As part of the first section of the BMAT, there is an arithmetic section, testing your problem-solving abilities using mathematics. Being quick at mental maths, time tables, squaring numbers, cubing them and other basic maths principles will take you a long way.
If you’re a bit shaky on any of these, make sure you sort them out before the BMAT. It’s worth keeping any nifty maths tricks at the front of your mind when going through this section.
The use of a calculator is not allowed, so make sure that as part of your preparation, you are attempting complex arithmetic using your brain alone.
Also – remember to read the question carefully, as there’s often more than one sum to perform and you don’t want to miss anything!
With regards to the questions which focus on your ability to critically appraise or summarise an article, don’t panic! For these questions, it’s very important not to be phased if you see a whole page of complex data.
They are there to test your ability to extract and summarise various different types of data, and quite often you won’t really be needing every item of data that you’re given. The ability to skim read here is important. When beginning your practice, I would aim to read the paragraph quickly to get a general idea of the argument, and then pick the option which appears most sensible.
Then, go back and read the article in a little more depth and decide if your answer changes. This can be a good way of practising at the beginning to get used to the format of these questions.
3. Read the question, the passage, then the answer options
This is the best approach for all the critical thinking questions. The questions will appear in 1 of 2 forms: either a short passage followed by one question, or a long passage followed by 3-4 questions.
For both question types, you must first read the question so keep what you need to look for in your mind as you read the passage.
Whether it’s a conclusion, a flaw or an assumption, when reading the passage you’ll have this as a focus that you’ll be actively looking for.
Finally, read the answer options and pick the one that best correlates with what you came up with. It’s important that you do not read the answer options first as that may skew your view as you read the argument.
There are many online resources for the BMAT. The Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing website alone has 14 different past papers to choose from. It may seem obvious, but the single best way to optimise your preparation for the BMAT is to try Section 1 of these papers again and again, until you get 100%.
If you use these 3 pointers, and ensure you practice, you can be certain that you will gain a good score in Section 1 of the BMAT, and hopefully an overall grade that gets you the interview at a med school you dream of!
Words: Ben Fox & Masumah Jannah
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