Want to study Medicine at Oxford?

Posted a month ago

This blog proceeds the previous blog "So you want to study Medicine in the UK" and looks at how Medical entrance exams are scored, what is considered to be a good score, how you can improve these and where you can look to gain admission.

How Are The Tests Scored?

The scoring system also varies between the two medical entrance exams, with the UCAT scoring system based on a spread of values between 300-900, and the BMAT scores for Sections 1 and 2 ranging from 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest), with Section 3 scored from 1-5 and A-E.

Even more complicated can be the weighting of the scoring systems used, given some universities prioritise marks in some sections over others.

As Oxford’s Medical Sciences Division Website explains, they do not ascribe equal weighting to all sections of BMAT. In 2018, weightings were: Section 1=40%, Section 2=40%, and Section 3=20% and in calculating the Section 3 score, double weight was ascribed to the ‘Quality of Content’ score and single weight given to the ‘Quality of English’ score.

Further, Oxford may use an applicant’s BMAT score as a deciding factor in whether or not to offer that applicant an interview. (Each year, Oxford receives approximately 1,500 Medicine applications with 425 students invited to interview and approximately 170 students receiving offers.) Alternatively, Cambridge University interviews close to 90% of all medicine applicants, and the university views a student’s BMAT score in line with their high school exam marks. In this case the importance of a student’s BMAT generally comes later in the application process with scores used alongside the interview score, GCSE results, personal statement and references.

In the case of the UCAT, the scoring system is one based on scaling. Scores for the first four sections are based on the number of correctly answered questions, but given each section has a different number of questions and thus a different number of marks, the scores are standardised and converted to a scale which ranges from 300-900 - or 1200-3600 as a total. The final section on Situational Judgement is scored differently because the answers can be close to correct, but not exactly correct. In this case the score is provided in one of four bands - the closer an applicants answer is to being correct, the higher their score will be (with Band 1 being the highest of 4 Bands.)

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When Will I Get My Results?

Once again, the two exams differ - this time in their timetable on results reporting. UCAT results are made available to candidates immediately after completing the examination, however BMAT results are released after approximately three weeks. As such, UCAT scores as well as scores for August BMAT takers will be received prior to students submitting their UCAS applications, while applicants taking the BMAT in October will not receive their BMAT scores until after making their university selections.

What Is A Good BMAT and UCAT score?

In regards to the BMAT, Oxford University reports that last year, the mean adjusted BMAT score for those shortlisted for an interview was 62% - the score obviously being taken into account alongside a student’s high school test results.

When it comes to UK students, Oxford establishes a numerical ranking on the basis of GCSE performance and BMAT results (both quantitative and objective measures and equally weighted).

In the case of international students or those who have not taken their GCSEs or IGCSEs, the ranking is based on the BMAT score along with the individual school results.

Given the BMAT is the only element of an application that is common to all applicants for Medicine, and seeing as it offers a snapshot of ability and aptitude, it is an important selection tool when assessing a large number of extremely well qualified applicants.

In regards to the UCAT, the definition of a ‘good’ score varies slightly from year to year but generally speaking, it is usually above 650. Most students tend to score between 620 – 630 so a high score is considered to be above 700.

To put this into perspective, scores between 650-750 are considered above average, so a few more doors will be open for you if you score within this range. However, bear in mind that while more medical schools will be an option for you with a score above average, a lot of the applicants who will be applying to those schools might have scores above 750 as well.

If you score above 750 on the UCAT, you have truly achieved an excellent score! In terms of school application selection, there are a lot of opportunities you can investigate. But please note, even in this range, you still need to be strategic in your choices. While a score in this range definitely opens a lot of doors, you can imagine that you will stand a better chance applying to schools that place a greater weight on the UCAT than they do on the rest of the application components. Especially if other parts of your application are not as strong, and perhaps you didn’t do as well in your A levels.

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How Does Crimson Help Lift Their Students Above the Competition?

Given the high complexity factor, the time restraints and the rigour of the competition, it can be incredibly difficult and daunting to prepare for the UCAT and/or the BMAT through books and practice tests alone.

At Crimson, our network of experienced mentors and tutors are drawn from a highly sought-after pool of Oxford and Cambridge students and graduates who have taken and been successful in acing the entrance exams themselves. As such, Crimson students are now being accepted to Oxbridge at a rate that is 50% higher than the population average.

Having regular weekly 1:1 meetings with a highly qualified tutor leading up to the all-important test dates enables Crimson students to build confidence and familiarity with the exam content, with strengths identified and weaknesses addressed.

More importantly, a Crimson student’s team supports them through every stage of the application process - making sure their school results, entrance exam performance, extracurricular profiles, interview skills and personal essay construction combine to lift them above the competition.

Crimson is incredibly proud of the ground-breaking admissions results achieved by their hard-working students and dedicated to assisting the doctors of the future reach their professional dreams.

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