Studying medicine in the UK is a dream for many aspiring doctors, as it provides them with world-class education, cutting-edge research, and real clinical practice. The best medical universities in the UK are ranked among the best in the world. In fact, four of the world’s top ten medicine universities are located in the country, according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023. However, getting into these prestigious medical schools is not easy, as they have a limited number of seats and high standards of selection. To study medicine in the UK, you will need to have high grades in chemistry and biology, as well as a strong grasp of medical English. You will also need to take one of the admission tests: UCAT or BMAT. In this article, we will compare the BMAT vs UCAT tests in terms of their format, content, requirements, availability, results, and more.
Good performance in these exams can set an applicant apart from others with similar academic achievements. The exams serve as a way for medical schools to identify candidates who possess not only academic prowess but also critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential for medical practice. Hence, these entrance exams serve as the deciding factor between the plethora of highly qualified applicants. It’s important to ace either of these tests to get admission to the best medical schools in the UK.
Overview of UCAT Vs BMAT
|Full Forms||University Clinical Aptitude Test||Biomedical Admissions Test|
|No of Universities (UK)||30+||6 `|
|Test Type||Computer Based||Pen and Paper; MCQs and Essay|
|Length||2 hours||2 hours|
|Frequency of Test||Thrice in a year||Once in a year|
|Fees||70 GBP – UK universities
115 GBP – International Universities
|78 GBP – Candidates within the UK
104 GBP – Candidates outside the UK
What are the UCAT and the BMAT?
The UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) is a computer-based test that consists of five sections: Verbal Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, and Situational Judgment. The test lasts for two hours and is usually taken between late July and late September of the year before you apply to medical school. The UCAT is sat by around 30,000 students each year applying to Medicine and Dentistry. It is largely more of an aptitude test than an academic test, and it tests abilities such as problem-solving and critical thinking. Before 2019, the assessment was referred to as the UKCAT, which stands for UK Clinical Aptitude Test. However, its name was changed to UCAT, to acknowledge its adoption by Medical Schools in various nations as a component of their admission criteria and application process.
The BMAT (BioMedical Admissions Test) is a written test that consists of three sections: Aptitude and Skills, Scientific Knowledge and Applications, and a Writing Task. The test lasts for two hours and is usually taken in September or November of the year before you apply to medical school. Approximately 15,000 students take the BMAT, which is half the number of candidates who participate in the UCAT. BMAT emphasizes a greater reliance on authentic academic knowledge and proficiency in resolving complex problems. The BMAT is accepted in universities in the UK, Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Poland, Thailand, and Malaysia.
Almost all the medical schools in the UK require either the UCAT or the BMAT as part of their admissions process. The UCAT is more widely accepted and used by most UK medical schools, while the BMAT is only required by six universities.
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How are the UCAT and the BMAT Different?
The UCAT and BMAT differ in several aspects:
Content: The UCAT tests your verbal reasoning, decision-making, numerical reasoning, abstract reasoning, and situational judgment skills. The BMAT tests your critical thinking, problem-solving, scientific knowledge (to GCSE level), and essay-writing skills. The BMAT has a greater emphasis on science and writing than the UCAT.
Format: The UCAT is a computer-based test with only multiple-choice questions and a total of 233 questions. The BMAT is a paper-based test with multiple-choice questions (except for the writing task) and a total of 120 questions. The BMAT has fewer questions but more time per question than the UCAT.
Scoring: The UCAT scores each section separately on a scale of 300 to 900 (except for the situational judgment section which is scored on a scale of band 1 to band 4). The BMAT scores each section separately on a scale of 0 to 9 (except for the writing task which is scored by two examiners on a scale of A to E). The BMAT does not have an overall score. The UCAT has an overall score which is the sum of the scores from the first four sections.
Test Availability: The BMAT is only offered once a year in November, so you will need to plan ahead and register early. The UCAT is offered multiple times a year between July and October, so you will have more flexibility in choosing your test date. However, you will also need to consider the availability of test centers and the deadlines of your chosen universities.
Test Results: The BMAT results are usually released in late November, and you can access them online using your login details. You will also receive a copy of your results by email. The UCAT results are available immediately after you finish the test, and you can print them out at the test center. You will also receive an email confirmation of your results. You will need to share your results with your chosen universities through UCAS by the deadline, which is usually in mid-January.
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UCAT vs BMAT: Application Procedure
Registration Process: The UCAT registration process typically opens in early May and closes in late September. Candidates need to create an account and book a test online, using the Pearson VUE registration system. They also need to provide their details, UCAS number, course and university choices, and medical evidence if they require any access arrangements. The registration process for BMAT typically opens in the early part of the year, around June, and closes around the end of September. Candidates need to find a test center and ask the Exams Officer to register them for the test. They also need to provide their personal details, UCAS number, course and university choices, and medical evidence if they require any access arrangements.
Application Window: The UCAT is usually held between July and October each year. The registration for the test typically opens in early May and closes in late September.
On the other hand, The BMAT is usually held in November each year. The application process typically opens in the early part of the year, around June, and closes around the end of September.
Fees: The fees for taking the BMAT can vary depending on the location of the test center and whether you’re taking the test for a standard entry or a late entry. The fees were in the range of 78 GBP for candidates in the UK, whereas those outside have to pay 104 GBP. The fees for taking the UCAT vary depending on which universities you are applying for, for UK universities the fees were around 70 GBP, and for international universities, they were around 115 GBP.
UCAT vs BMAT: Which One Should You Take?
The answer to this question depends largely on your personal college preferences and abilities. However, here are some general tips to help you decide:
- You should take both tests if you want to keep your options open or apply to medical schools that require different tests. By taking both the BMAT and UCAT, you can apply to any medical school in the UK, depending on how competitive your scores are.
- If you decide to take only one of the two exams, consider taking the UCAT over the BMAT, since more med schools require UCAT scores.
- You should take the BMAT if you are confident in your scientific knowledge and essay writing skills, and you are interested in applying to some of the top-ranked medical schools in the UK, such as Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, or UCL.
- You should take the UCAT if you are confident in your cognitive abilities and personal attributes that are relevant to medicine, such as verbal reasoning, decision-making, numerical reasoning, etc.
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Universities in the UK That Accept the UCAT
Most of the medical schools in the UK accept and require applicants’ UCAT scores as part of the admissions process. Each school may have different cut-offs for minimum scores and other requirements for the exam, so be sure to check the admission requirements for your desired school before applying. Below is a list of medical schools in the UK which require UCAT:
- University of Aberdeen
- University of East Anglia
- University of Leicester
- Anglia Ruskin University
- Edge Hill University
- University of Liverpool
- Aston University
- University of Edinburgh
- University of Manchester
- University of Birmingham
- University of Exeter
- University of Newcastle
- University of Bristol
- University of Glasgow
- University of Nottingham
- Brunel University London
- Hull York Medical School
- Plymouth University
- Cardiff University
- Keele University
- Queen Mary University of London
- University of Central Lancashire
- Kent and Medway Medical School
- Queen’s University Belfast
- University of Chester
- King’s College London
- University of Sheffield
- University of Dundee
- University of Leeds
- University of Southampton
- University of St Andrews
- University of Sunderland
- University of Warwick St George’s,
- University of London
- University of Surrey
- University of Worcester
Universities in the UK That Accept the BMAT:
There are 6 medical schools in the UK that do not require UCAT but use BMAT test scores to evaluate candidates instead. These are:
- Brighton and Sussex Medical School
- Imperial College London
- Lancaster University
- University College London
- University of Cambridge
- University of Oxford
Universities That Don’t Require Either UCAT or BMAT
There are only two universities in the UK that don’t require either the UCAT or the BMAT to apply for medicine. These are:
The University of Buckingham Medical School: This is a private university that uses its own computer-based test called the Multiple Mini Assessment for candidates who meet an academic threshold. However, you will need to self-finance your medical degree without student loans if you choose this option.
The University of Central Lancashire Medical School: This university does not require any admissions test and selects candidates for interview based on their personal statement and school/college reference. However, this option is only available for UK students from North West England and international students.
The BMAT and the UCAT are both challenging and important tests that can determine your chances of getting into your dream medical school. The choice of which test to take depends on several factors, such as your preferred universities, your academic strengths, and your preparation time. It’s important to note that they are not the only criteria that medical schools use to select candidates. They also consider your academic grades, personal statement, reference letter, and interview performance. Therefore, you should not neglect any aspect of your application and strive to present yourself as a well-rounded and suitable candidate for medicine. If you have any questions or need more guidance, we are happy to help you at OneApply. Book your free video call appointment now!