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Preparing for the BMAT (biomedical admissions test) Essay

The biomedical admissions test was created to assist medical and veterinary schools in the admissions process. Some of the universities have much more applications than places and the majority of these applications are strong. The BMAT allows the universities to filter out the strongest candidates based on exam performance. The BMAT exam lasts for 2 hours and is split into 3 sections. The examination test date is 31st October 2008. This article will aim to provide you with some advice and give an overview to students who are planning on taking the BMAT exam. • aptitude and skills (1 hour)

• scientific knowledge and application (30 minutes)
• writing task (30 minutes)
The universities which currently require you to take the BMAT are:
• The university of Cambridge
• The university of Oxford
• Imperial college London
• The royal veterinary college
• University of central London
Aptitude and Skills

This section aims to explore your problem solving skills, your ability to understand and interpret data and your analytical skills. It is multiple choice for the most. This is the main reason as to why you should guess intelligently, take a look at the given data and take a guess. Practice is key in this section. For the problem solving element of this section look at all the given data carefully. Here are some techniques to help you. • Divide and conquer technique: Break down any large chunks of data into smaller chunks, making the smaller problems which are easier to solve and then once you have solved them put the data back together and form an answer. • Trial and error: Use different approaches to come to a final conclusion and answer. • Working backwards: start with one of the possible answers and work backwards from it.

• Incubation: This is a last resort method which seldom works. Put all of the starting details relating to a problem in your mind picture them and then stop focusing on them and carry on with the examination (take an intelligent guess). Your subconscious mind may come up with an answer during the rest of the examination The understanding and interpreting subset involves using the information in front of you, do not make assumptions unless it is appropriate to the question. Analyse all data given carefully not leaving anything out. The data analysis subset involves extracting certain points out of the data and using these to make suitable conclusions, to give the answer. Depending on the starting data you are provided with this could include using statistical methods, interpreting graphs, curve fitting or even eradicating unwanted information and prioritising said data.

Scientific knowledge and application

This section attempts to make students utilise their scientific knowledge to help them answer questions. Again this section is multiple choice, so make informed guesses when there is a need using the data given. This section also requires practice and revision of scientific principles in order to score high marks, so we advise you do some revision covering the basics of biology, chemistry and physics.

Writing task

The writing task is asking you to create an essay from a given question. Here are some general pointers to help you achieve a great score. • Read: Read articles, newspapers, journals and book. This will help you to gain an understanding of how to put forward logical thought and will also help improve your English writing skills • Partake in group discussions/debate forums: By doing this you will develop the skills that allow you to analyse certain situations and statements, in addition to developing the ability to generate a fair argument looking at both sides of the situation and can help you produce good conclusion.

• Good structure: Ensure you have an introduction, Main body and conclusion. By having an assigned essay structure your ideas will flow more freely and will follow a logical order that makes it easier for the reader to understand. • Snappy conclusion and introduction: the introduction and conclusion can be the sections of your essay that sell it to the reader. Because these are the first and last things they read and so will remain in their mind the longest. An extremely good conclusion will stick in the readers head and maybe it might help you to boost your mark.

Conclusion

One key aspect for revision regarding the UKCAT is to sit some mock BMAT examinations; this will allow you to get a feel for the allocated time slot for the exam and thus ensure that you can finish all the questions. Some final general pointers I would like to add are 1. Don’t waste too much time on one question.

2. Generate a short plan for your writing task, just pointing out what you are going to cover and in what order. 3. Make sure you get plenty of rest before the exam.

4. If you have time available at the end of the exam use it to check over your answers.


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