The BMAT Section 2 syllabus covers Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics – and you’re required to apply your scientific knowledge to various examples.
To revise, I used CGP guides to go through the GCSE syllabus for each subject and then used a BMAT course to learn test strategies. This gave me a solid understanding of how to approach Section 2 questions. I also made summary notes of the topics I found difficult, so I could refer back to them during my revision, and over time these topics became etched in my memory.
Since BMAT Section 2 covers a wide range of topics, it was important to routinely work through lots of practice questions – not only to become familiar with the way examiners ask questions, but also to practise my time management.
In BMAT Section 2, you have 30 minutes to answer 27 questions, so you have roughly one minute per question. However, I always wanted to leave some time at the end to review my answers, and for this reason I aimed to spend less than one minute per question where possible.
If I felt that a question seemed complicated and may take a long time, I would guess and skip, then go back and review it at the end if I had time. This strategy helped me to save a lot of time and maximised the number of questions I answered correctly.
Another strategy I used was to really work on my weaknesses during revision. Whilst this might sound like common sense, it’s all too easy to fall into a routine of practising questions that you are already confident about. As I didn’t take Physics for A Level, I made sure to practise more Physics questions and cover topics which I found particularly difficult such as Conduction, Convection and Radiation.
I started BMAT preparation around a month before than test day. To prepare for BMAT Section 2, I began by familiarising myself with the structure, the types of questions and the syllabus. In the two weeks before my exam, I applied the knowledge I had learnt to past papers.
During practice, I kept track of mistakes that I kept making in Section 2 – and found that these were often in the Physics and Maths questions. I honed in on these weaknesses, and eventually I felt more confident as I was able to improve upon my mistakes and achieve a consistent score of around 6.0 in Section 2.
As the BMAT covers GCSE science and maths content, the examiners can sometimes make thing more difficult by adding a few keywords which completely change the question and could be easily missed by someone who is rushing through.
For example, if the question asks the pattern of inheritance and you identify that it is dominant, you are more likely to skim-read, choose the option that says dominant and move on to save time. However, in this scenario the examiners could try to catch you out by including X linked dominant and autosomal dominant. Spending just a little bit more time to identify the correct option will allow you to gain a mark which otherwise would have been lost.
Initially, I should have looked at the BMAT Section 2 syllabus and prioritised topics that I was less confident about, rather than working my way through the entire CGP guide content. Also, the BMAT covers GCSE content across all exam boards, whereas my guide only covered one exam board. I realised this when doing past papers, because there were topics that I was unfamiliar with, so I then had to spend more time reviewing topics that were not included in my exam board but were part of the BMAT Section 2 syllabus.
Moreover, when sitting the actual BMAT exam, I found that I was skipping more questions than usual to return to later. As a result, this made me feel less confident when answering questions and perhaps affected my overall score. In hindsight, it is normal to feel anxious on the test date, and so it is normal to skip more questions than usual. Your answers will typically be right, but you just feel more nervous on the date and don’t want to take any risks. I would have told myself that skipping questions is perfectly fine and that I should be confident in the practice I had done!
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