The BMAT (or BioMedical Admissions Test) is a two-hour test consisting of three sections that some universities use as part of their medical school admissions process.
Unlike the UCAT, there are two specified test dates for BMAT – one in September and on in November. As with the UCAT, you are only allowed to sit the BMAT once per admissions cycle; you must choose whether to sit it in September or November.
All UK universities, except Oxford, accept either sitting with equal weighting, however the latter only accepts the October sitting.
Whilst both have upsides, you will know your score before the UCAS deadline with the September sitting, however sitting the BMAT in November means that you have more time to prepare.
The BMAT is by no means an easy test. Read on to find out my top six tips for BMAT success:
1. Answer all questions
BMAT is not negatively marked, which means that it is definitely worth guessing the answers to any questions you may not have had time to answer – you may even get rewarded with a couple of extra marks.
Since you do not lose marks for any wrong answers, even narrowing down the options for any questions you may not have enough time to work through fully means an educated guess is worth putting down.
The BMAT website contains a wealth of practice papers – from 2003 to last year’s papers.
There are the most realistic questions you can do as not only were they made the test makers, but they actually formed previous years’ tests.
Since there are so many papers, it is worth doing some of them through as full practice exams (i.e. all three sections timed) and taking them question by question, working through and getting to grips with question styles.
There are also a couple of past papers with the answers explained, which can help show you the logic certain questions require. This means you’ll have a better chance of being able to work out how to answer future questions using similar logic.
By looking at previous years’ essay questions (section three) and trying them out, you should get an idea of the kinds of questions BMAT asks and also learn how to write concisely – so that your essay fits in the given space and is good quality writing.
5. Keep up to date with the NHS and healthcare news
Although it is not definite, sometimes NHS ‘hot topics’ have formed the base of one of the BMAT essay options.
Wider reading over time can help prepare you if such a topic comes up – you will have evidence to back up your points and should an interviewer ask about your essay further down the line, you will be in a stronger position to talk about your essay and its content.
BMAT is not an easy exam and giving yourself some time to prepare is essential; it is best to decide whether to take the BMAT early on in the application process, so you can factor in time to ensure you are ready for the test.
If you decide to take the BMAT in September, you must register yourself at a test centre – don’t forget to do this and remember the earlier you register the better, as spaces are limited.