BMAT or UCAT: Which Test Is Preferred by Medical Schools?

When aspiring to become a medical student, one crucial hurdle on the path to medical school admission in the UK is choosing between two standardized tests: the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT) and the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT). These tests play a pivotal role in evaluating your aptitude for medical studies and serve as a key component of your application. Understanding the differences between BMAT and UCAT and knowing which test is preferred by medical schools is essential for making an informed decision.

Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT):

BMAT is a subject-specific admissions test used by certain UK medical schools and a few international institutions. It consists of three sections:

1. Section 1 - Aptitude and Skills: 

This section assesses problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and data analysis through 35 multiple-choice questions in 60 minutes.

2. Section 2 - Scientific Knowledge and Application: 

This segment evaluates your understanding of scientific concepts and principles. It consists of 27 multiple-choice questions and takes 30 minutes.

3. Section 3 - Writing Task: 

In this section, you are required to write a short essay from a choice of three topics. You have 30 minutes to complete this task.

University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT):

UCAT, formerly known as the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT), is a cognitive aptitude test designed to assess mental abilities and attitudes required for medical and dental courses. It consists of five sections:

1. Verbal Reasoning: 

This section assesses your ability to evaluate information and make reasoned judgments about written text.

2. Decision Making: 

It evaluates your ability to make sound decisions and inferences from complex information.

3. Quantitative Reasoning: 

This section tests your problem-solving skills involving numerical and statistical data.

4. Abstract Reasoning: 

It assesses your ability to identify patterns, sequences, and relationships.

5. Situational Judgment Test (SJT): 

The SJT measures your response to real-world situations and ethical dilemmas.

Which Test Is Preferred by Medical Schools?

The preference for BMAT or UCAT varies among medical schools in the UK and abroad. Some institutions require applicants to take BMAT, while others mandate UCAT. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, and it's essential to research the specific requirements of the medical schools to which you plan to apply.

Factors to Consider:

1. School Preferences: 

Review the admission requirements of the medical schools you're interested in. Some schools may have a clear preference for one test over the other.

2. Test Format: 

Consider your strengths and weaknesses in the different test sections. BMAT focuses on scientific knowledge and essay writing, while UCAT assesses a broader range of cognitive skills.

3. Availability and Test Dates: 

Ensure that you can take the preferred test within the required timeframe for your application.

4. Practice and Preparation: 

Evaluate the availability of study materials, practice tests, and preparation courses for your chosen test.

5. Score Requirements: 

Compare the score requirements of different schools for BMAT and UCAT.

6. Relevance to Your Strengths: 

Choose the test that aligns better with your academic background and strengths.

7. Alternative Options: 

Some schools may accept either BMAT or UCAT, providing applicants with flexibility.


In conclusion, the choice between the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT) and the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is a critical decision for aspiring medical students in the UK and certain international programs. While both tests evaluate essential skills and aptitudes, they differ in format and content.

The preferred test varies among medical schools, so applicants must carefully research the requirements of their desired institutions. BMAT focuses on scientific knowledge and essay writing skills, while UCAT assesses a broader range of cognitive abilities. Your personal strengths and weaknesses, along with the availability of preparation resources, should guide your decision.

Ultimately, success on either test requires thorough preparation, practice, and a deep understanding of the test format. Regardless of your choice, a strong performance on the selected test can significantly enhance your chances of gaining admission to medical school and embarking on a rewarding journey in the field of medicine. Make your choice wisely and commit to diligent preparation to achieve your medical career goals.