Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT)

The BMAT is subject specific for medicine and veterinary science and is required for entrance to courses at some UK universities. The questions are designed to see how you cope with a medicine or veterinary science degree and to determine which of the skills that you already possess will be transferable. It is a two hour test consisting of: Aptitude, Scientific Knowledge and Written.

The test must be completed in one sitting but the individual areas are answered on separate papers. You have an hour to answer the Aptitude portion, thirty minutes to answer the Scientific Knowledge portion and thirty minutes to answer the Written portion. The aptitude and scientific knowledge portions are be multiple choice or single answer (you should mark your paper in pencil) and will be marked by a computer. These papers will be graded to produce a score to the nearest decimal point on a nine point scale. For the written portion you should write neatly in pen and be aware of spelling, punctuation and grammar. Your essay answer will be marked twice and awarded a mark between nought and fifteen.

The results are only valid in the year that you are applying and the cost of the test will be £27.30 if applying in the UK and £51.00 if applying from elsewhere.

Section 1: Aptitude and Skills (1 hour – 35 multiple choice/short answer questions)

This is a problem-solving section and will require data interpretation. It is worthwhile practising these types of questions as this will improve your skill and the examiners are looking for your aptitude for problem solving and ability to critically think and analyse material.

The section will require you to use your basic mathematical ability to analyse graphs and tables, use formulae and algebra. You will generally be presented with a lot of information to look at in order to solve the problem; not all of it is relevant. Part of the test is to see whether or not you can pick out the information that you need and discard any irrelevant information. In You should try to think about what information you would need to provide a clear, justified answer and this should help you determine which data you will need to use. There may be several different types of data that you need to cross-reference, so read all of the information before you attempt to answer the question. There may be a vital piece of information at the end of the script which is the key to understanding exactly what is being asked of you.

A portion of the Aptitude and Skills section will require you to draw conclusions and evaluations from a short piece of text - this is known as verbal critical reasoning. Your ability to critically analyse a situation will be assessed as well as recognising any weaknesses in the text. Perhaps there is information missing that is vital to answering the question. Candidates are often asked quite ambiguous questions such as, what is the main conclusion of this argument?

It is important that you think around and outside of the question. This will show that you are able to analyse material to a high level and also have an understanding of how information can be ambiguous or contain discrepancies.

Section 2 : Scientific Knowledge (30 minutes – 27 multiple choice/short answer questions)

Mathematical and scientific knowledge that you will have covered by the age of 16 (i.e. GCSEs, including the dual-science award) will be tested in this section. It will generally be familiar although for those that were educated elsewhere than the UK it is wise to check that you have covered the same information in your syllabus. The questions will each be worth one mark and will cover 4 areas; Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics.

As the questions will be based on material covered for Key Stage 4 of these subjects it is imperative that you know all four of these subjects extremely well. It is also essential that you display your ability to link all of the knowledge together rather than just repeat revised material. Examiners need to see that you have progressed past this stage to understanding the topics as a whole. This is essentially to make the test fair as all students should have studied these GCSEs to the same level. If you are from outside the UK or did not study your GCSEs in Higher Maths and Science then it is advisable to look at the national curriculum for these subjects and follow GCSE textbooks in order to be sure that you possess all of the knowledge required.

Not everything studied in your Science Key Stage 4 will be relevant in the study of biomedical sciences and to that end, certain portions of the curriculum are omitted from the test. These are; green plants as organisms, useful products from organic sources, useful products from metal ores and rocks, useful products from air, changes to the Earth and atmosphere, the Earth and beyond and seismic waves.

Section 3: Written (30 minutes – 1 question from 3)

During this section you will be asked to expand upon an idea or thought and put it into writing. This question is designed to allow you to demonstrate that you have a deep understanding of a subject. You will be restricted to one side of A4 for your answer on a topic of general, scientific or medical interest. Since you have such a limited amount of space to put down your answer, it is advisable that you take ten minutes to plan your answer in detail. Your essay will benefit from an organised structure and planning it will also make it easier to cover all of the relevant points.

The assessors will consider your opinions on a particular topic and it is important that you show a balanced viewpoint even if you are drawn towards one side of the argument. Your communication skills are being tested in this section, not your scientific knowledge so students that have exclusively studied scientific or mathematical based A-Level subjects are advised to prepare well in essay writing.

These essay questions are formally structured and explanative questions which allow students who may be unfamiliar with the topic to develop a worthwhile argument and opinion whilst also allowing more able students a chance to develop their own argument and to explore other areas of the question. The papers are marked twice and if there is a large difference between the two marks then a third examiner is brought in to ensure fair marking throughout.

Ensure that you read all three questions before making a decision on which one you are going to answer and also read all the instructions available as there may be worthwhile points outlined.

The instructions will tell you that you must write a “unified essay”. That means the essay must have a proper structure and form and that your points must carry on logically from each other. There will also be three components that must be included in your essay, this may be something along the lines of considering the viewpoint of a particular group of people. It is important that all three components are covered, these are not optional. Remember, it is not your medical or scientific knowledge that matters in this section, that has been tested in the section before, it is your ability to evaluate the arguments.

You may also be interested in reading background information on psychometric tests and aptitude tests.

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