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Outline of the shortlisting & offer-making process for the A100 Medicine undergraduate course at the University of Oxford as well as relevant statistics from the most recent admissions cycle.


Please note that the Medical School is only able to provide basic feedback to candidates who were not shortlisted for interview. For interviewed candidates, any such requests should be directed to the Tutor for Admissions of the college to which you applied or to which you were subsequently assigned, whether as a result of making an open application or through reallocation. To find out more, read the University’s policy concerning feedback on admissions decisions.

Neither the Medical School nor the colleges are legally allowed to discuss individual applicants with third parties, including parents, without the applicant’s express written permission via the email address listed on their UCAS form. This is to protect both our staff and individual applicants.

general Statistics from the 2021 admissions round (for 2022 entry)

In 2021 we received 1,864 UCAS applications (2,054 in 2020). Of these applicants:

  • 1,786 successfully registered for and sat the BMAT (1,972 in 2020).
  • 186 did not meet our requirements for entry (most often because they were too young, did not explain why they were applying on the basis of re-sits, were only sitting one or two A-level exams after receiving teacher-assessed grades this summer rather than three, or did not possess suitable academic credentials). (164 in 2020)
  • 16 withdrew from the application process before shortlisting.

The data below, unless otherwise stated, refer to the subset of 1,669 applicants (89.5%) who were eligible to apply and had registered for the BMAT (with most of these receiving a score, despite the difficulties experienced with the delivery of the test by CAAT this year) and had not withdrawn their application by the time of shortlisting. 31 eligible applicants applied for deferred entry (44 in 2020). Of these, 5 were shortlisted and interviewed, and 3 received an offer of a place for 2023 (compared to none last year who were offered deferred places for 2022).

  • 61.8% of eligible applicants were female (62% in 2020).
  • 75.3% of eligible applicants offered A-levels.
  • 28% of eligible applicants resided outside the UK; of these, 8% resided inside the EU and 20% outside the EU.
  • 8 graduates submitted eligible applications (3 of these were international applicants).

Overall, approximately 25.7% of applicants who made complete applications were shortlisted (23% in 2020).

how SHORTLISTING works & relevant 2021 statistics

We consider all aspects of your application during the shortlisting process. If you have GCSE qualifications, we will take into account the circumstances under which your grades were awarded. As the BMAT score is the only measure we have for all our applicants, this plays a central role in the shortlisting process.

The first stage of our shortlisting process has in previous years used a combination of contextualised GCSE performance (for those candidates with GCSE grades) and BMAT score, whereas this year we used a contextualised measure of BMAT performance. Contextual data (read more about the University's use of contextual data) were used to assess whether an applicant’s BMAT score likely reflected an under- or over-performance within the context of the candidate’s socio-economic and school environment.

This decision was taken (following advice from the University Admissions and Outreach team) in the best interests of widening participation given the absence of a metric which would allow us to compare GCSE performance between schools fairly. Our modelling of shortlisting on the basis of contextualised BMAT had suggested the constitution of our shortlist would not be altered to any systematic disadvantage of already disadvantaged groups compared to ordinary years, and this proved to be the case. BMAT is the only element of an application that is common to all applicants for Medicine and giving as it does a snapshot of ability and aptitude, it is an important selection tool when assessing a large number of extremely well qualified applicants.

We do not ascribe equal weighting to all sections of BMAT. In 2021, weightings were: section 1=40%, section 2=40%, and section 3=20%. 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 (with A=5, B=4, C=3, D=2, E=1, and X=0).

A small number of candidates were unable to take the BMAT for COVID-related reasons. A further small number failed to receive results despite completing the test. Some of these received results late, after shortlisting had been completed; two of these had scores that awarded them a place on the shortlist. An even smaller subset of candidates had partial scores as a result of failing to complete the test for technical reasons. Finally, a much larger number of candidates experienced some level of technical trouble during the delivery of the test, but were able to complete it and received complete scores. Where we had received such information pertaining to BMAT via the CAAT special considerations process, it was noted at the appropriate stage of shortlisting.

After first-stage shortlisting was completed, all non-shortlisted applicants were reviewed by tutors to identify any candidates whose applications gave them cause to believe that the algorithmic process had underestimated their academic potential; at this stage, special considerations information received from CAAT was available to tutors alongside candidates’ GCSE record and all other information on the UCAS form. The nominations made were taken to a cross-college panel to be discussed further. As a result of this process, 80 additional applicants were added to the shortlist.

It subsequently transpired that two candidates with suitable BMAT scores for shortlisting would be eligible for home fees on the basis of pre-settled status and that one candidate with a suitable BMAT score for shortlisting did possess suitable qualifications to apply, despite appearances, so they were added to the shortlist. Together with the 2 candidates added as a result of high but late BMAT scores, this brought the shortlist to a total of 430 candidates instead of the usual 425.

  • For those shortlisted the mean adjusted BMAT score was 65.8% (68% in 2020).
  • 1 graduate was shortlisted.
  • 35 international fee-status applicants were shortlisted.

how interviews and offers work & relevant 2021 statistics

Each applicant was interviewed by two colleges: the college of preference, or allocation if an open application was made, and one other randomly assigned by computer so as to equalise as far as possible the strength of the applicant field at each college (as measured by the numerical ranking produced by the shortlisting algorithm). The number of applicants called for interview is usually fixed at around 425, in other words about 2.5 applicants per place available.

Interviewers assessed each candidate against our explicit list of selection criteria. To find out more, read our selection criteria. The composition of interview panels was arranged such that every candidate was interviewed by at least one practising clinician. To get a sense of what interviews are like, watch our demonstration interview with one of our current students and two college tutors, recorded for the 2020 Virtual Open Days, on YouTube.

Following interviews, colleges ranked all the candidates they had seen, on the basis of all information available to them at that time. After disclosure of the candidate rank from the second college, BMAT score and BMAT essays, colleges reviewed their ranking and submitted a final version. On the basis of this final ranking, candidates were provisionally assigned offers at a particular college, with the college the applicant had chosen (or had been allocated to) having first refusal. Admissions decisions were confirmed by correspondence between colleges and the Medical Sciences Office.

Please note that colleges interviewed blind of college of choice (or allocation) and BMAT score.

Colleges made 148 quota offers, 3 deferred offers and 10 open offers (which means the applicant is guaranteed a place at Oxford to study Medicine, but will not be assigned to a college until after A-level results are known).

  • The overall success rate for male applicants was 11% (9.2% in 2020); the overall success rate for female applicants was 8.5% (8% in 2020).
  • For those with an offer of a place, the mean adjusted BMAT score was 68.3%.
  • 1 graduate applicant received an offer of a place (graduates compete with school-leavers for places; there is no separate quota).
  • 8 international fee-status applicants received an offer for 2022.
  • 41% of offers were made by colleges other than the college of preference (or allocation). This compares with 36.3% in 2020. 22.3% of eligible applicants submitted an open application, meaning they did not specify a college of preference on their application and were allocated one.

relevant 2021 statistics for bmat

In 2021, as in 2020, male applicants did slightly better on BMAT than female applicants (mean 55.7% vs 51.4%).

The following chart shows adjusted BMAT scores for the 2021 cohort.

Distribution of adjusted total BMAT scores (out of 100 in groups of 5) for 2021

Read the text equivalent to this chart.

The mean BMAT score was 53%, which rose to 65.8% for those shortlisted and 68.3% for applicants receiving offers.

[The BMAT scores shown above are the sum of Section 1, 2 and 3 scores calculated in the following way to give the weightings: Section 1=40%, Section 2=40%, and Section 3=20%:

Section 1 & 2: These are originally reported on a scale of 1-9. One mark is removed from this score (to give a scale of 0 to 8), and the resulting figure multiplied by 5 (to give a score out of 40).

Section 3: The ‘Quality of content’ score is multiplied by 2 and added to the ‘Quality of English’ score (with A=5, B=4, C=3, D=2, E=1, and X=0). This gives a score out of 15, which is converted to a score out of 20 by multiplying by 4/3.]

What you see below are the GCSE grade distributions for the 2020 applicant cohort. These are intended to offer a rough guide to prospective applicants to help them to assess whether they are in a position to make a competitive application.

Bar chart showing application outcomes by nA* at GCSE. Please see link below the third chart for a text description.


Bar chart showing application outcomes by pA* at GCSE. Please see link below the third chart for a text description.

Read the text equivalent to these charts.

For the 2020 applicant cohort, the mean number of A* at GCSE for all applicants was 8.2; this rose to 10.2 for those shortlisted and 10.2 also for applicants receiving offers.

For the 2020 applicant cohort, the mean proportion of A* at GCSE was 0.80; this rose to 0.96 for those shortlisted and was 0.96 also for applicants receiving offers.

For the 2020 applicant cohort, the mean number of total GCSE qualifications offered (not including short courses or other GCSE-equivalent qualifications) was 10.1.

relevant 2021 statistics for A-levels and equivalent qualifications

All A-level applicants must take Chemistry. The table below summarises the distribution of other subject choices amongst applicants this year taking A-levels.


% of applicants

% of applicants shortlisted

% of applicants placed













Further Mathematics




With regard to 'Other subjects', the most popular subjects were Psychology (7.6%), English Literature (4%), History (4%), followed by French (3%), Spanish (3%), Economics (3%) and Geography (2%). 

19% of applicants taking A-levels were studying Chemistry plus just one more science or maths subject. This compares with 12% of shortlisted applicants and 10.5% of those offered places.

18% of applicants taking A-levels were studying Chemistry, Biology, Physics AND Mathematics (compared to 26% of shortlisted applicants and 24.8% of applicants offered places).

N.B. Despite the fact that most applicants offering A-levels tend to take Biology (or Human Biology), this subject is NOT required at A2 level (or indeed at AS-level). However, do be aware that not having A-level Biology is associated with a greater risk of having difficulty at the early stages of the course (and other medical courses).

60.5% of applicants taking A-levels were doing/had done 3 A-levels, 34% were doing 4 A-levels and approx. 2.2% were doing 5 or more A-levels (though not necessarily all being completed in one academic year).

15.5% of applicants offered alternative qualifications, the most popular of which was the IB (12%), with US qualifications (SAT subject tests/AP tests), Canadian qualifications, the Singaporean SIPCAL, and Scottish Advanced Highers representing the next most popular options. 11.6% of applicants who were shortlisted and 11.8% of applicants with an offer studied for qualifications other than A-levels (including the IB).

relevant 2021 statistics for SCHOOL TYPE

78.8% of applicants attending school in the UK were from state schools (including sixth form and further education colleges), while 21.2% were from independent schools.

The overall success rate in 2021 was 12.1% for state school applicants and 13.5% for independent school applicants.

relevant 2021 statistics for International applicants

398 applicants identified as international for fee-paying purposes submitted complete applications for 2022 entry. Following shortlisting, which is conducted in line with the quota imposed on the Medical School by the UK Government for the available international places, 35 of these applicants were shortlisted and 8 applicants received an offer for 2022.

[Prospective candidates are reminded that the Medical School is required by the Higher Education Funding Council to limit the number of international (meaning non-UK/ROI in the most recent admissions round) medical students admitted to a maximum of 7.5% across both the standard (A100) and Graduate Entry (A101) courses - see our advice for international applicants]