Section 2 is undoubtedly the most time-pressured section of the BMAT.
This section tests Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths and it’s also the section in which you can improve the most quickly in, so it’s well worth spending time on. Read on for an overview of the section and the types of questions that can come up.
BMAT Section 2 Overview
Section 2: The Time Trial
27 questions | 30 minutes
The consensus that Section 2 is only GCSE level is mostly a lie. The questions go far beyond the curriculum of any GCSE syllabus because the syllabus covers many exam boards. The questions cover Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics to around A-level.
Most medical students take Biology and Chemistry at A-level, so odds are you’re unlikely to see anything new during the exam (except maybe revise your Ecology), but you’ll need to make sure your Physics knowledge is up to scratch. Electricity and Forces often come up, as do A-level topics like Potential Dividers.
Don’t let the claim of GCSE level fool you, it’s a comprehensive test of sciences. Revise using the GCSE syllabus of different exam boards. This way you’re covered for something that might not have been on your course.
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 that 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. Start a 60-second timer and see how you get on with the timing.
Familiarising yourself with the questions will show you what kinds of thought processes examiners are looking for. This can be a really tough section to prepare for. To ensure you’re ready with this tricky section, we recommend the UniAdmissions BMAT Programme. You’ll get over 95 hours of study and one-to-one sessions with BMAT experts.
What do you need to know?
Most students don’t struggle with BMAT chemistry as they’ll be studying it at A-level. 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.
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 easiest marks!
If you haven’t done physics at A-level, 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 formulas you definitely should know:
Don’t let Section 2 drain you of marks and time! It’s the section where you can improve quickly, especially with our support.
At UniAdmissions, we are experts at boosting your BMAT score and maximising your chances of gaining a place to study Medicine through our one-to-one sessions, mock papers and intensive courses. Get familiar with the styles of questions you will face and how to answer them effectively.
Click the button below to see the support we have for you in our BMAT Programme and triple your chances of success.