Your Extensive Guide To The BMAT Exam

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The BMAT - an overview

The BMAT, or BioMedical Admissions Test, is a standardised test required by certain universities  in Europe and Asia , if you intend to apply to study medicine, biomedical sciences or dentistry. First established in 2001, the test can only be taken once an academic year. There are a number of sessions available, but  all UK and Asian universities (with the exception of Malaysia)expect you to sit the exam in November, whereas applicants to universities in the Netherlands and Malaysia have to sit the February session,  while the rest of Europe provides you with a choice of February or November. Registration differs for applicants to the Netherlands and Malaysian universities – contact Elab for further information.

Table of Contents

Which universities in Europe ask for the BMAT?

The UK:

  • Keele University
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Cambridge
  • Leeds University
  • Brighton and Sussex Medical School
  • Lancaster University
  • UCL
  • Imperial College, London
  • University of Manchester Medical School

European Universities which require BMAT

Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Netherlands
Medicine Biomedical Sciences
University of Twente, Netherlands
Technical Medicine
Navarra University, Spain
CEU Cardenal Herrera University, Spain
University of Pécs, Hungary
Medicine Dentistry
University of Rijeka, Croatia
Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin, Poland
6-year MD English Program
Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Poland
Veterinary Medicine
Vasile Goldiș Western University of Arad, Romania
Medicine in English
Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, Moscow, Russia
General Medicine Biology
Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Lithuania
Medicine, Odontology, Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki School of Medicine, Greece
Medicine (in English)
Cambridge Assessment Admissions, 2021

Thailand ,Malaysia and Singapore have also introduced the BMAT. Contact Elab for further information.

Note that the BMAT is 10 minutes longer if you sit the test in the Netherlands,  where it is computer-based. The BMAT  is required for entry to: Leiden University – Medicine, Biomedical Science; University of Twente -Technical Medicine.

How is the BMAT organised?

Number of Questions
Time allocated
1.Aptitude and Skills
60 minutes
2.Scientific Knowledge and Applications
Choose one of three topics
30 mins
0-5 and A, C or E

The number of questions you answer correctly in Sections 1 and 2 is converted on a scale of 0-9. In Section 3 you will be given 0-5 for the quality of the content in your essay, and A,C or E for the English language usage. This means that you will end up somewhere from 0E (poor) to 5A (outstanding).

You will not be allowed to use a dictionary or a calculator in the BMAT.

Overall, the BMAT aims to test your problem-solving, critical thinking and written communication skills.

Where can I sit the BMAT and how much does it cost?

Your test centre – which is normally your school – will register you for the BMAT. If this does not prove possible, the CAA (Cambridge Assessment Admissions) has open centres, which you can find by going onto their website and using the search engine provided.

Register at least four weeks before the BMAT or you may be asked to pay a late fee of £35 (£83 if you are outside the EU). The fee for sitting the BMAT is currently £49 for UK and EU students.

The BMAT -Section 1: Aptitude and Skills

This paper tests two skills: problem-solving and critical-thinking. For the most part the critical thinking questions revolve around a passage from a text, whereas the problem-solving questions could include graphs, tables and diagrams.

You will be asked to answer 16 problem-solving questions and 16 critical-thinking questions. You will have five options to choose from, and the questions will become more difficult as the paper progresses.

Problem-solving questions:

These can be divided into three types:

  • choosing relevant information
  • identifying procedures which will help to find a solution to a problem
  • recognising similarity – you will be given data presented in a variety of formats  and asked to identify similarities and relationships ( note that this could include 2D and 3D objects).

Critical-thinking questions:

This section focusses on reasons, assumptions and conclusions, all of which form part of arguments. You will have to answer seven kinds of questions:

  • identify the main conclusion
  • draw a conclusion from what you have learned in the text
  • identify an assumption – a key point which underpins the argument and is not explicitly stated
  • evaluate the impact of additional evidence  – find a fact/statement and decide whether it weakens or strengthens  the argument 
  • find errors of reasoning which invalidate the conclusion
  • identify similar structures of the argument
  • apply principles by  finding the general rule –  for example. “killing is wrong” – and apply it to the options which you are given

The BMAT-Section 2: Scientific Knowledge and Applications:

This section  consists of questions which test your knowledge of mathematics, biology, physics and chemistry. Make sure you revise the following features/ subjects:


  • cells
  • movement across membranes
  • inheritance
  • DNA
  • gene technology
  • animal physiology
  • enzymes 
  • eco-systems


  • atomic structure
  • the periodic table
  • chemical reactions
  • formulae and equations
  • quantitative chemistry
  • oxidation
  • chemical bonding
  • group chemistry
  • separation techniques
  • acids, bases and salts
  • electrolysis and energetics
  • organic chemistry
  • metals
  • kinetic theory
  • air and water
  • chemical testing


  • Units
  • Number
  • Ratio
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Statistics
  • Probability


  • Electricity
  • Magnetism
  • Mechanics
  • Matter
  • Waves
  • Radioactivity
  • Thermal physics

The BMAT - Section 3 : Essay writing

In 2020, the Section 3 essay for the BMAT Test was limited to 550 words. 

This is an example of the type of question you may be given :

“Individual freedom and the rule of law are mutually incompatible.
Write a unified essay in which you address the following:
What might be the grounds for making this assertion? Give a reasoned argument against the
proposition. How can the concepts of freedom and law be reconciled in a real society?”

As you can see, Section 3 in the BMAT Test does not test your knowledge but presents you with a statement or a short quotation and asks you to:

  • explain the statement/quote
  • produce a counter-argument
  • reach a conclusion

It is essential to make sure that you understand the question, so read through it several times. Identify the information you are being asked for, and ensure that you know how you are going to answer each part of the question. It is unwise to focus on one element and end up rushing through the other parts since they all carry equal marks.

Make sure that you do not go over the word limit because you will be penalized and drop points if you do. Thirty minutes is not long, so keep an eye on the time, and plan to spend the last few minutes going over your essay and checking the spelling, punctuation, grammar, paragraphing, etc.

In section 3 of the BMAT Test, you are being tested on your ability to develop and communicate ideas in a clear and organized way. The first part of the essay score relates to the content; the second part reflects your grammar and use of English, so admissions officers can see at a glance whether your written abilities are equally balanced.


Since time is of the essence, and you will have to dedicate two minutes or so to consider the question, five or more minutes to planning, and two final minutes to revising your work, the actual writing time is closer to 20 minutes. Before sitting on the BMAT Test, you would be well advised to practise writing clear and coherent essays within these time limits. The more you practice, the less anxious and more efficient you will be during the actual test. Think of ethical dilemmas, look at popular sayings, flick through a list of quotes –  and prepare a response.

How is the BMAT score calculated?

The total marks you get in each section are converted  to the BMAT scale, which runs from  O-9. 

For example, if you get 22 out of 35 questions right in Section 1, this will produce  a BMAT score of 5.7; 28 correct questions is 6.7; while if you get the right answers for all 35 questions, you will score a 9. 

The same conversion mechanism applies in BMAT Section 2 where, for example, 17 correct answers out of 27 are given 5.5; 21 correct answers  produce a score of  6.7,while 23 correct answers result in a converted score of 7.6.

Average BMAT scores of conditional offers for medicine in the UK in 2019-2020:

Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
2.5C +

The bar may appear very high, but remember that BMAT is used differently by every university admissions committee. There is no pass or fail, so just practice and do the very best that you can on the day.

What help does Elab offer for BMAT exam preparation ?

Prepare for the BMAT by signing up for Elab’s GETinMED workshops, which will provide you with support and guidance, as well as tried and tested practical techniques for successfully tackling the three papers which make up the BMAT. If you are interested in individualized support, get in touch. We are here to help you secure a place at medical school and start your amazing journey to becoming a qualified medical professional.

Call or email us and let us work together.

Call or email us and let us work together.

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