BMAT Workshop – Course Info
7 hours of intense tuition in all 3 sections of the BMAT. It’s the perfect foundation upon which to build your own revision.
Our Approach to the BMAT
The course lasts 7 hours, and in that time, we go through every section of the BMAT, giving you tips and techniques for each. We also teach you the Science you need to know for Section 2 (something that is often neglected on other courses), and provide our highly-rated BMAT Crash Course Handbook, which contains comprehensive Science revision notes and example Section 3 essays.
The morning is spent on Section 1, going through the two broad types of question – (1) Critical Thinking, and (2) Problem Solving. In Critical Thinking we teach you the techniques for identifying conclusions, assumptions, flaws, strengths and weaknesses within arguments – we emphasise though, that Critical Thinking is one of those skills that many students innately possess, and so if you happen to fall into that category, our techniques are merely a backup for your own instinct, which will get you the answer in a quicker amount of time.
The Problem Solving questions can take the form of data handling, number crunching, spatial awareness and a whole host of other permutations. We take you through some of the more difficult questions that have come up in the past, and show you some “shortcuts” to getting the answers. This part of the BMAT isn’t so much about applying knowledge you’ve learnt as it is using your intuition – the aim is therefore to help you develop that intuition. Our worked solutions to the BMAT past papers really help – they show you the precise thought process our team followed to get the right answer, and if this is quicker than the method you used for it, you’ve learnt something new that you can later apply to other questions.
After lunch, the majority of the afternoon is spent on Section 2. Most medical applicants don’t do Physics at AS, and so we teach you all the Physics you need to know for the BMAT in roughly an hour and a half. It’s intense, but enjoyable at the same time, and you can (and should) refer to our revision notes in your own time to solidify the concepts in your mind. There are also some Biology topics that are neglected in most GCSE boards but that still come up in the BMAT – we go over those briefly, and again, the notes are there for you to revise from afterwards. Chemistry is less of an issue as everyone does it at A-Level, but we found last year that a lot of students struggled with doing chemical calculations under time pressure, and so this year, we’re devoting some time to teaching quick methods for those as well.
Finally, we end the day with a more relaxing Section 3 (essay) preparation session. We pick a common essay title that tends to come up in BMAT past papers, and go through it as a class. We build up the introduction, main argument and conclusion, and give you tips for maximising your score. Because Section 3 isn’t as important as the other two, and because the best way to practice essays is simply by writing them, we only spend an hour on this section – we highly recommend that you do your own practice after the course.
We do have to emphasise though, that the BMAT Crash Course is not a magic bullet that will instantly get you a score in the 7s. It’s merely a foundation upon which you need to build if you want a high score. We’ve done all the hard work for you – you don’t have to trawl through Science textbooks to find the information you need, as it’s all in our Handbook. And if you’re stuck on a question, all you have to do is consult our solutions to find the appropriate method to work it out. But other than that, the onus is on you to prepare hard, especially if multiple University choices are resting on the result of the BMAT. We’re just here to make that process as simple as possible.
Section 1 – Aptitude & Skills
Timing in this section is rather generous. You’ve got just under 2 minutes per question, which we feel is more than enough for most of the questions. The problem is the remainder. Your goal is therefore to triage – blitz through the easy questions as quickly as possible, skipping out any that look difficult, and hopefully leaving yourself with enough time to properly tackle them at the end.
On the BMAT Crash Course, we’ll be going through the various different types of question that have come up in past papers. Most of the questions in section 1 are either critical thinking, data handling or plain old maths. Although this section is notoriously difficult to prepare for, we’ll be taking you through some of the more difficult questions in each category, and teaching you the best methods for dealing with them. Sure, some of them will involve pure number crunching, but there’s usually a shortcut to the right answer, and the “trick” to doing well in this section (and indeed, the whole paper) is to find that shortcut in the time given. That’s what we’re aiming to teach you.
Section 2 – Scientific Knowledge & Application
At roughly a minute per question, section 2 is usually what causes people the most problems. The challenge is keeping your head if (or rather, when) you encounter a question you can’t immediately do, and coming back to it at the end. The syllabus for section 2 is another point of interest – although the official website says GCSE level Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths, what they actually mean is GCSE Maths and Science across all exam boards. What does that mean for you? Well, it means that you most likely haven’t covered some of the topics that they could potentially test you on. Those topics are what we’re going to teach you on the BMAT crash course. And while there’s no substitute for your own handwritten notes, we’ll be giving you a handbook with our own comprehensive revision notes on these nasty topics, so you can spend your time practising past papers rather than trawling through CGP guides (like we did) looking for the right information.
Of the 4 subjects that are tested in section 2, we’re most interested in Biology and Physics. You all should have a pretty thorough understanding of GCSE Maths, and besides, most of you will be doing it at AS anyway, so you’re covered there. As for chemistry, if you’re applying to Medicine or Veterinary Sciences, you will definitely be doing it at A-Level (if you’re not, that’s very bad news). So you should know how to do almost all of the chemistry questions they can throw at you in BMAT.
On the BMAT Crash Course, we’ll be teaching you the Physics and Biology that you might not have covered. In Physics, most GCSE exam boards don’t cover transformers, series and parallel circuit calculations, proper mechanics and some others. In Biology, most don’t cover genetics, nerves etc in sufficient detail. Naturally, we don’t want to overload you with information, so we’ll just be going over the basics in each of these topics so that if a question comes up, you’ll know what they’re talking about, and how to answer it.
Section 3 – Writing Task
The section most people look forward to the least. You’ve got 30 minutes to cram a legible essay into roughly 2/3 of a sheet of A4. If you end up going to Oxford or Cambridge, you will become sick of doing essays, but unless you’ve done something like English Literature or History at AS, you probably haven’t had much practice. Thankfully, this one isn’t too long, so the best advice we can give you is to PLAN. You’ve got 30 minutes, and it only takes around 10 to actually write the essay (that’s how little room you’ve got). Spend a good amount of time planning your answer, and everything will be okay (in theory, anyway).
Although some universities like Imperial don’t really care about this section (short of taking it into account in their cutoff point), places like UCL actually bring out your BMAT essay during your interview, and grill you on what you’ve written. A very good tactic for test day, therefore, is to get a piece of paper and jot down the main points of your essay after the exam is over. That way, you won’t forget what you’ve written in case you do get a UCL interview, and would therefore be less prone to saying something silly. Despite what some people may tell you, the essay is important so don’t neglect preparing for it.
We won’t be spending an inordinate amount of time on this section, because in all honesty, the best way to prepare for essays is to practise writing them, and doing that on a course you’ve paid to attend isn’t the best use of time. Having said that, we will be taking a look through some of the questions that have come up in previous years, and brainstorming ideas on how best to answer them. We’ll teach you how to write the perfect introduction, how to structure your arguments, and how to ensure you get a high enough score to overcome any cut-off points. The BMAT Crash Course isn’t a magic bullet though – if you’re aiming for a high score (which you should be), you’ll need to do a bit of essay practice in your own time as well. To help with that, we’ll be on hand from the day of the course right up until the day of the BMAT to provide email support if you’ve got any problems with the essays (or indeed, any part of the BMAT/interviews), and will critique work you send to us.