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What Will Be Asked in the IMAT 2024 and How to Prepare

Table of Contents

The IMAT has an overwhelmingly large amount of content that you can be assessed on. Given the competitive nature of the exam, it might seem strange that many successful students do not study everything in the syllabus, and still come out on top. This is because not all topics are made equal in the IMAT. Some get asked about more than others. In this article, we will focus on what topics for each section you are actually likely to get asked about.

The Most Important IMAT Biology Topics in Order

Biology is the most important section in the IMAT, but also the most content-heavy. There is a mountain of material to study, but the vast majority will not even show up on your exam. Is there a way to prepare strategically for this?

The answer is of course yes. While you should study everything in the syllabus, there are some topics that deserve your focused attention, especially closer towards the exam date. We have looked at all the past IMAT papers, and from this, we can determine the most important topics to study. We based this ranking based on the number of times a certain topic has shown up on the IMAT.

  1. Biochemistry/Biological Molecules
  2. Classical/Mendelian Genetics
  3. Eukaryotic cells
  4. Central Dogma
  5. Cell Cycle
  6. Nervous System
  7. Cellular Respiration
  8. Cell membranes and Transport
  9. Circulatory/Cardiovascular System
  10. Endocrine system
  11. Photosynthesis
  12. Chromosomal Theory of Genetics
  13. Prokaryotic Cells
  14. Viruses
  15. Muscles
  16. Evolution
  17. Biotechnology
  18. Cell size
  19. Homeostasis
  20. Enzymes
  21. Urinary System
  22. Digestive System
  23. Immune System
  24. Respiratory System
  25. Mutations
  26. Properties of Water
  27. Fermentation
  28. The Eye
  29. Histology
  30. Cell Theory of Life
  31. Oogenesis
  32. Other

As seen above, biochemistry and biological molecules is the most important topic in biology. In fact, around 25 total questions have been asked on this from the first IMAT to 2023. This topic includes things like carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, proteins and nucleic acids. It is thus a very high yield topic. Other topics like classical genetics, eukaryotic cells, the central dogma etc are also very important and show up in almost every exam (often more than once).

The Most Important IMAT Chemistry Topics in Order

Chemistry is the second most important section in the IMAT. There is not as much content to learn as in biology, but the content you do need to learn is harder. Chemistry involves multiple skills, some of which are mathematical, others related to pattern recognition, and theory memorisation and some generally specific skills unique to chemistry. So, it is important to know what to focus on. 

Below you will find the most important topics in order. The importance of each topic is based on the number of times that the topic showed up on past IMAT exams.

  1. Acids and Bases
  2. Stoichiometry
  3. Atomic Structure
  4. Periodic Table
  5. Organic Compounds
  6. Intramolecular and Intermolecular Bonds and Polarity
  7. Reduction and Oxidation
  8. Mixture and Solubility
  9. Isomers
  10. Molecular/Electron Geometry
  11. Equilibrium Reactions
  12. Compounds, Elements and Ions
  13. Ideal Gases
  14. Reaction Types
  15. Water
  16. Balancing Equations
  17. Rate of Reaction
  18. States of Matter
  19. Electrochemistry
  20. Other

Acids and bases show up in every IMAT exam, and often more than once. In total about 19 questions have been asked on this topic, which shows you the importance of studying for it. Stoichiometry, atomic structure and the periodic table are also topics that pretty much always show up. 

The Most Important IMAT Physics Topics in Order

Physics is often not considered that important for the IMAT since it has for the previous two years only consisted of 5 questions. Nevertheless, the level of physics assessed is quite basic. You can thus focus on certain high-yield topics if you do not feel like studying everything. The most high-yield topics based on the number of times each topic has been asked are in order…

  1. Thermodynamics
  2. Electricity
  3. Classical Mechanics
  4. Measures and Quantities
  5. Moments
  6. Fluids
  7. Motion
  8. Simple Harmonic Motion
  9. Magnetism
  10. Vectors and Scalars
  11. Uniform Circular Motion
  12. Other

Thermodynamics and Electricity are the most important for the physics section. Pretty much every exam will feature at least one question from BOTH thermodynamics and electricity. That means if you focus entirely on these two, you can really increase your chances of getting at least 2 questions correct out of 5 in the physics section. Of course, these subjects do require some understanding of other subjects in physics, but it is a great way to focus your study.

The Most Important IMAT Math Topics in Order

Math has increased in importance recently. In 2023 it was 7 questions. As such you should at least study some parts of the syllabus for math. Certain topics like logarithms, geometry, algebra and trigonometry can be assessed in other sections as well (for instance working out pH in chemistry). So, make sure to study math. 

Below you will find the most important topics for math. Again, the importance of each topic is based on how many times questions from the topic have featured on past IMAT papers. 

  1. Algebra
  2. Cartesian Geometry
  3. Exponents
  4. Geometry
  5. Inequalities
  6. Logarithms
  7. Statistics
  8. Probability
  9. Trigonometry
  10. Integers and Natural, Real, Irrational Numbers
  11. Basic Arithmetic
  12. Roots
  13. Factorisation

Algebra shows up in pretty much every exam, even if it is not assessed directly. Cartesian geometry (such as finding the equation of a line, the midpoint between two points etc) also shows up in almost every test. There are also questions related to simplifying expressions with exponents that repeat very often. These types of questions do not require much study, and if you can get used to them they become very nice bonus marks.

The Most Important IMAT Logical Reasoning Topics

Logical reasoning is broken into…

  • Critical Thinking: You need to study every type of question here. There are only 7 types, and they essentially become guaranteed marks if you learn the method and get a lot of practice
  • Problem Solving: These are different each year. You get good at this section by practising regularly. There is thus not really any ‘topics’ to study for, you just need to get good at this section in general. You can find question types that repeat in our logical reasoning lessons.

The Most Important IMAT General Knowledge Topics

General Knowledge is tricky to prepare for. You should not spend too much time on it, since the scope is vast. Unlike the other sections, it is not just about looking at what topics show up most frequently. Literature for instance shows up in almost every test, but it is a huge topic to prepare for. Topics like international organisations are however much smaller, and also often feature. That makes them more high yield. As such the most important topics are…

  1. International Organisations
  2. Europe and the EU
  3. Literature
  4. Economics
  5. History of Science
  6. Italian Politics and Constitution
  7. Other

IMAT Preparation Material

What is the best IMAT prep material? There are a lot of things that students to consider.

Exams Similar to the IMAT

The best exams to practice…

  • IMAT: Obviously past IMAT questions are essential to practice. You should always do these under test conditions, and ideally save a few past IMAT papers for the last few weeks before the IMAT.
  • BMAT: Past BMAT papers are a great tool to use for your IMAT prep. It is probably the closest exam to the IMAT.
  • Section 1: Is the same style of questions as the Logical Reasoning section in the IMAT. 
  • Section 2: Is similar to the science sections in the IMAT
  • Section 3: Not relevant at all. Do not bother practising these
  • TSA: This exam is also written by Cambridge, and is essentially identical to the logical reasoning section in the IMAT. If you practice both BMAT section 1 and TSA past papers, you will have more than enough resources for logical reasoning.
  • TOLC Med: This is the Italian language admission test for medicine in the Italian language. While it will need translating into English, they are good to look at since the format and question types are very similar to the IMAT

Unimportant exams…

  • UCAT: The UCAT is used for medical admissions in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. It has some similar questions to logical reasoning. However, logical reasoning has lessened in importance, and you already have an abundance of material from the BMAT and TSA papers regarding this. So there is no need to practice the UCAT past papers. 
  • MCAT: The MCAT is used primarily in the USA for medical admissions testing. It is much harder than the IMAT. You can still look at some past papers in the science sections if you want, but do not worry about taking these papers under test conditions. Do not worry about what you score on these papers either, they are harder than the IMAT and have a larger syllabus.
  • High School Exams: These can be good to look at if you have time. Things like the SAT or AP exams in the USA, the HSC in Australia, and many others can have relevant science questions. However, you should be aware that the syllabus in various high schools is often not the same as that of the IMAT. Do not practice questions outside the scope of the IMAT, it will just stress you out. High school exams are thus optional additions if you feel you need them.

IMAT Textbooks

Students often ask if textbooks are necessary, and if so, which ones. You can use IMAT Buddy as an alternative to textbooks, however, if you are not using the course, or would like to study with a textbook as well, these can be useful…

Biology: 

  • Pearson Biology, A Global Approach (11th edition onwards): This is a very popular choice for the IMAT since the level of detail is at the level of the IMAT. However, this textbook is not made for the IMAT and does not cover everything. Nor does it focus on what is specifically important in the IMAT. It should thus not be your only source of study. IMAT Buddy will be enough to complement the shortcomings of this book

Chemistry: 

  • Pearson Baccalaureate Higher Level Chemistry: This is a great tool for the chemistry section since it covers most of what is required for the IMAT chemistry section. However, the types of questions it prepares you for are those where calculators and periodic tables are involved. You do not have these resources in the IMAT, so it is not enough to rely solely on this textbook. There are also topics it does not cover. IMAT Buddy will be enough to complement the shortcomings of this book.

Math: 

  • IB Physics books and AP Math Books may be useful. Just be aware that textbooks for math are generally going to prepare you for the type of math problems that require calculators, or that are in a completely different style to the IMAT

Physics: 

  • IB Physics books and AP Physics Books may be useful here. However, bear in mind that this subject is assessed at quite a basic level in the IMAT, and it thus might not be worth the money to buy textbooks for physics. 

Logical Reasoning:

  • No need for textbooks. The way to solve Critical Thinking problems is explained on IMAT Buddy, the methods and some practice are all you need to master this sub-section. For problem solving you generally just need to get a lot of practice, and there are plenty of practice questions available. So do not waste your money on separate textbooks here. 

Reading Skills and Knowledge Acquired During Studies:

  • Again, no need to buy books. IMAT Buddy and some independent research for general knowledge are all you will need. 

IMAT Courses

Textbooks are great but generally not enough to be fully prepared for the IMAT. The IMAT has its own unique syllabus, and also its own unique question types and topics of importance. To master the IMAT you should use a course that will teach you what you need to know, what you can skip, and how you can actually tackle the questions. IMAT Buddy will help you with the best IMAT Preparation Course available. 

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Some of our top students for the IMAT 2023

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IMAT 2023 Score: 62

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IMAT 2023 Score: 62

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IMAT 2023 Score: 61

Daniel A.
Daniel A.
United Kingdom | 2022
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Atoosa
Italy | 2022
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USA | 2022
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Lebanon | 2022
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Italy | 2022
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Germany | 2022
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Denmark | 2023
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Italy | 2023
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Italy | 2023
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Saudi Arabia | 2023
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Bulgaria | 2023
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Austria | 2023
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India | 2023
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Turkey | 2023
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Italy | 2023
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Ireland | 2023
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Turkey | 2023
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2023
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Turkey | 2023
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7 Responses

  1. Hello,
    I want to apply to medicine this year and this was extremely helpful but I did not see any posted dates or deadlines. Can you share the syllabus for this year ? Thank you a lot.

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