Teachers’ Guide to Medicine #3: The BMAT Test

Admissions

2021-03-13

Help your students beat the BMAT.

What is the BMAT?

The BMAT (BioMedical Admissions Test) is another admissions test that is used by a smaller number of medical schools in the UK. It is different from the UCAT in that it assesses knowledge, as well as aptitude. Usually, it can be taken in September or November, but Oxford Medical School only accepts BMAT’s November sitting. Note: Due to COVID-19, the BMAT – September test session will not go ahead in 2021.

The BMAT is a 2-hour test consisting of three sections:

Section-by-section breakdown of the BMAT

For more information about this test, including how your students can prepare, read our articles on the BMAT.

Which medical schools use the BMAT? How do they use it?

Medical schools requiring the BMAT

Despite only seven medical schools using the BMAT, it is used by a number of prestigious universities, including: Oxford, Cambridge, UCL and Imperial College London.

Furthermore, preparing for both the UCAT and BMAT maximises a student’s chance of securing a place at medical school. In 2021, the UCAT can be sat between 26th July and 22nd September, whereas the BMAT will be sat on 3rd November.

You can advise your students to sit the UCAT at the end of July and to sit the BMAT in November. This allows them to space out the exam revision as much as possible. 

Note that the BMAT Section 1 (Thinking Skills) assesses similar cognitive skills as the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections of the UCAT. Therefore, preparing for the UCAT will be useful for improving the BMAT scores.

BMAT scores are used alongside academic grades for interview invitation.

How can I help my students prepare for the BMAT?

Here are top five ways to help your students with their BMAT: 

  1. Understand the difference between the UCAT and BMAT. The UCAT is sat before the BMAT and it is easy for students to assume that they are similar tests. They need to know that the UCAT tests aptitude whereas the BMAT tests both aptitude and knowledge.
  1. Don’t let GCSEs slip away. Section 2 of the BMAT tests maths and sciences at the GCSE level. Encourage your students to revise their GCSE contents during the holidays before starting A-levels.
  1. Know the syllabus inside-out. Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing (CAAT) provides content specification for the BMAT. There is no point studying topics outside this document.
  1. Section 3 has a word limit. There is a 550 word limit for the essay and students may be penalised for writing longer than this. Advise them to keep this in mind while writing practice essays.
  2. Practise essay planning. If students don’t have enough time to practise writing many BMAT essays, encourage them to at least practise planning the BMAT essay with past paper essay topics.

Where can my students find BMAT preparation tips?

Medify offers free resources for the BMAT. We also offer an Online BMAT Course that features an automatic past paper grader, 1,400 original practice questions, section tutorials and essay plans to help students ‘beat the BMAT’.

CAAT provides the official preparation guide and practice papers, which are great resources for students.

There are some YouTube channels run by medical students, which share tips, know-hows and resources, including:

Magda Weronika


Rosia Li


Sen Kath

Tejbir Deol


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