S Aliya
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Hey everyone,

I'm Aliya, an international student looking to apply for medicine in the UK. I had already planned on sitting the UCAT near September end (thought of registering and subscribing to study sites once I'm sure about medicine and after my AS results come out on the 13th) as I thought universities that require BMAT are above my league. However, I'm thinking that I'll never know if I don't try. Thus, I've been wondering if I should do the BMAT, but since majority of the UK medschools accept UCAT, I don't know if it'll be appropriate to do the BMAT as well. I really want to go to Oxford, but because I know it's super competitive, I thought I'd just be wasting time preparing for the BMAT when it's just for one university (and well others like UCL, Imperial etc). Plus, I don't know how much time is sufficient for preparation.

I'm requesting for guidance..is it better to invest time in UCAT prep so that I'm less stressed and perhaps could score higher if I'm not preparing for two things at once? Or should I take my chances and do both? I'm very familiar with most of the BMAT content and would require plenty of revision and practice to get back on track, however the thought of not using a calculator scares me. I've never been fond of maths or physics, and they are 2 of my 3 subjects in which I did not get an A*. I took 7 IGCSE subjects of which 4 of them were A*s and 3 of them were As. Thus, at AS, I took Biology, Chemistry and Psychology. (My predicated AS grades are ABA)

Latest exam dates for UCAT is Sep Oct 1 and BMAT is Oct 30.

How long is sufficient to prepare for either exam, or both?

Since I want to go to Oxford, I thought I'll take the BMAT and if I don't get in, I can still apply to other 5 unis that accept the BMAT. I'm not considering Imperial as their tuition fees is too high, and Lancaster as their campus is too modern and I prefer campuses that have lots of greenery and medieval buildings (like Oxford). This leaves me to Brighton and Sussex, Leeds, Keele and UCL. UCL will have significantly high living costs, Leeds doesn't have their tuition fees out yet, Keele is beautiful. I can't find a campus tour for Brighton.

I thought doing the UCAT will widen my university opportunities, plus since I'll get my results immediately, I'll be able to find out what university I'm eligible for. However, the BMAT is more risky as results come out after your apply. Maybe I can get a good score in the BMAT if I invest time into it rather than doing the UCAT as well.
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username4894900
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So generally I would advise if you are applying for a BMAT University make sure it is only one BMAT university so that if it goes bad you have your UCAT to fall back on. Section 1 in some ways is similar to aspects of the UCAT. However Section 2 will require more specific science knowledge, whilst Section 3 requires more general knowledge and essay practicing. I actually tutor BMAT and I think it is all about just going through the past papers and practicing as much as possible.
When I did my BMAT I used to study for ~2 hours every day in the evening preparing after 'school' (I was actually at University doing my masters since I entered as a Grad). It depends on you as a person if you think you will stress too much it is far better not to go through it! Especially for Oxford where the BMAT demands are quite high. The Medicine application process is stressful. So it depends on what you think you can cope with and how much/why you want to go to Oxford.
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AzureCeleste
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I'd focus on your UCAT and do that one and see what the results are like.
If they are really good then apply 3 UCAT uni's and 1 BMAT, if they aren' great then maybe apply to more BMAT uni's.
Once you've done the UCAT, then I would focus on revising for BMAT (I never revised for both at the same time). I'd apply to Oxford as you want to go there and as you said, you never know unless you try.
Sit the UCAT first, see how you do and then consider your uni options- doing the UCAT may rule some out for you
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S Aliya
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(Original post by XavierMyshkin)
So generally I would advise if you are applying for a BMAT University make sure it is only one BMAT university so that if it goes bad you have your UCAT to fall back on. Section 1 in some ways is similar to aspects of the UCAT. However Section 2 will require more specific science knowledge, whilst Section 3 requires more general knowledge and essay practicing. I actually tutor BMAT and I think it is all about just going through the past papers and practicing as much as possible.
When I did my BMAT I used to study for ~2 hours every day in the evening preparing after 'school' (I was actually at University doing my masters since I entered as a Grad). It depends on you as a person if you think you will stress too much it is far better not to go through it! Especially for Oxford where the BMAT demands are quite high. The Medicine application process is stressful. So it depends on what you think you can cope with and how much/why you want to go to Oxford.
(Original post by AzureCeleste)
I'd focus on your UCAT and do that one and see what the results are like.
If they are really good then apply 3 UCAT uni's and 1 BMAT, if they aren' great then maybe apply to more BMAT uni's.
Once you've done the UCAT, then I would focus on revising for BMAT (I never revised for both at the same time). I'd apply to Oxford as you want to go there and as you said, you never know unless you try.
Sit the UCAT first, see how you do and then consider your uni options- doing the UCAT may rule some out for you
Thank you so much you both! You've no idea how much I've been stressing over what decision to make.

So I have about 11 weeks before the BMAT and about 7 weeks before the UCAT deadline. The BMAT date is fixed (Oct 30) but I can take my UCAT almost any day before Oct 2. So, do you think the duration I have is enough for preparing for both exams or do you think I should just focus on one exam? If the former, how should I divide my weeks for each exam? 5 weeks for the UCAT, give the exam, and 6 weeks for the BMAT? Also keeping in my, my school begins in 1st Sep, so I'm mostly free this entire Aug to do intensive entrance exam prep.
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AzureCeleste
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(Original post by S Aliya)
Thank you so much you both! You've no idea how much I've been stressing over what decision to make.

So I have about 11 weeks before the BMAT and about 7 weeks before the UCAT deadline. The BMAT date is fixed (Oct 30) but I can take my UCAT almost any day before Oct 2. So, do you think the duration I have is enough for preparing for both exams or do you think I should just focus on one exam? If the former, how should I divide my weeks for each exam? 5 weeks for the UCAT, give the exam, and 6 weeks for the BMAT?
Yes, there is enough time. I'd prep properly for UCAT and put most effort in that for now. You decide how much time you need. In general people do 6-8 weeks revision (normally only an hour or so a day to begin with every few days) for UCAT but you could do it in less time
I would recommend booking your UCAT now or you may find test dates don't suit you or become full so you need to take it at 8am or travel to a cente further away
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nexttime
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(Original post by S Aliya)
Thank you so much you both! You've no idea how much I've been stressing over what decision to make.

So I have about 11 weeks before the BMAT and about 7 weeks before the UCAT deadline. The BMAT date is fixed (Oct 30) but I can take my UCAT almost any day before Oct 2. So, do you think the duration I have is enough for preparing for both exams or do you think I should just focus on one exam? If the former, how should I divide my weeks for each exam? 5 weeks for the UCAT, give the exam, and 6 weeks for the BMAT? Also keeping in my, my school begins in 1st Sep, so I'm mostly free this entire Aug to do intensive entrance exam prep.
They're both quite hard to revise for - the practice papers really, and going through the curriculum, especially if not from the UK. That many weeks should be ample.

I would not apply for more than 2 BMAT unis unless you are sitting the August BMAT (which you have missed).

Bear in mind just how competitive Oxford is for internationals - don't get your hopes too high!
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S Aliya
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(Original post by nexttime)
They're both quite hard to revise for - the practice papers really, and going through the curriculum, especially if not from the UK. That many weeks should be ample.

I would not apply for more than 2 BMAT unis unless you are sitting the August BMAT (which you have missed).

Bear in mind just how competitive Oxford is for internationals - don't get your hopes too high!
I've done IGCSEs and am pretty familiar with the BMAT content-- of course, I bet the main issue is the time. I don't know if it's worth registering for the BMAT and paying for tutorials and investing time into practicing etc for just one BMAT uni, and giving away my UCAS space for that. Especially when having to balance personal statement and A levels as well.
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nexttime
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(Original post by S Aliya)
I've done IGCSEs and am pretty familiar with the BMAT content-- of course, I bet the main issue is the time. I don't know if it's worth registering for the BMAT and paying for tutorials and investing time into practicing etc for just one BMAT uni, and giving away my UCAS space for that. Especially when having to balance personal statement and A levels as well.
It is hard balancing it all yes. At least you've got a little time off at the moment, I take it? And I guess A-levels get slightly neglected for this period as you have to prioritise!

I do advise putting plenty of effort into the BMAT just because of how important it is. I also stand by what I said about it being hard to prepare for... weeks and weeks of revision and tutorials might not make all that much difference, it certainly didn't for me... I dunno, others will disagree.

The loss of a quarter of your UCAS spaces is certainly a major consideration though. Of course, medicine in general is really competitive, and even moreso as an international - have you planned what you will do if you don't get any offers?
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S Aliya
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(Original post by nexttime)
It is hard balancing it all yes. At least you've got a little time off at the moment, I take it? And I guess A-levels get slightly neglected for this period as you have to prioritise!

I do advise putting plenty of effort into the BMAT just because of how important it is. I also stand by what I said about it being hard to prepare for... weeks and weeks of revision and tutorials might not make all that much difference, it certainly didn't for me... I dunno, others will disagree.

The loss of a quarter of your UCAS spaces is certainly a major consideration though. Of course, medicine in general is really competitive, and even moreso as an international - have you planned what you will do if you don't get any offers?
If I'm doing the UCAT and focusing on that, I'll have about only a month to prepare for the BMAT

If I don't get any offers, I'll do environmental sciences in the UK or business in the UAE. (I don't know if I can apply to UK unis for different courses through UCAS after all my medical courses get rejected)
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username4894900
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(Original post by S Aliya)
If I'm doing the UCAT and focusing on that, I'll have about only a month to prepare for the BMAT

If I don't get any offers, I'll do environmental sciences in the UK or business in the UAE. (I don't know if I can apply to UK unis for different courses through UCAS after all my medical courses get rejected)
I think a month is a decent amount of time to be honest an probably what most people get. I think it is less about how much time and more about how you actually go about preparing. Practising the past papers and doing the questions under the time constraints is critical. If you have your mind set on doing it, do it. The other approach could be to start preparing for BMAT alongside the UCAT. The UCAT is one of those that there isn't that much you can do to prepare other than practice practice practice. I remember when I was preparing there just came a point where I didn't really feel I could do anymore (that was probably 2 weeks into preparing for it).
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S Aliya
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(Original post by XavierMyshkin)
I think a month is a decent amount of time to be honest an probably what most people get. I think it is less about how much time and more about how you actually go about preparing. Practising the past papers and doing the questions under the time constraints is critical. If you have your mind set on doing it, do it. The other approach could be to start preparing for BMAT alongside the UCAT. The UCAT is one of those that there isn't that much you can do to prepare other than practice practice practice. I remember when I was preparing there just came a point where I didn't really feel I could do anymore (that was probably 2 weeks into preparing for it).
Thank you so much for your advice! However I've been told to prepare intensively for the UCAT and depending on your scores, prepare for the BMAT only after the UCAT, not alongside it. Maybe I can revise section two for BMAT alongside UCAT but not do BMAT practice questions until after I give my UCAT exam yea? So that by the time im done with the UCAT, I can immediately start doing pastpapers in timed conditions rather than studying the content first.
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nexttime
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(Original post by S Aliya)
Thank you so much for your advice! However I've been told to prepare intensively for the UCAT and depending on your scores, prepare for the BMAT only after the UCAT, not alongside it. Maybe I can revise section two for BMAT alongside UCAT but not do BMAT practice questions until after I give my UCAT exam yea? So that by the time im done with the UCAT, I can immediately start doing pastpapers in timed conditions rather than studying the content first.
I'd practice for one, and then the other.

As we keep telling you, we think you have plenty of time to prepare, and there is such a thing as over-preparing.
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