Sitting the BMAT and not sure how to begin your preparation?
Those of you who have chosen to sit the BMAT will already be aware that it is quite different to the UKCAT. It consists of 3 sections: Aptitude, Scientific Knowledge and the essay. As you will have already gathered, the different sections will all require different skills, so how can you master each of them in order to achieve a high overall score? Here are my top tips!
Firstly take a look at some questions from each section to assess the type of thinking they each require. You need to first get a good understanding of what each section consists of before diving in.
By doing this, you’ll probably gather that Section 1 is the one most similar to the UKCAT; Section 2 is the one that you’ll be the most familiar with (and easiest to revise for); whereas Section 3 is perhaps more reliant on communication and wider reading.
You will then be able to identify which one needs the most work and spend more time on that one. Don’t unnecessarily waste time on the sections that you are already very confident with.
One of the great things about the BMAT is that (in general) you can prepare for it more easily than the UKCAT. It’s only a pen and paper test which is more similar to the standard test we’re all used to taking, so your nerves will hopefully be a bit calmer!
Take advantage of the stream of past papers available free on the BMAT website. They will definitely guide you in terms of your strengths and weaknesses and will also familiarise you with the structure of the test.
One of the things it’s worth understanding about the BMAT in comparison to the UKCAT is that it’s not supposed to be as time-pressured, which means the questions you’ll be presented with will often be multi-step. The UKCAT is looking to see how quickly you can work and those of you that have done it will be aware of the mere seconds you have available to complete a question.
However when answering BMAT questions, don’t go for the educated guessing scheme that’s often recommended for the UKCAT – instead be prepared to carefully work your way through it in a logical manner.
In terms of tips specific to each section, try not to panic too much in this section. Those of you who have sat the UKCAT will definitely be able to see the similarities with Verbal Reasoning, so taking a similar but more careful approach will fare 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 of these being the word ‘not’. Don’t make any assumptions and conclusions that aren’t clearly stated in the passage and you’ll do well.
Section 2 is described as being GCSE level Science, but considering all the different specifications it does actually end up being slightly above GCSE level. Take a look at the official guide on the BMAT website, ensuring that you feel confident with all the knowledge.
Treat this guide as checklist to revise over all the topics that will be covered in the BMAT. Don’t be put off if the questions you attempt seem a lot more difficult than the level of knowledge on in the guide – remember the content will be applied in complex ways. Be prepared for that so you can step up and rise to the challenge!
I know a lot of you will be concerned about the Physics aspect of this section, and it can seem a little scary particularly if you didn’t take A-Level Physics. Don’t panic…I have you covered! Here is a summary of all the Physics formulas you must know, learn these and you’ll be fine!
Waffle is a big no for your essay – the BMAT wants concise points which are clearly presented and argued. Your marks will be awarded based on your style of writing, but also the points you make. Try to avoid making weak arguments. Wider reading of current ethical issues will help you if a similar topic appears.
The best thing to do would be to look at the previous essay titles and discuss them with someone so you can consider different perspectives and think from unique points of view. Remember to make sure you do give both sides of the argument and make a strong conclusion to allow you to aim for one of the higher bands.