IMAT: Complete Guide

IMAT Preparation Specialists

This is our complete guide to the IMAT, designed to give you all the information that you need about this vital exam in one place. If you want more information about any particular area, then look for our specific guides on techniques, each section, test day and more.

What is the IMAT?

Simply put, it’s an admissions test in English for students applying to Medicine programs in Italy that are taught in English. It features the following sections:

Section 1 is made up of Logical Reasoning and General Knowledge. Logical Reasoning is the simpler section to revise for, covering ‘‘Generic skills in problem solving, understanding argument, data analysis and inference’ – in other words, critical thinking and problem solving. There are seven different types of questions that fall into this category. They are:
– Drawing conclusions
– Summarising the main conclusion
– Identifying assumptions
– Assessing the impact of additional evidence
– Detecting reasoning errors
– Identifying parallel reasoning
– Applying principles

Additionally, the three types of Problem Solving question are:
– Identifying similarities
– Finding procedures
– Relevant selections

General Knowledge is focused on World and Italian History, Literature, Culture, Politics and Society, and is much more difficult to prepare for due to its broad remit. Expect to find questions covering anything from famous scientists through to Greek philosophers, and from important parts of the creation of the current Italian state through to the Space Race. This section makes the IMAT something of an outlier in terms of medical school admissions tests, which normally focus either solely on aptitude assessments or on a combination of aptitude assessments and pure sciences.

Sections 2,3 and 4 cover the Sciences – expect High School level sciences, the equivalent of the GCSE in the UK, with some questions pitched more at AS level. You can prepare for this by using an IMAT question bank,

There are 60 questions in total, of which around 20 are Section 1 and the remaining 40 are Sections 2,3 and 4. You will have 100 minutes to complete the paper, so allow 90 seconds per question.

The test uses negative marking, with correct answers awarded 1.5 points and a wrong answer given a score of – 0.4.

The test is the only assessment used by the Italian medical schools that run English programs – in other words, your GPA, references, etc are replaced by this assessment. It is therefore vital to do well in it, and understand it. Your ranking will be calculated through your overall IMAT score, and students who draw are then ranked according to how they performed in Section 1.

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Which Medical Schools Require IMAT?

All Italian medical schools that offer an English course require the IMAT. You can find more information on our specific pages for each university. As an overview, these are the medical schools that you should be aware of:

– University of Bari
– University of Bologna
– University of Campania ‘Luigi Vanvitelli’
– University of Messina
– University of Milan
– University of Milan-Bicocca
– University of Naples Federico
– University of Padova
– University of Parma
– University of Pavia
– University of Rome ‘Sapienza’
– University of Rome ‘Tor Vergata’
– University of Siena
– University of Turin

Generally Pavia, Milan and the two schools in Rome are seen as the best Italian public Medical Schools.

Preparing for the IMAT

You should aim for 2-3 months of preparation for this exam, as it is broad in scope. Your Section 1 revision should begin well in advance and incorporate past papers from the outset so that you understand each question type. Check out our guide to Section 1 to learn more. Use a question bank from the outset for logical reasoning and practise under timed conditions as you get closer to the exam. For General Knowledge, you should use an IMAT-specific question bank that focuses on Italian culture, history and society in particular. For general preparation, use an IMAT question bank and add BMAT Section 1 and TSA critical thinking past papers and question banks as needed.

Your prep for Sections 2,3 and 4 should ensure that you cover every part of the specification, and that you adjust your schedule to your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re studying all of Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics you will likely find the content requires less learning time than a student who is only studying Biology and Chemistry, but you should nonetheless ensure that you practise the specific type of question that you will encounter in the IMAT under timed conditions using a question bank. You can also use BMAT Section 2 content, as well as NSAA content if you want to find slightly more advanced questions.

How much does the IMAT cost, and when will I sit it?

The exam costs $160 if you’re from the US or elsewhere outside Europe, 130 Euros for those from the EU, or £116 if you’re from the UK. You’ll sit the exam in September, having registered in July. The exact dates change in each year, but expect to register in the first week of July and sit the exam in the second week of September.

Can I take the IMAT in my country?

You can the IMAT in the following countries:
Azerbaijan: Baku
Brazil: São Paulo
Canada: Toronto
Cyprus: Nicosia
China: Beijing
France: Paris
Germany: Hamburg
Germany: Munich
Switzerland: Zurich
Spain: Madrid
Greece: Athens
Hong Kong
India: New Delhi
Israel: Tel Aviv
Pakistan: Lahore
Poland: Warsaw
Turkey: Istanbul
Saudi Arabia: Jeddah
South Africa: Johannesburg
UAE: Dubai
UK: London
USA: New York

Of course, you can take it across Italy as well.

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What should I expect on test day?

Ensure that you have a photographic ID and the two confirmation emails that you were sent upon registering. You’ll also need a black biro. Remember that you are NOT permitted to bring a calculator to this exam.

Do you need to know Italian to study in Italy?

You will not be expected to know any Italian. All of your lectures and textbooks will be in English. However, you will be taught Italian as part of your studies, so that you can in time communicate with patients in Italian. This will be a gradual process beginning in your first year, designed to allow you to assimilate into Italian culture upon graduating – if you so desire.

What Happens After I Graduate from an Italian University?

After you graduate you can practise across the EU, as well as elsewhere if you take the relevant licensing exams. That means you could return to your native country, stay in Italy, or choose a new country to live and work in.

What Should I Expect from an Italian Medical School Program?

Generally, expect the first three years to be focused on theoretical knowledge, and the second part of the degree to be more hands-on. Small class sizes are common and allow for students to actively engage with their tutors.
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