What is a Good BMAT Score?

BMAT

1/19/2022

Wondering if your BMAT (BioMedical Admissions Test) score will be good enough? This article gives an outline of the test itself, which universities use it, how it’s scored and what level you want to aim for.

What is the BMAT?

The BMAT is used by a handful of universities to identify the best students for their most competitive courses, including medicine. It consists of three separately scored sections: Thinking Skills, Scientific Knowledge and Applications, and a writing task.

The test is designed to be challenging. A competitive score will help you stand out among other applicants and increase your chance of getting into medical school.

Our main BMAT article answers your questions about the exam in more detail.


BMAT universities

There are only eight BMAT universities. However, the BMAT is used by Oxford and Cambridge, two of the most prestigious medical schools.

Each uses and weights your BMAT score slightly differently, but generally it is used to select whom to interview. Be sure to check your university's BMAT requirements. Find out more about BMAT universities to see what you need to score.

Other universities usually require the UCAT. Learn about the differences between the UCAT and the BMAT or take a detailed look at the UCAT exam.

How is the BMAT score calculated for Sections 1 and 2?

We take a deep dive into BMAT scoring in another article, but - as a general overview - the number of questions you get right form 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 (see below). 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.

Learn more about BMAT Section 1 or BMAT Section 2.

What is the difference between a raw mark and a scaled mark?

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: 

BMAT score conversion chart for Sections 1 and 2 (2020)

How is the BMAT score calculated for Section 3?

Section 3 is a writing task and you’re marked on two key factors.

Quality of content

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.

Quality of English

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.

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.

An infographic showing how final score is derived from two examiners for BMAT Section 3


What is a good BMAT score?

The official BMAT website says that typical candidates will score around 5.0, but the best candidates will score around 6.0 and exceptional candidates will score higher than 7.0. 

Although some BMAT universities do not make their decisions based exclusively on the BMAT, a good score will definitely put you in a favourable position. 

The following graphs show what exactly “good” looks like.  


BMAT scores from 2021

BMAT Section 1 (Thinking Skills)

BMAT Section 1 score distribution from 2021

A BMAT Section 1 score of 6.0 could be considered good, with less than 15% of the test-takers achieving such scores in 2021. A score of 7.0 or higher could be considered exceptional.

BMAT Section 2 (Scientific Knowledge and Applications)

BMAT Section 2 score distribution from 2021

In 2021, only around 10% of the students achieved a score of 6.0 or higher in BMAT Section 2. This is a significant decrease from 2020, where around 20% of students did so. A score of 5.5 or higher could be considered as being good, with 6.5 or higher being exceptional.

BMAT Section 3 (Writing Task)

BMAT Section 3 - Quality of English score distribution from 2021
BMAT Section 3 - Quality of English score distribution from 2021


The majority of students achieve an A in their quality of English score. For 2021, over 75% of students received an A. Over the years, the trend for the quality of content score has been fairly consistent, with 3 being the most common score. In 2021, only around 7% of students scored 4 or above, which is similar to the past couple of years.

Your quality of English score is usually given the same weight as the other BMAT scores. However, some universities may not use the quality of English score at all. Section 3 can be challenging for non-native speakers. If you’re an international student, revise your IELTS materials, if necessary, or look for outside guidance to improve. 

Your quality of English score could affect your chance of getting an interview so it’s important to make sure that you’re well prepared for it. 

How A-Levels taken relate to your BMAT score

For 2018, Cambridge Admissions Assessment also mapped the A-levels taken by students against their average BMAT scores: 

Cambridge Admissions Assessment's map of A-levels taken by students against their average BMAT scores in 2018

Although your A-Levels don’t seem to have a significant impact on your Section 3 score, studying chemistry seems to make a whopping 1.1-point difference to your Section 2 score, and studying maths also seems to have a noticeable impact.

Don’t worry if you’re not taking those subjects, however, as you can still do really well without them. This table is only here to offer guidance if you’re at the stage where you’re wondering which A-levels to take in order to prepare you for med school. 

Whatever your A-levels, you’ll still want to prepare effectively with our complete BMAT preparation course, which includes 2,000+ original practice questions, 15 unique mocks, in-depth tutorials covering all three sections and official past papers with full explanations.


Summary

  • A good score is 5.5~6 or higher in Sections 1 and 2
  • Exceptional students score above 6.5~7
  • Most students get a score of 3 in Section 3
  • Only a small proportion of students get above 4 for Section 3
  • Most students will get band A for Section 3

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