Interview to Daniel: 1st place at IMAT 2020

The enfant prodige of Queen Elizabeth’s admission test, who managed to achieve the highest national score, opens up for an exclusive interview.

Just like every year, we’ll be unravelling the experience, journey, fears and emotions of some of our students who were successful at passing (with flying colours) the admission tests for the medical degree courses.
For today’s interview, we have the pleasure of talking to Daniel James Savini, a 19-year-old student from Treviglio, a small village near Bergamo, who enrolled in the English course of Medicine and Surgery at University of Milano-Bicocca. When he took IMAT (International Medical Admission Test) in September 2020, Daniel scored a dazzling total of 83.6 points, which allowed him to reach first place in the national ranking amidst the eleven thousand participants.

Hey there, Daniel! Firstly, we’d really like to congratulate you on your achievement and thank you for participating in this interview.
Let’s put aside your academic journey and the admission test for a moment. Tell us a little something about yourself: is there anything you enjoy doing in your spare time, any hobbies, perhaps?

‘Hi and thank you for giving me this opportunity. Well, let’s just say I consider myself a very regular person. I’ve had a great passion for music since I was a child, and I blame my parents for it: it was them who approached me to this fascinating field. Aside from music, though, I really am fond of scientific subjects, too… and I guess this is where my desire to study Medicine comes from.’

I suppose you’re one of those students who always had a clear picture of what they’d do once they grew up, then. Am I right?

‘Let’s not put words in my mouth, shall we? (laughing, Ed.). High school actually really helped me figure out what I wanted to do. I took my time to think things through and decide, let’s put it like that. And as of today I’m really happy with the path I’m taking.’

Let’s discuss your preparation now: when did you start studying for the test?

‘Before graduating, I still hadn’t begun. Five years of high school gave me a pretty solid basic knowledge of all of the subjects required for the test, so let’s say I had a nice head start.’

Spill your ‘secret recipe’ for placing on top: how did you organise your time? Did you draw a planning for your studying? Took a pilgrimage to Lourdes?

‘To be honest, planning is kind of an overstatement. I began studying the theory required for the test, because although I knew I was at a good starting point I couldn’t just skip it all at once. I would then take quizzes here and there to better learn the various topics. Before taking the theory module of your courses, I had brushed up on all the topics listed in the IMAT admission specifics. The courses really helped me go through everything again and in detail in the classroom with the teachers. Once the theory module ended, I began doing more quizzes right away, as well as test simulations up until the second module started.
By the end of August, with the test date just around the corner, I had done a ton of quizzes and simulations.’

About that, honestly, how did you feel the day of the test?

‘I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t any anxiety, but all things considered, I wasn’t too worried. I always thought of this admission test as a way to challenge myself, that’s it. A challenge dressed up as a black figure holding a scythe rather than a test, but it still is a series of single-choice questions, after all. I used to score pretty well in my simulations, and that comforted me. Furthermore, a few days before IMAT I had taken the admission test for the Italian course in Medicine and Surgery. That surely helped me feel more confident, but I’ll be honest: I never thought it would turn out this well.’

Once again, our most vivid congratulations for the outcome. Has anything changed for you since attending our courses?

‘I attended both the course for the Italian admission test and the one for IMAT. Overall, the greatest help you’ve provided was the insane amount of exercises and simulations we had available. I’m the type of person that learns not only by studying but by practice as well. On the one hand, doing lots of exercises and simulations allowed me to improve my scoring, better learn the topics and come across some of the tricks one can encounter during the test. But in addition to this, the real blessing was having various teachers, who are Medicine students themselves, completely available to us. They’ve already experienced the test firsthand and know far too well which topics need more attention than others, what requires more time and attention and what can be dealt with a bit more quickly. Let’s just say they know where it’s worth putting our energies. And this certainly isn’t pointless, considering all the topics one needs to know for the test.’

We’re really glad to hear you say that, and as we always say Practice is the best route to success… We’ll give you that. Do you have any advice for the thousands of aspiring Medicine students that will try and follow your steps this next September?

‘Take it seriously, but not too seriously. Looking back, when I think of where I was last year, I now know I probably could’ve studied with a bit calmer… and hang out a little more. Trust me: you can do it! It’s not impossible to pass this test.’

We kindly thank Daniel for his availability and for sharing his tips and advice with whoever will take IMAT this year. We are confident his experience will come in handy.
Break a leg!