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RAR MEDICAL SERVICES
SECTION 1: Critical Thinking
Critical Thinking Questions
SECTION 1: Problem Solving Questions
SECTION 1: Data Analysis
Data Analysis Questions
SECTION 2: Biology
SECTION 2: Chemistry
SECTION 2: Physics
SECTION 2: Maths
Mock Paper A
Mock Paper B
Mock Paper C
Mock Papers Answer Key
Mock Paper Answers
Your Free Book
UKCAT Intensive Course
Medicine Interview Course
The Ultimate BMAT Guide
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Tel: 0208 068 0438
This book is neither created nor endorsed by BMAT. The authors and publisher are not affiliated with BMAT. The information offered in this book is purely advisory and any advice given should be taken within this context. As such, the publishers and authors accept no liability whatsoever for the outcome of any applicant’s BMAT performance, the outcome of any university applications or for any other loss. Although every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher and author assume no responsibility for errors or omissions of any kind. Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of information contained herein. This does not affect your statutory rights.
The Ultimate BMAT Guide
800 Practice Questions
Dr Rohan Agarwal
Dr David Salt
About the Author
Rohan is the Director of Operations at UniAdmissions and is responsible for its technical and commercial arms. He graduated from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and is a fully qualified doctor. Over the last five years, he has tutored hundreds of successful Oxbridge and Medical applicants. He has also authored ten books on admissions tests and interviews.
Rohan has taught physiology to undergraduates and interviewed medical school applicants for Cambridge. He has published research on bone physiology and writes education articles for the Independent and Huffington Post. In his spare time, Rohan enjoys playing the piano and table tennis.
About the Editor
David is Director of Services at UniAdmissions, taking the lead in product development and customer service. David read medical sciences at Gonville and Caius College Cambridge, graduating in 2012, completed his clinical studies in the Cambridge Clinical School and now works as a medical doctor.
David is an experienced tutor, having helped students with all aspects of the university applications process. He has authored five books to help with university applications and has edited four more. Away from work, David enjoys cycling, outdoor pursuits and good food.
What is the BMAT?
The BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) is a 2-hour written exam for medical and veterinary students who are applying for competitive universities.
What does the BMAT consist of?
Why is the BMAT used?
Medical and veterinary applicants tend to be a bright bunch and therefore usually have excellent grades. For example, in 2013 over 65% of students who applied to Cambridge for Medicine had UMS greater than 90% in all of their A level subjects. This means that competition is fierce – meaning that the universities must use the BMAT to help differentiate between applicants.
When do I sit BMAT?
There are two sittings for the BMAT – the second week of September and first week of November (normally Wednesday morning). You can generally sit the BMAT on either date however, some universities will ask that you sit the test on a specific date e.g. Oxford, Lee Kong Chian and Chulalongkorn University will only accept results from the November BMAT sitting. You’re highly advised to check which date you should sit the BMAT depending on your university choices.
When should I sit the BMAT?
The difficulty and content of both sittings is the same so the answer will depend on how much time you have over summer and how important it is for you to know your BMAT result before you submit your UCAS application. In general, if you’re applying for two or more BMAT universities, it’s a good idea to sit the BMAT in September if circumstances allow.
Who has to sit the BMAT?
Applicants to the following universities must sit the BMAT:
Do I have to resit the BMAT if I reapply?
You only need to resit the BMAT if you are applying to a university that requires it. You cannot use your score from any previous attempts.
How is the BMAT Scored?
Section 1 and Section 2 are marked on a scale of 0 to 9. Generally, 5 is an average score, 6 is good, and 7 is excellent. Very few people (<5%) get more than 8.
The marks for sections 1 + 2 show a normal distribution with a large range. The important thing to note is that the difference between a score of 5.0 and 6.5+ is often only 3-4 questions. Thus, you can see that even small improvements in your raw score will lead to massive improvements when they are scaled.
Section 3 is marked on 2 scales: A-E for Quality of English and 0-5 for Strength of Argument
The marks for sections 3 show a normal distribution for the strength of argument; the average mark for the strength of argument is between 3 – 3.5. The quality of English marks are negatively skewed distribution. I.e. the vast majority of students will score A or B for quality of English. The ones that don’t tend to be students who are not fluent in English.
This effectively means that the letter score is used to flag students who have a comparatively weaker grasp of English- i.e. it is a test of competence rather than excellence like the rest of the BMAT. This effectively means that if you get a C or below, admissions tutors are more likely to scrutinise your essay than otherwise.
Finally, section 3 is marked by two different examiners. If there is a large discrepancy between their marks, it is marked by a third examiner.
Can I resit the BMAT?
No, you can only sit the BMAT once per admissions cycle. You can resit the BMAT if you apply for medicine again in the future.
Where do I sit the BMAT?
For the September sitting, you will need to register yourself and sit the test at one of 20 authorised centres. In November, your school will normally register you and you can usually sit the BMAT at your school or college (ask your exams officer for more information). Alternatively, if your school isn’t a registered test centre or you’re not attending a school or college, you can sit the BMAT at an authorised test centre.
When do I get my results?
For the September sitting, you will get your results by the end of September online. You are then responsible for informing the University of your Score. For the November sitting, The BMAT results are usually released to universities in mid-late November and then to students in late November.
How is the BMAT used?
Cambridge: Cambridge interviews more than 90% of students who apply so the BMAT score isn’t vital for making the interview shortlist. However, it can play a huge role in the final decision – for example, 50% of overall marks for your application may be allocated to the BMAT. Thus, it’s essential you find out as much information about the college you’re applying to.
Oxford: Oxford typically receives thousands of applications each year and they use the BMAT to shortlist students for interview. Typically, 450 students are invited for interview for 150 places. Thus, if you get offered an interview- you are doing very well! Oxford centralise their short listing process and use an algorithm that uses your % A*s at GCSE along with your BMAT score to rank all their applicants of which the top are invited to interview. BMAT sections 1 + 2 count for 40% each of your BMAT score whilst section 3 counts for 20% [the strength of argument (number) contributes to 13.3% and the quality of English (letter) makes up the remaining 6.7%].
UCL: UCL make offers based on all components of the application and whilst the BMAT is important there is no magic threshold that you need to meet in order to guarantee an interview. Applicants with higher BMAT scores tend to be interviewed earlier in the year.
Imperial: Imperial employs a BMAT threshold to shortlist for interview. This exact threshold changes every year but in the past has been approximately 4.5-5.0 for sections 1 + 2 and 2.5 B for section 3.
Leeds: The BMAT contributes to 15% of your academic score at Leeds. You will be allocated marks based on your rank in the BMAT. Thus, applicants in the top 20% of the BMAT will get the full quota of marks for their application and the bottom 20% will get the lowest possible mark for their application. Thus, you can still get an interview if you perform poorly in the BMAT (it’ just much harder!). Leeds will calculate your BMAT score by attributing 40% to section 1, 40% to section 2 and 20% to section 3 (lower weighting as it can come up during the interview).
Brighton: Brighton started using the BMAT in 2014 so little is known about how they use it in their decision making process. They state on their website that it “may also be used as a final discriminator if needed after interview.”
Royal Veterinary College: It is unclear how the RVC use the BMAT- it has influenced applications both before and after interview and it’s likely that they use it on a case-by-case basis rather than as an arbitrary cut-off.
It is much easier to prepare if you practice little and often. Start your preparation well in advance; ideally by mid September but at the latest by early October. This way you will have plenty of time to complete as many papers as you wish to feel comfortable and won’t have to panic and cram just before the test, which is a much less effective and more stressful way to learn. In general, an early start will give you the opportunity to identify the complex issues and work at your own pace.
Some questions in sections 1 + 2 can be long and complex – and given the intense time pressure you need to know your limits. It is essential that you don’t get stuck with very difficult questions. If a question looks particularly long or complex, mark it for review and move on. You don’t want to be caught 5 questions short at the end just because you took more than 3 minutes in answering a challenging multi-step physics question. If a question is taking too long, choose a sensible answer and move on. Remember that each question carries equal weighting and therefore, you should adjust your timing in accordingly. With practice and discipline, you can get very good at this and learn to maximise your efficiency.
There are no penalties for incorrect answers in the BMAT; you will gain one for each right answer and will not get one for each wrong or unanswered one. This provides you with the luxury that you can always guess should you absolutely be not able to figure out the right answer for a question or run behind time. Since each question provides you with 4 to 6 possible answers, you have a 16-25% chance of guessing correctly. Therefore, if you aren’t sure (and are running short of time), then make an educated guess and move on. Before ‘guessing’ you should try to eliminate a couple of answers to increase your chances of getting the question correct. For example, if a question has 5 options and you manage to eliminate 2 options- your chances of getting the question increase from 20% to 33%!
Avoid losing easy marks on other questions because of poor exam technique. Similarly, if you have failed to finish the exam, take the last 10 seconds to guess the remaining questions to at least give yourself a chance of getting them right.
This is the best way of familiarising yourself with the style of questions and the timing for this section. Although the BMAT tests only GCSE level knowledge, you are unlikely to be familiar with the style of questions in all 3 sections when you first encounter them. Therefore, you want to be comfortable at using this before you sit the test.
Practising questions will put you at ease and make you more comfortable with the exam. The more comfortable you are, the less you will panic on the test day and the more likely you are to score highly. Initially, work through the questions at your own pace, and spend time carefully reading the questions and looking at any additional data. When it becomes closer to the test, make sure you practice the questions under exam conditions.
Official past papers and answers from 2003 onwards are freely available online on our website at www.uniadmissions.co.uk/bmat-past-papers and once you’ve worked your way through the questions in this book, it’s a good idea to attempt as many of them as you can (ideally at least 5). Keep in mind that the specification was changed in 2009 so some things asked in earlier papers may not be representative of the content that is currently examinable in the BMAT. In general, it is worth doing at least all the papers from 2009 onwards. Time permitting; you can work backwards from 2009 although there is little point doing the section 3 essays pre-2009 as they are significantly different to the current style of essays.
You will undoubtedly get stuck when doing some past paper questions – they are designed to be tricky and the answer schemes don’t offer any explanations. Thus, you’re highly advised to acquire a copy of BMAT Past Paper Worked Solutions – a free ebook is available online (see the back of this book for more details).
When checking through answers, pay particular attention to questions you have got wrong. If there is a worked answer, look through that carefully until you feel confident that you understand the reasoning, and then repeat the question without help to check that you can do it. If only the answer is given, have another look at the question and try to work out why that answer is correct. This is the best way to learn from your mistakes, and means you are less likely to make similar mistakes when it comes to the test. The same applies for questions which you were unsure of and made an educated guess which was correct, even if you got it right. When working through this book, make sure you highlight any questions you are unsureof, this means you know to spend more time looking over them once marked.
You aren’t permitted to use calculators in the BMAT – thus, it is essential that you have strong numerical skills. For instance, you should be able to rapidly convert between percentages, decimals and fractions. You will seldom get questions that would require calculators but you would be expected to be able to arrive at a sensible estimate. Consider for example:
Estimate 3.962 x 2.322;
Since you will rarely be asked to perform difficult calculations, you can use this as a signpost of if you are tackling a question correctly. For example, when solving a physics question, you end up having to divide 8,079 by 357- this should raise alarm bells as calculations in the BMAT are rarely this difficult.
A word on timing...
“If you had all day to do your BMAT, you would get 100%. But you don’t.”
Whilst this isn’t completely true, it illustrates a very important point. Once you’ve practiced and know how to answer the questions, the clock is your biggest enemy. This seemingly obvious statement has one very important consequence. The way to improve your BMAT score is to improve your speed. There is no magic bullet. But there are a great number of techniques that, with practice, will give you significant time gains, allowing you to answer more questions and score more marks.
Timing is tight throughout the BMAT – mastering timing is the first key to success. Some candidates choose to work as quickly as possible to save up time at the end to check back, but this is generally not the best way to do it. BMAT questions can have a lot of information in them – each time you start answering a question it takes time to get familiar with the instructions and information. By splitting the question into two sessions (the first run-through and the return-to-check) you double the amount of time you spend on familiarising yourself with the data, as you have to do it twice instead of only once. This costs valuable time. In addition, candidates who do check back may spend 2–3 minutes doing so and yet not make any actual changes. Whilst this can be reassuring, it is a false reassurance as it is unlikely to have a significant effect on your actual score. Therefore it is usually best to pace yourself very steadily, aiming to spend the same amount of time on each question and finish the final question in a section just as time runs out. This reduces the time spent on re-familiarising with questions and maximises the time spent on the first attempt, gaining more marks.
It is essential that you don’t get stuck with the hardest questions – no doubt there will be some. In the time spent answering only one of these you may miss out on answering three easier questions. If a question is taking too long, choose a sensible answer and move on. Never see this as giving up or in any way failing, rather it is the smart way to approach a test with a tight time limit. With practice and discipline, you can get very good at this and learn to maximise your efficiency. It is not about being a hero and aiming for full marks – this is almost impossible and very much unnecessary (even Oxbridge will regard any score higher than 7 as exceptional). It is about maximising your efficiency and gaining the maximum possible number of marks within the time you have.
Use the Options:
Some questions may try to overload you with information. When presented with large tables and data, it’s essential you look at the answer options so you can focus your mind. This can allow you to reach the correct answer a lot more quickly. Consider the example below:
The table below shows the results of a study investigating antibiotic resistance in staphylococcus populations. A single staphylococcus bacterium is chosen at random from a similar population. Resistance to any one antibiotic is independent of resistance to others.
Calculate the probability that the bacterium selected will be resistant to all four drugs.
1 in 10
1 in 10
1 in 10
1 in 10
1 in 10
1 in 10
Looking at the options first makes it obvious that there is no need to calculate exact values- only in powers of 10. This makes your life a lot easier. If you hadn’t noticed this, you might have spent well over 90 seconds trying to calculate the exact value when it wasn’t even being asked for.
In other cases, you may actually be able to use the options to arrive at the solution quicker than if you had tried to solve the question as you normally would. Consider the example below:
A region is defined by the two inequalities: . Which of the following points is in the defined region?
In general, it pays dividends to look at the options briefly and see if they can be help you arrive at the question more quickly. Get into this habit early – it may feel unnatural at first but it’s guaranteed to save you time in the long run.
If you’re stuck on a question; pay particular attention to the options that contain key modifiers like “always”, “only”, “all” as examiners like using them to test if there are any gaps in your knowledge. E.g. the statement “arteries carry oxygenated blood” would normally be true; “All arteries carry oxygenated blood” would be false because the pulmonary artery carries deoxygenated blood.
THIS IS THE FIRST SECTION of the BMAT and as you walk in, it is inevitable that you will feel nervous. Make sure that you have been to the toilet because once it starts you cannot simply pause and go. Take a few deep breaths and calm yourself down. Remember that panicking will not help and may negatively affect your marks- so try and avoid this as much as possible.
You have one hour to answer 35 questions in section 1. The questions fall into three categories:
Whilst this section of the BMAT is renowned for being difficult to prepare for, there are powerful shortcuts and techniques that you can use to save valuable time on these types of questions.
You have approximately 100 seconds per question; this may sound like a lot but given that you’re often required to read and analyse passages or graphs- it can often not be enough. Nevertheless, this section is not as time pressured as section 2 so most students usually finish the majority of questions in time. However, some questions in this section are very tricky and can be a big drain on your limited time. Thepeople who fail to complete section 1 are those who get bogged down on a particular question.
Therefore, it is vital that you start to get a feel for which questions are going to be easy and quick to do and which ones should be left till the end. The best way to do this is through practice and the questions in this book will offer extensive opportunities for you to do so.
BMAT CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS REQUIRE you to understand the constituents of a good argument and be able to pick them apart. The majority of BMAT Critical thinking questions tend to fall into 3 major categories:
Identifying Assumptions + Flaws
Strengthening and Weakening arguments
Having a good grasp of language and being able to filter unnecessary information quickly and efficiently is a vital skill in medical school – you simply do not have the time to sit and read vast numbers of textbooks cover to cover, you need to be able to filter the information and realise which part is important and this will contribute to your success in your studies. Similarly, when you have qualified and are on the wards, you need to be able to pick out key information from patient notes and make healthcare decisions from them, so getting to grips with verbal reasoning goes a long way and do not underestimate its importance.
Only use the Passage
Your answer must only be based on the information available in the passage. Do not try and guess the answer based on your general knowledge as this can be a trap. For example, if the passage says that spring is followed by winter, then take this as true even though you know that spring is followed by summer.
Take your time
Unlike the problem solving questions, critical thinking questions are less time pressured. Most of the passages are well below 300 words and therefore don’t take long to read and process (unlike the UKCAT in which you should skim read passages). Thus, your aim should be to understand the intricacies of the passage and identify key information so that you don’t miss key information and lose easy marks.
Students struggle with these type of questions because they confuse a premise for a conclusion. For clarities sake:
Hence a conclusion is shown/implied/proven by a premise. Similarly, a premise shows/indicates/establishes a conclusion. Consider for example: My mom, being a woman, is clever as all women are clever.
This is fairly straightforward as it’s a very short passage and the conclusion is explicitly stated. Sometimes the latter may not happen. Consider: My mom is a woman and all women are clever.
Here, whilst the conclusion is not explicitly being stated, both premises still stand and can be used to reach the same conclusion.
You may sometimes be asked to identify if any of the options cannot be “reliably concluded”. This is effectively asking you to identify why an option cannot be the conclusion. There are many reasons why but the most common ones are:
My mom is clever therefore all women are clever.
Being too specific: All kids like candy thus my son also likes candy.
Confusing Correlation vs. Causation:
Lung cancer is much more likely in patients who drink water. Hence, water causes lung cancer.
Confusing Cause and Effect:
Lung cancer patients tend to smoke so it follows that having lung cancer must make people want to smoke.
Note how conjunctives like hence, thus, therefore and it follows give you a clue as to when a conclusion is being stated. More examples of these include: “it follows that, implies that, whence, entails that”.
Similarly, words like “because, as indicated by, in that, given that, due to the fact that” usually identify premises.
Assumptions + Flaws:
Other types of critical thinking questions may require you to identify assumptions and flaws in a passage’s reasoning. Before proceeding it is useful to define both:
Consider for example: My mom is clever because all doctors are clever.
Premise 1: Doctors are clever. Assumption: My mom is a doctor. Conclusion: My mom is clever.
Note that the conclusion follows naturally even though there is only one premise because of the assumption. The argument relies on the assumption to work. Thus, if you are unsure if an option you have is an assumption or not, just ask yourself:
You may sometimes be asked to identify flaws in an argument – it is important to be aware of the types of flaws to look out for. In general, these are broadly similar to the ones discussed earlier in the conclusion section (over-generalising, being too specific, confusing cause and effect, confusing correlation and causation). Remember that an assumption may also be a flaw.
For example consider again: My mom is clever because all doctors are clever.
What if the mother was not actually a doctor? The argument would then breakdown as the assumption would be incorrect or flawed.
Strengthening and Weakening Arguments:
You may be asked to identify an answer option that would most strengthen or weaken the argument being made in the passage. Normally, you’ll also be told to assume that each answer option is true. Before we can discuss how to strengthen and weaken arguments, it is important to understand “what constitutes a good argument:
Arguments which are heavily based on value judgements and subjective statements tend to be weaker than those based on facts, statistics and the available evidence.
: A good argument should flow and the constituent parts should fit well into an overriding view or belief.
A good argument must concede that there are other views or beliefs (counter-argument). The key is to carefully dismantle these ideas and explain why they are wrong.
Thus, when asked to strengthen an argument, look for options that would: Increase the evidence basis for the argument, support or add a premise, address the counter-arguments.
Similarly, when asked to weaken an argument, look for options that would: decrease the evidence basis for the argument or create doubt over existing evidence, undermine a premise, strengthen the counter-arguments.
In order to be able to strengthen or weaken arguments, you must completely understand the passage’s conclusion. Then you can start testing the impact of each answer option on the conclusion to see which one strengthens or weakens it the most i.e. is the conclusion stronger/weaker if I assume this information to be true and included in the passage.
Often you’ll have to decide which option strengthens/weakens the passage most – and there really isn’t an easy way to do this apart from lots of practice. Thankfully, you have plenty of time for these questions.
Question 1-6 are based on the passage below:
People have tried to elucidate the differences between the different genders for many years. Are they societal pressures or genetic differences? In the past it has always been assumed that it was programmed into our DNA to act in a certain more masculine or feminine way but now evidence has emerged that may show it is not our genetics that determines the way we act, but that society pre-programmes us into gender identification. Whilst it is generally acknowledged that not all boys and girls are the same, why is it that most young boys like to play with trucks and diggers whilst young girls prefer dollies and pink?
The society we live in has always been an important factor in our identity, take cultural differences; the language we speak the food we eat, the clothes we wear. All of these factors influence our identity. New research finds that the people around us may prove to be the biggest influence on our gender behaviour. It shows our parents buying gendered toys may have a much bigger influence than the genes they gave us. Girls are being programmed to like the same things as their mothers and this has lasting effects on their personality. Young girls and boys are forced into their gender stereotypes through the clothes they are bought, the hairstyle they wear and the toys they play with.
The power of society to influence gender behaviour explains the cases where children have been born with different external sex organs to those that would match their sex determining chromosomes. Despite the influence of their DNA they identify to the gender they have always been told they are. Once the difference has been detected, how then are they ever to feel comfortable in their own skin? The only way to prevent society having such a large influence on gender identity is to allow children to express themselves, wear what they want and play with what they want without fear of not fitting in.
What is the main conclusion from the first paragraph?
Society controls gender behaviour.
People are different based on their gender.
DNA programmes how we act.
Boys do not like the same things as girls because of their genes.
Which of the following, if true, points out the flaw in the first paragraph’s argument?
Not all boys like trucks.
Genes control the production of hormones.
Differences in gender may be due to an equal combination of society and genes.
Some girls like trucks.
According to the statement, how can culture affect identity?
Culture can influence what we wear and how we speak.
Our parents act the way they do because of culture.
Culture affects our genetics.
Culture usually relates to where we live.
Which of these is most implied by the statement?
Children usually identify with the gender they appear to be.
Children are programmed to like the things they do by their DNA.
Girls like dollies and pink because their mothers do.
It is wrong for boys to have long hair like girls.
What does the statement say is the best way to prevent gender stereotyping?
Mothers spending more time with their sons.
Parents buying gender-neutral clothes for their children.
Allowing children to act how they want.
Not telling children if they have different sex organs.
What, according to the statement is the biggest problem for children born with different external sex organs to those which match their sex chromosomes?
They may have other problems with their DNA.
Society may not accept them for who they are.
They may wish to be another gender.
They are not the gender they are treated as which can be distressing.
Questions 7-11 are based on the passage below:
New evidence has emerged that the most important factor in a child’s development could be their napping routine. It has come to light that regular napping could well be the deciding factor for determining toddlers’ memory and learning abilities. The new countrywide survey of 1000 toddlers, all born in the same year showed around 75% had regular 30-minute naps. Parents cited the benefits of their child having a regular routine (including meal times) such as decreased irritability, and stated the only downfall of occasional problems with sleeping at night. Research indicating that toddlers were 10% more likely to suffer regular night-time sleeping disturbances when they regularly napped supported the parent’s view.
Those who regularly took 30-minute naps were more than twice as likely to remember simple words such as those of new toys than their non-napping counterparts, who also had higher incidences of memory impairment, behavioural problems and learning difficulties. Toddlers who regularly had 30 minute naps were tested on whether they were able recall the names of new objects the following day, compared to a control group who did not regularly nap. These potential links between napping and memory, behaviour and learning ability provides exciting new evidence in the field of child development.
If in 100 toddlers 5% who did not nap were able to remember a new teddy’s name, how many who had napped would be expected to remember?
Assuming that the incidence of night-time sleeping disturbances is the same in for all toddlers independent of all characteristics other than napping, what is the percentage of toddlers who suffer regular night-time sleeping disturbances as a result of napping?
Using the information from the passage above, which of the following is the most plausible alternative reason for the link between memory and napping?
Children who have bad memory abilities are also likely to have trouble sleeping.
Children who regularly nap, are born with better memories.
Children who do not nap were unable to concentrate on the memory testing exercises for the study.
Parents who enforce a routine of napping are more likely to conduct memory exercises with their children.
Which of the following is most strongly indicated?
Families have more enjoyable meal times when their toddlers regularly nap.
Toddlers have better routines when they nap.
Parents enforce napping to improve their toddlers’ memory ability.
Napping is important for parents’ routines.
Which of the following, if true, would strengthen the conclusion that there is a causal link between regular napping and improved memory in toddlers?
Improved memory is also associated with regular mealtimes.
Parents who enforce regular napping are more inclined to include their children in studies.
Toddlers’ memory development is so rapid that even a few weeks can make a difference to performance.
Among toddler playgroups where napping incidence is higher and more consistent memory performance is significantly improved compared to those that do not.
Tom’s father says to him: ‘You must work for your A-levels. That is the best way to do well in your A-level exams. If you work especially hard for Geography, you will definitely succeed in your Geography A-level exam’.
Which of the following is the best statement Tom could say to prove a flaw in his father’s argument?
‘It takes me longer to study for my History exam, so I should prioritise that.’
‘I do not have to work hard to do well in my Geography A-level.’
‘Just because I work hard, does not mean I will do well in my A-levels.’
‘You are putting too much importance on studying for A-levels.’
‘You haven’t accounted for the fact that Geography is harder than my other subjects.’
Today the NHS is increasingly struggling to be financially viable. In the future, the NHS may have to reduce the services it cannot afford. The NHS is supported by government funds, which come from those who pay tax in the UK. Recently the NHS has been criticised for allowing fertility treatments to be free, as many people believe these are not important and should not be paid for when there is not enough money to pay the doctors and nurses.
Which of the following is the most accurate conclusion of the statement above?
Only taxpayers should decide where the NHS spends its money.
Doctors and nurses should be better paid.
The NHS should stop free fertility treatments.
Fertility treatments may have to be cut if finances do not improve.
‘We should allow people to drive as fast as they want. By allowing drivers to drive at fast speeds, through natural selection the most dangerous drivers will kill only themselves in car accidents. These people will not have children, hence only safe people will reproduce and eventually the population will only consist of safe drivers.’
Which one of the following, if true, most weakens the above argument?
Dangerous drivers harm others more often than themselves by driving too fast.
Dangerous drivers may produce children who are safe drivers.
The process of natural selection takes a long time.
Some drivers break speed limits anyway.
In the winter of 2014 the UK suffered record levels of rainfall, which led to catastrophic damage across the country. Thousands of homes were damaged and even destroyed, leaving many homeless in the chaos that followed. The Government faced harsh criticism that they had failed to adequately prepare the country for the extreme weather. In such cases the Government assess the likelihood of such events happening in the future and balance against the cost of advance measures to reduce the impact should they occur versus the cost of the event with no preparative defences in place. Until recently, for example, the risk of acts of terror taking was low compared with the vast cost anticipated should they occur. However, the risk of flooding is usually low, so it could be argued that the costs associated with anti-flooding measures would have been pre-emptively unreasonable. Should the Government be expected to prepare for every conceivable threat that could come to pass? Are we to put in place expensive measures against a seismic event as well as a possible extra-terrestrial invasion?
Which of the following best expresses the main conclusion of the statement above?
The Government has an obligation to assess risks and costs of possible future events.
The Government should spend money to protect against potential extra-terrestrial invasions and seismic events.
The Government should have spent money to protect against potential floods.
The Government was justified in not spending heavily to protect against flooding.
The Government should assist people who lost their homes in the floods.
Sadly the way in which children interact with each other has changed over the years. Where once children used to play sports and games together in the street, they now sit alone in their rooms on the computer playing games on the Internet. Where in the past young children learned human interaction from active games with their friends this is no longer the case. How then, when these children are grown up, will they be able to socially interact with their colleagues?
Which one of the following is the conclusion of the above statement?
Children who play computer games now interact less outside of them.
The Internet can be a tool for teaching social skills.
Computer games are for social development.
Children should be made to play outside with their friends to develop their social skills for later in life.
Adults will in the future play computer games as a means of interaction.
Between 2006 and 2013 the British government spent £473 million on Tamiflu antiviral drugs in preparation for a flu pandemic, despite there being little evidence to support the effectiveness of the drug. The antivirals were stockpiled for a flu pandemic that never fully materialised. Only 150,000 packs were used during the swine flu episode in 2009, and it is unclear if this improved outcomes. Therefore this money could have been much better spent on drugs that would actually benefit patients.
Which option best summarises the author’s view in the passage?
Drugs should never be stockpiled, as they may not be used.
Spending millions of pounds on drugs should be justified by strong evidence showing positive effects.
We should not prepare for flu pandemics in the future.
The recipients of Tamiflu in the swine flu pandemic had no difference in symptoms or outcomes to patients who did not receive the antivirals.
High BMI and particularly central weight are risk factors associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Many believe the development of cheap, easily accessible fast-food outlets is partly responsible for the increase in rates of obesity. An unhealthy weight is commonly associated with a generally unhealthy lifestyle, such a lack of exercise. The best way to tackle the growing problem of obesity is for the government to tax unhealthy foods so they are no longer a cheap alternative.
Why is the solution given, to tax unhealthy foods, not a logical conclusion from the passage?
Unhealthy eating is not exclusively confined to low-income families.
A more general approach to unhealthy lifestyles would be optimal.
People do not only choose to eat unhealthy food because it is cheaper.
People need to take personal responsibility for their own health.
As people are living longer, care in old age is becoming a larger burden. Many people require carers to come into their home numerous times a day or need full residential care. It is not right that the NHS should be spending vast funds on the care of people who are sufficiently wealthy to fund their own care. Some argue that they want their savings kept to give to their children; however this is not a right, simply a luxury. It is not right that people should be saving and depriving themselves of necessary care, or worse, making the NHS pay the bill, so they have money to pass on to their offspring. People need to realise that there is a financial cost to living longer.
Which of the following statements is the main conclusion of the above passage?
We need to take a personal responsibility for our care in old age.
Caring for the elderly is a significant burden on the NHS.
The reason people are reluctant to pay for their own care is that they want to pass money onto their offspring.
The NHS should limit care to the elderly to reduce their costs.
People shouldn’t save their money for old age.
There is much interest in research surrounding production of human stem cells from non-embryo sources for potential regenerative medicine, and a huge financial and personal gain at stake. In January 2014, a team from Japan published two papers in Nature that claimed to have developed totipotent stem cells from adult mouse cells by exposure to an acidic environment. However, there has since been much controversy surrounding these papers. Problems included: inability by other teams to replicate the results of the experiment, an insufficient protocol described in the paper and issues with images in one of the papers. It was dishonest of the researchers to publish the papers with such problems, and a requirement of a paper is a sufficiently detailed protocol, so that another group could replicate the experiment.
Which statement is most implied?
Research is fuelled mainly by financial and personal gains.
The researchers should take responsibility for publishing the paper with such flaws.
Rivalry between different research groups makes premature publishing more likely.
The discrepancies were in only one of the papers published in January 2014.
The placebo effect is a well-documented medical phenomenon in which a patient’s condition undergoes improvement after being given an ineffectual treatment that they believe to be a genuine treatment. It is frequently used as a control during trials of new drugs/procedures, with the effect of the drug being compared to the effect of a placebo, and if the drug does not have a greater effect than the placebo, then it is classed as ineffective. However, this analysis discounts the fact that the drug treatment still has more of a positive effect than no action, and so we are clearly missing out on the potential to improve certain patient conditions. It follows that where there is a demonstrated placebo effect, but treatments are ineffective, we should still give treatments, as there will therefore be some benefit to the patient.
Which of the following best expresses the main conclusion of this passage?
In situations where drugs are no more effective than a placebo, we should still give drugs, as they will be more effective than not taking action.
Our current analysis discounts the fact that even if drug treatments have no more effect than a placebo, they may still be more effective than no action.
The placebo effect is a well-recognised medical phenomenon.
Drug treatments may have negative side effects that outweigh their benefit to patients.
Placebos are better than modern drugs.
The speed limit on motorways and dual carriageways has been 70mph since 1965, but this is an out-dated policy and needs to change. Since 1965, car brakes have become much more effective, and many safety features have been introduced into cars, such as seatbelts (which are now compulsory to wear), crumple zones and airbags. Therefore, it is clear that cars no longer need to be restricted to 70mph, and the speed limit can be safely increased to 80mph without causing more road fatalities.
Which of the following best illustrates an assumption in this passage?
The government should increase the speed limit to 80mph.
If the speed limit were increased to 80mph, drivers would not begin to drive at 90mph.
The safety systems introduced reduce the chances of fatal road accidents for cars travelling at higher speeds.
The roads have not become busier since the 70mph speed limit was introduced.
The public want the speed limit to increase.
Despite the overwhelming scientific proof of the theory of evolution, and even acceptance of the theory by many high-ranking religious ministers, there are still sections of many major religions that do not accept evolution as true. One of the most prominent of these in western society is the Intelligent Design movement, which promotes the religious-based (and scientifically discredited) notion of Intelligent Design as a scientific theory. Intelligent Design proponents often point to complex issues of biology as proof that god is behind the design of human beings, much as a watchmaker is inherent in the design of a watch.
One part of anatomy that has been identified as supposedly supporting Intelligent Design is fingerprints, with some proponents arguing that they are a mark of individualism created by God, with no apparent function except to identify each human being as unique. This is incorrect, as fingerprints do have a well documented function – namely channelling away of water to improve grip in wet conditions – in which hairless, smooth skinned hands otherwise struggle to grip smooth objects. The individualism of fingerprints is accounted for by the complexity of thousands of small grooves. Development is inherently affected by stochastic or random processes, meaning that the body is unable to uniformly control its development to ensure that fingerprints are the same in each human being. Clearly, the presence of individual fingerprints does nothing to support the so-called-theory of Intelligent Design.
Which of the following best illustrates the main conclusion of this passage?
Fingerprints have a well-established function.
Evolution is supported by overwhelming scientific proof.
Fingerprints do not offer any support to the notion of Intelligent Design.
The individual nature of fingerprints is explained by stochastic processes inherent in development that the body cannot uniformly control.
Intelligent design is a credible and scientifically rigorous theory.
High levels of alcohol consumption are proven to increase the risk of many non-infectious diseases, such as cancer, atherosclerosis and liver failure. James is a PhD student, and is analysing the data from a large-scale study of over 500,000 people to further investigate the link between heavy alcohol consumption and health problems. In the study, participants were asked about their alcohol consumption, and then their medical history was recorded. His analysis displays surprising results, concluding that those with high alcohol consumption have a decreased risk of cancer. James decides that those carrying out the study must have incorrectly recorded the data.
Which of the following isNOT a potential reason why the study has produced these surprising results?
Previous studies were incorrect, and high alcohol consumption does lower the risk of cancer.
The studies didn’t take account of other cancer risk factors in comparing those with high and low alcohol consumption.
James has made some errors in his analysis, and thus his conclusions are erroneous.
The participants involved in the study did not truthfully report their alcohol consumption, leading to false conclusions being drawn.
The studies control group data was mixed up with the test group data.
A train is scheduled to depart from Newcastle at 3:30pm. It stops at Durham, Darlington, York, Sheffield, Peterborough and Stevenage before arriving at Kings Cross station in London, where the train completes its journey. The total length of the journey between Newcastle and Kings Cross was 230 miles, and the average speed of the train during the journey (including time spent stood still at calling stations) is 115mph. Therefore, the train will complete its journey at 5:30pm.
Which of the following is an assumption made in this passage?
The various stopping points did not increase the time taken to complete the journey.
The train left Newcastle on time.
The train travelled by the most direct route available.
The train was due to end its journey at Kings Cross.
There were no signalling problems encountered on the journey.
There have been many arguments over the last couple of decades about government expenditure on healthcare in the various devolved regions of the UK. It is often argued that, since spending on healthcare per person is higher in Scotland than in England, that therefore the people in Scotland will be healthier. However, this view fails to take account of the different needs of these 2 populations of the UK. For example, one major factor is that Scotland gets significantly colder than England, and cold weakens the immune system, leaving people in Scotland at much higher risk of infectious disease. Thus, Scotland requires higher levels of healthcare spending per person simply to maintain the health of the populace at a similar level to that of England.
Which of the following is a conclusion that can be drawn from this passage?
The higher healthcare spending per person in Scotland does not necessarily mean people living in Scotland are healthier.
Healthcare spending should be increased across the UK.
Wales requires more healthcare spending per person simply to maintain population health at a similar level to England.
It is unfair on England that there is more spending on healthcare per person in Scotland.
Scotland’s healthcare budget is a controversial topic.
Vaccinations have been hugely successful in reducing the incidence of several diseases throughout the 20th century. One of the most spectacular achievements was arguably the global eradication of Smallpox, once a deadly worldwide killer, during the 1970s. Fortunately, there was a highly effective vaccine available for Smallpox, and a major factor in its eradication was an aggressive vaccination campaign. Another disease that is potentially eradicable is Polio. However, although there is a highly effective vaccine for Polio available, attempts to eradicate it have so far been unsuccessful. It follows that we should plan and execute an aggressive vaccination campaign for Polio, in order to ensure that this disease too is eradicated.
Which of the following is the main conclusion of this passage?
Polio is a potentially eradicable disease.
An aggressive vaccination campaign was a major factor in the eradication of smallpox.
Both Polio and smallpox have been eradicated by effective vaccination campaigns.
We should execute an aggressive vaccination campaign for Polio.
The eradication of smallpox remains one of the most spectacular achievements of medical science.
The Y chromosome is one of 2 sex chromosomes found in the human genome, the other being the X chromosome. As the Y chromosome is only found in males, it can only be passed from father to son. Additionally, the Y chromosome does not exchange sections with other chromosomes (as happens with most chromosomes), meaning it is passed on virtually unchanged through the generations. All of this makes the Y chromosome a fantastic tool for genetic analysis, both to identify individual lineages and to investigate historic population movements. One famous achievement of genetic research using the Y chromosome provides further evidence of its utility, namely the identification of Genghis Khan as a descendant of up to 8% of males in 16 populations across Asia.
Which of the following best illustrates the main conclusion of this passage?
The Y chromosome is a fantastic tool for genetic analysis.
Research using the Y chromosome has been able to identify Genghis Khan as the descendant of up to 8% of men in many Asian populations.
The Y chromosome does not exchange sections with other chromosomes.
The Y chromosome is a sex chromosome.
Genghis Khan had a staggering number of children.
In order for a bacterial infection to be cleared, a patient must be treated with antibiotics. Rachel has a minor lung infection, which is thought by her doctor to be a bacterial infection. She is treated with antibiotics, but her condition does not improve. Therefore, it must not be a bacterial infection.
Which of the following best illustrates a flaw in this reasoning?
It assumes that a bacterial infection would definitely improve after treatment with antibiotics.
It ignores the other potential issues that could be treated by antibiotics.
It assumes that antibiotics are necessary to treat bacterial infections.
It ignores the actions of the immune system, which may be sufficient to clear the infection regardless of what has caused it.
It assumes that antibiotics are the only option to treat a bacterial infection.
The link between smoking and lung cancer has been well established for many decades by overwhelming numbers of studies and conclusive research. The answer is clear and simple, that the single best measure that can be taken to avoid lung cancer is to not smoke, or to stop smoking if one has already started. However, despite the overwhelming evidence and clear answers, many smokers continue to smoke, and seek to minimise their risk of lung cancer by focusing on other, less important risk factors, such as exercise and healthy eating. This approach is obviously severely flawed, and the fact that some smokers feel this is a good way to reduce their risk of lung cancer shows that they are delusional.
Which of the following best illustrates the main conclusion of this passage?
Many smokers ignore the largest risk factor, and focus on improving less important risk factors by eating healthily and exercising.
Some smokers are delusional.
The biggest risk factor of lung cancer is smoking.
Overwhelming studies have proven the link between smoking and lung cancer.
The government should ban smoking in order to reduce the incidence of lung cancer.
The government should invest more money into outreach schemes in order to encourage more people to go to university. These schemes allow students to meet other people who went to university, which they may not always be able to do otherwise, even on open days.
Which of the following is the best conclusion of the above argument?
Outreach schemes are the best way to encourage people to go to university.
People will not go to university without seeing it first.
The government wants more people to go to university.
Meeting people who went to a university is a more effective method than university open days.
It is easier to meet people on outreach schemes than on open days.
The illegal drug cannabis was recently upgraded from a class C drug to class B, which means it will be taken less in the UK, because people will know it is more dangerous. It also means if people are caught, possessing the drug they will face a longer prison sentence than before, which will also discourage its use.
Which TWO statements if true, most weaken the above argument?
Class C drugs are cheaper than class B drugs.
Upgrading drugs in other countries has not reduced their use.
People who take illegal drugs do not know what class they are.
Cannabis was not the only class C drug before it was upgraded.
Even if they are caught possessing class B drugs, people do not think they will go to prison.
Schools with better sports programmes such as well-performing football and netball teams tend to have better academic results, less bullying and have overall happier students. Thus, if we want schools to have the best results, reduce bullying and increase student happiness, teachers should start more sports clubs.
Which one of the following best demonstrates a flaw in the above argument?
Teachers may be too busy to start sports clubs.
Better academic results may be a precondition of better sports teams.
Better sports programmes may prevent students from spending time with their family.
Some sports teams may be seen to encourage internal bullying.
Sport teams that do not perform well lead to increase bulling.