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Tips to Ace the BMAT

The BMAT consists of three sections, each of which is scored separately.

In the multiple-choice sections (Sections 1 and 2), the score is based on the number of questions that you answer correctly and is reported on the scale of 1.0 to 9.0. According to the test providers, the conversion scale is designed in such a way that typical applicants who intend to pursue undergraduate medicine courses will score about 5.0. A score of 6.0 is considered relatively competitive, and only a small proportion of highly exceptional students will achieve a score above 7.0.

As for Section 3, your essay will be assessed by two examiners, and your final score will be the average of the scores given by each examiner. The score for this section comprises two separate components: quality of content (on a scale of 0 to 5) and quality of written language (on a scale of A to E).

Below are some tips to help you boost your score in each section of the test.

Section 1: Thinking Skills

First, try to focus on the relevant information and ignore irrelevant details. Both Critical Reasoning and Problem Solving questions often include more information than what is necessary to determine the answer. It is important to be able to identify the important bits and not get bogged down by the remaining details, which are just there to distract you and waste your time.

Second, understand the requirements of each question type. Critical Reasoning questions come in a handful of clear-cut types: some may ask you to strengthen or weaken an argument, while others may require you to identify assumptions or reasoning flaws. Having a firm understanding of how arguments work and what is considered a flaw or an assumption will be crucial in tackling these types of questions.

And third, look out for shortcuts. This primarily applies to Problem Solving questions, which can usually be solved in many different ways. In some cases, there may be a pattern or a logical trick that can help you arrive at the answer in significantly less time. In other cases, it may be more efficient to plug the answer choices into the question and find the right answer by trial and error.

Section 2: Scientific Knowledge and Applications

Content knowledge is key. There is no way to get around this: full mastery of the required topics in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Maths is essential for a high score in Section 2. Refer to the test specifications on the test provider’s website for a checklist of topics to master.

It will also be a good idea to brush up on your mental maths and estimation techniques. Calculators are not allowed in the BMAT, so you will need to perform all calculations by hand. Familiarity with mental maths and approximation or estimation tricks will save you a lot of time and effort in both Section 1 and Section 2.

Lastly, be mindful of the time limit. Compared to Section 1 (32 questions in 60 minutes), the time allocated for Section 2 is a lot more limited (30 minutes for 27 questions, or roughly 1 minute per question). Make sure to practice with a timer to get used to the time pressure and ensure that you will be able to complete the test before the time runs out.

Section 3: Writing Task

In the third section, it is extremely important to address all aspects of the task. The BMAT Writing Task always comprises three components: (1) explain the reasoning behind the statement, (2) present a counterargument, and (3) synthesise and state your own opinion. You must adequately address each of these three components to achieve a content score of 3 or above.

While preparing for the test, also make an effort to keep expanding your general knowledge. Bear in mind that you will need to choose one of three essay prompts: one on a general social topic, one related to science, and one related to medicine. Having good awareness of current affairs and scientific or medical developments will enable you to come up with more nuanced arguments and provide more convincing evidence to better support your points.

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