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23rd September 2021
Ria chose to take the BMAT as well as the UCAT last year, and is now about to start studying Medicine at Southampton University.

The BMAT and UCAT are the two admissions tests required in order to study Medicine in the UK. Every Medical School needs one or the other but I chose to sit both when applying to universities last year.

In this blog I explain why I felt this was the best decision for me, and why you might want to consider taking the BMAT too.

It Widened The Pool Of Med Schools I Could Apply To

The UCAT is the admissions test that is predominantly used of the two, with it being recognised by about 30 Medical Schools, whereas the BMAT is used by eight different BMAT universities, including Oxbridge.

Sitting both the UCAT and BMAT meant that whilst researching different Medical courses, I could apply to ones that best suited me and not exclude any because I hadn’t sat the admissions test they used.

After sitting the UCAT at the end of summer, I decided to apply to two UCAT universities as well as two BMAT ones and this was the best of both worlds because I was able to split the weight of both exams on my application overall.

It Was A Good Insurance In Case UCAT Didn’t Go Well

I knew my UCAT score prior to the UCAS deadline, which meant that if my UCAT didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, then I could focus on applying to more places that used the BMAT. I felt this would give myself the best chance of getting interviews.

I didn’t know my BMAT score, which means I essentially applied to my two BMAT universities ‘blindly’ as results are released a few weeks after the BMAT is originally sat. Having done both tests, I felt a sense of security because if one’s score was weak, I still had two out of four universities that only looked at the other admissions test.

It’s important to keep this in mind because admissions tests scores can play a pivotal role in applications by determining whether or not someone is invited to interview or given an offer by a university.

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You Can Prepare Well For BMAT

Preparing for the UCAT for several weeks put my mind in a state of answering questions that challenged your thinking as well as having to problem solve under time pressure. Attending various courses made me realise the similarities in technique and thinking required for sitting both tests.

For example the decision making section of the UCAT is similar to Section 1 of the BMAT, so things I picked up when revising for decision making came in handy when preparing for that section of the BMAT.

In addition, the BMAT was more in my comfort zone because Section 2 can be revised for as the questions are based on all three sciences and maths. It served as a point of reflection and helped me develop skills necessary of a good Doctor.

Revising for and sitting the BMAT in November alongside school definitely improved my organisational skills and time management because I was having to prepare for the test whilst keeping on top of the schoolwork and exams I had at the same time.

In addition it also improved my ability to remain calm under pressure as after sitting the UCAT, I was able to control my nerves and be in a calmer mindset when it came time to sit the BMAT.

During my interviews, I was able to use this experience to reflect on how the qualities mentioned are necessary in the life of Medical Students and Doctors.

Here are some of my BMAT top tips:

  • Start preparing as early as possible
  • Take time to understand the different question types in Section 1 by practicing using BMAT question banks
  • Use past BMAT tests as part of your revision to get the most realistic idea of how the questions are the day
  • Always read the question first
  • For Section 3, focus on writing good essay plans rather than writing out entire essays during your revision
  • Reflect upon your mistakes and try to make improvements along the way
  • Don’t be afraid to guess questions that take too long to solve in the actual exam
  • Revise for Section 2 using the official BMAT specification, especially for the subjects you didn’t take at A-Level
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