A MEDICAL STUDENT’S GUIDE / Admissions / Medical School

The BMAT explained

The BMAT is the second of the two undergraduate medicine admissions test. This guide will explain the three sections, highlight key resources and how to prepare. Plus, as the bottom of the post you can watch myself and the Becoming a Doctor team interview Rachel from the official BMAT support team about the 2020 exam.

BMAT Universities (for applicants from the UK):

Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Imperial College London, Lancaster University, University College London, University of Cambridge, University of Leeds, University of Oxford.

Some other UK medical schools require the BMAT entrance exam for international applicants, for the full list please view here.

The other UK medical school entrance exam is called the UCAT, please see my guide to this exam here.

In 2020, the BMAT exam will only take place in November for applicants to the 2021 intake. This is due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Please keep updated on the situation by checking back on the BMAT website regularly.

The exam is made up of three sections:

Section 1:

The first section of the BMAT consists of 32 multiple choice questions. You have 60 minutes to complete Section 1.

The questions in Section 1 fall into two categories: Problem Solving and Critical Thinking (16 questions on each)

Problem Solving:

• select relevant information

• identify similarity

• determine and apply appropriate procedures

Critical Thinking:

• summarise conclusions

• draw conclusions

• identify assumptions

• assess the impact of additional evidence

• detect reasoning errors

• match arguments

• apply principles

Section 2:

Scientific Knowledge and Applications. 27 Questions in 30 minutes.

This section covers scientific and maths knowledge which the majority of applicants will have covered at the age of 16 (GCSEs in the UK).

The 27 questions are broken up into 7 questions on Biology, 7 questions on Chemistry, 7 questions on Physics and 6 Maths questions.

Section 3:

Writing Task

For the third section you are be presented with three tasks. You must choose one of these to complete. The three questions will be based on preposition under a general, a scientific or a medical theme. Each of the questions follows the same format:

An explanation of the preposition.

Arguing the contrary to the preposition.

Explain to what extent you agree with the preposition.

While you can make notes before writing, your answer must fit onto a single side of A4.

Section 3 is marked based on: the candidates ability to address the question; organise their thoughts; use concise and compelling English; use their general knowledge appropriately.

Universities will have access to your answer to Section 3.

You can read all about the BMAT specification here.

Preparing for the BMAT exam.

In 2020 the exam will take place at the start of November 2020. The bookings will open September 1st and close October 15th (although bookings made between 1st October and 15th October will incur an additional late booking cost).

For help with the cost of taking the BMAT exam, please view their website.

All of the information you need on preparing for the BMAT is available on their website. While there are many expensive courses claiming to help candidates prepare for the BMAT exam, the creators have provided a tonne of free resources on the website.

Key resources:

BMAT Test specification – This walks candidates through the exam, the timings, the questions and how to prepare

BMAT Preparation Guide – This is the official guide to studying for the BMAT exam and will help you through the process.

Section 1 Guide – As the name suggests, this will explain the first section of the BMAT exam.

Section 2 Guide – Full guide to the Maths and Science section of the BMAT.

Past Papers – The official BMAT website provides candidates with an amazing number of past papers to practice. Remember to check how the exam has changed over the years and exclude questions no longer part of the specification (These are marked).

You can view myself, Raj and Vickey from the Becoming a Doctor Team interview Rachel from the official BMAT support team below.

If you’re looking for personalised support for you application to medical school remember to check out the Advice, Tutoring and Mentoring page. Plus, subscribe to my YouTube channel to access all of my free content on there!

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Check your inbox or spam folder to confirm your subscription.


Connor is a medical student at King’s College London. For the 19/20 academic year he is undertaking an intercalated iBSc in Imaging Sciences, also at King’s.


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