This is by far the most common BMAT question that pops up everywhere, from speaking to medical applicants in person to threads on The Student Room. Here’s the answer.

THE SHORT AND SIMPLE VERSION:

BMAT tests GCSE Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths. Therefore, just make sure you know your GCSE stuff and you should be fine.

THE COMPREHENSIVE VERSION:

Although BMAT technically only tests GCSE-level Science, the examiners are at liberty to ask topics you personally haven’t studied, on the grounds that another exam board has. Therefore, it’s helpful to have a list of topics that you have to know. Below you’ll find just the list you’re looking for. The topics have been compiled by trawling through past papers (from 2009 onwards) and identifying which topics in all 3 sciences have come up. There’s no guarantee that they won’t ask a new topic this year, but we would be willing to bet a lot of money that if you know these topics properly, you will have the knowledge (though not necessarily the intuition) to answer, if not 27/27 questions, at least 26 of them.

PHYSICS:

Let’s start with Physics, as it’s the one that causes the most angst for those who don’t do it at AS. We’ve made our Electricity notes from the BMAT Crash Course handbook available for free(!), so you should definitely give those a read through even if (especially if) you’re not attending the course.

  • Electricity
    • Basics of charge, voltage, current
    • Series and Parallel circuits, and associated calculations (related to voltage and current)
    • Short Circuits – basics
    • Diodes – basics
    • Transformers – basics, simple calculations
  • Mechanics
    • SUVAT equations (arguably not strictly necessary, but still useful to know)
    • Newton’s Laws of Motion (especially II)
    • Work, Energy Pressure and Power, and associated calculations
    • Conservation of Energy
    • Moments
  • Nuclear Physics
    • Basic principles
    • Radioactive decay (alpha, beta, gamma)
    • Half-life
    • Measuring radioactivity
  • Waves
    • Basics (speed = frequency x wavelength)
    • Refraction – Basics & Total Internal Reflection
    • Convection, Conduction, Radiation

BIOLOGY:

The vast majority of medical applicants do Biology at AS, and so you should be fine with the majority of BMAT biology questions.

  • Genes, Alleles and Natural Selection
    • Genetic diagrams – dominant, recessive
    • Mutants and clones
    • Mitosis and Meiosis
    • Genetic Engineering
  • Respiratory & circulatory systems – the very basics
    • Alveoli etc
    • Direction of blood flow through the heart and body
    • Breathing
  • Hormones – you need to know what all these do
    • Insulin & Glucagon
    • Adrenaline
    • Menstrual cycle hormones – FSH, LH, Oestrogen, Progesterone
    • Testosterone
    • ADH
  • Homeostasis – the very basics
    • Temperature regulation
    • Glucose regulation
  • Nerves
    • Basics of nervous transmission
    • Comparison with hormones
  • Ecology
    • Nitrogen Cycle

CHEMISTRY:

Every single medical (and veterinary) applicant does Chemistry at A-Level. If you don’t, you should be very worried. Therefore, you will have covered everything that can possibly come up in the BMAT. Here’s a list of topics in case you’re not amazing at all of them.

  • Fundamentals
    • Ionic and covalent bonding
    • Reactivity Series – displacement reactions etc
    • Dynamic equilibrium – LeChatelier’s principle
  • Calculations
    • Balancing equations
    • Isotope calculations
    • Empirical formulae
    • Ionic half equations
    • Percentage Yield
    • Volume of gas
  • Organic Chemistry
    • Polymerisation
    • Combustion

 


 

So that’s “everything” you need to know for Section 2 of the BMAT. Find a question in a past paper (2009-2013) that’s not on this list? Chances are, it’s either (a) too basic to bother about in this list (ie: stuff about the periodic table and group numbers etc) or (b) you don’t need any specialist knowledge to answer it (just look through the options and see if you can get the answer through elimination alone). If you do find a question that doesn’t fall into a category and doesn’t have the above characteristics, please contact us and let us know so we can take a look.

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