BMAT Format Overview

The BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) is an admissions test for applicants to Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Biomedical Science and Dentistry courses at certain universities (full list of schools requiring the BMAT here).

The BMAT is a good indicator of a student’s potential to succeed in a demanding science-based university course. Like other standardized tests, it is designed to be challenging in order to differentiate between competitive applicants who usually achieve similarly high grades in school examinations.

The BMAT is a multiple choice test lasting two hours, and is usually done at designated test centres around the world.

The test is typically a pen-and-paper based test but for this year (2020), it has been shifted to an online format.

Unlike the UCAT, the BMAT is offered on only two fixed days, once in September (cancelled for 2020 due to Covid-19) and then November (November 4th for 2020).

Take note, 2 schools (Oxford University and Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine at NTU) require the BMAT to be taken in the November session, while the rest allow you to do the BMAT in either session. So, your first consideration when deciding when to take the BMAT will be based on whether you plan to apply to these two schools.

Another consideration is that whilst doing it in September obviously allows you to get your score before you apply (UK medical applications are due on October 15th) and avoids clashes with any school exams in November, you may be busy in August/September with your UCAT preparation.

Do note, similar to the UCAT, you are only allowed to take the test once in an admissions cycle, with the results being valid for only the admissions cycle in which the test was taken. However, candidates’ scores from the previous year will not affect their admission chances if they retake the BMAT and re-apply in later years.

BMAT Format Overview

BMAT Format

The test is divided into 3 sections: Thinking skills, Scientific Knowledge and Application, and Writing. Calculators are not permitted for all sections.

Thinking Skills

This section tests generic aptitude based skills often required for undergraduate study. This section has a total of 32 questions and is 60 minutes long. The questions are split equally between problem-solving or critical thinking based questions. Previous versions of the BMAT (prior to September 2020) also included data analysis and inference questions which have since been discontinued.
For the problem-solving questions, you will need to perform simple numeric operations, select relevant information, and identify similarity. Whereas for the critical thinking questions, you will be presented with a series of logical arguments and asked to evaluate these arguments by drawing conclusions, identifying assumptions, assessing the impact of additional evidence and detecting reasoning errors.

Scientific Knowledge and Application

The purpose of this section is to test whether candidates have an appropriate level of core scientific knowledge and the ability to apply it. The content covered includes GCSE/IGCSE/O Level Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Usually, many candidates will be rusty in at least one of these subjects and it’d be helpful to revise general science concepts (upto age 16). This section has 27 questions and is 30 minutes long. There are 7 questions each for Biology, Chemistry and Physics, and 6 questions on Mathematics.


In this section, students are required to write an essay on a topic chosen from 3 options. The questions always have the same format: a proposition (a statement or quote) followed by some instructions on how to respond. You will be asked to explain the argument and its implication, generate a counter-argument, or reconcile two opposing views. The topics could be scientific or medicine-related but often aren’t. Your essay needs to be limited to one A4 page. You are assessed both for content, and your ability to communicate effectively in writing. You will have 30 minutes for this section.

Each section will be scored differently from each other. Check out our BMAT score guide for more information.

Quick Summary

SectionTotal TimeNumber of QuestionsTime/QuestionContent/Skills Covered
Thinking Skills60 minutes32112.5 secondsCritical reasoning, problem-solving
Scientific Knowledge and Application30 minutes2766.7 secondsPhysics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics knowledge and application, data interpretation
Writing30 minutes130 minutes for 1 essayWriting skills, argument analysis