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BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) - everything you need to know

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*** UPDATED for the University of Leeds and Brighton & Sussex Medical School (2015) ***

The BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) is an admissions test used for undergraduate entry at Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, University College London, Leeds and Brighton & Sussex. It is also used for graduate entry at Oxford and Cambridge (for some applicants).

The BMAT exam contains three sections. The first section tests aptitude and skills, and it contains 35 questions taking one hour to complete. The second section tests scientific knowledge, containing 27 questions in the half an hour section. There are questions from biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics. The questions assume a knowledge of GCSE but require a higher level of thinking. The third section is a half an hour section where you have to write an essay on one of the four questions provided.

Personal Statement

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The personal statement is probably the most important piece of writing you will have to write for years. I found this to be the hardest part of the application as I wouldn't normally write a page of writing outlining my achievements and talking about my work experience. Therefore, I would recommend spending as much time as possible on it. There is no harm in starting as early as May/June in the year you are planning to apply as it gives you more time to get it perfect.

What structure should I follow? 

Most personal statements for Medicine follow the same structure. They start with an introduction which is an opening statement outlining your reasons for applying. The main body of the personal statement will be about your work experience and possibly your academic achievements. This is usually followed be a short section on your extra-curricular activities and then a conclusion to sum up.

Useful Websites

Here is a list of some websites I found very useful during my application to medical school.

The Student Room was a very good website. It contains articles which are very helpful in providing information about the whole application process and which universities to apply for.

Medify is another great website with resources for all parts of the application. Some features require a paid subscription and others are free, but the website is a high quality website with lots of helpful tips.

Work Experience

A key part of your medical school application is work experience. In some places this can be very hard to get, so you should make the most of the opportunity you have been given. In general, medical schools do not require a huge breadth of work experience. Any work experience related to the medical field is useful and will gain credit, as they realise that it can be very difficult for some of you to get the work experience in the first place. However, they don't just want to know what you did;  they want to know what you got out if it.
How do I get work experience? 
Well, in short, ask for it. All hospitals will have somebody that co-ordinates work experience students. If you can't find this particular person, I would suggest giving the Human Resources department a ring and seeing if they can direct you to the right person.  If you are looking to get some experience at a care home, then have a word with the manager and see if they will let you volunteer over there.  The realit…

UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT)

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So you have decided that you want to study medicine and thought about a few universities that you would like to apply to. The next step is the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT).

What is the UKCAT?

The UKCAT is a university entrance exam for Medicine and Dentistry courses in some institutions across the UK. Not all universities offering Medicine and Dentistry programmes require this exam, so please check each university admissions policy for further details.

Choosing a medical school

This will be my first post in a series of posts which I have written to help any prospective medical students in the application. Having gone through the application process, I understand how stressful the whole thing can be, and I hope that you will find my posts helpful.

My top tips for choosing a medical school are:

1. Apply smartly

This is probably the most important tip. It is imperative that you apply somewhere which values candidates with your profile, as you are more likely to get an interview or an offer. Even if you really like a particular medical school, there is little point in applying when you clearly don't have a realistic chance. For example, if a medical school requires a very high UKCAT score, it would not be smart to apply with a 630 average.