13th July 2023
Please note that since the BMAT is now discontinued, most universities will require Medicine applicants to sit the UCAT from 2024 onwards. See our tips for better UCAT performance.

Not sure how to begin your BMAT preparation? If you’ve chosen to sit the BMAT, you should already be aware that it’s very different from the UCAT. The three sections each require different skills, so how can you master all of them to achieve a high BMAT score? Here are some top tips!

1. Prioritise

Firstly, take a look at some questions from every BMAT section to assess the type of thinking they require. You need to have a good understanding of what each section consists of before diving in, so make sure you’ve read our BMAT guide too.

By doing this, you’ll probably gather that Section 1 is the section most similar to the UCAT; Section 2 is the one that you’ll probably be the most familiar with (and is easiest to revise for); whereas Section 3 is more reliant on communication and wider reading.

You will then be able to identify which section needs the most work and spend more time on that one. Don’t unnecessarily waste time on the areas that you’re already confident with.

2. Past papers

One of the great things about the BMAT is that (in general) you can prepare for it more easily than the UCAT. It’s a pen and paper test, which is more similar to standard school exams that you’re used to taking – so your nerves will hopefully be a bit calmer!

Take advantage of all the BMAT past papers that are available. They will guide you in terms of your strengths and weaknesses, and will also familiarise you with the structure of the test.


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3. Time vs. complex problems

A key thing it’s worth understanding about the BMAT is that, in comparison to the UCAT, it isn’t supposed to be as time-pressured. This means that the questions you’re presented with will often be multi-step and, to a certain extent, you can take your time to work them out. The UCAT is looking to see how quickly you can work and sometimes gives you just a few seconds to complete a question.

When answering BMAT questions, don’t go for the educated guessing scheme that’s often recommended for the UCAT – instead, be prepared to carefully work your way through questions in a logical manner.

4. Treat Section 1 like the UCAT

Try not to panic too much in Section 1. Those of you who have sat the UCAT should be able to see the similarities with Verbal Reasoning, so taking a similar but more careful approach will serve you well.

Read the question, take a look at the answer options, then ruthlessly eliminate. Look out for little trick words which could be used to completely invert the meaning of some statements – the simplest example being the word ‘not’. Don’t make any assumptions and conclusions that aren’t clearly stated in the passage and you’ll do well.

5. Remain confident with Section 2

Section 2 is described as being GCSE-level science, but considering all of the different specifications you might find that it’s slightly above GCSE-level. Take a look at the official guide on the BMAT website, ensuring that you feel confident with all of the knowledge.

Treat the guide as a checklist to revise all of the topics that will be covered in the BMAT. Don’t be put off if practice questions seem a lot more difficult than the level of knowledge in the guide – remember that the content will be applied in complex ways. Be prepared for that so you can step up and rise to the challenge!

Some of you will probably be concerned about the Physics aspect of this section, and it can seem a little scary if you aren’t doing A-Level Physics. Don’t panic! You can see what’s required of you on the BMAT website.

6. Clarity is key in Section 3

You need to avoid waffle in your essay, as the BMAT wants concise points which are clearly presented and argued. Your marks will be awarded based on your style of writing, but also on the points you make – so try to avoid making weak arguments. Wider reading of current ethical issues will help you if a similar topic comes up.

It’s a good idea to look at previous essay titles and discuss them with someone, so you can consider different perspectives and points of view. Make sure you give both sides of the argument and a strong conclusion to score highly.

Take a look at our BMAT preparation guide for more tips and strategies.


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