A lot of people have questions about the BMAT, in particular the science section, regarding what you need to know and study.
One of the 3 sections of the BMAT is a half-an-hour GCSE science question section, with some of the questions being Physics questions.
Data from the BMAT providers (above) show that, for those who took A-level Physics versus those that did not is, on average, 0.6 points higher in section 2 (i.e. the science section).
At first, this may seem dramatic, however a similar pattern is seen across all of the sciences and maths, so this is unsurprising. A-level choice has a much smaller choice on the other sections, so this blog is focusing on the second (i.e. knowledge based) section.
Whilst at first, the data suggests that taking Physics at A-level would be beneficial, there are two major arguments as to why this shouldn’t be a significant factor when you are choosing A-levels.
Firstly, the science questions take knowledge from GCSE level content, although remember, there’s no guarantee that you will have studied it all in your specific course so always check! Studying Physics at A-level would quite possibly be useful for the BMAT, but it’s by no means necessary. Writing as someone who didn’t (and realistically, couldn’t and wouldn’t) study A-level physics and scored well in the BMAT, this is definitely the case.
You definitely shouldn’t choose to study Physics just for some potential benefit if Physics isn’t for you; it’s a very challenging subject and could end up causing you two years of stress and possibly risking your grades in your other subjects if you do. Also, the majority of people won’t have studied each of Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology (and English, if you include the essay question), so you’re likely to have to answer questions on an area not in your A level remit.
Besides, the kind of questions you need involve utilising formulae, so as long as you learn these and are competent at using equations then you have nothing to worry about. It’s more important to make sure you have a conceptual understanding of physical phenomena, such as electricity, than it is to know lots of A-level Physics. Again, not studying a hard A-level and using some spare time to solidify your GCSE level knowledge will be far more beneficial than struggling through a tough course. That being said, if Physics is what you enjoy and are good at doing, by all means take the Physics course if you think you can excel in it; this advice will then apply for any other sections of the BMAT you aren’t studying to the higher level.
In addition to the above argument, it just be remembered that the aforementioned BMAT results data is very primitive, and gives no complex insights as to the impact of A-levels of performance.
The correlation between a better BMAT result and taking Physics (or any of the other A-level science and maths options) in no way means that any particular A-level will improve your BMAT score; it is simply noticed correlation. Working hard and in a disciplined way will more than counteract any small impact that A-level choice may have on BMAT score, so don’t change A-level decisions in any significant way based on potential BMAT score benefits.