Medicine – Admissions Tests

As well as high entry requirements, and a shed load of work experience, medical applicants are also required to pass specialist admissions tests in order to qualify for entry to universities in the UK. There are three different types of test, of which applicants will only have to take one, check university admissions carefully to ensure you take the correct test for the relevant university: 

BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)

Developed by Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing, this two hour pen-and-paper test assesses applicant’s prior skills and knowledge. The test is divided into three distinct sections:

1. Aptitude and skills

  • Multiple choice questions testing generic skills in problem-solving, understanding arguments, data analysis and inference.

2. Scientific knowledge and applications

  • Multiple-choice questions testing a candidate’s ability to apply scientific and mathematical knowledge up to Key Stage 4.

3. Writing task

  • Candidates choose one question from a choice of three. All questions test their ability to select, develop and organise ideas, and to communicate ideas concisely and accurately.

Candidates should take the test during the academic year in which they are applying to university.

The test takes place in either September or October depending on which schools you are applying to.

Approximate costs (based on 2018 figures):

  • EU Student: £80.
  • Non-EU Student: £115.

More information about BMAT, including a list of universities which accept the test, available on the Admissions Testing Service site.

UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT)

The UKCAT tests that candidates have the appropriate mental ability, attitude and professionalism required to succeed as a doctor. The test assists universities in making informed choices, and differentiating between many highly qualified applicants. The test is divided into 5 sections (all are multiple choice questions):

1. Verbal reasoning

  • Assesses candidate’s ability to critically evaluate information presented in written form.

2. Quantitative reasoning

  • Similar to above but information presented in numerical form.

3. Abstract reasoning

  • Assesses candidate’s ability to think laterally and infer relationships from information.

4. Decision analysis

  • Assesses candidate’s ability to make well-informed decisions and judgements using complex information.

5. Situational judgement

  • Assesses candidate’s ability to understand real-life situations and identify appropriate behaviour to deal with said situations.

The test lasts two hours.

Candidates must complete the test by early October of the academic year in which they are applying.

Approximate costs (based on 2017 figures):

  • EU: £65 or £85 depending on when test is taken.
  • Non-EU: £115

More information about UKCAT, including a list of universities which use this test for admissions, available on their site.

Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT)

Imported from Australia, the GAMSAT assists universities in the selection of participants for their graduate-entry medicine programmes. The test has been carefully designed to assess a candidate’s ability to undertake high-level intellectual studies, as required on graduate medicine programmes.

The test is divided into three sections:

1. Reasoning in humanities and social sciences

  • Assess candidate’s ability to interpret and understand ideas in social and cultural contexts. Most information is presented in written format.

2. Written communication

  • Assesses candidate’s ability to produce and develop ideas in their writing. This section involves two writing tasks both relating to a common theme.

3. Reasoning in biological and physical sciences

  • Assesses candidate’s ability in three discipline areas: Chemistry (40%), Biology (40%), Physics (20%).

The test takes place in September.

Candidates should take test during the academic year in which they are applying to university.

Approximate costs (based on 2017 figures):

  • UK: £262
  • Ireland:€335
  • Australia: $505 

More information about GAMSAT, including a list of universities which offer graduate medicine programmes, available on their site.