UKCAT- BMAT- GAMSAT: What You Should Know About These Med School Admissions Tests

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Important Information About The UKCAT, BMAT And GAMSAT

A pre-nursing student observing a routine procedure at Iringa Regional Hospital in Tanzania. As part of the decision-making process, most medical schools in the UK use admission tests in addition to academic grades to evaluate prospective students. The BMAT, UKCAT and GAMSAT are three tests that most of the schools use.

UKCAT – UK Clinical Admissions Test

UKCAT is a two hour long computer based exam. There are 4 sections and all the questions are multiple choice:

Section 1-Verbal reasoning: This section evaluates your ability to think logically about the given information and to arrive at a reasoned conclusion. Your answer must be based only on the information given in the passage, not on any personal knowledge.

Section 2 – Quantitative reasoning: This section evaluates your ability to solve numerical problems. You will need to quickly and accurately extract information from table, graphs and charts.

Section 3 – Decision analysis: This section evaluates your ability to deal with assorted forms of information and to make informed judgements and decide on an appropriate response, in situations that are complex and ambiguous.

Section 4 – Abstract reasoning: This evaluates your convergent and divergent thinking ability by inferring relationships from the given information. For example, you may be given 2 sets of shapes. You have to determine whether the test shape belongs to set A or set B or neither.

BMAT – Biomedical Admissions Test

This exam lasts two hours and consists of three sections:

Section 1: One hour, Multiple-choice – assesses your generic skills including problem solving, data analysis and inference skills.

Section 2: ½ hour, Multiple-choice– material that is generally covered in non-specialist school maths and science courses. You will only have a minute to answer each question so it is crucial to think quickly.

Section 3: ½ hour, Short-stimulus essay– You choose one of 4 topics, which may be based on topics of medical, scientific or general interest. No reference books or dictionaries are allowed. The answer must be handwritten on a single A4 page.

GAMSAT – Graduate Medical School Admissions Test

GAMSAT is used only for some of the four-year, graduate-entry programmes. This is a much longer test. It takes five and a half hours to complete with an hour’s break in between. The exam is divided into three sections:

Section 1: Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences – This section assesses your ability to think critically, understand and reason in complication situations.

Section 2: Written Communication – In this section you select two quotations from several on similar themes and write two 30 minute essays. These essays are used to evaluate your ability to draw concepts together constructively and express ideas fluently.

Section 3: Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences – These questions aim to measure your problem-solving aptitude with regard to scientific scenarios. You have to answer 110 multiple choice questions in biology, chemistry and physics, in two hours fifty minutes. Unlike the UKCAT and BMAT, academic knowledge is essential to pass the GAMSAT. 

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