It may seem that 30 minutes is not a long time to write a thorough and considered essay and you may have the urge to rush into writing straight away. However, this can lead to an illogical and disorganised essay.
The 30 minutes provided is sufficient time to complete the sheet of A4 provided, and it is vital to spend five minutes before you begin, planning. This should involve the ‘fors and againsts’ you may want to consider, the examples you may want to use to illustrate your points, and the conclusion you will reach.
Planning will allow you to organise your thoughts, and help you work through your response in a rational manner.
It may be tempting to spend a little bit of extra time writing or checking your essay as you practise, in order to perfect it, however this will lead to a false sense of security and an unrealistic expectation ahead of the exam.
Of course, you should be lenient with yourself as you first begin practising your essays, as you familiarise yourself with the format. However, you should always practise in timed conditions to give yourself the most realistic idea of the paper and have no unpleasant surprises during the exam itself.
During the exam you will only be given one A4 BMAT response sheet. There it can be very helpful to practise writing responses using this sheet, again, for the sake of familiarity.
Even if you make mistakes, you will not be given another sheet, so it is important to practise using the answer template and work around any mistakes you do make and maximise the space. It is also important to ensure that your response will fill the A4 sheet.
If you do practise using the template, with time, your BMAT essays will comfortably adopt the length of the BMAT response template, which is not replicable with other A4 lined paper.
I always found it very useful to have a structure that could be easily adapted to any question. I generally tended to write an introductory sentence or two, followed by two paragraphs considering a point for and against respectively and then reaching a concise and logical conclusion.
Obviously, essay structure will vary between individuals, however, to have a general idea about the format of your response is a useful and reassuring tool in the exam. It is one less thing to have to think about.
It is important to support the points which you raise with examples and evidence. This may be scientifically or medically related, or it may not. It is important to only use relevant examples and not to try and force medically related topics into your arguments if they are not appropriate.
Keep your examples concise, to ensure that your essay remains analytical rather than descriptive and make sure they serve to really bring your point home! However, if you are able to use medical or scientifically related examples appropriately to illustrate your points, your examiner will be impressed.
It’s vital to spend a couple of minutes at the end checking what you have written, ensuring everything makes sense, is logical and follows an appropriate structure. Spelling and grammar also contribute to your BMAT score, so it is particularly important to check for these mistakes and boost your score easily!
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