How Do UK Medical Universities Use The BMAT?
The Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT) is a prerequisite for medical, dentistry, and veterinary programs at eight UK institutions.
There are 8 BMAT universities in the UK:
- University of Oxford
- University of Cambridge
- Imperial College London
- University College London
- University of Leeds
- Brighton and Sussex University
Keele University (only for international fee status entry)
Finding out how universities use the BMAT is part of a strategic application, and if done correctly, will maximise your chances of getting into a medical university.
If you want some more help after reading this article then please visit our BMAT course page. Alternatively, if you would like to find out more about applying strategically, take a look at our How To Apply Tactically To UK Medical School blog article.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
The University of Oxford (in 2020) created a numerical rating based on GCSE performance and BMAT scores (both quantitative and objective measurements), equally weighted, as part of the process to determine which applicants are invited to interview. If a candidate did not take GCSEs or iGCSEs, their ranking was solely dependent on their BMAT score. An initial shortlist of 385 was formed based on this process.
The BMAT is the only component of an application that is shared by all Medicine applicants, and because it provides a snapshot of ability and aptitude, it is a crucial selection tool for evaluating a large number of highly qualified candidates.
Each portion of the BMAT is not given the same weight. Section 1 was weighted at 40%, section 2 was weighted at 40%, and section 3 was weighted at 20% in 2020. The ‘Quality of Content’ score was given double weight in the section 3 score, whereas the ‘Quality of English’ score was given single weight (with A=5, B=4, C=3, D=2, E=1, and X=0).
The ranking score is determined by multiplying the normalized BMAT score by 0.74 and the contextualized GCSE score by 0.74. If no GSCE result is available, the BMAT score is used twice.
The score needed for an interview: “Typical BMAT candidates will score around 5.0, roughly half marks. The best candidates will score around 6.0, and a few exceptional candidates will score higher than 7.0.” and “The mean BMAT score was 55.9%, which rose to 68% for those shortlisted and 68.9% for applicants receiving offers.”
The application process for the University of Cambridge Medicine is determined by each college.
The BMAT is typically used later in the application process, alongside interview scores, GCSE scores, personal statement and reference scores, as well as predicted grades, to determine which candidates are suitable for Medicine offers.
Students with better BMAT scores are more likely to be accepted for an interview, although there is no cutoff score for the BMAT at Cambridge.
The score needed: “the average offer holder for 2016 entry had 6.1 in Section 1, 6.2 in Section 2 and 3.3 in Section 3.”
Don’t worry if you get something below this score – Cambridge interviews 90% of their applicants.
Invitations to an interview will be made based on the following criteria:
- Your performance in all three areas of the BMAT
- Your UCAS application content
BMAT cut-off scores are determined each year as a consequence of ranking applicant BMAT scores vs the number of planned interview sessions. As a result, the absolute cut-off for the BMAT varies from year to year. However, prior admissions cycles’ BMAT cut-off scores can be utilized as a guide.
Home applicants for 2021 entry needed to score a minimum of 3.5 in Sections 1 and 2, with a total score of at least 10.9 in these two sections. In Section 3, they needed to get a minimum of a 2.5C. If the applicants scored above the cutoff, they were invited to interview.
Candidates for OS/EU entry in 2021 were needed to achieve a minimum of 4.0 in Sections 1 and 2, with a total score of at least 13.3 in these two sections. In Section 3, they needed to get a minimum of a 3C. If the applicants scored above the cutoff, they were invited to interview.
A strong application will have high scores in each component. Candidates with lower-than-average scores for their cohort are less likely to succeed. In November/December, the Medical School’s website publishes the cohort’s average scores.
In 2020 the median score was 3A in the writing section, 4.5/5 and 4.6 in sections 1 and 2 of the BMAT respectfully.
The score needed to be invited to interview: “For 2016 entry, the average scores for those applying were 4.7, 4.6 and 3.0 A. Then for those invited to interview, scores were 5.3, 5.3 and 3.3″
Leeds uses a method similar to their previous use of the UCAT:
- Each candidate’s total score will be compared to the scores of all other applicants to Leeds
- Those in the top 20% of the class will earn the highest possible score for this section of their application
- Those in the bottom 20% will receive the lowest possible mark
- There is no BMAT cutofff
- The total BMAT score will be calculated by adding the scores from sections 1, 2, and 3
- Section 3 will be weighted half as much as the other sections because it will be revisited during the interview stage of the selection process.
The average score needed to be invited to interview: 2019 – 13.40, 2018 – 10.95, 2017 – 11.29
The BMAT is scored out of 28 by Brighton & Sussex University (9 marks for Section 1, 9 marks for Section 2 and 5 marks for each element of Section 3). They then rank all candidates based on their overall score out of 28 and work their way down the list to fill interview spots.
Please note that candidates whose BMAT scores do not meet ALL of the following requirements will not be considered without contextual data:
- Section one: a score of 3 or above is required.
- Section two: a score of 3 or above is required.
- Section three: a grade of 2.5 C or better is required.
Home candidates with a score of 17.8 or higher and overseas applicants with a score of 18.8 or higher were called to interview for the class of 2021. Applicants who met Brighton and Sussex’s contextual data requirements were given a different ranking. Those who met their minimal academic and BMAT standards (16.4 out of 28) were invited to interview. Each year, the cut-off score for interview fluctuates; since BSMS began using BMAT to select candidates for interview, the cut-off scores have been:
BMAT cut-off 14.7 or above for 2020 admission. BMAT cut-off 15.8 or higher for international candidates
BMAT cut-off 16.1 or above for 2019 admission.
BMAT cut-off 16.4 or above for 2018 entrance
BMAT cut-off 17.3 or above for 2017 entrance
BMAT cut-off 16.1 or above for 2016 entrance
This applies only to candidates with an international fee status! Candidates with a Home fee status are required to sit the UCAT.
The highest-ranking applicants will be called for an interview based on their BMAT results. The institution interviewed 46 overseas candidates for the class of 2021.
The overall score calculated by the University of Keele is the sum of your section 1, section 2, and modified section 3 results.
A 1.25, B 1.00, C 0.75, D 0.50, E 0.25 is the modified section 3 score, which is determined by multiplying the numerical score by a scaling factor for the alphabetical score.
A section 3 score of 4A would be modified to 4 x 1.25 = 5, and a score of 3C to 3 x 0.75 = 2.25, and so on.
As a result, the greatest total score possible is 9 + 9 + 6.25 = 24.25. The cut-off score for 2021 admission was 14.1.
The university can’t say what the cut-off will be for 2022 admission because it is determined by the combined scores of all applicants.
The score needed to the invited to interview: the university does not release such information.
Applicants will be rated based on their BMAT score (the total of their sections 1-3 results), with the top-ranking applicants being called for an interview.
Because no more information is supplied, candidates are strongly encouraged to contact the admissions staff for additional information.
The score needed to the invited to interview:
2016/17 – 10.5
2017/18 – 10.2
If you would like to join the inner circle, where you can get regular 1-ON-1 guidance to help you get into your first choice medical school, you can apply here. We also offer a BMAT course, which helps potentials students prepare for the BMAT and focus on getting a great score!
Written by Weronika Nocun