If you’re thinking about applying to study Medicine in the UK or at the NTU Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, you’ve probably already glanced at the admissions requirements and noticed the BMAT requirement. Not only must you take this test, but most medical programmes have a minimum score to even be considered. Especially at top-ranked institutions, these benchmark scores are often quite high.
So how do you score well enough and avoid having to wait a year to retake the test? Lucky for you, we’re here to share some expert advice on how to perfect the BMAT on your first try!
What’s a ‘Good’ BMAT Score?
Known to be a difficult test, the BMAT tests you on scientific and mathematical knowledge, in addition to other soft skills like problem solving and critical thinking. Running from a scale of 1 to 9 for each of the first two sections, the official BMAT website states that the average score obtained falls around 5.0. Scoring a 6.0 is considered competitive, while outstanding test takers will score a 7.0 and above.
At top schools like Imperial College London, for example, international students are required to meet a minimum combined score of 13.3 for the 2021-2022 academic year and obtaining this score doesn’t necessarily guarantee an interview opportunity.
Despite the amount of preparation that test takers dedicate in order to attain a high score on the BMAT, it is common for test-takers to achieve a score that will not meet some of their schools’ cut-offs. In addition, as BMAT scores are only valid for a year, being rejected from a programme means that you will not only have to wait for another year to apply, but that you’ll also have to retake the test if you wish to reapply. So how exactly do you avoid the dreaded resit?
Ace the BMAT on Your First Attempt
Instead of delaying your journey to medical school by a year, here’s some advice from test-takers who have already experienced the test themselves.
Familiarise yourself with the test format
While studying for content is important, many have shared that the type of questions they encountered on the BMAT caught them by surprise. In addition to reviewing past exams to brush up on the material, taking free diagnostic tests and watching BMAT preparation videos great ways to adjust to the pace, rhythm, and expectations of the exam.
Prepare early and be consistent
Many test-takers will be preoccupied with ongoing academic priorities, making it hard for them to find the time and focus to prepare for the BMAT. Instead of burning yourself out by studying for hours on end, pace yourself over the course of a few months as you handle your other commitments. Cramming non-stop days before the exam won’t help. Dedicate shorter periods of time to studying but remain consistent.
Focus on areas of improvement
Although it is ideal to perfect every section and question type that you may encounter in the test, doing so is unrealistic, especially if you’re not able to dedicate so much time to preparation. It is advised, after taking practice exams, to focus on areas in which you are scoring below 80%. Instead of relying on your strengths and neglecting your weaknesses, aim to attain a certain score for each section.
Perfect your speed reading
While you can do so by taking past exams, speed reading can be done with any other text as well. Perfecting your speed reading will allow you to increase your efficiency as well as reading comprehension. This will give you more time to focus on areas of the test that you may not be so confident in.
Attempt the UCAT too!
Although some prefer to solely focus their efforts on the BMAT, many also decide to take both the BMAT and UCAT. Depending on whether you have the time to study for both exams, taking both the UCAT and BMAT may be advisable, especially if you’re aiming for acceptances at the BMAT schools and cannot be too sure of your chances.
Having both BMAT and UCAT scores to fall back on, as well as a greater number of schools to choose from, may also be ideal for students who would rather not take a gap year wish to give themselves more options.
Overall, the BMAT is a challenging exam but if you dedicate enough time and consistent effort and have established a strategy, you’ll be on the right track to acing the exam. Good luck for your BMAT!