What is the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)? Top 33 Questions Answered

Last updated: 13/4/2023

BMAT will be withdrawn from 2024. Keep an eye on our TikTok channel and live updates article to find out what's happening with BMAT universities after next year.

1. What is the BMAT?

The BMAT is a two-hour exam administered by CAAT (Cambridge Assessments Admissions Testing) designed to differentiate applicants of professional healthcare courses such as medicine and dentistry. It consists of 59 multiple choice questions (MCQs) and one essay.

BMAT Information 2023 infographic, including price, questions, timing, resits, score validity, what's a good BMAT score, and how long to prepare for

2. What is being tested in the BMAT?

The BMAT assesses: 

  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving abilities
  • Scientific and mathematical knowledge
  • Written communication skills

It's made up of the following three sections:

Infographic breaking down BMAT sections 1, 2 and 3

3. Why take the BMAT?

Medical schools usually require applicants to take the UCAT or BMAT.

They are used to decide which candidates to invite to interview and sometimes who gets the final offer. Since most applicants have exceptional academic achievements, universities rely on this additional testing.

As some universities require the BMAT instead of the UCAT (see tip #4 below), taking both exams and getting a high score maximises your chances of getting into medical or dental school.

Taking the BMAT also allows you to apply to medical programmes at prestigious universities such as Oxford, Cambridge and University College London.

Learn about the UCAT test

4. Which UK universities require the BMAT and how do they use your score?

The following UK universities require the BMAT:

Graphic showing map and table of universities and courses requiring the BMAT

The BMAT is also required for entry into various medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences degrees in Europe and Asia.

All universities consider your BMAT score alongside other admission criteria. However, some universities may place more emphasis on your BMAT score, such as having a strict minimum score for each section.

Get detailed information on BMAT universities

5. When is the BMAT?

The test date for BMAT – March is 4 March 2023. 

The test date for BMAT – October is 18 October 2023. 

6. Which BMAT session do I take?

If you're applying to UK universities in 2023, you need to take BMAT – October.

If you're applying to universities in Europe in 2023, you need to take BMAT – March.

If you're applying to universities outside the UK, check the official CAAT website.

Our BMAT universities article has more details on what BMAT session is required to study abroad.

7. How long are BMAT results valid for?

Results are valid for one year. If you sit the BMAT in 2023, you can use it for courses starting in 2024, but not for subsequent years.

8. How many times can I take the BMAT?

You can take the BMAT as many times as you want, but only once per admissions cycle.

9. In which school year do you take BMAT – October?

You take the BMAT during Year 13, in October 2023.

10. How much does the BMAT cost?

BMAT – March 2023 costs £150/€175/US$206. 

BMAT – October 2023 costs £78/€91 within the UK and EU, and £104/$142 outside of the EU.

11. What if I can't pay for the BMAT?

For BMAT – October 2023, if you meet the criteria and apply by 29 September 2023 6pm BST, you could have your standard registration fee reimbursed.

To be eligible for the reimbursement you must be a UK student who is receiving one of the following:

  • Free school meals
  • Learner support 
  • 16 to 19 Bursary
  • Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
  • Student Finance England Maintenance Grant or Maintenance Loan (full rate)
  • Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) Young Students’/Independent Students’ Bursary (full rate)
  • Student Finance Wales or Northern Ireland Maintenance Grant (full rate)

You’re also eligible if you or a parent you live with receives one of the following:

  • Income support 
  • Job seekers allowance (JSA)
  • Employment and support allowance  (ESA)
  • Universal credit
  • Working tax credit
  • Child tax credit
  • Asylum support

12. How is the BMAT scored?

Sections 1 and 2 are scored between 1 (low) to 9 (high).

Section 3 is marked on quality of content on a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high) and quality of English on a scale from A (high) to E (low).

The essay is marked by two independent examiners and the writing is made available to interviewers.

Take a deep dive into BMAT scoring

2021 BMAT Section 2 scores

13. What is a good BMAT score?

This depends on the university you are applying to. As a rough guide, a score of 5 is considered average, 6 good and 7 or higher excellent for Sections 1 and 2. 

For Section 3, you should aim for a score of 3A or higher.

Read about how the BMAT is scored

What is a good BMAT score? Infographic.

14. Is the BMAT hard?

It depends.

Some students, especially those who are well underway with preparing for the UCAT, find Section 1 easier as it tests similar skills to the UCAT Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections. 

Students who excel at maths and science won’t find Section 2 very difficult, whereas avid writers may find Section 3 to be the easiest.

It is important to tailor your BMAT preparation to your strengths and weaknesses and focus on the section(s) that require the most work.

15. How do I prepare for the BMAT?

Take a look at our BMAT specification article for an in-depth section-by-section breakdown. 

Read on for an overview of each section:

Section 1 (problem solving questions)

Brush up on your basic maths, including:

  • Number concepts (fractions, place value, percentages)
  • Numerical operations and quantities (time, calendar, money, measures)
  • Spatial reasoning (area, perimeter, volume)
  • Interpretation of tables and graphs

For the Critical Thinking questions in Section 1, you will need to prove you can understand and evaluate arguments (for example, by identifying assumptions or flaws in an argument). 

Explore our top tips for BMAT Section 1

Section 2 (science and maths questions)

Make sure you know the syllabus on the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing website inside out, as questions will not be asked outside of it.

Explore our top tips for BMAT Section 2

Section 3 (essay writing)

Learn to develop and communicate your ideas clearly and use a good level of English.

If this is something you struggle with, consider taking a free writing course with the Open University before starting your BMAT preparation course. The writing course is not BMAT specific, but it can give you a great foundation.

Explore our top tips for BMAT Section 3

For all sections

Visit the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing website, which provides the content specifications and previous papers.

Do plenty of practice questions to assess your strengths and weaknesses. Practise with past papers to familiarise yourself with the time pressure and the need for sustained focus.

16. Do I get penalised for wrong answers?

No. Leave no question unanswered for the multiple choice questions in Sections 1 and 2.

17. Will I be asked about my writing task at my interview?

Some universities may ask about the essay at your interview. 

Universities are generally quite vague about whether or not they’ll ask about the essay, but should definitely give you advanced notice if you’re invited to interview. 

18. When do BMAT 2023 results come out?

BMAT – March results will be released on 28 March 2023. 

BMAT – October results will be released on 24 November 2023.

19. How do I view my BMAT results?

Log in to the Metritests system to check your results.

20. How do I send my BMAT results to my chosen universities?

If you're applying to universities in the UK or the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, your BMAT results will be delivered directly to your chosen universities.

For all our universities, you will need to use CAAT’s Metritests system.

21. Can I submit a BMAT results enquiry or appeal?

Yes, you can submit a Results Enquiry Request or an appeal through your test centre.

Learn more about BMAT appeals

22. Can I use a calculator or a dictionary in the BMAT?

No, neither is allowed.

23. How is the BMAT different from the UCAT and GAMSAT?

The UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) and BMAT both require a high level of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. 

The main difference is that UCAT is a purely skills-based test, whereas the BMAT assumes a prerequisite knowledge in maths and sciences (Section 2). 

The UCAT consists entirely of multiple choice questions, whereas the BMAT includes an essay task (Section 3). Learn more about the similarities and differences between the UCAT and BMAT exam.

The Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) is an admissions test that is only relevant for graduate entry applicants. (Note: The graduate entry medical programme at Oxford requires the BMAT.)

Much like the BMAT, the GAMSAT assesses critical analysis and reasoning, writing skills and scientific knowledge. However, the GAMSAT requires you to answer many more questions (132 MCQs and 2 writing tasks) over almost five hours.

24. Can I sit both the UCAT and BMAT?

Yes, many students sit both tests to maximise their chances of getting into medical school. 

Section 1 of the BMAT assesses similar attributes to the UCAT’s Verbal Reasoning (VR) and Quantitative Reasoning (QR) sections, so preparing for the UCAT will benefit your BMAT revision.

25. How long does it take to prepare for the BMAT?

It depends on your readiness for each section, but many students prepare for months before the test, so expect some intense competition. 

There is a limited number of medical school places so you need to score as high as you can to give yourself the best chance of gaining entry.

You should allow at least a month (ideally six weeks or longer) to prepare thoroughly and get through plenty of BMAT practice tests and questions. Spreading out your revision will help you to prepare for the exam with less stress.

Check out a sample 6-week BMAT revision plan

BMAT revision checklist infographic

26. How do I book the BMAT?

Find out how to register for BMAT – March. For BMAT – October, register through a test centre.

Learn more about BMAT registration.

27. Where do I sit the BMAT?

You can find authorised test centres through the official CAAT website.

If you’re taking BMAT – March, you will sit the test in an authorised test centre.

Most BMAT – October candidates take the test at their schools. If your school is not registered already, it can apply to become a test centre.

28. Can I change my BMAT test date?

No. The BMAT test is held on a set date, unlike the UCAT, which runs over a period of time.

29. Can I cancel my BMAT – October?

Yes, your Exams Officer could cancel your test registration for you up until 29 September 2023.

If you paid additional administration fees, your test centre will decide whether they can refund these fees.

30. Do BMAT – March and BMAT – October offer access arrangements?

Access arrangements are available for both tests. 

You should contact your test centre and provide details of your disability or special requirements. You may be asked to provide evidence.

31. What do I need to bring to the BMAT test?

Both the March and October sitting require a valid photo ID, such as your passport, driver's licence or student ID. 

You cannot bring any food or drink except a clear bottle of water without any labels. Dictionaries and calculators are not allowed.

Both exams are a pen-and-paper test, so you will need a soft pencil and eraser for Sections 1 and 2, and a black ink pen for Section 3. Use of correction fluid is not permitted.

Your test centre may give further instructions about what to bring or do on the test day.

32. How can you get into medicine without the BMAT?

If you don’t do well in the BMAT, it’s not the end of the road for you. You can still study medicine through a number of paths:

33. Where can I get further BMAT information?

Visit the official CAAT website for more information about the BMAT.

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