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How to best prepare and study for the IMAT Test

Preparing to sit for the International Medical Admissions Test (IMAT) can be intimidating. One exam will be the sole basis of whether you get into medical school, at the university of your choice. While the IMAT aims to assess high school levels of knowledge, it is important to be prepared and have a strategy – don’t leave it to the last minute to cram. At IMAT Buddy, we offer the latest and best IMAT preparation content in the world and provide students with the support they need to ace the IMAT.

Why sign up for IMAT Buddy?

Beat your competition

With IMAT Buddy, you can gain a real edge over your competitors. As we offer a varied and thorough breadth of information in one place, you will be able to study more efficiently than your peers taking the exam.

Increase your exam familiarity

Our site features hundreds of practice questions, so you can become familiar with the style of questions that will appear on the exam. This will ensure that you will not become suddenly surprised by an exam question and feel thrown off your game.

Boost your test scores

There is no doubt about it, practice makes perfect. Through IMAT Buddy, you can revise IMAT content and complete IMAT styled test questions so you will be well prepared to sit the test and earn the best score possible.

Overview of the IMAT

The IMAT exam is a rarity in medical education – a direct pathway into medical school that doesn’t include interviews, letters of recommendation or careful networking. By introducing the IMAT test, Italy opened up its medical programs to the world. Fourteen universities in Italy use the IMAT admission test for entry into their medical or dental school, with applications accepted from around the world.

The IMAT takes 100 minutes to complete. It is an English language pen-to-paper test with 60 multiple choice questions, in four sections. These are:

• Section 1: Logical reasoning (10 questions) and general knowledge (12 questions)

• Section 2: Biology (18 questions)

• Section 3: Chemistry (12 questions)

• Section 4: Physics and Mathematics (8 questions)

The highest possible IMAT total score is 90. Each of the 14 Italian universities has its own cut-off score for admissions into their medical or dental programs. These scores change each year and are based upon the scores your competitors get that year. 

IMAT section one: General knowledge and Logical reasoning

Section one is the broadest part of the IMAT exam, testing each applicant’s generic problem-solving skills, critical thinking, analytical skills, and general knowledge.

It is worth noting that in the instance of two applicants having the same IMAT score, the one who scores higher in section one will be graded higher. 

Five non-academic ways to study for the general knowledge section

Acquiring general knowledge both involves and goes beyond academic study – it is important to become open to absorbing the world around you.

1. Study the right things

General knowledge is a bit different to other sections due to a much higher risk of over studying, you do not want to spend precious time learning about the various topics that often show up in the IMAT. Nevertheless, there are as mentioned some topics that are more likely to be assessed than others, at IMAT Buddy we tell you what these topics are and specifically what you should learn about them

2. Watch television

Historical and cultural documentaries, ideally diverse in topic and cultural background, are great ways to build your general knowledge. Rather than spending your evenings watching a comedy show or the latest movie, try watch something that will give you bonus points in general knowledge

3. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks

Play one in the background while you’re driving or doing housework, it’s an easily accessible way to gain knowledge.

Logical reasoning questions in the IMAT

This part of the IMAT looks at your analytical, reasoning, and thinking skills. There are two components, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The former is language-based and the latter focused on spatial and numerical skills.

How to study for IMAT exam section one, logical reasoning

It is highly recommended that you read through and practice the section one questions in previous IMAT tests. This will help familiarise you with the kinds of questions asked. Doing IMAT styled questions, as offered by IMAT Buddy, cannot be over-valued. Try to do these before you attempt past exams, a past exam is the best simulation you have of the actual test, so you do not want to waste them by just doing parts of the exam. Write the whole thing in one sitting and under time constraints!

Introduction to Critical Thinking

Introduction to Problem Solving

Introduction to General Knowledge

Seven non-academic ways boost your logical reasoning skills

Logical thinking skills can be partially developed by reading textbooks and watching video tutorials, but this oftentimes is not enough. You need a broader scope of activities and experiences, to harness and sharpen your mind. Some good examples of what you can do include…

1. Learn how to do repeatable IMAT problems

It is true that this section involves a lot of problems that are not directly preparable for. However, the critical thinking section is one area where you just need to learn a method and then apply that method to the problem and you will always get the mark. At IMAT Buddy we show you exactly what these methods are for all of the 7 different critical thinking type questions, meaning you will be able to answer these questions correctly every time provided you understand the method.

Problem-solving is a bit less preparable for, nevertheless, there are certain types of problems that repeat and if you can learn how to do these you might have a serious advantage should a similar problem show up when you sit the test. In either case, practising problem-solving will develop your skills as a whole for this section. 

2. Get active

Physical exercise has been proven to make a positive difference to our memory and thinking. In between study sessions, consider taking a short, fast walk or follow an online yoga tutorial. This will help you maximise your breaks whilst keeping your brain engaged.

3. Get social

When we spend time with lots of different people, we learn to understand things from a different perspective. We also learn to read other’s people’s non-verbal cues, such as body language. All of these things help broaden our own minds and build our logical thinking.

4. Get curious

Ask questions about things you wouldn’t normally think about. Ask your friend in IT to explain the basics of coding to you, or your social media influencer friend how they decide when and what to post. Your brain gets used to listening, processing and storing new kinds of information.

5. Get good at maths without a calculator

Most high school students possess all the maths knowledge required for the logical reasoning section. However, most are used to applying this with the help of a calculator and with plenty of time to do it. In the IMAT you have neither time nor calculators, so you need to get good at calculating in your head. Learn your times tables, get good at solving basic arithmetic and practice working quantitatively every day. Doing this will be a huge help throughout the whole exam.

IMAT sections two, three and four: scientific knowledge

The next four parts of the IMAT relate to specific science areas: biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics. It is expected that you will have studied these subjects at high school, and have at least a basic knowledge of the listed subtopics.

IMAT Section Two: Biology

It is especially important to have good knowledge of, and a passion for, biology. With 18 questions, biology is the biggest section of the IMAT exam. It is also the section most likely to have diverse, detailed questions year-to-year. You should prepare for this section the most. Thankfully, at IMAT Buddy we cover the stuff that they like to ask.

Introduction to Biology

IMAT test preparation for Section three: Chemistry

The chemistry section of the test may seem hard, but the trick is to focus on developing your understanding of the primary concepts, and their application. At IMAT Buddy we explain the things you need to learn, there is quite a bit of detail, but if you can remember it all and get good at applying concepts to problems, you will be fine.

Introduction to Chemistry

How to prepare IMAT Section four: Physics and Mathematics

Here the questions are quite basic, if you are good at physics and maths then you will generally be pleasantly surprised by the simple nature of these questions. However, this section is very small (only 8 questions in total), so it is still quite a lot of study for just a few marks. You should thus not dedicate too much study time to this section. 

Introduction to Mathmatics

Introduction to Physics

Study sources for the IMAT scientific knowledge sections

You can find study materials for your IMAT exam from the following resources:

Text books

The oldest and most traditional study resource:

• Advantages – reliable, tangible, familiar with how you studied at high school

• Disadvantages – expensive, possibly outdated, information not distilled, a lot of different books to collect and read, even specific IMAT test preparation books

YouTube and other free, online video tutorials

• Advantages – free, online learning, good for visual learners

• Disadvantages – can be very broad in scope, you may have to comb through hours to find relevant study areas

Specialist IMAT preparation courses

• Advantages – focused, guided, a mixture of IMAT mock tests, tutoring and videos

• Disadvantages – cost, not all courses are made equal. IMAT Buddy offers high-quality resources that are not available elsewhere.

IMAT tests of past years

• Advantages – IMAT test past papers are great for familiarizing yourself with the kinds of questions asked. They provide an opportunity to do a practice IMAT test online.

General IMAT studying tips

1. Set a schedule

When revising for the IMAT, it is essential you create a revision timetable. A timetable will ensure you dedicate enough time to studying for the exam whilst factoring in other time commitments you have, such as school or work. A schedule will also ensure you don’t burn out as it can include time dedicated to relaxing.

2. Find the right environment

If you struggle to concentrate when trying to study for the IMAT, consider if a change in environment may help you to study more successfully. Some students, for example, may find working in their local library the most effective study location as it is quiet and relatively free from distractions.

3. Learn from your mistakes

When completing a practice exam or practice question, it can be disheartening to realise you have answered a question incorrectly. Rather than seeing an incorrectly answered question as a failure, you should view it as a learning opportunity. Mistakes can teach us valuable information about areas of our subject knowledge that need more attention and are useful study guides.

4. Focus on active studying

Rather than simply re-reading textbooks, ensure you actively engage with IMAT topics and information by completing past papers and creating notes and mind maps. IMAT Buddy is filled with over 22+ hours of video content, so all the information you need to succeed in your exam is at your fingertips. IMAT Buddy content encourages active studying and allows you to engage and learn subject knowledge at a deeper level than simply reading from a textbook.

IMAT information in other languages

Navigating the IMAT and studying in an effective and efficient way is not easy, and this challenge is even harder for international students. If English isn’t your first language, you may find you are dropping marks due to how the IMAT questions are phrased. At IMAT Buddy, we have courses tailored for international students and share the strategies international students need to beat the test and start their future in medical school.

Useful links for international students:

• IMAT test medicina inglese (

• Test IMAT Bologna 2020/20201 (

• IMAT test München (

You can pass the IMAT test

Studying for your IMAT exam can feel overwhelming, but with a good strategy and plenty of time, you can do it.

At IMAT Buddy we offer a guided, specialized set of resources for learning how to study for the IMAT, including video tutorials, practice questions, written summaries and general tricks and tips. Contact us today, check our FAQ’s or go straight to the IMAT Test Preparation Course to learn how to prepare for IMAT and begin your journey to medical school.

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