Section 1 of the BMAT puts you through 32 questions in just 60 minutes. It’s designed to test aptitude skills with a focus on three main areas: problem-solving, understanding argument, and data analysis and inference.

Section 1 Explained

Section 1 of the BMAT uses multiple-choice questions to assess your problem solving and critical thinking skills. You’ll be given either a passage of text or piece of information in the form of a diagram, data set or graph and then asked a question and you have to pick from five potential answers.

You’ll have an hour to answer 32 questions in Section 1 of the BMAT. You won’t be penalised for getting a question wrong, so you should attempt to answer every question.

This section is divided into 16 problem-solving questions and 16 critical thinking questions. The types are mixed together in the test, with questions presented in order of difficulty.


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Key Skill: Problem Solving

There are no pure mathematical questions in Section 1. Instead, these BMAT 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!

You will be required to solve problems using simple numerical and algebraic operations.

Problem solving questions might cover:

  • Speed, distance and time calculations
  • Logical reasoning
  • Spatial reasoning
  • Deductive reasoning
  • Partial table questions
  • and more…

Key Skill: Critical Thinking

The verbal questions are designed to assess your critical thinking, and ability to understand arguments. The BMAT test will 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.

This got updated in 2020, when all questions became ‘single answer’ format. The structure of critical thinking questions is:

  1. 100 – 150 word argument
  2. Question
  3. Five answer options to choose from

Previously there used to be combination answer options, which mean you’d see the argument and the question, then you’d get three different statements and you could choose from five to seven answers.

With critical thinking you’ll need to identify things like:

  • Conclusions
  • Assumptions
  • Argument flaws
  • Strengthening points
  • Weakening points
  • Reasoning or structural errors

Section 1 Tips

  • Prepare your mental maths. Practice on past GCSE maths papers and try to build your speed with calculations.
  • Read widely to boost your comprehension. Practice until you can quickly identify unreliable or ambiguous information in data.
  • Treat Section 1 like the UCAT Verbal Reasoning section. Read the question, look out for trick words, don’t make assumptions.
  • Practice Past Papers. Use our BMAT Question Bank and read our detailed guide on how to use BMAT past papers.
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