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IMAT: Tips During the Exam

IMAT Preparation Specialists

After you’ve prepared extensively for the exam, comes the day of the test itself. How can you make sure to give yourself the best chance of success? Here, we break down our top tips for success in the IMAT.

Get subject specific

Before you go into the exam, it’s worth having an honest idea of which subjects are likely to be your strong points, and which your weakest. You can use this to be realistic in the way that you divide time; for example, if you find that Physics is a weak point throughout your testing, but that you perform excellently in other sections, then you might choose to spend a very brief period on Physics questions, and not put down answers to questions that you’re unsure of; this would allow you to have more time for other sections to pick up marks that you’re more certain on.

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Read the question carefully

This applies to the entire exam, but is of particular relevance for the logical thinking component of Section 1. Ensure that you read each part of the question, look for negatives, and look for any qualifying words like ‘most’ or ‘more’. In particular, make sure that you do not get any true/false questions the wrong way round.

Use Keywords if you’re a slower reader

If you’re not a fast reader, keywords can be very helpful for Section 1. Look for specific words that appear in answer options that are rare or particularly leading, and then look for these same key words in the passage. Ensure that you place the key word in context – this might involve reading half of the paragraph around it, for example, but save you from reading the entire passage.

However, if you’re a fast reader and English is your native language then you ought to read the entire passage for these questions – there is adequate time to do so and you’ll be guaranteed not to miss important information. Indeed, IMAT passages are relatively shorter compared to BMAT passages (and you should be using the BMAT as a preparation tool as well), so you ought to be able to get through them efficiently.

Units come first

When undertaking mathematical questions or problem solving questions, make sure to convert any different units before you try to solve the rest of the question. For example, if you’re given values in m3 and cm3, then remembering to convert at the outset could save you the confusion of later dividing by only 100 to get from metres to centimetres, and getting an incorrect answer, as opposed to having divided by 1,000,000 at the start and getting a correct answer.

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Eliminate options by estimating

If you’re doing a mathematical question or a problem solving question, you should be able to eliminate some options immediately with rough mental maths. 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. If you still don’t know the answer, you now have a statistically better chance if you answer the question than if you do not (50% chance of getting +1.5 marks vs 50% chance of getting -0.4 marks). 

Don’t waste time

If you simply don’t know the answer to a question, you’ve carefully read it, and you can’t see a logical way of narrowing down the options to a 50/50, then it’s likely time to move on. Practise answering efficiently and using your time wisely. For example, if you’re given a question on Dante and know nothing about his works, then the chances of you correctly picking the answer from five different options are essentially 20% (a random choice), and as such an answer here is likely to lose marks. You must accept that you won’t get every question right, and you’ll do better having a more strategic approach.

Don’t let too much data confuse you

Whether you’re looking at a problem solving question or a Science question, don’t let an excess of information overwhelm you. You should have practised sufficiently that you’re used to sifting through large tables or sentences which contain the data that you need. Find the information, apply it to the question, check your answer, and move forward. There’s no need to focus on unnecessary information.
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