The BMAT is an admissions test used by certain universities in the UK for students applying for medicine. Most students will sit the test in mid-October, then get their results around 6 weeks later. But seeing a few out of context numbers when you get your results isn’t going to make any sense unless you know what the scores mean, and whether they are high enough for your chosen university. Scoring for the BMAT can definitely be confusing, but this article is here to help! What is the average score? How good are your results compared to other people taking the test? What scores should you be aiming for to get into university?
The BMAT is scored in three sections. Sections 1 and 2 are scored 1 to 9, while section 3 is scored 1 to 5, with a letter A to E for quality of English. Generally speaking, the average score for sections 1 and 2 is between 4 and 5, and a good score is around 6. Getting a 7 or higher is relatively rare. For section 3, the average score is 3A, with 4A being a really good score, and higher than that being rare.
*It’s important to note that the BMAT exam has been discontinued from 2024 (2025 entries) and beyond. You can learn more about this in this article by Think Student.
There are obviously a lot of numbers involved in this, and it can get confusing. Keep reading for a more detailed explanation about BMAT scores, so you know exactly what you are aiming for and where your score fits in.
Table of Contents
How is the BMAT marked and scored?
It’s definitely helpful to understand how BMAT scoring works, such as what it is out of, before analysing what the score means. However, if you already know about this, or just want to know what scores you need, feel free to skip ahead to the next heading.
The BMAT is split into three sections, and you will have a separate score for each one. Section 1 has 32 multiple choice questions, each worth one mark, so your raw mark will be out of 32. Similarly, section 2 has 27 multiple choice questions for one mark each, so is initially marked out of 27.
However, these are not the scores you will receive when you get your results. Instead, each of these scores are scaled to give you a number between 1 and 9. These are given to 1 decimal place, so for example, your score could be 4.7 in section 1 and 5.0 in section 2.
For section 3, which involves a short essay, you get a score between 1 and 5 for your content. You can get scores on a scale of 0.5, so for example, you might get 3.5 or 4.0, but not 4.7. You also get a letter A to E for the quality of English in the essay.
For more on how the scoring works, have a look at this article from UniAdmissions.
What is an average score for the BMAT?
The average score for the first two sections in the BMAT is between 4 and 5. This may sound quite low given that they are each scored out of 9, but remember, the very top scores are really rare.
Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing is the organisation that runs the BMAT. Each year, they publish an official review of results, which is a great way to see where your score fits in for your particular cohort.
The score analysis for the last cycle (2022) can be found in this document from Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing. You can also look at results from previous years, available on this page of their website, found under ‘explanations of previous years’ results’.
For 2022, the most common score was 4.1 for section 1, and 4.2 for section 2, and the mean score will be similar. The document also says that the test is designed so the average applicant scores approximately 5.
These are great scores to aim for when you first start doing practice papers. Of course, don’t worry if you’re getting less than this in your first practice! You will get better as you complete more.
However, as a starting point, these scores mean you know you are on the right track and you have the foundational knowledge you need. With more time and practice, you can then get your scores even higher if you are aiming to stand out and get a spot at a top university.
For section 3, the averages are a little easier. The average score for content is 3, and around 75% of people score A for the quality of English.
This might not be as useful when you are preparing, as it is harder to mark your own essay than multiple choice questions. However, if you are receiving your results, this gives you a clear idea of whether your score is below, at or above average.
What is a good score for the BMAT?
It might be easy to assume that a good score would be the highest possible – 8 or 9 in section 1, and 4.5A or 5A in section 3. However, this is not the case – scores at 7 or above are very rare, and you don’t need to score this highly to get into any university.
Actually, a score of around 6 is considered very good for the BMAT, and you should not need to get higher than this to get into university. As the official explanation of results says – linked again here from the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing, – ‘6.0 represents a comparatively high score and only a few very exceptional applicants will achieve BMAT scores higher than 7.0’.
Generally speaking, if you are consistently getting between 5 and 6 on your practice papers, you are doing really well. This would definitely be a BMAT score to be happy with!
This sort of score will be impressive when applying to a BMAT university, although of course the place itself depends on other factors like the interview. For more advice on other aspects of the medical school application process, check out this page from The Medic Portal.
Of course, there is nothing stopping you working harder and getting an even higher score, but you definitely don’t need to be aiming for a 7 or higher. If you are getting scores as high as that, you’re acing the BMAT!
For section 3, while a 3A is the average score, this is also a pretty good score you should be proud of on results day. Universities won’t ask you to get higher than this to get an offer.
Of course, any higher than this would also be a really good score that shows you are really talented in this area. But if you are aiming for a score that is considered ‘good’ by universities, the number to keep in mind is 3A or higher.
What score should you be aiming for in the BMAT?
The score you are aiming to get depends on which BMAT university or universities you are applying to. Of course, it’s great to aim for as high a score as you are capable of, but it’s hard to know exactly what this is.
We’ve discussed what average and good scores are, and you can use these as a guide to work towards. If you get 6, 6, 3A, you will meet the BMAT standards for any BMAT university, but often, you will be fine with less than this, for example, 5, 5, 3A.
For the most up-to-date information on what scores universities are looking for, check their websites. External websites also collate this information, such as this article from Medify. Otherwise, there’s a quick guide included here.
What BMAT scores do you need to get into university?
As of 2023, there are 6 universities in the UK that require the BMAT, as well as a number of international universities.
Brighton and Sussex use a cut off score. This is at least 3 in sections 1 and 2, and 2.5C in section 3. Applicants are then ranked based on their BMAT score, with the highest being invited to an interview.
While 3 is lower than the average score, as you are ranked, higher scores are still better. As mentioned, around 5 would be a good score to aim for here.
Imperial College London also uses a cut off score. These vary each year but are usually between 4 and 5 for sections 1 and 2, and 2.5C in section 3.
For Lancaster University, applicants are ranked based on their numerical scores to decide who gets invited to interview. As a rough guide, you want to be aiming for a total of 10.5 or more between all three sections (for example, 4.5 + 4.5 + 3A would be a score of 12).
UCL also doesn’t have minimum scores, but they take your BMAT into account alongside personal statements, predicted grades and so on. You want to be aiming for between a 5 and 6 in sections 1 and 2.
What BMAT scores do you need to get into Oxbridge?
Oxford and Cambridge are two of the most prestigious medical schools in the UK, and both require applicants to take the BMAT. Many people think you need exceptionally high BMAT scores to be considered for a place at either of these universities.
While you should be aiming for slightly higher scores than at other BMAT universities, the difference is actually not that big. We’ve already mentioned that 6, 6, 3A is a really good score, and this holds true for both these universities.
What BMAT scores do you need to get into Oxford?
Starting with Oxford, they have a detailed description of how they use the BMAT, and lots of statistics about applicant and offer-holder scores. This can be found on their medical sciences website here.
We’ll talk about some of the key statistics here, but there are plenty more available on that page so you can see how competitive your scores are.
Oxford use your BMAT results and give the first two sections a weighting of 40%, and the third section 20%, to come up with a score out of 100. Again, exact details of how they calculate this are on the page linked above.
As a rough guide, a score of 6, 6, 3A would work out as about 65 out of 100. This is also roughly the mean adjusted score for those shortlisted for interview.
However, people do get interviewed, and even get offers, with scores lower than this. This can be seen on graphs on the link above.
These statistics can get confusing! If you are very methodical, you might enjoy going through the statistics page and working out exactly where your score fits in.
However, if you want a quick answer, for Oxford, it’s best to aim for 6, 6, 3A. It’s also fine to get slightly lower in one section and make up for it in another section (e.g. 5, 7, 3A), as this works out the same.
You can also get offers with slightly lower BMAT scores than this, and it can help in this case to focus on your interview. For help with interview preparation, check out this page from The Medic Portal.
What BMAT scores do you need to get into Cambridge?
Cambridge doesn’t publish data on BMAT statistics in the same way Oxford does, and they don’t have a cut off. Applicants often find it harder to judge where their score fits in.
In general, you need similar BMAT scores for both Oxford and Cambridge – remember, this is 6, 6, 3A. In fact, this article from The UKCAT People says that the average score for Cambridge offer holders is about 6.1 in sections 1 and 2.
Once again, you can get in with lower scores than this, particularly if you do really well at the interview stage. In fact, Cambridge interviews around 80% of applicants, compared to Oxford’s 25%, so you may have more opportunity to make up for a lower BMAT when applying to Cambridge.
If you want to find out how hard it really is to get into Oxbridge universities, check out this article from Think Student.
How common is it to score above a 6 in the BMAT?
We’ve already mentioned that a 6 is a great score, and getting a 7 or higher is extremely rare – but how often does it actually happen?
You can have a look at score distributions in the official score analysis as linked earlier in the article, or alternatively, look at sites which work out key statistics from this information, such as this article from The Medic Portal.
In 2022, just over 10% of candidates scored a 6 or higher, in both section 1 and 2. In contrast, only around 3% score more than 7, and less than 1% score more than 8.
For section 3, more than 40% of candidates scored a 3, and around 75% got an A, so these are definitely the most common scores. Just 5% of people got a 4 or more for their essay content.
How are the raw marks converted to BMAT scores?
The other common question people have when it comes to BMAT scores, particularly for the multiple-choice sections, is how to know how many questions you actually got right. Getting a score of 6 is great, but how many marks do you need to be aiming for in practice papers?
Although the exact score scaling varies each year, you can get rough guidelines. This article from Medify has a general score conversion.
It suggests that for a 5, you need 22/32 for section 1, and 13/27 for section 2. These might sound quite low, but it just emphasises that the BMAT is a difficult test – you are not expected to be getting full marks!
The most accurate way to convert your score, though, is by using the official measurements from that year. These are available on the mark schemes for past papers, available on the official Cambridge Admissions Assessment Testing website here.
So, for example, if you do the 2015 practice paper and get 14/27, there will be a conversion table so you know exactly what your score would have been. Similarly, for your actual BMAT, a score conversion will be released so you know exactly what score you got.
Hopefully, this article has given you a comprehensive overview of how your BMAT score fits in. The final thing to say is that, no matter what your BMAT score ends up being, you should be proud of yourself for doing the test in the first place – it’s not easy!
University admissions tests are hard! Especially when you may be worrying about A-Level exams too. You can discover what university admissions tests are and why they are needed if you check out this article from Think Student. Well done for getting this far, and best of luck with the rest of your applications.