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Is the TSA harder than the BMAT?

Advice & Insight From TSA Specialists

When applying to study certain courses at UK universities, students may be required to sit either the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) or the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT). These tests are used to assess a student’s aptitude for certain subjects and to provide an objective measure of their academic ability. Here, we will compare the difficulty of the TSA and the BMAT and explore which of the two tests is harder.

How Hard is the TSA?

The TSA test is designed to assess a student’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The test consists of two sections – Section 1 covers Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking, whilst Section 2 covers essay-writing. The Problem-Solving Section component assesses a student’s mathematical skills and their ability to apply logical reasoning to solve problems, whilst the Critical Thinking Section assesses a student’s ability to evaluate and analyse information, make inferences, and identify underlying assumptions. The TSA test is scored on a scale from 0-100, with the average score being around 50-60%. However, the raw score does not translate across exactly to a percent. In the most recent available data, the mode score for problem solving was 57.6, and the mode score for critical thinking was 68.2

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How Hard is the BMAT?

The BMAT is designed to assess a student’s aptitude for medicine, dentistry, and veterinary science. The test consists of three sections – the Aptitude and Skills Section, the Scientific Knowledge and Applications Section, and the Writing Task.

The Aptitude and Skills Section assesses a student’s critical thinking, problem-solving, and reasoning skills. The Scientific Knowledge and Applications Section assesses a student’s knowledge of biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as their ability to apply this knowledge to real-world scenarios. The Writing Task assesses a student’s ability to communicate effectively in writing.

The BMAT test is scored on a scale from 1-9, with 5 engineered to be the average score for applicants to the ‘most highly selective undergraduate university courses.’ In the most recent available data, the mode score for Section 1 was 4.1, and the mode score section 2 was 4.2. However, the true average score was a little higher for both sections. Essays are marked on a scale of 1-5, and also banded for the quality of the written English.

Which is Harder, the TSA or the BMAT?

It is difficult to determine which test is harder, as they are designed to assess different skills and knowledge. However, we can compare the difficulty of the TSA and the BMAT by looking at their content, format, and average scores.

Content and Format: The TSA test focuses on critical thinking and problem-solving skills, with a focus on mathematical reasoning and logical thinking. If the essay section is not included (as is often the case) the test is essentially equivalent only to the first section of the BMAT. Meanwhile, the BMAT test focuses on scientific knowledge and applications, as well as critical thinking and problem-solving skills. As stated, the test is divided into three sections, with each of the first two sections containing multiple-choice questions. As such, one could argue that the BMAT is harder, as it contains both science and mathematics knowledge questions, and problem solving and critical thinking questions – so both the questions expected in the TSA, and more academic knowledge as well. In fact, this is illustrated by the fact that students preparing for the TSA can use BMAT Section 1 papers, and those preparing for the BMAT can use TSA papers to prepare for Section 1. Average scores do little to illustrate the difference in difficulty, as the papers are marked differently and it should be immediately apparent that both papers are designed to be challenging.

Overall, it is difficult to determine which test is harder, as they are constructed differently. However, it would be fair to argue that both tests are equally difficult – as the first sections are equivalent, as are the essay-writing components – or that the BMAT is more difficult, as it contains both Section 1 and 2 of the TSA, and an additional section that covers academic knowledge across the Sciences – as would be expected of students applying to Medicine or similar courses.

Is the TSA harder than the BMAT?

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