BMAT Section 1 Critical Thinking

Advice & Insight From BMAT Specialists

Critical thinking questions require you to interpret large volumes of information distinguishing relevant from irrelevant information This means you must be able to rapidly process information and filter out anything that is unnecessary. These questions are like the verbal reasoning questions of the UCAT. You will be glad to hear that these questions differ from those in the UCAT as they are a lot less time pressured. Therefore, accuracy is important, to select the correct answer you must make sure you have a good grasp of the intricacies of the passage.

Conclusions, arguments and topics

Each critical thinking question will present you with a passage of the text in the form of an argument. Critical thinking questions test your ability to identify and interpret features of these arguments. Each argument will contain a conclusion which is based upon reasoning. Some passages may omit information which is required for the reasoning to apply to the conclusion, for conclusions to be plausible assumptions must be made. An assumption is defined as a crucial part of the argument which has not been stated.

When reading the passage first try to identify the passage topic. From this you can identify statements which directly relate to the topic and discard those irrelevant. Be open minded that the connection between the sentence may not be initially obvious or explicit. Consider if you can connect it to the main topic.

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Question types

There are 7 main question types within this subsection. In total there are 16 critical thinking questions. Although each year the topics and passage themes will differ the basic skills and format of the questions are very prescriptive. When preparing find a strategy and question approach for each question type. Make sure you practice all 7 question types:

  • Identifying the main conclusion: Questions present you with a brief conclusion around 5 lines long and a series of arguments one of which best expresses the main conclusion. The argument will be aiming to get the reader to accept a principle, this is what you must identify. It is important to be aware that conclusions may not only present at the end of a passage so carefully interpret all the information given. Look for words which signpost you to the conclusion and think of the underlying theme within the reasons provided.
  • Drawing a conclusion: The data source provided will not explicitly state a conclusion, you must infer a logical conclusion based upon the force of the argument you have read. From the information provided you should have a good reason to accept one of the statements.
  • Identifying an assumption: Within the passage a conclusion will be drawn which must be identified. The passage will be trying to get you to accept an argument and the reasoning for this must be identified. The correct answer contains a consistent statement with the force of the argument but will not be explicitly stated. The incorrect answers will not follow in line with the conclusion.
  • Assessing the impact of additional evidence: A passage will provide an argument. The correct statement will significantly strengthen or weaken this argument. Different statements will have different effects on the text. If you are asked to select an answer which weakens the argument, then the correct answer would make the conclusion invalid where it is true.
  • Detecting Reasoning Errors: Within the passage there will be a flaw which is inconsistent and does not support the argument or conclusion. The correct answer statement is the statement which the conclusion does not follow from.
  • Matching arguments: This section was newly introduced to the BMAT test in 2020. These questions require you to select which statement most closely parallels the reasoning used in the argument. Consider using the X, Y argument technique. Within the passage there will be two important ideas which are mentioned twice: replace the two statements with X and Y. Identify the relationship between X and Y – if X is correct is Y false? Apply X and Y labels to the potential answers.
  • Applying principle: One of the 5 answers will present a principle or opinion that is consistent with the argument made in the passage. The official BMAT guidance states that a principle is a “general recommendation, which, in the passage will be applied to just one particular case, but which could also be applied to other cases.” You must identify what principle the conclusion of the argument draws upon. Having identified the principle you must decide which statement best illustrates this idea.
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BMAT Section 1 Critical Thinking

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