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6 Top Tips to Smash the BMAT
The BMAT is probably unlike any exam you’ve ever taken before. It challenges candidates from ALL angles - a true test of aptitude, scientific knowledge and written discussion. So, as the October test day rapidly approaches, it’s understandable if you’re feeling a bit nervous. Here’s our 6 top tips for you to ace the BMAT and hopefully secure a place at the medical school of your dreams.
1. Find past BMAT papers to test yourself with.
When you’re starting out with BMAT preparation, the first thing you need to do is get yourself some past or mock papers to gather some questions to try. The Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing website has its own practice material, and make sure you also check out our free BMAT practice test. The more questions you attempt, the more familiar you’ll become with the variety of question types out there, and the higher your score will be on test day.
2. Don't time yourself on your first try.
For an exam with a reputation of extreme time-pressure, the temptation to work against the clock from the get-go is understandable. However, just the notion of being timed is a distracting stressor for many candidates, so we recommend that you allow yourself as much time as you need for your first attempt, as we think this allows you to get a real feel for the test and the different sections within it.
3. Refresh your GCSE knowledge of biology, physics or chemistry.
At the time of sitting the exam, it may have been well over a year since candidates last attempted any physics or maths (less commonly biology and chemistry), so it’s vital that you refresh your knowledge of the subjects. The scientific knowledge and applications section is meant to test GCSE knowledge, but as specifications often vary between exam boards, it’s recommended that you use the specification particularly written for the BMAT. If you’re looking for a more targeted refresher and expert guidance, take a look at our Physics and Genetics BMAT workshops, tackling the areas of the exam that students often find the most challenging.
4. Practice a few times in timed conditions.
Once you’ve got a feel for the question types and format of the exam, and have more of an idea of what you can expect from mock tests, timed practice is absolutely crucial! With UNDER two minutes per question in Section 1 and barely a minute per question in Section 2, the exam is designed so that time will be by far the most influential factor in your performance.
5. Learn a few time-saving techniques and strategies.
When you start practicing under timed conditions, the likelihood is, that you’ll realise you need to pick up the pace! This is when you should begin to strategise. An example of this is with Section 1 questions, which often have a heavy bit of information before the question: reading the answer choices before looking at the passage enables you to just skim-read the bulk of it, and helps you to navigate to only the relevant parts.
6. Make sure you give every question a shot.
Just as with the UCAT, it’s essential that you give every question a go - or even just a guess at the very least. All the questions in both Section 1 and 2 are worth one mark, and there’s no negative marking so you may as well try your luck. If you can eliminate a couple of answers before making an educated gamble then you’ve got yourself even better odds!