What are the Changes to the BMAT Section 1 for 2020?

BMAT

2020-04-24

There will be changes to Section 1 of the BMAT for 2020 and beyond. But what are they? What changes do you need to make to your BMAT revision?

The BMAT is an aptitude test consisting of three different sections that some medical schools use as an admissions test as part of their application process into their medical degree programmes. 

Medical schools that use the BMAT as an admissions aptitude test for all students:

  • Cambridge
  • Oxford
  • UCL
  • Lancaster
  • Imperial
  • Leeds
  • Brighton & Sussex

Medical schools that use the BMAT as an admissions aptitude test for international students:

  • Keele
  • Manchester

The three sections of the BMAT assess the different abilities of a student. Section 1- problem-solving and critical thinking, Section 2- biology, chemistry, physics and maths and Section 3- essay writing. For more information on these sections visit our BMAT blog here. If you’re yet to start your BMAT revision check out our BMAT Revision Roadmap.

Note: The use of a calculator is not permitted.

So what are the changes?

There are three changes to Section 1 of the BMAT:

  1. The number of questions has been lowered from 35 to 32 multiple-choice questions and even more good news, the length of time to answer them has not changed, so you get a bit longer to spend on each question.
  2. The formatting of the questions. There will no longer be any long passages followed by 4 questions. It will still be multiple-choice but with 5 options to choose from and only one of the answers being correct while the other four will be purposely misleading. 
  3. Changes to assessment categories. This section will now assess your problem-solving and critical thinking abilities which is similar to previous years but this will now no longer include the use of data analysis or inference questions.

What do these changes mean?

Section 1 of the BMAT will now have 32 multiple-choice questions to be answered in an hour with only one correct answer from 5 possible answers. 

The 32 questions will be split equally between the two assessment criteria as follows:

16 critical thinking questions including:

  • Identifying Assumptions
  • Drawing Conclusions
  • Assessing the Impact of Additional Evidence
  • Identifying the Main Conclusion
  • Matching Arguments
  • Applying Principles
  • Detecting Reasoning Errors

16 problem-solving questions including:

  • Finding Procedures
  • Relevant Selection
  • Identifying Similarity

These types of questions might be displayed in a mixed order rather than in set categories and questions may ascend in a level of difficulty.

What's the impact of these changes on your BMAT revision?

With the lowering of the number of questions to be answered in an hour, this definitely means a positive impact on your BMAT revision. Plus, unlike previously where questions included long extracts to read before answering, this is no longer the case, saving you more time to get all the questions answered.

The only possible negative impact these changes may have on your BMAT revision is when using the past papers to revise and use as mock exams. The past papers will still aid in practising the same skills needed for the new exam but the formatting of the questions and the timing of that part of the whole BMAT will be different. Hence why making use of updated question banks for practice is so important.

So, overall these are welcomed changes and aim to make the BMAT a fairer platform to help medical schools select the right candidates and to help you get into medical school.

A computer screen showing BMAT questions

UPDATE: THE BMAT WILL BE COMPUTER-BASED IN 2020

The BMAT is typically sat using pen and paper, but in 2020 the exam will be computer-based. This makes using online learning resources much more important than before. We also recommend you to practise typing out your answers in word document for Section 3 at a maximum length of 550 words.

If you’re feeling a bit stuck or would simply like to do more revision, head over to our BMAT 2020 Online Course where we’ll get you signed up to guide you through this whole process step-by-step. 

We have over 1,400 Practice Questions, Section 1-3 Tutorials and Essay Plans, a Past Paper Grader and it works on your phone. 

We’ve been lending a successful helping hand since 2009. Medify is here to support you, just reach out to us.

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