Is the ‘Scientific Knowledge and Applications’ section of BMAT making you nervous? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our five tips to prepare for Section 2!
Section 2 of the BMAT tests scientific and mathematical knowledge, with 27 multiple-choice questions in 30 minutes. These will be divided almost equally into questions covering Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths at approximately GCSE level.
1. It’s GCSE level science
Didn’t take one or more of those subjects at A-Level? Completed a degree in an unrelated subject? No problems at all as the content the BMAT tests is GCSE level and you would have covered it before. If you’re feeling a little rusty, you can refresh the topics using any GCSE level revision guide for the specific subject. These can be found at most bookstores or your school’s subject department. I found video tutorials with diagrams a great way of understanding the human biology and physics components of Section 2.
2. Use the BMAT specification
The BMAT official site holds a specification document which lists all the science and maths topics that you are expected to know and that may be tested. Not everything from the list will come up, but everything that will come up is from that list, making it an invaluable resource! You can use it as a checklist to make sure you’ve covered all topics, and especially to identify topics you need more work on.
3. Past Papers
The official BMAT website has a huge bank of past papers to practice with. Doing these is probably the best kind of revision you can get as it gives you a true taste of the real deal. I would recommend doing as many as you can under timed conditions, as time pressure is the most challenging part of the BMAT. The BMAT site also has a Section 2 virtual guide and a webinar that you can use for further information on content.
4. Read the question and read all the options
This may sound like a cliché thing people say during exams but I cannot stress how important this is in Section 2 of the BMAT. It’s very tempting to pick the first correct-looking answer you see and move on, but multiple choice in science can catch you out with words like most/least, so make sure you’ve clearly read the question and all options given.
Questions in the BMAT section 2 are randomly organised and not in subject order. This may feel weird at first, but with some practice you’ll find answering a biology question after a maths one, followed by a chemistry question very normal.
5. Take a watch to the exam
Roughly calculate how much time you want to spend per question and set time markers: ie ‘at 7 minutes I should have done at least 6 questions’. This will make sure you are well paced and that you don’t unintentionally spend too long on one question. If you’re not sure of a question, take your best guess, move on and come back to it at the end if you can. Each question is weighted the same, so stressing over one will give you much less time to answer the others and may lead to silly mistakes. The same applies for Section 1, although you have more time per question there.
I want to leave you with one last piece of advice: answer every question in Section 1 and 2. There is no negative marking, so even if you don’t know the answer, just take a good guess. Guessing may still get you a mark – but leaving the question blank will not.