Section 2: The Time Trial
27 questions | 30 minutes
Section 2 is undoubtedly the most time-pressured section of the BMAT.
This section tests GCSE biology, chemistry, physics and maths. However, it’s also the section in which you can improve the most quickly in so it’s well worth spending time on.
You have to answer 27 questions in 30 minutes which works out to just over 60 seconds per question. Some questions can be quite difficult and it’s easy to get bogged down, however you’ll find the vast majority of questions in Section 2 aren’t that hard.
It’s more about the intense time pressure of having to do one question every minute makes this section the hardest in the BMAT. As with Section 1, the trick is to identify and do the easy questions whilst leaving the hard ones for the end.
This is the general trend for how long you can expect questions to take and how hard they will be:
Get a feel for the timing
Try this question. The countdown is 60 seconds! Click here for the answer at the bottom of the post.
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What do you need to know?
We’ve got a really handy blog post which goes through 95% of the topics you will be required to know for the BMAT. The thing to note is that although the test states it will only test up to GCSE knowledge, AS level does tend to creep in there. You may also have gaps in knowledge due to the exam board your school used, so brushing up on the basics is very important!THE BMAT SPECIFICATION BLOG POST
Thankfully, the biology questions tend to be fairly straightforward and require the least amount of time. You should be able to do the majority of these within the 60 second limit (often far less). This means that you should be aiming to make up time in these questions.
If you find yourself getting less than 50% of your Biology questions right, make sure you revise the syllabus for it! This is the best way to maximise your efficiency and gain the most easy marks!
Most students don’t struggle with BMAT chemistry as they’ll be studying it at A2. However, there are certain questions that even good students tend to struggle with under time pressure e.g. balancing equations and mass calculations. It is essential that you’re able to do these quickly as they take up by far the most time in the chemistry questions.
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If you haven’t done physics at AS then you’ll have to ensure that you are confident with commonly examined topics like Newtonian mechanics, electrical circuits and radioactive decay as you may not have covered these at GCSE depending on the specification you did.
The first step to improving in this section is to memorise all the equations listed here. The majority of the physics questions involve a fair bit of maths – this means you need to be comfortable with converting between units and also powers of 10.
We know Physics tends to be the hardest part of the BMAT for most medical students because they don’t take it at A-level, so here’s a list of formulas you should get to know!
As shown in the diagram at the beginning, Maths questions are designed to be time-draining. If you find yourself constantly struggling for time on Maths and Physics questions, then it can be worth considering flagging them for review and returning to them at the end. As with the other sections, there are a set of formula you definitely should know;
Don’t let Section 2 drain you of marks and time!
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