How BMAT universities use the exam



BMAT universities have independent approaches to how they assess BMAT results. In this article, we will explore the different ways the exam is used.

A BMAT score good enough for one university might not necessarily be good enough for another. BMAT universities place different emphasis on the exam, whilst some rely heavily on it to shortlist candidates to interviews others don’t. There is also the question of at what stage is the exam assessed? With many universities using the results to determine which candidates to interview, some universities look at BMAT results at later stages in making their final decision.

Nonetheless, the test is a vital part of your application, and we recommend to look into how each university assess the exam so that you can make an informed decision before picking your choices.

All BMAT scores are communicated to the relevant universities individually for each section. Each institution has its weighting system to benchmark candidates. The most common approaches are as follows:

1. Cut-Off Approach

This is where a university employs a BMAT threshold to interview candidates. The cut-off usually changes every year based on the performance of the year group, at the time of writing this article universities such as Imperial College employed an absolute BMAT cut-off when shortlisting candidates to interview. Some may look at individual sections, overall score or both. These universities are worth considering if you achieve a high BMAT score, especially if you are in a position where you’re borderline with the minimum academic requirements.

2. Point-based Approach (or Percentage Approach)

This is where the BMAT accounts for a given percentage of a candidates overall application. It is one of many factors that are awarded points. Most scoring systems take into account other parts of an application such as academics, personal statement and reference, which are awarded a point to create a total score which is ranked against other competing applicants. At the time of writing this article, the University of Oxford and the University of Leeds used this approach when picking candidates. However, if you can get an indication of how much emphasis is placed on the BMAT, these may be a good choice if you do not score high in the exam.

3. Ranking Approach

This approach ties in with the point-based method. However, some universities use different techniques and algorithms – where the BMAT may be the sole factor in ranking candidates. Most institutions tend to consider all components of the application without disclosing much information on the weighting of the BMAT during the ranking process. If you can get an indication of the process involved in ranking candidates, you can make a more informed decision on picking your choices. If the respective university website doesn’t give much information, I encourage you to call the admissions team. Get more information on how the BMAT was used in the previous year (if they are not forthcoming with how they assess the exam the year you are applying).

Please note that universities can combine one or more approaches when assessing the BMAT, so I strongly advise you check the respective websites for more information.

Time Frames Used by BMAT Universities 

It is also important to also note the timeframes when the BMAT is assessed. There are typically two stages; they include:

Early Stage 

This is the most common where universities assess BMAT performance to shortlist who to invite for an interview. It is also common for universities to re-visit scores when deciding who to progress after interview performance.

Late Stage

This is when the BMAT is used in later stages to help make a final decision. This is commonly used with borderline cases – this is when a university has two candidates who achieve the same performance score (in interviews and other parts of an application). They can only make one an offer, then they will look at BMAT score as a final tool in making their decision. At the time of writing this article, the University of Cambridge adopted this approach.

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