(Original post by Kisuke)
Didn't always want to do medicine, but had a recent change of heart. Local medical school (I'm not in the UK) requires BMAT, but I've been out of formal education for more than 2 years due to (mandatory) military service. I graduated in '13 from the IBDP - 45 points A/A with HL chemistry and physics, so other academic qualifications are a non-issue. I just haven't touched anything remotely academic in so long, and I've forgotten practically everything I've learnt in the past.
What do? Where do I find past year papers/guidebooks? I've looked at a few sample papers and section 1 just seems to be data interpretation and IQ-test-ish questions, while section 3 seems to be a general essay section that does not necessarily require specific technical knowledge to be completed. Only section 2 particularly concerns me as it requires a competent grasp of the 3 sciences (one of which I've never formally studied). Correct me if I am mistaken, however.
Our friends over at UniAdmissions gave a decent answer (try some past papers to focus your efforts) but I thought I'd expand a bit on that.
Not too time pressured, 35 questions of which half are critical thinking and the other half are problem solving. Practice makes perfect here - there's a general 'method' to finding conclusions, assumptions, flaws etc, which you can find in any critical thinking textbook. With regards to problem solving, the biggest factor in doing well in those questions is keeping a cool head and using basic maths skills where necessary.
One thing we always tell our students is 'Fractions are our Friends' - lots of the BMAT Section 1 questions involve fractions (to some extent), and most of the Section 2 Physics, Chemistry and Maths questions also involve fractions. Getting good at doing fractions (adding, subtracting, multiplying, simplifying) will, I think, be the single biggest factor in improving anyone's BMAT score.
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we've got loads of questions from the old BMAT papers and TSA Oxford papers (same style as BMAT section 1), all available to do online completely free of charge
. From looking at last year's stats, we had 2 students who did every single question on BMAT Ninja, and we emailed them afterwards and found that they got 9.0 and 8.7 respectively on Section 1. While correlation doesn't necessarily imply causation, this stat does support what I've felt for some time - that BMAT section 1 (especially the critical thinking questions) are very, very formulaic, and once you know the method for tackling them, they become laughably straightforward.
PS: I've also written a blog post on this if you're interested in having a read - https://www.bmatcrashcourse.com/prepare-bmat-section-1/
This is the tough cookie, mostly because of the timing. As others have mentioned, the Admissions Testing Service have released an official online CGP book (the Assumed Knowledge Guide), but tbh, it's 400 pages long, and can often be overwhelming. There are also topics within this book (astrophysics, star spectra, medical physics) that they've never asked questions about, but that they've mentioned in the book anyway. The fact that these topics are in the book means they're at liberty to ask about them, but if we analyse the topics that have come up from the past 6 years worth of Section 2 papers, we can get a more focused idea of what's likely to come up this year.
Most students taking the BMAT seem to be most worried with the Physics part of Section 2 (especially if they haven't done it at A-level), so off the top of my head, the topics I'd suggest getting good at are (a) Electricity, (b) Mechanics, (c) Nuclear physics, (d) Waves. Electricity and Mechanics tend to get 2 questions each asked about them, while there tends to be 1 question each on nuclear and waves.
All the BMAT section 2 topics can be self-taught via BBC Bitesize and the official online guide, so there's no real need to get any books. We've also got a few hundred free
section 2 questions that you can do on BMAT Ninja
if you like :)
PS: I put together another blog post about the BMAT section 2 syllabus which has a list of the topics you need to know for each of the sciences - https://www.bmatcrashcourse.com/bmat...on-2-syllabus/
Everyone gets hung up about section 3, but as you rightly said in the original post, it's "a general essay section that does not necessarily require specific technical knowledge to be completed".
The biggest mistake people make in section 3 is not spending enough time planning. You've got 30 minutes to write less than a side of A4, and it tends to take students 10-15 minutes to do the writing part, which means the rest of the time should be spent planning.
In terms of preparing for section 3, I'd suggest just writing 2 or 3 essays from past papers, but doing it on the actual answer sheet, which you can print off from the BMAT website. Doing that gives you a better idea of how long it takes you personally to fill the small amount of space you'll be given, so you can plan your time accordingly.
A lot of students wonder if they should be reading books like 'A very short introduction to medical ethics' etc, but honestly, the essay is so short (3 paragraphs at most) that there's no real room for showing off extra knowledge.
Hope that helps! Give me a shout if I can help with anything else :)