When I was sitting the BMAT, I felt anxious because I had selected two BMAT universities and wanted to make sure I could score highly in order to maximise my chances of selection.
When I got the results, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had scored 7.1 in BMAT Section 1 (within the top 2% of test-takers that year), 6.3 in Section 2 (within the top 5%) and 3.5A in Section 3.
Here are a few strategies and tips which helped me to achieve a good BMAT score for my Medical School application.
As you might know from the BMAT guide, Section 1 involves questions that can contain a lot of data or large paragraphs of text. The key to mastering these BMAT questions is to be able to sort the data and determine which pieces of information would be useful for answering the questions.
I got in the habit of using diagrams to sort the information into a manner that was easy for me to work with. When you’re doing practice questions at home, try to practise using diagrams so you become comfortable with how to use them.
In the BMAT you are not provided with a calculator, so it’s a good idea to get comfortable with maths skills that you may need in the exam. I dedicated a portion of my BMAT preparation to making sure I was quick at doing mental maths and working with fractions, percentages and decimals as these tend to come up a lot. I also practised answering questions using estimation, because it helps to save time when there is a wide range of answer options to choose from.
Section 2 tests GCSE-level content. However, don’t just read over your GCSE notes without checking it against the specification, which can be found on the BMAT website.
You might find that you’re unfamiliar with some of the content, depending on the exam board you did for GCSEs. Where this was the case, I watched videos to get an idea of the topic. A lot of candidates won’t have studied physics since GCSE – so I would say that if you’re in this position, you might want to dedicate some more time to recapping physics in the run up to the exam.
When I initially started practising Section 2, I was trying to answer every question perfectly, which meant I struggled to finish within the time limit. Try to focus on becoming familiar with the different question types when you’re doing practice. Identify which ones take longer than others, so that instead of wasting a lot of time on these questions during the exam, you can come back to them after you’ve finished with the others.
To get a good score for the BMAT Section 3 essay, it’s essential to use examples to support the points you are making. When I was doing further medical reading, such as reading medical articles, I noted down interesting examples that I could potentially use in an essay. I also thought about how these examples could link to medical ethics. I became familiar with these examples so that when faced with any essay question, I was able to draw upon relevant examples quickly and easily.
You’re only given one page to write the essay in your exam, so it’s imperative to make every sentence count if you want to beat the average score. I practised setting line limits on my essays, so that I was able to get into the habit of making my sentences more concise and using phrases that would take up less space.
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