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IMAT test preparation 2024

To prepare for the IMAT in the right way, a change of perspective is needed.

We asked Jacopo D’Andria Ursoleo, an expert in English teaching and author of the Medical and Scientific English manual (Pearson, Milan 2020), how to prepare for the IMAT.

Jacopo explained to us the secrets of the IMAT, the dreaded medical test in English.

As you know, the IMAT, International Medical Admissions Test, is the test that the Ministry of the University administers to all aspiring white coats who wish to study Medicine and Surgery in English in Italy. 

How to prepare for the IMAT: the 4 most useful tips

1. The first piece of advice to start with

The IMAT test, the international version of the BMAT, is similar to a competitive exam: a test in which you need to answer as many questions as possible well in a limited amount of time.

Hence the need to practice continuously. The exam will change every year, but will always have a pre-established question pattern, which will tend to repeat itself. The key is in training.

2. An exclusive tip for passing the IMAT?

Do simulations using less time than the exam.

When you study at home you are in an educational environment that tends to eliminate the so-called negative affective filter: you are in your comfort zone. Instead, when you go to take the IMAT you are no longer in a protected place, but in an anxiety-provoking situation.

You have to get to the exam and give your best, balancing anxiety and stress. Anxiety is a symptom of conscientiousness but it shouldn’t stop you. “Never mind and go on” is my mantra.

Don’t waste time if you don’t find an answer: perhaps you are looking at the question from the wrong perspective. You’ll come back to it later. He who hesitates is lost.

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3. Do those with C2 in English have an advantage in the IMAT?

The IMAT is not an English exam and does not evaluate linguistic knowledge. It doesn’t matter whether you have B2 or C2. Kids who graduate from high school shouldn’t have much difficulty understanding the tracks.

In linguistics we talk about cognates because the technical English language can also be understood by consonance. The words mitochondrion and mitochondrion are proof of this.

Regarding logic questions, the Cambridge typology presents questions aimed at examining the understanding of short texts on a formal linguistic level. The difficulty is not so much in the lemmas used but in grasping their profound meaning and contextualising them. I therefore recommend reviewing coordinating and adversative conjunctions very well.

4. Why do many people think the IMAT test is strange?

To understand the IMAT you need a change of perspective. I’ll give the example of Kant’s lenses: the glasses we wear influence the way we see things.

The biology and chemistry that English kids study are the same as those we face. What changes is the way of testing. Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing is an inquiry-based approach that encourages us to ask ourselves the why of things. For them, knowledge is like a pyramid: studying a topic is the base of the pyramid, not its peak.

Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing evaluates your speculative skills. A knowledge of “faith” may prove useful in the future; but understanding the profound reason behind things is the winning weapon.

We hope that these tips will be useful for understanding whether to enroll in the IMAT and how to study.

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