BioMedical Admissions Test
The BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) is an aptitude test used as part of the admissions process for Medicine, Biomedical Sciences and Dentistry in some universities in the United Kingdom, Singapore, Spain, Malaysia, Thailand and the Netherlands.
BMAT was developed by Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing in response to requests from academics at medical and veterinary schools for an assessment that would enable them to differentiate between applicants who appear equally well qualified and suited to the course, and provide a way of assessing the potential of students who have a range of different qualifications.
Initially, it was taken up by Oxford University for Medicine and Physiology (replacing the OMAT); the University of Cambridge for Medicine and Veterinary Science (replacing the MVAT) and University College London, for Medicine.
From 2011, the new Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKC Medicine) in Singapore, a partnership between Imperial College London and Nanyang University, started using BMAT as part of its entry process for Medicine.
Amongst recent universities to introduce BMAT as part of their entry requirements for Medicine courses are Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) (2013), Leiden University in the Netherlands (2014), the University of Leeds (2015), the University of Navarra in Spain (2015), Lancaster University (2016), the University of Malaya (2016) and Thammasat University in Thailand (2016).
BMAT is a 2-hour, pen-and-paper test, which consists of three sections. The first two sections are both multiple choice/short answer and the third section is a writing task.
Section 2 tests Scientific Knowledge and Applications (the ability to apply scientific knowledge from school science and maths), and lasts 30 minutes, with 27 questions.
Section 3 is a 30-minute Writing Task, which tests the ability to select, develop and organise ideas and to communicate them in writing, concisely and effectively. Candidates must complete one essay question from a choice of three, requiring the construction of an argument or debate, an analysis of a statement, or similar task.
Unlike the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT), calculators cannot be used in BMAT. Dictionaries, including bilingual dictionaries, cannot be used in the exam.
The scores for Sections 1 and 2 are reported on a 5-point scale, but then proportioned to a 9-point scale. The scores are standardised and given to one decimal place. Most candidates typically 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.
From 2010, the marking of Section 3 changed. Candidates get two scores – one for quality of content (on a scale of 0–5, with 5 being the highest) and one for quality of written English (on the scale A, C, E, with A being the highest). Each BMAT essay is marked by two examiners and the two marks are combined to give an overall score ranging from 1E to 5A (including ones such as 3.5B). An image of the candidate’s Writing Task is supplied to each institution to which the candidate has applied, and provides a basis for qualitative assessment of written communication.
Timing and results
BMAT is normally taken at an applicant’s school or college. Alternatively, the test can be taken at authorised ‘open centres’ which are located around the world.
The timing of the test is designed to fit in with the timescales for Medicine applications, for the institutions which use the test. In the UK and Singapore, candidates can be entered for the test in September. Late entries (with late entry fees) can be made in early October and BMAT takes place in early November. In the Netherlands and Spain, BMAT is taken in February.
In the UK and Singapore, Statements of Results are typically issued to candidates and test centres in late November, via an online results system. Results also automatically go to any BMAT institution a candidate has applied to. BMAT Netherlands results are issued in February.
BMAT results are only valid in the year that the test is taken.
Often it is seen as just part of the application process – previous examination results, a teacher’s reference, the applicant’s personal statement and predicted grades are also important.
BMAT does not require a lot of extra study as it is designed to test skills and knowledge that candidates are expected to already have. Practice materials, including a guide to the test, specimen questions, past papers, and an Assumed Subject Knowledge guide for Section 2 are available to candidates for free from the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing website.
List of universities using BMAT
- UK/rest of the world: a list of universities and courses using BMAT can be found here.
- Spain: information about Spanish universities using BMAT can be found here.
- The Netherlands: a list of institutions and courses that require BMAT in the Netherlands can be found here.
- "Information for universities and policy makers" (PDF). Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing. Retrieved 2016-05-30.
- "About BMAT". Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
- "Faqs | Bmat". Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
- "BMAT test specification" (PDF). Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing. Retrieved 2016-05-30.
- "About the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) Netherlands". Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
- "Results Online: Candidates: Results". Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
- "Dates and costs | BMAT". Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
- "How to apply". University of Oxford. Retrieved 2016-05-30.