Hi I am interested to apply for Medicine in the next application cycle, thus I intend to sit for the BMAT this November. Since it has been nearly 2 years since I graduated, I would appreciate some help for the BMAT essay. Please give me some comments on my essay since I am not used to writing these types of philosophical essays. Thanks!
Question: “A little learning is a dangerous thing.” (Alexander Pope). Explain what this statement means. Argue to the contrary to show that a little learning is not dangerous. To what extent do you think learning can be a dangerous thing?
A little learning can be a dangerous thing when an individual decides to abuse his new-found knowledge. When he has not learnt much and decides to put his limited knowledge to use, it could spell disaster for those around him.
However, a little learning is not always dangerous. In fact, it is usually harmless and beneficial for people. In the 21st century where society is highly competitive in most developed countries, it is essential to have a little knowledge across all fields to maintain one’s competitiveness. Moreover, it would also be helpful in conversing with others to avoid reflecting one’s ignorance.
I believe learning can be a dangerous thing to a small extent since the advantages of learning outweighs its disadvantages more often than not.
Learning is usually good, not dangerous, since it equips us with the knowledge to make better decisions in the future, hence bringing about progress for mankind. It is largely beneficial to strive for improvement in all that we do, including the way we think, the way we act, and the way we talk, among many other aspects. Through learning, we are able to widen our horizons and hence identify existing flaws and inadequacies in our lifestyles, while opening our eyes to fresh new perspectives which might bring about positive change to the world we live in. Furthermore, new knowledge can be useful in helping us avert potential disasters. Modern research has helped scientists understand the global climate change better, and the reasons behind the rising sea levels and increasing global temperature. These pieces of information can be useful in warning scientists of the potentially irreversible damage to Mother Earth and to trigger a change in mankind’s actions to avoid further damage to the planet. Clearly, learning is largely beneficial and not dangerous since it is useful to mankind. In fact, it is useful in protecting us against danger.
However it is important to bear in mind that learning can still be a dangerous thing if the newfound knowledge is used with malicious intent. There are people who abuse the knowledge they have for evil purposes. In the 21st century where terrorism is a global threat, terrorists constantly pursue a more profound understanding of explosives to help them in their antagonistic ambitions. This could spell disaster for the global population since public safety is at stake.
In a nutshell, learning is dangerous to a small extent --- it is largely beneficial and useful. Learning is only dangerous when accompanied by malicious intent. Nonetheless, this should not stop people from pursuing new knowledge since it is essential for mankind’s progress. The individual himself should always bear in mind that knowledge should not be abused.
Hi I can give you the following comments, in parts specifically related to the BMAT context:-
1. Your use of language and command of English appear commendable - you have adopted the application of a range of vocabulary, have used correct grammar and punctuation, and used a good balance of second and third person sentences.
2. The citing of different examples of learning in humanity and the earth has been demonstrated well.
3. One deficiency I note is that there is no specific reference to the relevance of the topic to medicine: two aspects of this feature come to mind: a) the quotation by Alexander Pope refers to "little learning" rather than just "learning", and here there should, in my opinion, be an emphasis on the fact that knowledge gained in an incomplete manner not only inevitably introduces errors simply out of the required simplification but,
b) in the medical context, which the BMAT is of course intended for, this very fact of limited knowledge can be dangerous. This is evident in instances of errors caused by medical personnel who have inadequate knowledge or experience, but more often by lay members of the public. Very good examples of this are:
i) the thalidomide catastrophe ii) The misinterpretation by the public (and some medics, including Dr Wakefield) of the "brain damage" allegedly caused by the MMR vaccine, which meant several children suffered the worse consequences of contracting measles. iii) With the advent of the internet, people trying to treat themselves with a few hours of theoretical "medical training" instead of six years of hands-on clinical training, which is dangerous!
In summary and in general terms, a very good essay technique with the provisos a) read the Q very carefully b) try to relate at least part of it to medicine (if possible).
I hope this helps!
M (former medical student)
Hi, Pls can someone grade this bmat essay? @MedicMind
Mental Health has nothing to do with physical wellbeing. This statement is suggesting that the mind and body exist as two separate areas of the human body, and that there is no correlation between your mental and physical health, which is true to some respect as psychiatry is a different branch of medicine, therefore the two are not linked. The statement argues that poor mental health does not necessarily mean poor physical wellbeing and vice versa. Some may argue that this is not the case as it has been scientifically proven that an increase in stress levels leads to an increase in blood pressure and therefore a greater risk of suffering from a heart attack. Similarly, if somebody suffers from a stroke, they may feel depressed and discouraged to act towards recovery. In addition, an eating disorder, such as anorexia, will have a direct impact on physical wellbeing due to the drastic change in diet resulting in an extreme lack of energy to remain fit. While it is very difficult to measure if a healthy mind equals a healthy body, it can be assumed that having a more positive outlook on life encourages people to maintain a healthier lifestyle and having a positive mental attitude speeds recovery. This can be achieved be preventing depression in a stroke sufferer and this will lead to a quicker recovery and decreases mortality rates. Having suffered physical health problems in the past and failing to cope with it can prove to be detrimental to one’s mental health and suffering from mental health problems can have an extreme impact on a person’s physical wellbeing, however it is also true that a healthy does not mean a healthy body and a healthy body does not mean a healthy mind.