairs and opinions. Candidates will receive a score from 1.0 to 5.0, with 3.0 being the average score in the cohort and slightly more than half the students receiving a 3.0 or higher. In general, 4.0 is a strong score and 5.0 is outstanding and rarely seen.
For quality of English, candidates will be assigned a letter from band A to E based on fluency or written English, grammar, spelling, sentence structure and vocabulary. Around 80% of candidates receive a Band A for quality of English! Some medical schools, such as Imperial, set a cut-off for this score, so they will not accept anyone with a quality of English score lower than a B. So, it’s important that you aim for a Band A – it really doesn’t take much effort to proofread and check your spelling!
Different universities use the BMAT in different ways…
Some universities may set a BMAT cut-off score, some may use it in conjunction with academic results or personal statement for interview selection and some may not heavily consider the BMAT at all until the final decision is made. Some schools will place more emphasis on Section 3 than others. For example, Oxford assign each candidate a score calculated from their BMAT results, with Section 3 only making up 20% of this score, whereas UCL will hold a strong Section 3 score in very high regard.
You should take the time to research how the medical or dental schools that you want to apply to make use of your good BMAT score and apply by playing it to what you believe your strengths are.
For example, if you think that you are good at writing essays, you could apply to a university which places a lot of emphasis on the Section 3 score. This is something that’s important to remember. A strong BMAT score only helps you if you use it in the right way!