Follow these 8 Steps To Improve Your Score
The BMAT is a tricky test, and so preparation is key. The following steps provide some essential guidance on how to give yourself the best chance of performing well in the test.
1. Practise Fractions
Lots of ‘Top Tips’ lists will advise you to practise your mental maths. More specifically, we our research shows that whilst covering all manner of simple mental equations is important, it is beneficial to focus on revising your fractions when practising for the BMAT, especially in the problem solving questions. Being able to use fractions quickly in your head will help you, especially when it comes to the Maths and Physics questions in Section 2.
2. Answer Tactically
If you are unsure of a question, simply leave it and return later. Do not spend large amounts of time dwelling on one question. Also always attempt every question, the exam is not negatively marked so your educated guess may be correct!
3. Don’t Forget Physics!
Revise Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. As a lot of medical applicants will have dropped, or at least be less familiar with one particular subject. As a result, it is crucial to prioritise that subject. The subject that is widely dropped is Physics, and therefore usually this is the one to be focused on. Remember, you WILL be asked on all of these subjects in Section 2, and calculators are not allowed.
4. Essay Plan For Optimum Efficiency
Try to approach Section 3 in an analytical way. Essay plans are a great way to coordinate your thoughts. Plan out a rough guide of how many sentences you will need to flesh out your argument fully. Think about how many you will need to set out your argument, how many sentences will be needed for addressing the opposite side of the argument, and how many will be needed to conclude your argument in a closing statement.
5. Be A Polymath
Try and pick out quotes and statements from lots of different spheres; not just the medical world. Section 3 can be about debating medical issues, but it also can be ethical statements, philosophical dilemmas and other such more vague topics. Try and pick out some famous, potentially controversial topics, and then make sure that you can talk about them, using a clear structure, and staying on topic, however ambiguous that topic may be.
6. Look Out For Clues In The Question Phrasing
If a question is abstract, and talks about ideas like ‘number of apples’ or ‘amount of pens in a pack’, it is likely that it is looking for you to form an equation. In order to tackle this question well, make sure that you don’t think of the problem literally. Simplify the question into its basest form to form an equation.
7. Neat Handwriting, Tidy Mind
The assessor will not spend large amounts of time trying to read your writing so ensure that your handwriting is clear and your answer is well structured. It will also send a more subliminal message that your argument is well thought out and professional to whoever is marking the test.
8. Practice Comes In Many Forms!
Even if you are not revising for the UKCAT, it would be wise to have a look at the practice questions for this exam too. There is a lot of crossover between these two exams, and therefore it will give you a wider understanding of questions if you have a look at the UKCAT. If you are also taking the UKCAT, perhaps consider applying to a mixture of BMAT and UKCAT universities, just in case that the BMAT score is lower than you might have hoped.
Dukes Medical Applications (DMA) can provide you with free BMAT advice over the phone, or even set you up with a BMAT tutor for more comprehensive tuition. They will work with you to identify your weaknesses and help turn these into strengths, helping you to obtain a great BMAT score. The BMAT exam is one of the first steps on the pathway to becoming a successful medical applicant so it is essential you are well prepared.
What is the BMAT?
The BMAT (Biomedical Admissions Test) is a 2 hour examination required for entry to a number of Medical Schools in the United Kingdom, Singapore and Netherlands as well as a selection of Dentistry and Biomedical Science courses.
When is the BMAT?
All students take the BMAT examination on the same date. Traditionally, this is in the November prior to the year of entry (ie. If you intend to commence university in September 2017, you would sit the BMAT in November 2016). The BMAT 2016 date is 2nd November 2016, with results released on 25th November 2016.
Who has to take the BMAT?
Undergraduate Medicine Applicants to: University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, University College London, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Lancaster University, University of Leeds, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (Singapore), University of Malaya (Malaysia).
Graduate Medicine Applicants to: University of Oxford, Imperial College London.
Veterinary Medicine Applicants to: University of Cambridge.
Biomedical Science Applicants to: University of Oxford, Imperial College London.
Dentistry Applicants to: University of Leeds.
How to Prepare for the BMAT?
The first and most important step is to consider the BMAT like any other A-Level or GCSE examination, and ignore any mention of the BMAT as 'an examination that cannot be prepared for.' There is a statistically significant correlation between the amount one prepares for the BMAT, and one's BMAT score.
Section 1 (Aptitude and Skills) - 35 MCQ, 60 Minutes
Question Types: Problem Solving, Data Handling & Critical Thinking
A) Resources - Make use of the abundance of free practice resources available for Section 1. In addition to the Official BMAT Past Papers, Oxford TSA Past Papers provide additional practice for Problem Solving questions whilst OCR Critical Thinking Unit 2 is a very useful practice resource for Critical Thinking Questions.
B) Recognise Pitfalls - In contrast to most A-Level examinations, BMAT Section 1 is full of tricks and trips, intended to misguide students. Fortunately, there are only so-many tricks that the BMAT are able to use. Hence, each time you come across one of these, add it to your 'personal list', to avoid making the same mistake in future practice.
Section 2 (Scientific Knowledge and Applications) - 27 MCQ, 30 Minutes
Question Types: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics
A) Official Resource Guide - With this being the official resource guide, there really is no better resource for Section 2 preparation. Most students find it best to quickly review the whole guide and highlight any topics which they have not covered at GCSE level for further learning. Bear in mind that whilst Section 2 is supposed to be 'GCSE Level'; the examination can assess topics which you may not have covered until AS and sometimes even A2 due to variation in exam board specifications.
B) Timing - Half the challenge of Section 2 is the limited time; hence, it essential to practice this section under strict timed conditions. Fast mental maths, confident use of fractions and a good background Biology knowledge, will ensure that you have additional time for those challenging Physics and Chemistry calculations.
C) Resources - Once you have completed all official and BMAT specific resources, GCSE Bitesize is of some use, whilst you may wish to also consider practicing GCSE Maths Calculator papers, without a calculator in order to further improve your mental maths.
Section 3 (Written Task) - 1 Essay (Choice of 4), 30 Minutes
Question Types: Topical Medical Issues, Medical Ethics, Medical Philosophy, Veterinary Medicine
A) Address all parts of the question - Each question normally has three or four parts. Regardless of how good your essay is, if you do not address all parts of the question, your essay will be capped at 3/3.5 as per the Section 3 Official Marking Criteria.
B) Plan - With 30 minutes, and one A4 sheet provided, this section is the least time restricted. Essays which score highest are those which are well structured and address all parts of the question, bringing in additional topical examples and knowledge.
Free BMAT Resources
A) Official BMAT Past Papers (Style 1)
B) Official BMAT Past Papers (Style 2)
C) Past Paper Worked Solutions
D) Section 1 Practice Questions
E) Section 2 Practice Questions
F) Practice Questions
A) Preparing for the BMAT: The Official Guide to the Biomedical Admissions Test
B) Get into Medical School. 400 BMAT Practice Questions