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BMAT Hot is it used by Medical Schools?

(50 Posts)
Stokesay Fri 15-Mar-13 18:38:10

My DS is currently keen on applying to 3 BMAT Med schools. It seems pretty high risk as he won't take the test until after his application has gone in.

I read on here somewhere that the 4 BMAT unis use the scores in the 3 sections in different ways, which might spread the risk I suppose.

Does anyone mind sharing how Ox, Cam, Imperial or UCL use the BMAT scores?

aloinlee Sun 06-Jul-14 13:51:08

Thanks for the link mum141.

I wasn't able to get a space for my DS on the Blackstone UKCAT courses, so I ended up emailing them to find out what could be done (turned out to be a blessing in disguise....)

I didn't realise this but apparently they go around loads of schools in the country giving Med courses. Spoke to the school and they were happy to host (and subsidise!) so in the end saved on half the course fee, travel and a long train journey from Leeds to London...

For anyone thinking of booking on any of the courses, I would check first if they are able to come to the school.

mum141 Sun 25-May-14 23:56:43

Last time I checked, details weren't even up yet - now there's only a handful of spaces left.....amazing how many students apply each year.

Apologies Helen343, I don't think the previous link is correct....this is the link I used

Stokesay Sat 15-Feb-14 15:58:04

And one afterthought- DS and I disagreed about the need for him to ask a question at the end of the interview to look keen. He thought it would look over keen, so point blank refused to, except for one practical query he had about Cambridge. It mustn't have been detrimental, or perhaps as DS thought, they may have been grateful to not have to answer contrived questions dreamt up to make candidates look good and instead have a longer lunch break grin

Stokesay Sat 15-Feb-14 15:27:53

I though I'd pop back now that the admissions round is over for DS. He was very fortunate to have offers from his top 3 choices by the end of January so withdrew from the 4th choice, particularly as it doesn't give out any offers until March anyway.
His two firm/ insurance choices are Cambridge and UCL with a UKCAT heavy London school as third.
The process has seemed a lot less painful that he anticipated, apart from the Cambridge interviews, one of which left him feeling completely baffled about what they thought of him and make me think that the interviewers were a bit sadistic really!

For anyone about to go through this, from DSs discussions of the fellow applicants he knows I would say don't underestimate the importance of the UKCAT and BMAT, even if you have stellar GCSE/ AS grades. DC scored in the top 2-3 % of test takers for both UKCAT and BMAT (though not in the essay part) and I think this really helped get early interviews at schools who put a lot of emphasis on these tests.
He practised material from each website before each test and bought the relevant book for each.
He seemed to do virtually no specific interview prep (!) but instead took the view that he was genuinely interested in what he wrote on his personal statement and didn't want to come across as false by learning questions off by heart. As his school offered only one shared mock interview, a friend of DH's gave him a general interview but putting him under a bit of pressure.
So he just needs to get the grades now (A* AA for Cam or AAAE for UCL).

If anyone has any questions let me know!

mum141 Mon 20-Jan-14 22:53:26


I don't think the UKCAT course details have come out yet.....if it's any use this is the link I used:

mindgone Mon 20-Jan-14 13:56:06

Stokesay, how is your DS getting on? Any news? I have been reading this thread with interest, as my DS2 is planning on applying this coming year. Sounds like we have a tricky year ahead!

helen343 Sun 19-Jan-14 17:02:51

Re. Mum141

I've heard similarly good things re. blackstone bmat and ukcat courses, although can't find ukcat details - do you have a link?


alreadytaken Sat 28-Sep-13 21:01:48

another week to go, Stokesay. It's quite strange when their friends have disappeared off to uni and they are still waiting (and haven't seriously started packing). Some of the friends were late starters but more went today so the next week is going to be wierd. At least it means they have earned a far amount so can afford to enjoy themselves.

There were interviews in August this year for at least one medical school, although I don't know if it was only for those who had previously applied to the school. We know more than one person who got no offers this year. I expect them to get places next year but its tough on them.

The BMAT seems a bit less peculiar than the UKCAT but there is still an element of luck. It's also an exam for high achievers so even very good students may only get average results.

One important message I forgot - there is no evidence that an early interview increases your chance of an offer. At one medical school, maybe more, I suspect it's the other way around.

Becks14 Sat 28-Sep-13 07:27:21

My son was in a very similar situ last year and decided to apply to 2 BMat and 2 UKCAT. He has a what I believe are great results so by march this year he had no offers and dealing with him feeling rejected was very tough especially when all of his friends where making plans for uni but I kept saying its okay getting the conditional offers but you have to make the grades , also trying to explain to him that Medicine is such a hard course to get into but at 17 they know everything. So when a late interview came through he was delighted and today we are off to take him to start his course in London. As for the cost we will just have to support him and it really didn't come into the deciding factors it was more about the feel of the uni on the one days.

YouHaveAGoodPoint Fri 27-Sep-13 12:25:27

The wait is agonising and not just for the kids blush. My DS was the only one applying for medicine and had to wait while all his friends had all their offers. My son was more stressed about it than he thought he would be. He was confident of getting offers but it didn't make the waiting much easier sad

BTW I would be 100% confident that the Uni's don't have unwritten rules about where their applicants come from.

Stokesay Fri 27-Sep-13 09:26:00

Thanks for your tips alreadytaken.
DS, at least on an intellectual level, realises he may well get no offers at all. That doesn't mean he won't be upset of course and I think the real challenge will be staying upbeat throughout the long long process and remaining motivated for A2s. DS said that one of his choices doesn't usually give out any offers until March- only six months to go!
I hope all goes well for your DC - they must be off in the next week or so?

Stokesay Fri 27-Sep-13 09:08:25

Yes he did smile I think the fact he was quite laid back about whether or not he applied to a UKCAT school helped. The BMAT might be a different story though, he knows some very bright students who came seriously unstuck last year.
The UCAS form has gone. One of his classmates has chosen 3 of the same med schools as DS so that will only add to the stress I suppose. I hope that unis don't have an unwritten rule about not wanting to take more than one student from the same secondary school.

TootsFroots Tue 24-Sep-13 00:58:48

I guess he got a decent UKCAT score then grin.

alreadytaken Fri 20-Sep-13 17:42:19

unfortunately it is a stressful process but at least the BMAT results are out quite quickly and if they are good then he can expect two interviews and be reasonably confident at them. If they aren't quite so good he sounds to have done some interesting things so he just needs to plan how to talk about them. Although there are a lot of variations the standard questions (why medicine, why here, describe a doctor patient interaction, where do you want to be in .. years time) come up quite often. Perhaps they open with predictable questions to relax the interviewee.

Some people do get 4 offers but not many, he needs to be prepared for rejection. I've heard of people with a Cambridge offer but no others, an Imperial offer and no others and of course some people with hard choices to make. There can be a long wait to hear about interview and a long wait after interview to be told the outcome. Interviews are often arranged at short notice so not only stressful but expensive if travelling by train. We ended up driving to one interview as the train was exorbitant. They also dont always consider students travelling time (so arranging an early morning interview for a student who then has to stay overnight). Some schools are very huffy about a request to rearrange a date, one (London) simply tells you you can't. Dont plan any family holiday this year, interviews can be offered out of term time.

The student room threads for applicants to each school may be e.g UCL medicine applicants 2014) are often supportive. It's possibly an advantage to have no friends applying as it can become a little awkward when one has offers and others don't.

If he gets enough offers to choose encourage him to be sensible. One Cambridge applicant (at least) only firmed Cambridge as his other offer was the same grades. While there was little doubt he'd make the offer (and he did) had there been some disaster the schools may have taken different attitudes.

Should the unthinkable happen and he miss his grades don't panic, he may still have a place.

[wine glass] - I needed it!

Stokesay Fri 20-Sep-13 15:41:41

Just wanted to add a postscript to say that DS decided on 2 UKCAT and 2 BMAT med schools after all. Can't say I'm really looking forward to this UCAS process. I hope the next few months don't prove too stressful- I want to make the most of the time we still have him at home.

LittleFrieda Tue 25-Jun-13 09:49:04

Why would you not at least sit the UKCAT and then decide if you want to sail the same (reckless in my view) course?

mum141 Fri 21-Jun-13 18:22:22

In terms of BMAT prep - any recommended books or courses?

Have heard good things from friends about the blackstone tutors med courses - any other opinions or experiences?


Stokesay Thu 21-Mar-13 10:07:50

I read somewhere that more than half of all medical students are female, so its good to hear that it is a family friendly career. Thanks for your thoughts on the bench research.

funnyperson Wed 20-Mar-13 21:19:17

Yes I thought what she said was interesting, though her career path appears to have been smoother than most, doubtless because of excellent interpersonal skills. But the fact is that there are opportunities for flexible training, job shares and so forth in Medicine that simply didn't exist before. Also there is the opportunity to really reach the top of the tree, for example to be a president of a Royal College, if so desired. Intriguingly, a male/female pay difference still exists in the higher echelons, possibly because women take time out to have babies.

Yellowtip Wed 20-Mar-13 20:23:41

Well I'm now completely out of my depth now with the introduction of southern blots.

Very interesting indeed though that this medical director considers Medicine family friendly. I'm concerned that Law may not have moved on that much; I'm hoping I've got that wrong.

funnyperson Wed 20-Mar-13 19:18:08

Well bench research is an interesting one. On the one hand it demonstrates the ability to work with scientists and lab technicians and can also help a student decide whether he/she wants to do a lab based intercalated degree and if the student is curious he/she might read up on the general research direction of the lab. On the other hand if all one has done is the modern equivalent of southern blots all day and without any appreciation of what a southern blot is or what the clinical relevance might be then it might not be useful.
The Cambridge experts might have a view.
I went to Cambridge the other day and I just want to mention that it is wonderful that all the colleges now take women. Some of the central colleges are truly lovely. In my day there was Newnham, Newhall and Girton, and one had to go to London for the clinical years. Also I have a lot of student friends doing medicine there, having a wonderful time.
Also I met a medical director of a very famous hospital today, who is female, who mentioned how family friendly medicine is as a career. She has 4 children. Just saying, though not relevant to OP.

Yellowtip Wed 20-Mar-13 17:57:55

The personal statement for any subject, but for Medicine in particular, is obviously going to be a balancing act if one of the choices is Oxford or Cambridge. In that respect applying to three BMAT unis is less problematical than applying for a varied clutch of schools. A personal statement which is overtly academic is clearly going to be a flag to the Birminghams and Bristols that this applicant is applying to Oxford or Cambridge and is likely to accept an offer from one of those two first. In DS's case although Birmingham did make an offer, it asked for A*AA rather than AAA, clearly to rule out any chance of DS holding it an insurance, since it was clear from his grades that he didn't need a push, or to prove himself (he got full marks in every AS exam, had 12A* at GCSE etc etc). I don't think his profile or personal statement would have left the selectors in any doubt that he was applying to one of those two, but that's where he most wanted to go so that's who he directed his personal statement at. Your DS will have to make a judgment call based on how strong an applicant he thinks he is (I'm guessing he's very strong!)

Stokesay Wed 20-Mar-13 15:26:10

Thank you for the links funnyperson and alreadytaken - it does seem to broadly endorse his own views which is reassuring.

Its interesting to hear of your experiences working with graduates of overseas med schools. I think I'll avoid raising these with DS however, unless he gets to the stage of needing a plan c, as it would add a whole new layer of complexity (and poverty for us).

I am somewhat concerned about living costs for UCL/ Imperial though. I'll have to do some research and see how much more it is likely to cost.

I would really appreciate any thoughts in response to one last question, a bit off topic I'm afraid:
DS has taken himself off and is currently organising a Summer project (bench research) in an area that really interests him at a commutable RG uni having blithely written to the relevant research Professor. His school is not involved in any way.

As it is bench research, would this be seen positively, neutrally or negatively by the London BMAT schools if he mentioned it on the main statement on the UCAS form? I assume Ox / Cam would quite like it but could UCL/ Imp infer that he is not sufficiently patient-focussed (which isn't the case at all)?

He has plenty of patient volunteering and work shadowing and definitely wants to be a doctor but just really enjoys the pure science as well.

Helspopje Wed 20-Mar-13 09:54:50

true - I have worked with some from CMC Vellore and AIIMS who were outstanding.

funnyperson Tue 19-Mar-13 19:20:38

Thats interesting that admissions are decided by each Cambridge college, even for medicine.

London medical schools teaching standards vary. UCL is the best. St Georges is vv good.

I dont agree with what Helspopje says about the Prague students. Their knowledge of neurology is often terrible. Indian students are far better if from one of the better Indian medical schools.

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