IMAT Test Section 1 – Broken down into 3 Sections, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving & General Knowledge
Here we will analyse how the first section of the IMAT works and what you need to do to master it. Plus, we also have an action-packed three FREE full lessons and three FREE quizzes for the IMAT test.
Introduction to Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is technically not even its own section in the IMAT, it is actually a subsection of the logical reasoning section. However, ever since 2019 there have been a total of 5 questions for critical thinking, which means you can treat this as a section of the IMAT worth 7.5 marks. And here is the best part, these 5 questions are very preparable, you just need to learn a specific method for each question type, and if you do that you are almost guaranteed to get the question correct in the actual test.
Critical thinking consists of 7 question types, which are…
- Summarising the main conclusion
- Drawing a conclusion
- Identifying an assumption
- Assessing the impact of additional evidence
- Detecting reasoning errors
- Identifying parallel reasoning
- Applying principles
Each one of these question types has a specific method that you need to learn, if you learn that method and get good at applying it, you will be able to solve any type of critical thinking question you get. At IMAT Buddy we cover all seven methods precisely and give you plenty of demonstrations on how to apply them to IMAT style questions.
What does an actual critical thinking question look like? If you look at a past IMAT paper you will find at the very start of the test that there will be a few questions that include a passage of text, a question and then an answer key. Below is an example of such a question.
Do not be intimated by the passage, there is a very specific method to use on these question types and it works every time. Many students who take the IMAT do not have English as their first language and thus feel intimated by reading a passage of text. Do not worry! These questions are not testing you on your English language proficiency. You of course need to be fluent in English to read the question, but as you are planning to study medicine in English, that should not be a problem anyway.
So how do you solve this question? Your first task is to identify which of the 7 question types this is, after that you simply employ the method for that question type and you will then be able to get the answer. To see how this is done, take a look at the video below…
Watch below our Free IMAT Test Lesson on Summarizing the Main Conclusion
Introduction to Problem Solving
Now that we have covered the critical thinking subsection, let’s move on to the problem-solving subsection of logical reasoning. Again, ever since 2019, this subsection has consisted of 5 questions and thus 7.5 marks. Unfortunately, this section is not as preparable for as critical thinking, you cannot just learn a specific method that can be applied to every question type. Instead, this section will present you with questions you have likely not seen before, testing you on your ability to solve a problem logically without prior experience. That might seem scary, but with practice, you will find that your ability to solve these types of questions will greatly improve.
What exactly do you need to learn in order to solve these types of questions? There is not much-assumed knowledge required, you just need a very basic level of mathematics in order to solve some of the quantitative problems. This includes very basic concepts like multiplication, division, addition and subtraction, things that pretty much every high school graduate can do. However, do not get overconfident, you need to be quick and efficient and since you will not have a calculator available you need to get very good at doing maths with just a pen and paper. Practice is key!
On top of this, there are also some question types that tend to show up year after year, so if you can learn how to do these question types you will have a major advantage in this subsection. We will cover these types of questions on IMAT Buddy, check out our free video below for an example of such a question type!
Watch below our Free IMAT Test Lesson on Age Ration Problems
Introduction to General Knowledge
The last component of section 1 is general knowledge. Most students dread this section due to a false rumour that ”general knowledge cannot be studied for”. This it NOT true! It is true that the types of questions they can ask you are very broad and that you probably will not get all the questions correct (as they cover a very wide range of topics), but the questions are not random and you can definitely prepare for them. General knowledge since 2019 consists of 12 questions, which is a massive 18 marks! On top of this, it is a section many students do not bother studying for, so you potentially have a massive advantage if you can approach this section correctly.
What is it exactly that general knowledge is trying to assess you on? Basically, the IMAT writers are trying to reward people with a broad and diverse level of knowledge across a wide field of non-scientific topics. Think fields of study such as philosophy, history, literature and so on. On top of this, there are some other topics that are often assessed, these include things like knowledge of international organisations and knowledge about the European Union. Depending on your academic background you may already have an advantage for this section, but if not then do not worry, at IMAT Buddy we will show you what it is you should focus on learning.
Below is an example of a typical general knowledge question…
Which of the following institutions was founded by Plato?
A) The Lyceum
B) The Library of Alexandria
C) The Academy
D) The University of Athens
E) The Parthenon
This might seem like a very random question to ask, but it is actually testing for something specific. If you have studied philosophy then you will very likely know the answer to this question (It is C), so what the IMAT has done is rewarded people with a basic level of knowledge in philosophy. This illustrates the aim of general knowledge preparation, you want to try and get as broad a knowledge of certain fields of study as possible. You of course should NOT try to become a master in any of these fields, your aim is to have a basic and broad overview of them. Thus, you should not waste time or money on textbooks trying to fully master topics like history and philosophy, you should focus on the high yield content of these fields of study and aim to get as basic and wide an understanding as possible. At IMAT Buddy we will show you what you should focus on.
Lastly, we should also mention that general knowledge is not something that you should actively study for. What that means is that you should not try to fully understand the concepts of for instance economics just to become better prepared for general knowledge. Do not waste precious study time trying to fully understand everything, your focus of study should be on the other sections of the IMAT. General knowledge is best prepared for at the end of the day when you are too tired to study the difficult concepts in biology, chemistry etc. Once you have had a full days study, it is a good idea to maybe dedicate one hour or so to learning some broad facts about the various topics that are assessed in general knowledge. You can also add general knowledge study into your daily life, for instance watching documentaries about certain relevant topics.
You will find below a lesson on how to study for a topic that shows up very often in the general knowledge section. This should hopefully give you an idea of how to best approach this section. You can find the written section accompanying this video on www.imatbuddy.com
Watch below our Free IMAT Test Lesson on Literature
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