Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT)

This admissions test is taken for some Oxford and Cambridge courses.
Last updated: 2ย weeks, 3ย days ago


The BMAT forms a key part of the admissions process for Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Oxford, and for Medicine at Cambridge.

How to Prepare

Here are some general resources related to the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT). Use this page as a hub to branch off and use other resources!

The BMAT is a challenge, but it doesnโ€™t need to be daunting. With a bit of preparation and plenty of revision, you can familiarise yourself with the BMAT and get ready for the exam, which includes questions on critical thinking, your biomedical knowledge, and an essay.

The Basics

The BMAT is a paper-based 2-hour long test, divided into three parts:
Section 1: Thinking Skills (1 Hour)
Section 2: Scientific Knowledge and Applications (30 mins)
Section 3: Writing (30 mins)

Section 1 is made up of 32 multiple-choice questions divided equally into:
Problem Solving: assessing your ability to solve problems, using simple numerical operations (without a calculator)
Critical Thinking: assessing your ability to summarise conclusions, draw conclusions, identify assumptions, assess the impact of additional evidence, detect reasoning errors, match arguments and apply principles.

Section 2 is made up of 27 questions - 7 each for biology, chemistry and physics, and 6 mathematics questions. Speed as well as accuracy is important in this section.

Section 3 offers a choice of 3 questions, from which you must choose one to answer. The questions will be based on topics of general, scientific and medical interest. You may be asked to either explain the proposition, provide a counter-argument to the proposition, or reconcile the two sides of the argument. Answers are limited strictly to one side of A4.

To take the BMAT, you must be registered to take the test at an authorised admissions centre. This is normally your school or college. If youโ€™re not able to do this, you can find an authorised test centre here ๐Ÿ”—, or your school/college can apply to become a test centre ๐Ÿ”— by 30 September 2021.

Find below some handy resources and tips for each of the sections.

Section 1

Hereโ€™s the Question Guide for Section 1 ๐Ÿ”— ๐ŸŒŸ. This walks you through some example questions, with answers and explanations.

YouTube channel KharmaMedic has produced a great video about problem solving and critical thinking for section 1 ๐Ÿ”—. Check it out!

Note: The BMAT was updated in 2020 and no longer includes questions that test data analysis and inference.

Section 2

In Section 2, youโ€™ll answer a set of multiple-choice science based questions. Although the content is at GCSE level, the questions can sometimes be harder. Watch out for the wording of the questions, which might be designed to trip you up, since the time limit on this section can be pressurising.

BMAT Specification of Assumed Knowledge ๐Ÿ”— ๐ŸŒŸ This document (pages 7-41) outlines the specification of assumed knowledge for BMAT section 2. This is your prime revision guide. The first step here is to go through the specification, and highlight anything you donโ€™t know or arenโ€™t comfortable with, and then fill these knowledge gaps in with study guides and YouTube videos.

YouTuber and Cambridge-graduate doctor Ali Abdaal has produced a series of videos outlining how best to approach the different parts of Section 2:

Biology ๐Ÿ”— | Chemistry ๐Ÿ”— | Physics ๐Ÿ”— | Maths ๐Ÿ”—

Section 3

In Section 3, there is a choice of three questions of which you choose one to answer. You only have 30 minutes for this task, so itโ€™s of prime importance that you pick one to answer that youโ€™re comfortable with and have a very well structured argument.

Usually the questions have different themes, and range from topics like medical ethics to topics of general historical interest. Itโ€™s up to you which one you pick, but you might want to pick one you have a stronger background in so that you have a general understanding of the questionโ€™s context.

In this video ๐Ÿ”— ๐ŸŒŸ, a BMAT essay marker runs through a series of frequently asked questions about Section 3, including how to push your marks up towards a 5 (the top mark) and how it is marked.

YouTube Channel KharmaMedic has also produced a super useful video on Section 3 ๐Ÿ”—. Check it out!

Practice is Pivotal

While Section 2 of the BMAT requires revision and memorisation, Sections 1 and 3 are not like this and test your ability to think quickly and critically, and this can be improved.

The best preparation for all sections is to take past and practice papers (without a calculator) in timed exam conditions and then carefully go through your answers. You might find it useful to note down the errors you made along the way.

Note: practice and past papers will mark off any content which no longer lies on the specification.

Here are some things you could use to help improve your score:

Hereโ€™s a video ๐Ÿ”— from YouTuber Ali Abdaal about speeding up your calculations in the Chemistry content for Section 2.

You may want to catch up with GCSE level Physics if you donโ€™t study it at A-Level through using study guides. You can normally find concise study guides (such as those from CGP) in libraries and or cheaply second hand online.
BMAT Ninja ๐Ÿ”— ๐ŸŒŸ is a super useful website full of practice questions, sample essays and timed exam runs. All of this is available in the free demo version of BMAT Ninja, although for some features (like solved answers) there is a cost.
Practice Papers ๐Ÿ”— ๐ŸŒŸ Here, the Admissions Testing Service has produced a series of practice papers with explained answers. These are particularly useful for gauging the processes you might want to go through when beginning to answer a question, or any useful methods and strategies for answering questions. Practice papers with explained answers are available for Sections 1, 2 and 3.

Practising for Section 1, which focuses on critical thinking, problem solving and reasoning, is easier than you might think. Because youโ€™re having to complete these questions under timed conditions, you might want to do more practice to improve your speed.

Khan Academy SAT Practice Tests ๐Ÿ”— Khan Academy is a free and accessible resource offering SAT practice tests. These will be handy to help develop your critical thinking and problem solving tests.