BMAT Medical Schools: Which universities require the BMAT?

3 min read

UPDATE: Please note that CAAT have announced they will no longer be administering the BMAT in 2024, for 2025 entry. Cambridge University has announced that they will be using the UCAT as an admissions indicator. Oxford University are to announce admissions test changes in Spring 2024.

Introduction: The use of BMAT in UK universities

In the UK, only a few medical schools use BMAT results as part of their admissions process. Out of the schools that do, each of them uses the BMAT score differently when admitting applicants. For example, Oxford weighs the BMAT very differently from Cambridge. 

In order to further improve or seek a realistic understanding of their chances of admission, candidates are advised to carefully compare their individual BMAT scores against their desired university’s BMAT criteria, instead of assuming that there is a one-size-fits-all cut-off score. It is important to recognize that every university that uses the BMAT has it’s own approach to scoring.

Furthermore, the universities that use BMAT scores in their admissions process are well-known for being challenging to get into. Therefore, knowing the BMAT cut-off or average score of successful candidates at your preferred university might aid you in preparing for your BMAT.

In this guide, we will go through how specifically Oxford and Cambridge use the BMAT in their admissions process.

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The BMAT and the University of Oxford

One of the few universities that use the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT) to separate applicants for its degrees in biomedical sciences and medicine is Oxford University.

High-calibre candidates to Oxford often have outstanding academic records, a wide range of extracurricular pursuits, and strong personal statements. The University of Oxford is also quite competitive among overseas candidates, who all have different educational backgrounds. As a result, the BMAT is employed as a consistent and quantitative indicator of eligibility for admission to the degrees stated above.

Taking the BMAT for the University of Oxford admissions

The BMAT can be taken in February, September, or October/ November. Oxford, however, only accepts exam results from the testing window of October to November. Additionally, they provide financial support in the form of refunds to people who might not be able to pay the exam registration price.

How does the University of Oxford use the BMAT?

The University of Oxford uses your BMAT results to decide whether to offer you an interview. This is frequently used in conjunction with GCSE or equivalent-level academic qualifications. Although your chances of being shortlisted depend on a number of factors, Oxford does rely very heavily on the BMAT scores during shortlisting.

As Oxford shortlists sthe same number of applicants every year, there is no actual cut-off. In the first stage of shortlisting, a contextualised measure of each candidate’s performance in the BMAT would be used to draw up a rank order, with the top 345 comprising the preliminary shortlist. The applications of all candidates falling below this cut-off would then be sent to college tutors, who would be asked to look through each application carefully to identify and nominate candidates warranting consideration for addition to the shortlist. Candidates nominated in this way would then be considered by a committee, alongside the applications of those with documented extenuating circumstances, as well as the 80 students who fall below the top 345 students in the initial ranking. From this list, 80 candidates would then be selected to fill the remaining places on the shortlist. 

To offer a rough guide, we would suggest that the typical average applicant should be working towards a 6 (a 7 is still fairly rare) in sections 1 or 2. Do note that sections 1 and 2 receive greater weighting (40% each) than section 3 (20%). In general, a BMAT score of at least 62% is sufficient. However, it is difficult to determine actual scores and statistics as this would vary depending on the competition of the applicant pool in the year that you are applying. Therefore, a score above 62% will not guarantee you an interview at Oxford. However, it will increase your chances and can be taken as a general guideline.

Do not worry if you did not do as well as you hoped in the BMAT. As mentioned earlier, even though your BMAT score is one of the most crucial indicators of whether or not you are invited to an interview, your academic standing and personal statement could also give you an edge if you have narrowly missed the cut-off. Furthermore, your BMAT is not the be all and end all; your BMAT score would not come up in your interview but your personal statement and other experiences would.

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    The BMAT and the University of Cambridge

    The Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT) is also the admission exam of choice for applicants to the medicine program at the University of Cambridge. As the quality of applications for The University of Cambridge’s medical programmes would be stellar, the BMAT is used to further differentiate applicants’ academic ability.

    How does the University of Cambridge use the BMAT?

    There are three yearly testing windows for the BMAT, in February, September, and October/ November. However, similar to Oxford, The University of Cambridge only accepts BMAT results from the October/ November sitting. It is recommended to verify with your preferred university directly since this may have altered due to the unanticipated difficulties caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. However, historically, British medical schools have only recognized scores from the October/ November BMAT sitting each year.

    As opposed to the University of Oxford where BMAT results are heavily used to determine which applicants get called for an interview, candidates are not ranked by the BMAT scores at the University of Cambridge. Furthermore, there is also no cut-off score for BMAT results, although the university’s website does state that a higher BMAT score would help increase your chances of an interview invite. However, it is also crucial to note that Cambridge normally invites 90% of applicants to an interview.

    Therefore, before the interview stage, your BMAT score is typically not as important. It becomes significantly more crucial after the interview since applicants are differentiated based on it, in addition to academic achievement and interview performance. Having said that, successful candidates for the University of Cambridge’s medical program do frequently have good BMAT scores. It is also crucial to keep in mind that the different Cambridge colleges utilise the BMAT in slightly different ways, so it is advisable to check with each one to see how they would evaluate the result.

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    Average BMAT scores of applicants to Cambridge

    In 2019, successful Cambridge applicants had average BMAT scores of 4.6 for Section 1, 5.9 for Section 2, and 3.2 for Section 3 in 2019.

    Trends demonstrate that successful candidates to Cambridge score higher than average in Section 2, even though these averages for Sections 1 and 3 are similar to the global average. Each BMAT section is given a distinct weighting, and these weightings may change annually.

    Overall, it is quite difficult to predict what your score will be or how it will perform in comparison to the mean of all students who took the exam at the same time. Aiming for the aforementioned marks will, however, put motivated candidates on the right track toward studying medicine at the University of Cambridge.

    However, keep in mind that there is no set cut-off and that success on the exam depends on a variety of circumstances. Do not let a lower BMAT score put you off; with the right dedication and attitude, you can and will get into medical school! 

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