How to use and attempt BMAT past papers

Yasmin, THE MEDIC BLOG

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In this article, we will explore the different ways you can use and attempt the BMAT past papers.

The official BMAT site has over 15 years worth of BMAT past papers. However, they must be utilised effectively during preparation.

Let’s explore the different ways you can use and attempt BMAT papers.

1. Diagnostic test

A diagnostic test is a past paper that you take at the beginning of your prep to determine your strengths and weaknesses as well as how much you need to improve. Your diagnostic results give you an estimate of how well you would do on the BMAT and which parts of the test you’re struggling with. Without a BMAT diagnostic test, it’s much harder to study effectively for the exam because you don’t know how much progress you need to make or in which areas.

Here are my answers to some of the F.A.Q’s regarding diagnostic tests:

Q. Which year is the best to use as a diagnostic test?

The most recent past paper. This is because it will be the closest in format and content to the real test.

Q. Wouldn’t it make sense to save the most recent paper for later?

No, because if you wait too long and score poorly, you have less time to do anything about it. Find out where you stand as soon as possible then develop an individualised study plan that’ll target your weaknesses and help you reach your target BMAT score.

2. Untimed practice

Untimed practice is where you attempt a past paper with no time pressure to test and improve understanding in certain areas. Particularly when you are starting out in your preparation, untimed practise is very useful. By doing slow, methodical practise and allowing yourself as much time as you need to answer each question. You slowly build more confidence and rectify mistakes/weaknesses.

F.A.Q’s regarding untimed practice:

Q. How long should I do untimed practice?

Honestly, it depends on your diagnostic test results and how long you have until test day. But as a general rule, I would say aim to achieve your target score untimed before moving to timed practice.

Q. Which papers are best for untimed practice?

Old papers. They are less relevant in terms of format and content. Skim through them and only attempt questions that are relevant to your exam.

3. Timed practice (mini-test)

Timed mini-tests is where you work on one section (or question-type) in exam conditions to improve accuracy and pace under time pressure. By doing time-pressured mini-tests, you can isolate issues that may arise on test day and work on them more closely.

F.A.Q’s regarding timed mini-test practice:

Q. What should I focus on during timed mini-tests?

Weak areas. Set timed mini-tests for sections or questions that you find challenging. Practice triage and try time-saving strategies to potentially implement on test day.

Q. Which papers are best for timed mini-tests?

Old papers, but more recently that the ones that you use for untimed practice. They should be more relevant in terms of format and content. But do skim through them beforehand and only attempt questions that are relevant to your exam.

4. Timed practice (full mock)

A full mock is where you attempt a full past paper in one sitting under exam conditions to evaluate progress. You should simulate the real test, and be done with no breaks. By doing this, you simulate the feel of the BMAT and assess your progress.

F.A.Q’s regarding timed full mocks:

Q. How many mocks should I do?

As many as possible, you can never do too many BMAT past papers.

Q. Which papers are best for timed mini-tests?

More recent papers. I would say keep at least the last 5 papers for full mocks.

Not sure where to begin with BMAT revision?

Click here to take our free 30-day BMAT Challenge. It is a free ebook to kickstart and structure BMAT revision. For more of our BMAT resources, visit TMB store.

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