Miss Pippa Morris • September 30, 2019
Pippa is a third year medical student at the University of Cambridge. She is a member of the Oncology Society and the vice president of Caius Medical Society She is also a tutor for science, maths, and medical school entrance exams. She writes blogs and is a BMAT Tutor for theMSAG.
It is really important that as part of your BMAT revision you ensure you follow your progress using practice questions. Thankfully, all of the past papers since 2003 are available on theCambridge Assessment and Admissions Testing website. We thoroughly recommend working through as many of these as possible. Not only will it allow you to refresh your knowledge, but it will allow you to get very familiar with the exam format.
You should find that the past paper questions available on the CAAT website are more than sufficient. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to get through all of them, especially with other commitments such asinterview preparation and theUCAT Admissions Exam. However, if you do find yourself running out there are a variety of different books and online courses with large question banks. These may not be fully reflective of the questions provided by CAAT, so be mindful of this.
When going over past papers, if you have the resources possible it may be worth printing the practice papers out. This means you can write on the questions, and you may find this makes it easier to come to your answer.
It may be worth tracking your progress and seeing your improvement. You will notice if there is a specific section that you are not improving on as much, and you can adapt your BMAT preparation accordingly. Tracking your scores will give you the confidence you need that your preparation has been worth it.
For Section 1, try to identify key problem areas that you find you are struggling on. You will find the same type of questions come up again and again. These range from problem-solving, to analysis of data to understanding of argument. Sometimes, you may find questions virtually repeat themselves. Therefore, it is really important to go over as many questions as possible.
Before you attempt section 2 past paper questions, it may be worth going over theassumed subject knowledge guide beforehand. From this, you should pick out any topics which you are unfamiliar with. Revisit your GCSE notes on the topic, or look it up in a revision guide. Once you feel like you have a comfortable grasp of the assumed subject knowledge, try past papers. When you mark your answers, make a note of the topic area the question was based on, and revise these areas.
For section 3 essays, there are a wealth of questions available. There is not much point answering every single one. We suggest planning most of them unless there is no possibility you would ever answer it. Write 4 or 5 in full to get used to the timing (30 minutes). Use theBMAT section 3 marking criteria to assess your answers. You should see improvement over time, but remember to be harsh on yourself as a most accurate reflection.
Sometimes it may be worth to just focus on a specific section of the exam. Go over the questions in depth, and review the answers. If you don’t understand how to get to the correct answer, consider asking a friend who is also taking the exam, or seeing if it is online.
Additionally, you should take at least one BMAT practice test as part of your preparation. Doing a whole BMAT past paper will allow you to get familiar with the timings and the intensity of the exam. It will take a total of two hours. It is best to do a more recent paper as this will be most similar to the exam that you will take. Some of the older papers have questions which are not multiple choice, or more options for essays to write.
Once you have completed the BMAT practice test, take a break. After a couple of hours, mark it and see how you did. It should become apparent to you that one mark can make all the difference between a ‘good’ and a ‘bad’ score. By practising papers, you should be able to identify your areas of strengths and weaknesses and also to track your progress over time.
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