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5 Tips for BMAT Physics

Advice & Insight From BMAT Specialists

​Key Information

As BMAT preparation starts for students, for those amongst us who dropped Physics for A-Levels, fear may descend upon them. However, the beauty of BMAT Section 2 Physics is it can be tackled relatively easily with an effective strategy. Whilst each of you will develop your exam strategy, by yourself or with a BMAT tutor, here are my five tips to help you!

Don’t ignore it

Whilst it may seem a relatively simple concept, it is worrying how many times I have heard this from students. Often the thinking goes that with 27 questions in total and approximately 7 Physics questions, if they leave them out they can still get a good score. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out like this, especially considering that, arguably, you can see some of the Physics questions as simpler extensions of the Maths questions. As a result, these are easy marks you may drop in favour of doing the subjects you’re stronger at. I would plead that you do not adopt this strategy.

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Learning Physics

Now that you have decided to actually learn Physics, how do you go about it?
Whilst it is commonly said that the BMAT Section 2 is approximately at GCSE-level, what does this exactly mean when one takes into account the number of different specifications? Not much.
The holy grail to Section 2, in my humble opinion, is the Assumed Knowledge Subject guide, kindly provided free of charge from Cambridge Assessments themselves. Given that the content is coming directly from your examiners, it would pay dividends to learn the guide inside out for all subjects, not just Physics. However, in doing so, you must not waste time with topics you are confident in. Yes, whilst you may feel better going over them, especially if you haven’t done so for the past year for those not taking Physics A-level, it is imperative to focus on the sections you find hard.
Don’t forget to brush up on your mental maths either given that there is no calculator allowed for this exam!

(Focused) Practice, practice, practice

Most of these articles you read, this common term of ‘practice, practice, practice’ will have been used. However, continued practice without a focus on your weak areas is simply time wasted.
Practising and making your way through the past papers will enable you to realise that whilst questions themselves do not repeat, per se, however, they are very similar, especially for Sections 1 and 2 (less so for Section 3). By going through the papers and developing strategies you learn from a BMAT course and/or your tutor, by the time of your exam, you will simply be applying the principles required for generic question types to secure the best marks! The BlackStone Tutors BMAT Past Paper Subject Guide is a fantastic resource (not saying this because I’m writing for them, but I genuinely found them useful) to help this guided practice. However, for understanding and application of weak areas or those challenging questions, having a BMAT tutor can be very helpful


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Formulae

Unfortunately, memorising the key equations for Physics questions is a necessity for the BMAT. However,  BlackStone Tutors provides a succinct summary of the key formulae you need to know off by heart if you want to do well (check it out here: www.blackstonetutors.com/bmat-physics-equations/). Whilst it would be simple if that was it, one easy way you can be tripped up is via rearrangements. Often you will be presented with questions which may require rearranging of formulae and you need to be confident in: i) recognising the correct formula needed and ii) recognising the need for rearrangement. Carrying on from this, make sure you don’t forget units! It is a common trick used by examiners to trip students up and by making sure you’re aware of the need to convert where needed and are vigilant about units in your working and answer options then you save yourself dropping easy marks!

History

One thing to appreciate is that the BMAT specification does change from time to time. Hence, please make sure you keep updated with what you need to know. A very useful tip is to do the last few years’ practice papers in the run-up to the exam to not only be used to timing and approach under exam conditions but also to be familiar with topics that commonly appear. Make sure not to waste your time worrying over topics which are no longer examined!

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