Section 3 assesses your ability to communicate effectively in writing and how you organise your ideas, and present them. In this article, we will look at how to mark and review a BMAT essay.
You are required to write a short (one A4 page) essay in 30 minutes. You can choose to answer any one of the three questions, which are on a general, scientific or medical theme. Select the question that most interests you, and for which you feel you can write the best answer. Do not feel obliged to answer the medical question just because you are applying for Medicine.
The questions always have the same format: a proposition (a statement or quote) – e.g. ʻThere is money to be made from not curing disease’, followed by some instructions on how to respond. The instructions will typically require you to explain your understanding of the statement, argue for or against the statement, and then explain your view and come to a conclusion. Please note, from 2010 to 2016, Section 3 had a choice of four questions. From 2017 onwards it has a choice of three.
According to the official marking criteria, examiners will assess students on two main criteria: the quality of the content and the quality of English.
For each criteria, the markers look at the following:
Quality of Content
This is a measure of the quality of what is said and how it is structured.
- Has the candidate addressed the question in the way demanded?
- Have they organised their thoughts clearly?
- Have they used their general knowledge and opinions appropriately?
- Have they considered counter-arguments in their discussions?
Quality of English
This is a measure of the quality of the language used.
- Have they expressed themselves clearly using concise, compelling and correct English?
However, what does this all mean?
We can deduce that well-considered arguments and good quality writing is marked well.
Well-considered arguments: This is hard to define, but as a general rule, you want to make sure that you are considering both sides of an argument backed up with examples. Focus on discussing and analysing different opinions and giving arguments for and against different viewpoints. When it comes to organisation, is your response structured in a logical and easy-to-follow way that facilitates the delivery of your argument? This is typically laid out with an introduction, then several successive body paragraphs, each building off the previous, before a conclusion which synthesises everything.
Good quality writing: You know good quality writing when you see it. It isnʼt that hard to tell whether a piece of paper is good or bad. The following are factors we recommend taking into consideration when reviewing and marking the quality of English:
- Voice that is appropriate: Voice is how the writing feels to someone when they read it. Is it formal or casual? Is it friendly and inviting or reserved and standoffish? Voice is the expression of the writerʼs personality through words and it must be appropriate for the task at hand.
- Word Choice that is appropriate, specific and memorable: Good writing uses just the right words to say just the right things.
- Sentence fluency that is smooth and expressive: Fluent sentences are easy to understand.
- Conventions that are correct and communicative: Conventions are the ways we all agree to use punctuation, spelling, grammar, and other things that make writing consistent and easy to read.
Who should mark your BMAT essay?
We recommend that students not to mark their essays themselves. Instead, one of the following people can mark practice essay using our BMAT essay marking guide (included in our free BMAT worksheet) to give essay feedback.
- Family members
- Study partner
- Experienced tutor
- BMAT essay marking services
- Copy and paste essay into Grammarly to assess the use of English
How to review BMAT Essay feedback
Analyse essay feedback with our essay marking guide to identify your strengths and weaknesses. We have broken down each criteria so that it is easier to identify what you need to work on.