The BMAT is a tricky exam that requires excellent academic knowledge and problem-solving skills, and may determine whether you get onto the university course of your choice. BMAT preparation is essential, and we have a wealth of top tips on the different sections of the test to help you achieve the highest score possible.
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Where to start with your BMAT preparation
It’s much easier to prepare for the BMAT if you practice little and often. We recommend starting your preparation well in advance, ideally by July and no later than early October as the test is in November. This will give you plenty of time to complete as many past papers as you wish to make you feel comfortable and confident about succeeding.
Our BMAT Programmes provide all the support you’ll need to pass the test, including guidance from our expert tutors who are high achievers and know what is required for success in the BMAT. And if you’re hoping to study medicine at Oxbridge our Oxbridge Medicine Programme includes one-to-one tuition for the test as well as interview prep, the BMAT intensive course, the BMAT online course, and past papers and fully-worked solutions.
Keep in mind that if you’re aiming to attend Oxbridge, admissions tutors look for 6’s and a 5A in your scoring. An example overall BMAT score could look like this — 6.6, 6.3, 5A.
Preparing for each BMAT section
The BMAT has three sections, each focusing on a different skill:
Section 1 – Thinking Skills
Section 1 tests your ability to solve problems and think critically with 32 multiple-choice questions that don’t require any subject knowledge. You have 60 minutes to complete them.
Start by looking at previous questions to get an idea of what topics may pop up and figure out how to approach them best.
Reading the Section 1 Question Guide and looking at past papers with explained answers will help. We always recommend doing the practice papers under timed conditions to make sure you can complete them in the time since the BMAT is a highly time-pressured test.
Section 2 – Scientific questions
This section focuses on what you’ve learned in non-specialist science and mathematics by the age of 16 (GCSE level). There are 27 multiple-choice questions and you have 30 minutes to finish them.
You need to demonstrate your understanding by applying your knowledge to scientific problems. To prepare for section 2, head back to school and revise your science and mathematics. The BMAT specification lists the topics you might be tested on and the Section 2 Question Guide can also help.
For sections 1 and 2, you will receive a score between 1.0 and 9.0, with 9 being the highest. Each question in these sections is worth one mark, and your total marks are placed on a scale to give you the score.
Section 3 – Essay based paper
This section is a little different. It tests your ability to communicate effectively in an essay format, organise ideas coherently, and present them clearly and concisely while supporting your argument with evidence. There are three questions to choose from and you have 30 minutes to write your answer on one A4 page.
Preparing for the BMAT essay question is more challenging. The best approach is to consider both sides of the argument and analyse various opinions for and against different viewpoints. Some of the skills developed in section 1, such as strengthening an argument, coming to conclusions, and finding flaws in opposing opinions will be useful.
You should practice to find out how long it takes you to write your answer to ensure you don’t run out of time in the real exam.
For this section, you’ll receive a number between 1.0 and 5.0, with 5 being the highest and a letter grade. The number is related to the quality of the argument written in your essay-answer, and the letter refers to the quality of your language. This is marked by two examiners so you’ll receive two scores which are averaged into your final score.
Tips for BMAT preparation
Gather all relevant resources before starting
Have all relevant resources you may need nearby. This includes information about the BMAT and the separate sections, as well as past papers and fully-worked out solutions.
Simulate exam conditions as much as possible
This will help ensure you complete the BMAT on your exam day to the best of your ability. Aim to finish past papers under timed conditions. Spend the correct amount of time on each section, and you’re more likely to finish it.
This means 60 minutes on section 1, and 30 minutes each for sections 2 and 3. Practicing under exam conditions also means you shouldn’t use a calculator or dictionary to aid your answer.
How to prepare in the lead up to your BMAT exam date
You’ve likely been preparing for your BMAT for a few months by this point, and the day of your exam has come around quickly. Now, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed about completing it or feel worried about the results, however, if you’ve done the prep, there’s no reason for you to be concerned.
To ensure you perform to your fullest potential:
Remember that you will need to bring your own black pen, a pencil and an eraser. You are not allowed to use a calculator, dictionary or correction fluid in the exam. Rough paper is also not allowed, but you can write on the question papers to mark key information, write notes, and draw diagrams if necessary.
Good luck in your BMAT!
Looking to score highly on the BMAT?
The BMAT is a vital component of your medicine application so scoring highly can mean the difference between receiving your dream offer or rejection.
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