Should I pay to attend a BMAT course or for BMAT tutoring?
Lets start with the official answer from the University of Oxford...
''Companies and individuals offering help with BMAT do not have a special insight into the nature of the test. While a candidate's performance at any test will improve with some familiarisation or practice, anyone thinking of paying for such help should consider very carefully whether they would be wasting their money. BMAT cannot be 'crammed' for; however, basic familiarity with a test's question and answer style will help you prepare. Everything that you need to prepare for the BMAT is on, or mentioned on, the BMAT website''
The Cost Argument
With medical schools charging £10,000+/year in fees alone, we feel that it is slightly hypocritical to criticise courses and tutoring which starts from £29 and often helps to make the difference between an offer and rejection.
Putting this further into perspective, a gap year will likely cost hundreds of pounds in travel, obtaining further experience and not to mention the £46 fee to retake the BMAT examination.
We agree that some courses charge extortionate amounts (>£300), however on the whole we feel that most providers offer relatively good value and are often willing to provide bursaries to students with financial challenges.
'It's All Freely Available...'
Yes, it probably is but it will take you weeks to months to create parallel resources. For example, the BMAT past papers are freely available however the official answers lack any explanations. Many BMAT Course providers include BMAT Past Paper Worked Solutions in their course resources which is an invaluable revision aid.
Additionally, most of the techniques taught are based on years of student experience and feedback. Hence, whilst it would be possible to generate equivalent techniques after sitting the BMAT examination five times, we feel that it's vital you obtain a high BMAT score this year.
'It Leads To An Uneven Playing Field'
We can't argue with this, it most definitely does and the British Medical Journal went to great lengths to highlight this.
Statistically students obtaining additional BMAT support, score higher than those who do not. Additionally, our research also found that students attending a top 100 school also obtained higher BMAT scores.
Attending an expensive BMAT Course is by no means essential. As a group of three doctors and two medical students, we had an in-depth discussion about whether we should attend a BMAT Course pre medical school. Three of us decided to do so, whilst two of us decided against this out of principle. Three of us are presently earning money as foundation doctors, whilst two of us are still paying tuition fees. We'll leave you to guess which three of us attended BMAT courses, however let's just say that we would all advise you to obtain additional BMAT support for this vitally important exam that is unfortunately neglected by the majority of schools.