As part of the free 30-day BMAT Challenge candidates are required to be critical when reviewing their BMAT practice tests and BMAT past papers results. In this article we will look at some of the proven strategies to help spot weak areas during BMAT practice.
I believe one of the main reasons a lot of candidates do not see any improvement during BMAT practice is due to not being critical enough. In this article I will share 3 strategies to help you successfully spot weak areas during BMAT practice:
Strategy #1 – Comparative past paper strategy
This is where you do little or no preparation before attempting 1-2 fully timed BMAT past papers. The goal is to recognise where your natural capabilities lie before deep diving into BMAT preparation
Step 1 – Attempt past papers 1 and 2 under exam conditions.
Step 2 – Mark your score in each test. Use the BMAT score conversion table to convert score for section 1 and 2. Ask a friend or family member to mark your test essays with our BMAT essay marking guide.
Step 3 – Compare results to respective BMAT averages. You can find past BMAT results on Cambridge testing website. For example; if you did the BMAT 2009 and 2010 past paper compare your results to the official BMAT results achieved in those years.
Step 4 – Use the official BMAT results to identify your weakest section (This will most likely be your lowest scoring section).
Step 5 – Use results to create a preparation plan on improving weakest sections.
Strategy # 2 – Practice test Strategy
This is where you do a series of diagnostic tests to identify weak areas and skills within a specific section. These diagnostic tests are made up of 4 types, and are dependant on what you want to focus on – they include:
- Section specific
- Question-type specific
- Skills specific
- Knowledge specific
Section Specific: This is where you attempt a full BMAT test to identify which of the three BMAT section is your strongest and weakest. This can be done either untimed or under exam conditions.
Question-type Specific: This is where you attempt a specific BMAT section to identify the question-types that are your strongest and weakest. This is particularly useful in section 1 and 2 of the BMAT.
Skill Specific: This is where you attempt a specific section to identify where your natural capabilities lie and any shortcomings in skills.
Knowledge Specific: This is where you attempt a specific section to identify concepts you are familiar with and any gaps in knowledge. This is useful for section 2 and 3 of the BMAT.:
Step 1 – Attempt a full practice test either timed or untimed to identify lowest scoring section ( use the BMAT conversion table and Essay marking guide to convert scores)
Step 2 – Do a practice test with only your lowest scoring section to identify your weakest question-type. For help with identifying question types check out the article where I breakdown the BMAT test.
Step 3 – Set a practice test with the weakest question-types to identify gaps in knowledge or skills. You may need to use other resources such as BMAT books or past papers to set test.
Step 4 – Use the results from each practice test to identify weakest areas and create a preparation plan on improving them.
Step 5 – Once you are done, move onto the next lowest section and repeat Step 2 – 4.
Strategy #2 – KPI Strategy
This is where you monitor Key performance indicators (KPIs) during timed and untimed BMAT practice. These are a set of measurements that evaluates progression over time.
By assessing KPIs you can make smarter decisions about the direction of your revision – the main two KPIs include:
1. Error Rate
This refers to the frequency at which you answer incorrectly within a specific section of the exam. It is measure as a percentage and can be calculated using the formula below:
E.R = total number of incorrect responses/ total questions attempted X 100
This KPI is a good metric to monitor your accuracy over time as you practice BMAT past papers. I recommend you calculate your error rate in Section 1 and 2 after every mock test and monitor results. For instance, if you notice your error rate is getting worse after each test, try to figure out why. It could be a specific question-type needs improvement or may need to work on specific skill or knowledge.
Speed is a measure of how quickly you complete each BMAT section within its time limitations. This is important and must be tracked during every timed exercise. I recommend doing timed mock tests regularly and reflecting on your use of time for each section.
A good idea for timed practice is to set mini-tests (only applicable for Section 1 and 2 only) where you do half the number of questions in each section under timed conditions. Use the results to assess both error rate and speed. Adjust your attack plan and strategies accordingly.