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Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing
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"The academic qualifications that students give us do not provide enough information for us to select the best and therefore we need to use another form of assessment. There is a very good correlation to indicate that students with a high score on BMAT do well in the year 1 and year 2 assessments on the MBBS programme."
Professor Dr Jamunarani S Vadivelu,
Medical Education Research and Development Unit,
University of Malaya, Malaysia
Identify applicants who will thrive on Medicine, Biomedicine and Dentistry degree courses with the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT).
BMAT has been used by world-leading universities since 2003, helping admissions tutors to make objective selection decisions and allowing students to show their full potential.
Contact us to find out how the BioMedical Admissions Test can help your university.
Here’s a selection of the leading universities already using the BioMedical Admissions Test:
For the full list of universities we work with, please visit the BMAT page for test-takers.
Read the BMAT test specification for an overview of the test format and content.
Our global network of test centres allows applicants to typically take BMAT in their own country. This means your selection procedure is accessible to all applicants, and quick and convenient for your staff.
There are currently three scheduled BMAT test sessions per year: in February, August/September and October/November.
Test fees are paid by the student. We believe all applicants should have an equal opportunity to prove they have what it takes and we ensure test fees are affordable, so they do not present a barrier to students entering university. We can also make arrangements with universities to provide reimbursement of test fees for financially disadvantaged students, as we do for UK/EU students applying to UK universities.
Depending on your requirements, it may also be possible to hold BMAT test sessions at your institution and for you to pay the test fees on behalf of your applicants.
We support test-takers with free BMAT preparation materials and resources to help them prepare for the test, including BMAT past papers with worked answers, and an online science revision guide (the BMAT Section 2: Assumed Subject Knowledge guide). There is no need for students to attend additional courses.
To ensure that BMAT is accessible to all applicants and minimise the amount of new learning needed, BMAT focuses on knowledge and skills that should already be familiar to applicants. The science and maths knowledge needed for the test is that typically covered in schools by age 16.
BMAT is designed to have a positive impact for test-takers. Any time spent preparing for BMAT helps test-takers develop skills directly beneficial for their future academic studies.
Establishing the validity of BMAT is crucial to ensure that test-takers and universities can have confidence in the results for selecting students to study Medicine and related biomedical disciplines. To ensure test validity, it is vital to consider all aspects of the testing process from start to finish, and Cambridge Assessment has invested two decades of ongoing research in BMAT with this goal in mind.
Can achievement at medical admission tests predict future performance in postgraduate clinical assessments? A UK-based national cohort study
Paton LW, McManus IC, Cheung KYF, et al (2022)
Read the research article
Using BMAT alongside national school qualifications to predict medical school performance
Lopes, S and McElwee, S (2022)
Watch the video
Performance at medical school selection correlates with success in Part A of the intercollegiate Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) examination
Ellis R, Brennan P, Scrimgeour DS, et al (2021)
A comprehensive account of our approach to validity is published in Applying the socio-cognitive framework to the BioMedical Admissions Test (Cambridge University Press, 2017).
Download the executive summary
Alternatively you can read the individual chapters:
The Cambridge Approach to admissions testing
Nick Saville (2017)
This chapter outlines Cambridge Assessment’s approach to designing high-stakes admissions tests. The concepts of validity, reliability, impact, practicality and quality are introduced, and how these factors interact to underpin our responsibility to deliver fair and dependable results for test-takers is discussed. The validity framework which is used to structure the evidence for BMAT, and on which the subsequent chapters in the volume are based, is also outlined. This socio-cognitive validity model (Weir, 2005) supports the assembly and integration of multiple sources of information to produce a comprehensive argument of BMAT’s validity.
Download the chapter
The biomedical school applicant: Considering the test taker in test development and research
Amy Devine, Lynda Taylor, Brenda Cross (2017)
Taking account of the test-taker is key to developing an assessment that is both appropriate and fair given their abilities and needs. This chapter outlines how Cambridge Assessment monitors the demographics of BMAT candidature to ensure that unintended bias is limited, and how we support the psychological and physical factors that impact test-takers, including those with additional needs. The key study illustrates the concept of predictive equity – the idea that a high-stakes test should predict later performance to the same extent for different groups of test-takers (e.g. males and females). BMAT predicted later university course performance equitably for different groups of test-takers irrespective of gender, type of school attended, or socio-economic factors.
What skills are we assessing? Cognitive validity in BMAT
Kevin Y F Cheung, Sarah McElwee (2017)
In order to be fair and valid, the questions in a high-stakes test for admission to Medicine or Biomedical Science should reflect the sorts of tasks or cognitive processes, and require similar types of thinking and problem-solving, to those that the test-taker would encounter during their studies. This chapter explores how BMAT applies this principle of cognitive validity. The reasons for including certain BMAT question types and their relevance to biomedical study are explored. The key research studies in this chapter summarise in-depth qualitative analyses of candidates’ responses to BMAT questions to explore their thinking process and ensure the quality of BMAT test questions.
Building fairness and appropriacy into testing contexts: Tasks and administrations
Mark Shannon, Paul Crump, Juliet Wilson (2017)
The design of test tasks and the time allocated to answer them is key to ensuring the fairness and quality of an assessment. A second important consideration is how a test is administered: are the test conditions secure to minimise opportunities for cheating or malpractice? Can the test be administered practically and consistently in centres all over the world? This chapter examines context validity, which includes the task design considerations and takes a detailed look at the process of constructing and administering a BMAT test paper. The key research presented is a detailed description of a recent update of BMAT Section 2, which in particular addressed the suitability of BMAT questions for international candidates and contexts to ensure fairness and equity.
Making scores meaningful: Evaluation and maintenance of scoring validity in BMAT
Mark Elliot, Tom Gallacher (2017)
This chapter concentrates on how aspects of scoring a candidate’s responses to BMAT contribute to the test’s validity, for both the multiple-choice Sections 1 and 2, and the constructed response marked for Section 3. We take a broad view of scoring validity, outlining a wider evaluation of scoring issues in high-stakes tests, and describe how scoring validity is maintained for BMAT.
The relationship between test scores and other measures of performance
Molly Fyfe, Amy Devine, Joanne Emery (2017)
An important aspect of any high-stakes test for university admissions is how well the scores predict later university performance, giving confidence that the results are fit for purpose. This chapter outlines this criterion validity evidence for BMAT. However, many factors affect the strength of predictive relationships, and considering the purpose and the issues are clearly described, with examples to show the complexity.
The consequences of biomedical admissions testing on individuals, institutions and society
Sarah McElwee, Molly Fyfe, Karen Grant (2017)
High-stakes tests have an impact on a wide range of stakeholders: the test-takers who prepare for them, the institutions that use the scores, professional bodies, and society more broadly. A truly comprehensive look at the validity of a test considers this aspect of consequential validity, including its impact on teaching and learning. This chapter explores how Cambridge Assessment designs BMAT to maximise its positive impact and outlines research on perceptions of admissions to Medicine.
Conclusions and recommendations
Kevin Y F Cheung (2017)
This chapter provides an overview of the key findings and recommendations made in the previous chapters. Taking a multidisciplinary approach to exploring BMAT, using a model adapted from language testing, has led to the development of a comprehensive treatment of the various aspects of its validity.
Sharing this work with medical educators, language testing researchers and admissions test developers could encourage collaboration and the sharing of expertise and best practice to benefit high-stakes assessment practices.