A straightforward way to think about the main differences in UCAT and BMAT is that the UCAT aims to get a greater understanding of your “raw” abilities. These include speed reading, mental arithmetic, decision making and more. The UCAT is not so concerned with your basic knowledge but instead tests you through more abstract concepts. So what about the BMAT?
While the BMAT indeed assesses these "rawer" abilities, it additionally examines your basic knowledge. It does this in a way that you are likely much more accustomed to from your GCSEs and A-levels.
One way of thinking about this is the idea of fluid versus crystallised intelligence. Fluid intelligence relates to the ability to reason and solve problems in new situations (such as 3D spatial rotation).
On the other hand, crystallised intelligence relates to the ability to use the knowledge that you have acquired through past learning or experience (such as capital cities). Generally, the UCAT tests fluid, but the BMAT tests both.
In this short piece, we outline some similarities and differences to keep in mind about the UCAT and BMAT. This is so that you are equipped to think about how to develop your skills in anticipation of the exams.
The UCAT is a two hour test with five sections that are all multiple choice and are computer-based.
There is no written component:
The BMAT is a two hour test with three sections and is paper-based:
The UCAT relates much more closely to Section 1 of the BMAT. This is because it relates to more general tests of cognition rather than learned science. But how does it relate?
Section 1 of the BMAT focuses on:
Despite the specific similarities between BMAT questions and parts of the UCAT, it is essential to note that by improving your raw abilities across the board you will undoubtedly be able to learn more quickly and strengthen your Section 2 and 3 of the BMAT too.
The take-home message is that honing in your raw skills will help you immensely in all aspects of your exam but the best thing you can do to prepare is to familiarise yourself with past exam content.
To read about the recent changes made to Section 1 of the BMAT check out What are the changes to the BMAT Section 1 for 2020?
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