For both the UCAT and BMAT, students are only allowed to take both exams once per admission cycle. The results from each exam are valid for only the admissions cycle in which the exam was taken. While both tests are used to assess fit for medical school, there are several differences in the specific skills they test.
The BMAT can only be taken twice a year (February/November) on specific pre-set dates. Depending on which universities you are applying to, application requirements may require you to sit for a specific date. The UCAT, meanwhile, can be taken over the course of three months, typically late July to late September. For both the BMAT and UCAT, students are only allowed to attempt the test once per testing cycle.
BMAT Test Dates
UCAT Test Dates
Sections and Content
The UCAT is divided into 5 sections: Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Situational Judgement, all of which are in multiple-choice format. The UCAT tests abstract content, aptitude and skills such as problem-solving, data analysis and inference, logical reasoning, and mathematical abilities. You will have access to an on-screen calculator.
The BMAT is only composed of three subtests – Aptitude and Skills, Scientific Knowledge and Applications, and Writing Task. The first two subtests are in multiple-choice format, while the last subtest is an essay. The first section is similar to the UCAT as it focuses on assessing aptitude and skills, however, the difficulty level is significantly higher due to the higher allocated time. The science section on the BMAT is more knowledge-based and includes content typically covered in high school Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology (GCSE level) Unlike the UCAT, you will not have access to a calculator. The essay section is also unique to the BMAT and you will have 30 minutes to write an essay in which you argue for or against the chosen topic.
Both tests are two hours long. However, the UCAT has a much larger volume of questions, making it more difficult to complete in this period of time. To review the time per section and question, please visit our page on the UCAT overview.
BMAT Format Overview
UCAT Format Overview
The scoring system varies between the exams: each section on the UCAT is scaled to a score between 300-900 and the Situational Judgement section is scored using bands ranging from 1 to 4, whereas in the BMAT scores for Sections 1 and 2 range from 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest), with Section 3 scored from 1-5 and A-E.
Another major difference between the UCAT and BMAT is when you find out your scores. UCAT results are made available to candidates immediately after completing the examination; however, BMAT results are released after approximately three weeks. Note that for students taking the BMAT in November, they won’t have their scores till after they have submitted applications (October 15th is the deadline for medical school applications in the UK). This makes it rather risky and you will need to ensure that you have completed sufficient practice tests under simulated conditions to make a good estimate of your actual test score.
BMAT Score Guide
UCAT Score Guide