The BMAT (BioMedical Admissions Test) is a two-hour paper-based exam and consists of 3 sections.
This is a multiple choice section with 32 questions. It assesses your problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Problem solving - A strong focus on mental maths and algebra, without a calculator.
Critical thinking - Verbal reasoning.
This section is also multiple choice. It consists of 27 questions and assesses your scientific and mathematical knowledge at GCSE-level.
You’ll have 7 questions each for biology, chemistry and physics and 6 for maths.
This involves producing counter-arguments, reconciling ideas or explaining a proposition.
You choose an essay from three option statements. The section assesses your ability to develop and organise ideas as well as communicate them effectively.
In Section 1, there are 32 questions and in Section 2 there are 27 questions. The number of questions you get right will be your raw score, and each question is worth one mark.
These scores are then scaled to give you a mark between 1.0 and 9.0, with 1 being the lowest and 9 being the highest.
You won’t have marks taken off for wrong answers, so answer every question, even if it’s a guess.
Both sections are machine-marked, rather than by an examiner.
Section 3 is a writing task and you’re marked on two key factors.
Your score for the quality of content ranges from 1 (poor) to 5 (high quality).
You’re assessed on the coherence and strength of your argument and clarity of expression.
‘Coherence’ refers to whether the paragraphs and ideas flow in a logical way. This means connecting paragraphs together to create a comprehensive point of view on a subject. If you launch from one idea into something completely unrelated, it will cost you marks, so developing your points fully and supporting them is critical.
Revise essay structure and how to develop your ideas fully, or check out our BMAT course for a complete walk through.
You will be given a band of A, C or E, with A being the best quality and E the lowest. You’re assessed on your fluency, grammar and vocabulary.
Think about the style and accuracy of your language. Poor spelling and grammar will cost you marks, so use vocabulary you are comfortable with and make sure you use connectives appropriately.
Most BMAT candidates score around 5.0 out of 9.0 for Sections 1 and 2.
Good candidates achieve around 6.0, and the very top of the cohort score 7.0 or higher.
Since the essay is marked by two examiners, there may be slight differences in scoring. If there’s a big difference, your essay will be marked by a third examiner and checked by an assessment manager before you’re given your score.
Here’s an example of how the BMAT is marked by taking the mean of two scores.
The raw mark is the number of questions you answered correctly in the section. It is then converted into a scaled mark, between 1 and 9. The scaling system varies slightly year on year, but this is the 2020 BMAT score conversion:
The test is not used by the majority of medical schools. Only 8 of the 33 medical schools in the UK use it, with most using the UCAT as their admissions test. However, it is used by Oxford and Cambridge, two of the most prestigious medical schools.
Find out more about BMAT universities.
If you didn't do as well as you had hoped on the BMAT, you can still try the UCAT for entry in the UK or Australia. As there is a lot of overlap between the tests, taking both doesn’t take twice the effort, and you stand a better chance of getting a place at medical school.