How I Scored In The Top 5% Of The BMAT - 6 BMAT TIPS
BMAT is no easy nut to crack - all 3 sections require different skills and approaches to get them right. But there are a few tricks that you can use during your practice and the exam to get a few extra points:
1. Practice All Past Papers Under Timed Conditions
Even when you are doing the first past paper just open a timer on your phone or laptop and peek at it from time to time. The earlier you start learning the pace of the exam the faster you'll get used to it and the less you'll have to stress about managing the timing. As you expose yourself to more and more questions you'll learn to intuitively feel how much time you can spend per question, what shortcuts can you use or what traps the authors of the BMAT often set up, all of which will help you get extra points.
2. Keep Track of Your Mistakes
The next tip applies both to Section 1 and Section 2 and was by far the biggest game-changer for me. As you may know, many topics and question-types come up every year on the BMAT. At some point, I realised I made the same mistakes, in the same kinds of questions, over and over again. That's why I created a massive Notion document where I would paste screenshots of the questions I got wrong, with an answer and an explanation next to it (if you aren't using one of the online question banks, then you'd need to do it yourself). Then every time before I wrote a section 2 mock, I'd go through all of the questions and remind myself of what the right solving patterns were. This may sound like an unnecessary, huge effort, but it was probably the largest factor that got me from 5s in my mocks to 6s and 7s.
3. Focus on High-yield Material for Section 2.
Although you can find the official syllabus for the BMAT section 2 on their website, a large chunk of the topics don't come up on Section 2 at all or do very rarely. However, there are a couple of topics that come up all the time, almost every year, so it's important that you know these topics inside-out. These include Genetics and Homeostasis for Biology, Stoichiometry and Moles for Chemistry, Electricity and Waves for Physics and Algebra for Maths.
4. Learn to Prioritise Questions
Arguably, the largest challenge of Section 2 of the BMAT is, however, the time pressure. Hence, its crucial that you use the very limited time you have to maximise the number of points you can get. Since each question is worth the same amount of points and there are no negative points, you should prioritise simpler questions - those that require you to just recall a fact or do a 1-step calculation instead of a multi-step problem. Why struggle for 3 minutes with a challenging problem if you could get 3 points at the same time doing simpler questions instead? Spotting the more complex questions is something that comes with practice, and the more you practice it the quicker you'll be. However, please don't fall into the trap of skipping too many questions, as you'll waste more time than you'll gain.
5. Plan Out the Section 3 Essay
Before you sit down to write your essay, dedicate some time to choose strategically a question and plan out the essay. After you choose the question you think you can write the most about, start brainstorming ideas for your arguments and counter-arguments. Write down everything that comes to your mind and only then move on to elaborating on those points and organising them so that they follow a logical structure. All of that is still on the scrap paper. You need to check for yourself how much time you personally need, but we would recommend around 2-3 minutes for choosing the title and the next 8-10min for planning. This may seem a bit counterintuitive, since 30 minutes sounds like very little time to write something from start to finish. But as you start using this tactic, you'll realise how much time it actually saves you, as you just type without having to constantly stop to think.
6. Don't Overthink the Essay
The word essay suggests that what you write in your Section 3 should be a sophisticated and impressive piece of writing. As a result, many candidates lose a lot of time thinking about how to best structure their sentences or what vocabulary to use to make their essay noble and lofty. Initially, I was guilty of it myself. In reality, although it's called an essay, it's a simple 5 paragraph commentary, that you shouldn't be scared of or overthink. Remember that a full essay written in a plain, formal language is much better than an unfinished one (which probably wouldn't get you anything above 2). After you planned your essay, just write it as fast as you can, treating it as a draft, so that you can have a couple of minutes by the end to double-check it and correct any linguistical mistakes.