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BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) Guide

Everything you should know before taking the BMAT and how to be successful!

**Please be aware that from the 2024 application cycle onwards, the BMAT has been fully withdrawn and Universities will be making alternative arrangements. Most Universities are replacing the BMAT with the UCAT, but be sure to check the university website for confirmation.**


The BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) is a comprehensive assessment designed to evaluate the scientific aptitude and critical thinking skills of aspiring medical students. In this blog, we will explore the significance of admissions tests, focusing on the BMAT, and provide valuable insights to help you prepare effectively and stand out in your medical school application.


The BMAT is for applicants to medicine, veterinary, and some dentist courses at eight different UK universities and medical schools: Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, UCL, Leeds, Brighton & Sussex, Keele, and Lancaster. As per usual, we recommend that you check the relevant course webpages for the university/universities you’re interested in before applying just to make sure that you’ve got all the correct information to hand before applying!


The BMAT consists of multiple sections, each designed to assess different aspects of a candidate's abilities. The BMAT is made up of three sections in total. The first section is a 60-minute thinking skills test consisting of multiple choice questions designed to test general skills often required for undergraduate study. The second part is a half-an-hour section on Scientific Knowledge and Application. These questions are also in multiple choice format, and the questions are usually restricted to non-specialist Science and Mathematics courses in secondary education. The third section is a 30-minute writing task, in which students pick one out of three task prompts. This gives you the chance to demonstrate your ability to consider both sides of an argument and communicate your ideas in writing.


In the third section of the exam, students may select one of the three task prompts offered to them in the 30-minute writing task.


UK Universities and medical schools use the BMAT as a standardised format for assessing and benchmarking their applicants. The exam rewards problem solving over knowledge of particular scientific or mathematical knowledge, so that students taking different qualifications at school can access the syllabus.

Universities use students’ marks in the BMAT to make decisions about which applicants they should invite to interview. Whilst the BMAT is important in their selection processes, it is always used as part of a matrix and considered alongside other factors submitted with the application, such as predicted grades and personal statement.


BMAT scoring is quite complicated, since student scores are assessed on a sliding scale rather than a sum of the points achieved in the exam. In the test itself, students can score a maximum of 32 points in Section 1, 27 points in Section 2, and will be given a score between 1 and 5 for the quality of their content and grade A, C, or E for the quality of written English in Section 3. However, the final score will be given not as a sum of these results but as a number on a scale from 1.0 to 9.0.

The average applicant taking the BMAT receives a score of 5.0. A Score of 6.0 or above is considered a good score, and competitive for Oxbridge and other top UK. Scoring a 7.0 or higher is very rare indeed.

Since the BMAT test is used as an assessment tool among a wider context of factors, such as your academic grades and teacher reference, there is no fixed pass mark or automatic threshold. However, ranking highly correlates heavily with being awarded an offer.


The BMAT syllabus is designed so that students taking a wide variety of qualifications or have a background in international education systems can access the mathematical content. However, it is more focused around the UK education system and the general concepts covered in A-Level and IB science and mathematics syllabuses. We recommend that students cross-reference their syllabus with the official BMAT syllabus. We also have specialist tutors who have experience of advising students taking other qualifications and help them fill in knowledge gaps.

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How to register for the BMAT


The test date for the BMAT in 2023 is the 18th of October, meaning that all applicants will have to sit the test on this exact day. This may be during half term, but with plenty of advanced notice this hopefully shouldn’t prevent your school or college from holding the test. Be aware that if you miss this date for whatever reason you will not be able to take the test on another day and your application will not be considered.


The BMAT, like many UK university Admissions Tests, requires applicants to register in advance of sitting the test. 2023 applicants will have to register between the 1st and 29th of September to be able to sit the test (although the deadline for many access arrangements is the 15th September, so be sure to register early if you’re likely to need special arrangements of any kind!).

An applicant cannot register themselves for the test, but must be registered through an official test centre. For most candidates this will be their school or college, but if not it can be done through an open test centre. We recommend reading the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing website for more details on how to register. However you register, make sure that you have submitted all your details to the test centre and have received your candidate entry number as proof of entry by midnight on the 29th of September. If you have extenuating circumstances (i.e. a situation beyond your control) that prevented you from registering on time, get in touch with the University or college you applied to immediately and alert them of your situation.


For students registering within the UK and EU, the registration fee is £78/€91, with registration outside of the EU costing £104/$142. Some test centres also levy an additional administration fee on top of this in order to cover the cost of invigilation, despatch costs and room hire. If you have concerns or questions about the specific costs you may incur, get in touch with your closest test centre.

Tips from a successful top UK university medicine student


  1. Start Early: The BMAT covers a wide range of subjects, so begin your preparation early to allow ample time for comprehensive study and practice.
  2. Practise Past Papers: Work through previous BMAT papers to familiarise yourself with the test's format, time constraints, and question types. If you’re struggling to find past papers or reliable sample questions, here at Oxbridge Applications we host a comprehensive set of true-to-life bespoke mock papers on our Admissions Test Resources hub.
  3. Enhance Critical Thinking: Engage in activities that promote critical thinking, such as solving puzzles, debating ethical issues, and reading scientific articles.
  4. Improve Time Management: Practise answering questions under timed conditions to enhance your time management skills during the actual BMAT.
  5. Seek Guidance: Request feedback on your practice essays and responses from teachers, mentors, or peers. Constructive criticism will help you identify areas for improvement and refine your approach. Previous Cambridge Arts and Humanities graduates, such as our mentors here at Oxbridge Applications, are also a great source of knowledge to draw on, as they can give you an accurate picture of what it means to perform like a successful Cambridge applicants!


In addition to official BMAT past papers, we at Oxbridge Applications have written a series of additional mock papers. Our students have 33% more questions to practise with. Our mock BMAT papers can be found here and are included with our admissions test tuition. All of our BMAT tutors are highly-trained Oxbridge graduates who can share their personally insights of having sat the test. You can contact our Oxbridge-graduate Consultants on +44 (0) 20 7499 2394 or email [email protected] to discuss which of our test training would suit you best. We also have an online testing portal for students who want to sit the exam in timed, test conditions.


At Oxbridge Applications, we pride ourselves in providing up-to-date advice and unrivalled expertise. As well as collating information from publicly available sources, we also conduct our own research into the application process; for example, by surveying the thousands of students we support each year. Speak to an Oxbridge Applications expert today for advice on your specific situation!

How to Pass the BMAT?

The best advice we can offer to pass the BMAT exam is to begin exam preparation early and practise often.

Most students who don’t get through the BMAT to be invited to interview tell us that they didn’t spend enough time familiarising themselves with the type of questions that can arise. They typically say that they were caught off guard by a particular question and it put their timings off for the rest of the test.


Although you may require scientific concepts studied later on in your school studies, challenge yourself to get ahead of the syllabus so you can begin practising BMAT questions, especially the skills-based questions. Some students also find it necessary to build up their essay-writing skills for the third section of the paper, since students studying largely science subjects are not always required to use this skillset in their usual studies.


Reflect on your personal strengths and weaknesses. No two students should have the same revision strategy for the BMAT, since you all have varying abilities. Try to identify which part of the syllabus you find easiest or whether you often lose marks on either the multiple-choice section or the longer questions. Then tailor your strategy accordingly!


Don’t restrict your practice materials: Once you have tried all of the real past papers, and have moved on to additional materials like our bespoke BMAT papers, you should then look wider at similar materials. For example, take a look at past papers for the UCAT or other medicine admissions tests as an additional challenge.


Work with a friend or teacher to discuss questions and identify your own personal revision goals. Working with others can be a huge motivation and keep you on track in the weeks and months leading up to the test. We have specialist BMAT tutors who can work with you one-to-one to refine your test technique.


Strategic Guidance

Unsure about your Oxbridge application? In our one-hour consultation, our experts strategise your application, assess your potential, and resolve queries to maximise your success. Contact us at [email protected] or +44 (0) 20 7499 2394.

BMAT Admission Private Tuition x4

Available all year-round and includes 4 private admissions test tuition sessions and four test papers, which are marked by expert Oxbridge-graduate tutors.

BMAT Admission Private Tuition x6

Available: Year-Round and includes 6 private admissions test tuition sessions and six test papers which are marked by expert Oxbridge-graduate tutors.

Past BMAT test papers

Prepare for your admissions test with our mock papers.

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