Preparing for the BMAT can seem a little daunting – there’s a huge amount of content to cover, and the exam features sections that might seem a little alien to many students – like critical thinking. However, through careful and dedicated prep you can ensure that you secure a strong enough mark to receive interview invites from top universities. Here, we will look at different strategies and tips, as well as some resources that are of use when preparing.
Effective strategies for preparing for the BMAT
Your preparation should begin with official BMAT past papers. You can find a range of BMAT Past Papers on our BlackStone Tutors site, here. They are divided by subject matter as well as year, so you can hone in on specific areas. It’s vital to work through past papers to understand your strengths and weaknesses – and you must be honest yourself when assessing them as well. Do not avoid areas of potential weakness, but rather try as many past questions as you can until you are confident on the areas which you need to work harder on.
Next, your preparation should consider your weaker areas. Many students will naturally gravitate towards areas which they find to be more interesting, and thus easier – however, this leads to a vicious cycle, in which weaker areas become ever-weaker relative to the areas of strength.
You should certainly consider using an online BMAT course, or a BMAT crash course (also known as an intensive BMAT course). At BlackStone Tutors, signing up for our BMAT Crash Course will also allow you access to our online course – meaning that you benefit both from experienced tuition in-person, and the chance to work through content at your own pace.
You must make good use of the official syllabus. This will outline all the information that you need for each of Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics – and thus ensure that there are no blindspots in your revision.
Lastly, make sure to practise your essay-writing, from the outset. Many students forget to do so, or leave this to the last minute – expecting this to be a relatively easy section, or thinking it less important. This is a huge error, as developing a solid approach will ensure you can pick up marks here.
Best tips and tricks for BMAT success on the Day
Firstly, read everything as carefully as you can – in particular the problem solving components. This ensures that you avoid making simple errors. Many students will make simple mistakes on questions in which they do actually have the requisite knowledge, as they are confident and wish to rush through the question.
Next, estimate to eliminate options if you’re pushed for time. This can be of particular use when tackling problem solving questions or attempting questions that have a significant amount of data. This will then allow you to hone in on the correct options and spend valuable calculation time on these options only. If required, you can also use this technique to reduce the options to only two that are feasible.
Lastly, do not spend too long on a question that you simply do not know the answer to. There will always be some questions that you struggle with, and it’s much better to make a note of these and move on, rather than waste precious exam time trying to tackle something that you may simply not be able to answer.
How to improve your BMAT score
The first step to improving your BMAT score is to understand the exam itself. The test consists of three sections: Section 1 tests your problem-solving skills and critical thinking, Section 2 evaluates your scientific knowledge, and Section 3 assesses your ability to communicate your ideas effectively in writing. Knowing the format of the test will help you focus on the areas that require the most attention. Next, you must develop your problem solving and critical thinking skills. To improve your performance in section 1, practice solving different types of problems, such as logic puzzles, numerical problems, and spatial reasoning questions. You can find practice problems online, in study guides, or in BMAT preparation books. Our Online BMAT Course offers hundreds of questions, as well as access to all past papers. You should, as stated above, make sure that you review the official BMAT syllabus, and if needed, consult a BMAT tutor to ensure that you are able to cover all the content required. Writing essays can be difficult to practise – once again, making use of a tutor will ensure that you are able to track whether the work that you are producing is of a high enough quality.
Ensure that you manage your time – both when preparing and during the test itself. Each section has a specific time limit, and you must complete each section within the given time frame. To improve your time management skills, practice solving problems and writing essays under timed conditions. Learn to prioritise questions based on difficulty and allocate time accordingly.
Ensure that you take mock tests consistently throughout the process. This should be both official past papers, and online question banks. Try to take mock tests under timed conditions, and then work to analyse your performance afterward. Identify areas where you struggled and work on improving them.
Lastly, as mentioned, you may wish to engage a BMAT tutor to ensure that your preparation is as efficient as it could be.
BMAT Essential resources and study materials
Firstly, you must use the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing official materials. Their study information provides a comprehensive overview of the test format, content, and scoring system. The guide contains sample questions and explanations, which can help you understand the types of questions you can expect on the test. It also includes tips and strategies for each section of the exam. As part of this site, you should make use of the BMAT past papers – practising with past papers is an incredibly effective way to prepare for the BMAT. Past papers provide a realistic simulation of the test environment and help you identify your weaknesses. The BMAT website offers free past papers for each section of the exam. Make sure to take the past papers under timed conditions to simulate the test environment accurately – however, add extra past papers from our BlackStone Tutors site, as we have a greater number than can be found elsewhere. You might wish to consult BMAT preparation books although with the advent of online courses, books have become a little less relevant. This makes way for online courses, like that offered at BlackStone Tutors – where you are able to analyse your performance, choose categories of questions, and focus your preparation much more efficiently. You must of course also use correct science textbooks – covering GCSE and A Level Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics, in conjunction with the syllabus provided by Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing.
Lastly, you might wish to make use of a range of logical puzzles and critical thinking resources. As well as BMAT practice material, you can also use TSA practice papers, which feature much of the same content, or even IMAT practice papers.
Expert advice for acing the BMAT Exam
Much of the advice that you should be aware of has already been covered above. However, it’s vital to consider each of the following points:
– First, you can never practise too much. Practising past papers is an essential part of BMAT preparation. It will give you an idea of the types of questions you can expect and help you identify your areas of weakness. You should aim to practise as many past papers as possible, and ensure that you practise under timed conditions to simulate the exam environment accurately. Also as mentioned, you must equally develop strong time management skills – you will have only 60 minutes to answer 35 questions in Section 1 and only 30 minutes to answer 27 questions in Section 2.
– Remember to develop a study plan at the outset. A study plan will help you organise your preparation and ensure that you cover all the topics tested in the exam. You should allocate sufficient time to each section of the exam, based on your strengths and weaknesses – and be honest with yourself about your weaknesses.
– Remember to cover all scientific aspects of the test – no matter how confident you feel on Chemistry, for example, you must still work through the syllabus to ensure that you have no blindspots or areas of weakness.
– Whilst the essay writing component will rely heavily on your ability to write, it also relies on your knowledge of current affairs, on your ability to craft arguments – the latter of which is heavily reliant on understanding how others have crafted arguments themselves. Therefore, try to stay up to date with current affairs and opinion pieces – that means making use of reputable newspapers and magazines, as well as websites. In particular, sites like the BBC, the Guardian, the Times, the Telegraph and other broadsheet papers are a great source of news, opinion, and reasoned argument that you can use to inform your own writing.