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BMAT Section 3 Question Types

Advice & Insight From BMAT Specialists

BMAT Section 3 is made up of a choice of 3 questions, with candidates having to select one of these questions. These 3 Question choices are normally made up of the following categories:

Historical Quote/ Philosophy (eg. Voltaire, Darwin etc.)
Medical Ethics
Non-Medical Ethics
Science

The majority of prospective medical students select Medicine/Science or Ethics based questions, and this is completely understandable. It is important to select the question that you feel most comfortable answering, rather than attempting to excel at a potentially more challenging question as what you may view as challenging, other candidates may regard as much more straightforward.

BMAT Section 3 Past Questions

Historical Quotes

”A little learning is a dangerous thing.’’ (Alexander Pope)
 
Explain what this statement means. Argue to the contrary to show that a little learning is not dangerous. To what extent do you think learning can be a dangerous thing?
 
‘’Our belief in any particular natural law cannot have a safer basis than our unsuccessful critical attempts to refute it.’’ (Karl Popper)
 
Explain what this statement means. Argue to the contrary that science may not proceed by attempting to refute hypotheses. To what extent do you think this statement accurately reflects the nature of scientific method?
 
”Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself” (Richard Feynman, 1964)
Explain why not fooling oneself is necessary for a scientist. Why might it be easy for scientists to make the mistake of fooling themselves? How might scientists guard against this mistake?
 
”The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.” (Voltaire)
Explain what this statement means. Argue to the contrary that medicine does in fact do more than amuse the patient. To what extent do you think Voltaire is correct?
 
”A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections – a mere heart of stone.” (Charles Darwin)
Explain what this statement means. Argue that scientific enquiry benefits from personal wishes and affections. To what extent do you think a scientist should have ‘a mere heart of stone’?
 
“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” (Voltaire)
 
Explain what this statement means. Argue to the contrary that to be certain about something is not necessarily absurd. To what extent do you agree with Voltaire?
 
“There is something attractive about people who don’t regard their own health and longevity as the most important things in the world.” (Alexander Chancellor)
 
Explain what this statement means. Argue that nothing is more important than one’s own health and longevity. To what extent do you agree with Alexander Chancellor?
 
“When you want to know how things really work, study them when they are coming apart.” (William Gibson)
 
Explain what this statement means. Argue to the contrary. To what extent do you agree with the assertion?
 
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” (Charles Darwin)
 
Explain what you think is meant by this statement. Argue to the contrary. To what extent do you think it is true?
 
“Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.” (Pablo Picasso)
 
Explain what is meant by this statement. Argue to the contrary. What are the real limits of technology?
 
“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” (Christopher Hitchens)
 
Explain what you think Christopher Hitchens means. Argue to the contrary that some assertions do not require evidence. To what extent do you agree with the statement?
 
 ‘You can resist an invading army; you cannot resist an idea whose time has come.’ (Victor Hugo)
 
Explain the reasoning behind this statement. Argue that, on the contrary, any idea can be suppressed with sufficient force. What do you think gives power to an idea?

‘He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander’. (Aristotle)
 
Explain what you understand by this statement. Argue to the contrary. To what extent do you agree that someone cannot be a good leader without learning how to follow?

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