The BMAT examination represents a core aspect of the challenging Medicine and Veterinary Medicine Application process to many of the United Kingdom and world’s most prestigious medical schools. By implementing the following tips and techniques, I am confident that you will be able to improve your BMAT score.
1. Section 1 – Look for equation-speak
- If the question relates to someone selling apples, or trinkets etc. over multiple days, then the question is trying to get you to write an equation in order to solve it. Be very aware that this is what they want to you do, otherwise it is practically impossible to successfully solve these questions.
2. Section 1 – Study critical thinking
- I have told many students to study critical thinking, as the thought processes required are exactly the same as those tested in Section 1 of the BMAT. If you are not already studying Critical Thinking AS-Level in college, then either buy yourself a textbook, or use official OCR Critical Thinking (Unit 2) online materials.
3. Section 1 and 2 - When doing sums, round numbers to make it easier
- As part of Sections one and two, you will have questions that involve potentially challenging calculations. In order to complete the question in the allocated time (1-1.5min), you need to solve these fast. Round numbers where possible and subsequently see which of the answers it most closely reflects. With the time pressures of Section 2, BMAT examiners expect a degree of rounding from students and the MCQ options most often reflect this.
4. Section 1 and 2 - Study UKCAT materials even if you’re not applying to UKCAT universities
- This only applies to a very small number of students, but if you are not currently planning to take the UKCAT, but do plan on taking the BMAT, I would highly recommend you practise questions from the UKCAT anyway (Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning especially). There is a significant amount of overlap between these two tests, with excellent study materials for the UKCAT available. It would be a waste not to utilise these.
5. Section 2 - Know basic human biology / physiology
- You may not be studying human biology much in your A-Level biology, but questions about nervous impulses, the role of the hypothalamus etc. have come up before and as such are likely to come up again. You would be at a disadvantage if you don’t know a little about human biology. Also, knowing human biology is greatly helpful at Oxbridge interviews, as whole interviews can be centred around the topic.
6. Section 3 – Plan your essay
- I recommend spending between 5-10 minutes planning the essay out of your 30 minutes. Once you know what you’ll be writing, you can actually write it fairly quickly as it’s only one page. Also, you need to make sure that your arguments are clear and coherent beforehand, so do not risk writing it without a clear plan of your points for and against.
7. Section 3 – Learn the principles of medical ethics and apply them
- Beneficence, non-maleficence, justice and autonomy. Learn those four terms and understand what they mean. When ethical BMAT essay questions come up, the reason why the dilemma is an ethical one is because two or more of the ethical principles are in conflict. Once you have identified what two factors are in conflict, it means you have distilled down the essence of the ethical scenario into something much more manageable.
- You don’t need to write these buzzwords or say them at interview, just be able to argue your ethics essay with them in mind.
I hope this is helpful! Now all that remains is for you to practice – a lot. There are a lot of study materials available for the BMAT, go and use them! Practice most definitely does help with the BMAT examination.