By now, you should have a solid idea of the BMAT test structure and know what schools you are applying to.
In the BMAT, questions in Sections 1 and 2 are worth 1 mark each, giving a total of 32 points and 27 points respectively.
There is no negative marking for Section 1 and 2, and hence it is in your interest to attempt all questions. The total raw scores of both sections are converted to BMAT’s scale, which runs from 1 (low) to 9 (high), up to one decimal place.
Your essay in Section 3 is marked by two examiners. Each examiner gives two scores – one for quality of content (on a scale of 0–5), and one for quality of written English (on the scale A, C, E).
For the quality of content, here are how the scores are determined:
- Score 1: the essay has some bearing on the question but does not address it fully
- Score 2: addresses most of the question, but has significant elements of confusion
- Score 3: reasonably well-argued, may have weakness in the argument
- Score 4: good answer with few weaknesses, all aspects of the question are addressed
- Score 5: excellent answer with no significant weaknesses
For the use of written English, here are how the bands are determined:
- Band A: Good use of English – clear, fluent, good use of grammar and vocabulary
- Band C: Reasonably clear use of English – reasonably fluent, some errors
- Band E: Rather weak use of English – not easy to follow, faulty grammar
For example, if one examiner gave you 3A and another marked your essay 3C, your average score would be 3B.
If there is a significant discrepancy, your essay will be reassessed by a third examiner.
Typical BMAT candidates will score around 4.6 out of 9.0.
The best candidates will score around 6.0, and a few exceptional candidates will score higher than 7.0.
However, as BMAT universities such as Oxbridge, Imperial and UCL are typically highly selective universities and there tend to be very few spots available for international students, it would be advantageous to score above 5.0.
Do note universities that require the BMAT will utilize the score in different ways.
For instance, Oxford University, splits the BMAT score according to section and places a different weightage to calculate a total percentage (Section 1=40%, Section 2=40%, and Section 3=20%). Whereas Imperial College uses a strict cut-off for BMAT scores and applicants that do not meet this cut-off are automatically rejected (in 2019, the cut-offs were 4.1 for Section 1, 4.2 for Section 2, and 2.5C for Section 3).
The BMAT November 2021 results came out on the 26th November.
In Section 1, as you can see from the official chart below, about 36% of students scored at or above 5 and in Section 2, about 30% of students scored at or above 5. As from previous years, most students scored an A in section 3, with a content score of 3 being the most common (3.0).
Source: Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing
It’s better to look at these scores in terms of ranking, so we have converted them in a percentile form (with some approximations) and compared against the past two years.
The BMAT scores are similar to the 2019 sitting. As the Section 1 format was changed last year, students had found the test relatively easier in 2020, and the test makers seem to have since upped (back) the difficulty.
For Section 2, there was no change in the content, so the main cause of the change seems to be the continued disruptions due to the pandemic.
As these scores are lower than 2020, we expect the cut-offs to be lower this year as well. The unknown factor in this is however the number of students who took a deferral last year, possibly resulting in lesser number of seats available overall.
A score of 5.3 or above will be competitive this year, as it will bring you to the 80th percentile. The interview selection will depend on how the different universities use the BMAT score. It is best to focus on your interview preparations now to provide the universities with another excellent showing of your skills.