Should I take the BMAT September or BMAT November?

Note: for the September BMAT 2021 has been cancelled and all candidates will sit the exam in November for the 2022-entry application cycle

If you’re planning on taking the BMAT, you have the option of sitting the exam in either September or November. This often raises questions for students as to when to sit the exam. You are only allowed to sit the exam once per application cycle so it’s important to pick the right sitting that works best for you.

Score from either sitting are considered equal by universities, so you aren’t disadvantaged by picking one over the other. The only exception this this rule is if you are applying to Oxford in which case you need to sit the exam in November.

So, how do you decide? In this article we’ll consider some of the key questions to ask yourself when making the decision about if to sit the BMAT September or BMAT November sitting.

How much time do you have over summer?

Application timeline for medicine

Most students have the summer holidays between Year 12 and Year 13 free to study for the BMAT, in which case the September sitting may be better. Don’t forget any holidays, festivals or family events planned will eat into your revision and preparation time, so if you have a busy summer you might be better off waiting until the later sitting so you can space your preparation out over a longer period of time.

Are you sitting the UCAT? 

The UCAT is another admissions test used for admission to medical schools in the UK. You can sit the UCAT anytime between July and September in the summer before you submit your application. If you’ve booked your UCAT test date for September, then it may be better to do the BMAT in November. Ideally you don’t want the two exams too close together so that you’re properly able to prepare for each exam individually. If your UCAT test date is earlier, maybe in early August, the September BMAT might work better for you.

UCAT
The UCAT Exam

What was your UCAT score?

A great thing about the UCAT is that you find out your score almost immediately. This helps you to make tactical applications by picking to apply to the universities that are most likely to accept your score. Knowing your UCAT score can also help you make decisions about the BMAT too.

If you did well in the UCAT, you may be more comfortable to do the BMAT in November. If you choose the BMAT November you will not know your BMAT score when you submit your application. However, high UCAT scorers might be more prepared to take this risk as they’re more likely to get interviews at their UCAT universities anyway.

If you did just okay in the UCAT, you might want to know your BMAT score before you apply. This means you can judge if your BMAT or UCAT is stronger to help you decide if to apply to mainly BMAT or UCAT universities. Successful applications are still possible with average scores, however you will need to apply more tactically and knowing your BMAT score in advance of submitting your application will help with this.

If you did poorly in the UCAT, it might be better for you to apply for BMAT universities. In this case it might be best to sit the exam in November so you can spend longer revising and really ace the exam!

Do you want to know your BMAT score before applying?

Some students prefer to know their score before applying to apply more strategically. If you’ve performed particularly well or even not as well as you had hoped, this can be a big factor in deciding where to apply. If this is the case for you, then the September sitting will be best.

If you sit the BMAT November, you will not know your score before submitting your application. However, if you already know where you want to apply it might be the better option as you’ll have longer to prepare.

Are you applying to Oxford? If so, pick BMAT November

As previously mentioned, if you are applying to Oxford A100 then you will need to sit the BMAT in the November sitting. If you’re applying for Oxford A101 (Graduate-entry) you must sit the BMAT, but either sitting is accepted.

What is the availability like at your nearest test centre?

Not all test centres have equal availability for both sittings. Some test centres may actually offer only one! If you live somewhere with only one test centre, make sure to research their availability early so you don’t end up disappointed.

Other factors to consider

  • If your school timetable is busy or you have lots of academic commitments in term 1, you may want to get all the admissions exams done early and focus on school from September onwards
  • If you are confident in the BMAT, you may want to get it done early in September without the extra preparation time

BMAT September vs BMAT November

Here’s an overview of the pros of both the BMAT September and BMAT November sittings. Remember that this decision is personal to you and there’s no right answer as to when to sit the exam. Either sitting gives you a chance to score well enough for that all important medical school offer.

Pros of September BMATPros of November BMAT
Find out your score before UCAS deadline, allowing you to apply more tactically, knowing both your UCAT, BMAT scores and predicted gradesMore time to revise for the BMAT
School work is less affected in Term 1More time to revise for UCAT, if you choose to sit it
More time to prepare in advance for potential interviews in Term 1Required for Oxford A100
More time off to relax in the summer!
Can spend longer on your personal statement and UCAS application for which the deadline is in October
Overview of pros of both BMAT September and BMAT November sittings

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