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Statistics from the 2017 admissions round (applications 2017 for 2018 entry) for the BC98 Biomedical Sciences course at the University of Oxford

In 2017 we received 437 UCAS applications. Of these applicants 409 successfully registered for and sat the BMAT. The application of any applicant who did not register for or did not sit the test was deemed incomplete, and the applicant was notified at that stage that their application was no longer under consideration.

  • Approximately 20% of applicants submitted an open application.
  • 4 applicants applied for deferred entry.
  • 76% of applicants were female.
  • 60% of applicants offered A-levels, and 18% offered the IB.
  • 113 applicants were shortlisted for interview.

Each applicant was interviewed at two colleges: the college of preference, or allocation if an open application was made, and one other assigned by computer.


Approximately 3 applicants were invited for interview for each available place.

Short-listing was based heavily on available GCSE and BMAT data (both quantitative and objective measures). If applicants had not taken GCSEs or IGCSEs more weight was given to the BMAT score.

In addition to GCSE and BMAT data, all applications were reviewed by tutors before final short-listing decisions were taken. Any applicants whose individual circumstances - both academic and non-academic - suggest that their GCSE and/or BMAT performance was likely to have underestimated their potential were considered by a cross-college panel.

We do not ascribe equal weighting to all sections of BMAT. In 2017, weightings were: section 1=40%, section 2=40%, and section 3=20%. In calculating the section 3 score, double weight is ascribed to the ‘Quality of Content’ score and single weight given to the ‘Quality of English’ score (with A=5, B=4, C=3, D=2, E=1, and X=0).

For the last few years we have also collected GCSE performance data for schools in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which helps tutors to assess whether an applicant's grades at GCSE may reflect an under- or over-performance within the context of the school at which they were taken. Therefore, it is possible that the chance of being short-listed can be increased/reduced if an applicant has a higher/lower fraction of A* grades than would be predicted for the average student from their GCSE school.

BMAT is the only element of an application that is common to all applicants for Biomedical Sciences and giving as it does a snapshot of ability and aptitude, is an important selection tool when assessing extremely well qualified applicants.


The following graphs, showing the distribution of the percentage of GCSEs at A* and adjusted BMAT scores for the 2017 cohort, offer a rough guide to prospective applicants for the next round.BMS PA 2017.jpg

BMS bmat 2017.jpg 

The mean BMAT score was 51%, which increased following short-listing to 59%.
The mean percentage of A* at GCSE was 71%; this rose for those short-listed to 90%.
The mean number of total GCSE qualifications offered (not including short courses and other GCSE-equivalent qualifications) was approximately 10.5.


All A-level applicants must take two subjects from Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. The table below summarises the distribution of subject choices amongst applicants taking A-levels.

Subject % of applicants % of applicants
% of applicants
Biology 97 96 97
Chemistry 89 90 91
Mathematics 78 90 88
Further Mathematics 9 15 15
Physics 17 14 12

79% of successful applicants who offered A-levels were studying Biology AND Chemistry AND Mathematics.


Colleges interviewed blind of college choice (or allocation) and BMAT score.

Offers were made to 10% of male applicants and 11% of female applicants (53% of shortlisted male applicants and 36% of shortlisted female applicants).

For those with an offer of a place, the mean adjusted BMAT score was 61%. For those with an offer of a place who had taken GCSEs, the mean percentage of A* at GCSE was 89%.

39% of offers were made by colleges other than the college of preference (or allocation).

Colleges made 38 quota offers for 2017 entry and 6 open offers (which means the applicant is guaranteed a place at Oxford to study Biomedical Sciences, but will not be assigned to a college until after A-level results - or equivalent - are known).


There were 135 international applicants for fee-paying purposes who registered and sat BMAT. 31 were shortlisted for interview and 7 received an offer.