Makeen Baroudi

11th June 2020

An Introduction To The BMAT Exam

  • What is the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)?
  • How is the BMAT scored?
  • What is the average BMAT score?
  • Is there a specification for the BMAT section 2?

1. Introduction

The BMAT is an admissions test that aims to assess your aptitude. The BMAT is used in the UK and many other countries. Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences are the main courses that require the BMAT. This test is administered by Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing. The BMAT allows universities to decide if a certain candidate is to be deemed to be invited for an interview, or potentially to be offered a place.

2. What are the sections of the BMAT?

There are several sections to the BMAT. Here are the different sections explained here...

Section 1: Aptitude and skills.

This section focuses on your ability to process relatively difficult data and information quick enough under time pressure. The nature of the questions in section 1 is mixed but they all focus on testing certain skills. For example, understanding different arguments, problem solving skills, data analysis skills; understanding implication and inference statements.

You are given 60 minutes to complete section 1. There are 35 multiple choice questions in section 1. This means you have about 1 minute 40 seconds per question. Even though this may seem like a long time, however, it is extremely time-pressured as some of the questions will be particularly difficult. This section is scored on a scale from 1 to 9 where 9 is the highest. Usually a score of 5 or more means that you are in the safer zone. Moreover, this depends and changes on a yearly basis. The average score for 2019 BMAT applicants was 4.

    💡Quick tip: when a question is too difficult you will know that as you may have spent more than a minute but still no improvement on that question. We recommend that you move on to the next one and come back to this at the end if you have time left. You could easily spend more than 3 minutes on one question and not get anywhere. Even if you got the answer, at some point spending too long on a question isn’t worth the 1 point.

Section 2: scientific knowledge and application.

This section tests your scientific and mathematical knowledge. It relies on the science and maths specifications of GCSE level, slightly stretched. It is true that knowing your GCSE science and maths is enough to do well in section 2. However, you will also need to do practice questions as you need to familiarise yourself with the nature of these questions. Especially that BMAT section 2 questions are more focused on applying these principles that you’ve learnt in school rather than memorising them.

You will be given 30 minutes to complete 27 questions. This leaves just under a minute per question. Usually, with enough practice and if you are really focused you will be able to finish these questions in time. Section 2 in the BMAT is graded in the same way as section 1, 1-9. Once again, scoring a 5 will put you in a relatively comfortable place. The average score for the 2019 BMAT cohort in section 2 was also 4.

Section 3: Written communication.

This is an essay task. You will have to write an essay in 30 minutes. You will have to choose one essay title out of three and write about it. Your writing does not have to be the fanciest of writings to achieve a good score. All you have to do is write clearly, coherently, and concisely. In addition, your ideas and thoughts must be organised and backed by evidence where needed.

The BMAT essay has a double score: score for your written English; score for your quality of content. Your written English score is A, C or E, where A is the best mark. Normally a coherently written essay with good use of grammar, punctuation and vocabulary would get you an A score. Quality of content is based on how you answer the question. Quality of content is scored on a scale from 1-5. A clear essay that directly addresses all points of the question with no weakness can get you a 4 score, or maybe 5. The final essay score would be a number next to a letter, 4A for example. The 2019 cohort section 3 average was A for written English and 3 for quality of content.

    💡Top tip: make sure you spend enough time planning your essay before you start writing. The clearer your plan the cleaner your essay will be and the more organised your thoughts will be. You only get one A4 side to write your essay. You are not allowed any extra paper. (You can write your plan on the question paper). If you do not plan your essay well enough you will end up scribbling all over your paper. This will make it a lot harder for the examiner to examine which can negatively affect your mark.

You can find free UCAT resources and free practice questions here on our website.

Makeen Baroudi

Product Manager

Hi guys, I hope you enjoyed reading this blog page. We at TheMedicalGeeks try and pass on the lessons we learned whilst getting into medical school.

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