A Comprehensive Guide on BMAT | KB101

Updated: Feb 13

The BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) is used by universities around the world to help select applicants for medical, dental, biomedical and veterinary degree programmes. It tests the students’ ability to apply scientific and mathematical knowledge, as well as problem-solving, critical thinking and written communication skills that are essential to university-level study. The test provides students with the opportunity to stand out from the pool of applicants and showcase to universities what they can do. BMAT was developed by Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing and was first introduced in 2001.


Format


Format of BMAT exam
Format of BMAT exam


The test lasts for 2 hours with three main sections: Thinking Skills, Scientific Knowledge and Application, and Writing Task.


Thinking Skills Section:

  • 60 minutes

  • 32 MCQs

  • 1 mark per question

Within this section, it challenges students with two main skill sets: problem-solving and critical thinking skills simple numerical operations, identifying similarity, determining and applying appropriate procedures, etc.

Past year question:

November 2020 paper, section 1


You can only take the practical driving test after passing the theory test. You have failed the theory test, so you cannot take your practical test. Which one of the following most closely parallels the reasoning used in the above argument?


A. You need to have lived in the UK for 5 years to become a citizen. You have lived in the UK for 5 years, so you will not be refused citizenship.


B. People who are good at mathematics are likely to be good at music. You are good at mathematics, so you should learn to play a musical instrument.


C. Pacifists refuse to fight in wars or join armies. You refuse to fight in wars or join an army, so you are a pacifist.


D. To enter China you need a visa. You don’t have a visa, so you cannot enter China.

E Smoking is bad for your health and can cause heart and lung problems. You smoke, so you will have heart and lung problems.


→ Answer: D


More past year questions may be found here


Scientific Knowledge and Applications:

  • 30 minutes

  • 27 MCQs

  • 1 mark per question

There are four subjects tested in this section: Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics. The number of questions per subject is typically distributed fairly equally.

You may refer to the list below for the possible topics tested in the BMAT paper under section 2 (non-exhaustive)

  • Biology: DNA, Genes, Enzymes, Animal Physiology, Ecosystem, etc.

  • Chemistry: Atomic Structure, The Periodic Table, Chemical Equations, Quantitative Chemistry, Redox Reaction, Chemical Bonding, etc.

  • Mathematics: Algebra, Geometry, Statistics, Probability, etc.

  • Physics: Electricity, Magnetism, Mechanics, Thermal Physics, Waves, Radioactivity, etc.


Writing Task

  • 30 minutes

  • Choose one (1) question

  • One score each for Content and English

The essay is strictly limited to one A4 page. Questions will provide a short proposition and may require candidates to consider one of the following tasks.

  • Explanation of the proposition: candidates are asked to explain the proposition or part of it or its implications.

  • Generation of a counter-argument: candidates are asked to look at the other side of the argument by proposing or commenting on a counter-argument or counter-proposition.

  • Reconciliation of the two sides: candidates are asked to offer some sort of resolution or reconciliation for two opposing positions (or elements of those positions) explored in the answer.



Scoring

BMAT scores are split into its section score without an overall grade. There is no pass or fail for BMAT. You should aim to do the best you can. There is no negative marking either – marks are not lost for wrong answers, so it is recommended to take an educated guess when unsure of correct options.


The final BMAT scores for sections 1 and 2 are on a scale of 1.0 to 9.0. The very best candidates will score 6.0 and above. 7.0 and above is considered an exceptional score.

For section 3, two examiners will mark the paper, with each examiner giving two scores – one for quality of the content (on a scale of 0–5), and one for quality of written English (on the scale A, C, E). The average of the two examiners will receive. For reference, the average scores of applicants who received offers into Oxford and Cambridge in 2020 are as followed:

University

Section 1

Section 2

Section 3

Oxford

5.6

5.8

3.7

Cambridge

6.0

5.5

3.3



Registration

1st Sept - 30th Sept: Registration window


2nd Nov (2022 paper): Test date

Nov/ Dec: Results released


Registration Cost: $126


Application for Appeals: $49



Conclusion

The BMAT is almost always a prerequisite for students to apply to the most prestigious medical schools worldwide. The team at KB Consulting highly recommend anyone with a serious intention of pursuing medicine undergraduate courses to consider taking the exam to boost your application chance.


*Cover photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash



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