First of all, read our BMAT guide and then give a practice paper a go. Don’t worry about using up the scant resources available to you, with only a few BMAT sanctioned papers available, and instead just try one to start with. This will give you an idea of where your weaknesses are and how much time you should allocate to them for revision. There are plenty of practice questions out there online and in books, all of a similar style – the only real difference is the layout in an exam paper! Don’t worry if your first paper doesn’t go as planned, because it will give you a good idea of where your weaknesses are.
With regards to the written section, focus on getting the essay done to time and making some sort of logical conclusion, then try to get it marked by a tutor or teacher if you can. Try to practise an essay every few days and cover a variety of topics – not just the topics that you think you would pick. If you end up getting a difficult paper with topics you don’t like, you’ll need to be used to writing about things that you haven’t necessarily given much thought to before the exam.
Don’t just do all of the hard stuff or all of the easy stuff at the same time. BMAT revision can be tough, so make sure you spread out revising the things you already sort of know with the things you don’t know. This way, you’ll always know that you can do something and you won’t end up feeling like the looming exam is impossible. For example, if you really struggle to remember formulas for physics but know your biology skills are top-notch, try to do a bit of both.
Try not to omit areas that you know you’re already strong in. As tempting as it is to solely focus on your weaknesses, remember that your strengths also need some time just to get used to the question styles. There’s no point doing lots of work to strengthen your physics if you then don’t do so well in the biology that you think you’re stellar at.
Focus on knowing the basics. Don’t bog yourself down trying to know the ins and outs of everything, because the questions will never require you to have a random piece of specific knowledge beyond what you should have learnt at GCSE. Sure, extra knowledge is helpful but it’s not everything, and knowing where to focus when there are all sorts of things they could ask is important. Focus on revising your GCSE maths, physics, biology and chemistry.
The BMAT website itself has a list of assumed topics – so focus on feeling confident with those, rather than trying to understand topics outside of the scope that may come up randomly. The BMAT isn’t intended to test who is the most widely read, after all.
Section 1 in particular can be difficult to complete in time, especially if you want a while to consider your answers – so make sure you practise questions with the same amount of time that the real exam would afford you. There’s no point getting all of the answers to the practice questions correct if you’ve done it over a week.
In the same way, try to spread out your practice questions so that you always have a fresh supply of questions to come to, rather than constantly practising the same ones. Work out how many potential questions you have at your disposal and ration them out depending on how long you have until the exam. Aim to finish a couple of days before the date, so you can do last minute revision on any niggles.
Remember to rest! The BMAT isn’t the be all and end all of applying, so don’t let everything else fall by the wayside. You are more important than your BMAT grade – and if you go into the exam feeling well rested, well fed and confident, you’ll automatically be a step ahead of the person who spent the last month endlessly cramming questions.
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