Many students find BMAT Section 1 the hardest of all the BMAT sections. It consists of 35 multiple-choice questions. These have to be answered in one hour. The test is done with pen and paper, on an answer sheet that is read using a computer.
BMAT Section 1 is designed to test aptitude skills. It focuses on three main areas: Problem Solving, Understanding Argument, and Data Analysis and Inference.
The verbal questions are designed to assess your understanding of arguments. They ask you to identify conclusions, assumptions, and flaws in arguments presented in short passages of text, as well as identify which options might strengthen or weaken the argument. Understanding Argument consists of 10 marks in total. The marks are broken down as followed:
There are no pure mathematical questions in section 1, but instead, the questions are designed to test problem-solving abilities using basic mathematical skills. You are not allowed a calculator so the questions rely on you using mental arithmetic, pen and paper and problem-solving to get around the need for complex calculations! Problem Solving consists of 13 questions in total. Candidates will be required to solve problems using simple numerical and algebraic operations. Candidates will need to:
– Select relevant information (3-7 marks)
– Recognise analogous cases (3-7 marks)
– Determine and apply appropriate procedures (3-7 marks)
BMAT Section 1: Data Analysis and Inference
These tend to focus on 3-dimensional representation, such as deciding what 3-dimensional structures could be made from 2-dimensional plans and how to navigate objects through 3-dimensional puzzles. Data Analysis and Inference consist of 12 questions in total. Candidates will need to demonstrate use of information skills (vocabulary, comprehension, basic descriptive statistics and graphical tools), data interpretation, analysis, and scientific inference and deduction to reach conclusion from information in different forms. These forms include:
BMAT Preparation: How can I prepare for Section 1?
Watch Daniel’s top tips for BMAT Section 1 below!
Practice your mental maths
It may be time to pull your GCSE Maths textbook from under your bed. This is a crucial part of your BMAT preparation. A lot of questions in Section 1 involve testing your problem solving abilities involving fractions, algebraic formula and graphs – and it’s worth remembering that you’re not allowed a calculator. You’ll save a lot of time if you practice your mental maths beforehand using pen and paper!
Part of BMAT Section 1’s purpose is to test your ability to find the information you need and discard anything irrelevant. Practice reading around the question (a good way to do this is familiarising yourself with past paper questions) to find the data you need to answer. Time is precious – so the more you practice, the quicker and more adept you’ll be at avoiding the traps!
Read newspaper articles
The verbal questions are designed to test your critical thinking – so good BMAT Section 1 preparation is to become familiar with practicing this. Section 1 will test your analytical thinking, which involves identifying assumptions and conclusions in short text passages of 4-5 lines. It will test your evaluation skills – recognising weakness and strengths in an argument – and inference abilities – drawing reliable (or unreliable!) conclusions from texts.
It’s good practice to start reading scientific articles in newspapers and online with a critical eye. What is the argument of the piece? Is it flawed? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the argument? It’s good to become familiar with identifying and analysing arguments in the media for your Section 1 BMAT preparation – keep your eyes peeled for unreliable information, ambiguities and discrepancies in data!
Answer past papers
Another vital part of your BMAT Section 1 preparation is completing past papers. These will be particularly useful for questions on three-dimensional representation and puzzles. Use the bank on the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing page to become familiar with the types of questions likely to come up in Section 1. After completing the test, sit down with the mark scheme and spend some time flagging areas you found the most difficult – and practice those. You can also read our detailed guide on how to use BMAT past papers.
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