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It is recommended that you begin preparing for the BMAT or UKCAT the summer before you sit it at the latest. Especially with the BMAT, where there is so much content to cover, preparation is the key to a good score. Here is some advice for preparing for both tests. 

Past papers

Past papers are the best way to prepare yourself for these exams. You need to spend some time looking over past papers and familiarising yourself with style. Do some past papers out of timed conditions, trying to get to grips with the format and design of the questions. Try and do perfect answers, taking your time to understand everything. 

As it gets closer to the exam, start to do past papers in timed conditions, both tests are extremely time pressured, so you need to make sure that you move quickly.

BMAT

Section 2 of the BMAT is entirely based on your scientific knowledge. Therefore, to secure a competitive score you must know all of the content covered you in this section. Make sure you are confident with everything on the syllabus, and test yourself by answering relevant A-Level questions on the syllabus. Get your teachers to test you on the content, and discuss things that confuse them. Going into the BMAT knowing you are confident with all the material will really give you a boost in confidence, and is an important step towards a good score. 

To prepare for Section 3 of the BMAT, you want to practice writing essays in timed conditions. When looking at BMAT past papers, try and write essay responses for prompts you wouldn’t choose to answer. Having written responses to the most challenging prompts, whatever comes your way in the test, it will probably be easier than that! 

A good way to prepare for Section 3 of the BMAT is to write an essay, and give your response to anyone: your mum, brother, friend, they don’t have to have any medical experience. Ask them to read it, and then tell you what they thought the question was, from your answer. This is a good way of checking you are actually answering the question.

Rahul, Medicine, Cambridge

We think the best way to structure your BMAT essays is by breaking them into four: 

  • Explain: Define all of the key terms in the quote/statement and clearly express their meaning
  • Argue: This needs to be objective – typically against the quote/statement. Focus on 3 main arguments and use key examples.
  • Weigh up: evaluate and assess the arguments for and against and decide which is more compelling. You can use counter-arguments to highlight this.
  • Conclude: This needs to be clear and concise. When writing your conclusion, it is advisable you fall somewhere in the middle of arguing for/against the statement to show you are well-reasoned and have considered all points presented.

You can also check over your own essays, by going through them with four different coloured highlighters, highlighting bits where you explain, argue, weigh up and conclude, to ensure that you are covering all the bases in your essays. Also, practice keeping your essays to 500 words or below. The word limit for the BMAT is 550 words, and if you are used to writing essays of 500 words and fewer, you are less likely to waffle and go over the 550 in the pressurised exam conditions. 

How can we help you?

We have a comprehensive bank of resources online to help you prepare for the BMAT. We have over 900 video solutions to BMAT questions, worked through by extra tutors, which will really help you think in the right way to succeed in the BMAT. As well as this, a subscription to our online courses also unlocks over 1000 extra BMAT questions with worked solutions. Practice is key, and the preparation we can help with at STEPMaths could be your key to a successful BMAT score, and a place at your dream medical school.

There’s so many BMAT resources out there but this one is so thorough. Every question is explained in detail-it feels like a personal tutoring session.

Anuj P

UKCAT

Past papers are the best way to prepare for the UKCAT. You can also hone your verbal reasoning skills in other ways too. For example, reading newspapers or topical magazines such as the Guardian, Independent or New Scientist Geography research papers will help you stay up to date with current affairs. It is helpful to condense the information you read into short sentences to practise skills for the Verbal Reasoning Section.

Another useful thing to do to prepare for the UKCAT is to speed up your mental maths. Answer some quick fire mental maths questions online, and learn some tricks to cut some corners when doing your sums. Every second is valuable in the UKCAT, and if you can get your calculations as speedy as possible you will be at a huge advantage. 

If you’re preparing for the UKCAT, it’s worth making sure your mental maths skills are up to scratch – you’ll save yourself valuable time if you can perform mental calculations super quickly.

Conclusion

Even if you’re prepared diligently, it’ll all be for nothing if you don’t know how to approach the test. Luckily for you, we’ve got a set of top tips for expert technique for the BMAT and the UKCAT!

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