GAMSAT Essay Writing – The Art of Persuasion

gamsat essay writing
Re: GAMSAT Essay Writing – The Art of Persuasion

Can you effectively sell ice to Eskimos? Religion to an atheist? The concept of climate change to Donald Trump? If not, this is a skill you had better start honing because Section II of the GAMSAT, Task A in particular, calls upon the skill of persuasion in your essay writing. 

Effective persuasive essays use logic, reason and emotion to convince the reader to join you in your particular point of view. Each element of the essay plays a part in persuading your reader to ultimately agree with your point of view.

  • The hook captures the reader’s attention and instantly draws them into your essay.
  • The thesis states your assertion about the theme/quote, further peaking the interest of the reader (provide a concise preview only here – the complete argument and supporting details are revealed in the body of the essay, not in the introduction).
  • The supporting arguments convince the reader that your thesis is correct. To do this, use logos – appeal to logic; ethos – appeal to ethics; and pathos – appeal to emotions (note: not all emotional appeals are sad).
  • The conclusion persuasively reaffirms your thesis.

If writing persuasively doesn’t come naturally to you, dig into the toolbox of persuasive writing techniques below to enhance your success at swaying the viewpoint of the person marking your GAMSAT essay.

9 Tips for effective persuasive gamsat essay writing

#1 Take a clear stance on the issue – there’s nothing less convincing than a fence-sitter or someone whose opinion changes with the wind.

#2 Write with passion – use powerful wording, strong assertions and demonstrate that you believe strongly in what you are writing… why should the marker share your point of view if it sounds like you barely believe it yourself?

#3 Don’t overtly tell the reader what to think – be subtle in “leading” the reader to share your conclusion rather than forcing it upon them. For example, don’t write: “Therefore, you have to agree that…” Instead write something like: “Faced with such compelling evidence it is undeniably clear that…”

#4 Use metaphors, similes and analogies to demonstrate and emphasise your point. Relating your scenario to something that the reader already accepts as being true is a powerful way to convince them to see things your way.

#5 Use real life stories as evidence – real life stories have a much more powerful persuasive punch than hypothetical examples or theoretical discussion as they tend to be more relatable and appeal more to the emotions of the reader, which is essential in persuading them.

#6 Consider the other points of view and come up with a rebuttal – the last thing you want is your reader reaching the end of your essay and still thinking “Yeah, but…” To fully persuade the reader you must convincingly rebuff their major objections.

#7 Include effective repetition – Steer clear of boring, redundant repetition, but be sure to include effective repetition that serves to emphasise your point. This means making your point in several different ways: directly, in a story, within an example, using a simile or metaphor, via a quote, etc.

#8 Provide reasons why – The reader is more likely to be convinced that your thesis is true if you give them solid reasons as to why they should agree with you, so harness the power of the word “because”.

#9 Employ storytelling – storytelling allows for the reader to naturally persuade themselves without you having to do any hard work to convince them. A powerful story will help the reader independently decide that you are right!

When writing persuasive GAMSAT essays, always maintain an awareness of the crucial interaction between yourself and the reader. Your job is to use whatever techniques necessary to successfully persuade the reader.

Good luck!

GAMSAT Section 1 Questions Unit 10

Re: GAMSAT Section 1 Questions Unit 10

Here’s the link to the previous unit – GAMSAT Section 1 Questions Unit 9

GAMSAT Section 1 Questions Unit 10

Unit 10
Questions 1-5

Analyse and evaluate this theoretical explanation of String Theory

String Theory was proposed to try to reconcile quantum mechanics and particle theory. Relativistic quantum field theory has worked very well to describe the observed behaviours and properties of elementary particles. But the theory itself only works well when gravity is so weak that it can be neglected. Particle theory only works when we pretend gravity doesn’t exist. General relativity has yielded a wealth of insight into the Universe, the orbits of planets, the evolution of stars and galaxies, the Big Bang and recently observed black holes and gravitational lenses. However, the theory itself only works when we pretend that the Universe is purely classical and that quantum mechanics is not needed in our description of Nature.

 Originally, string theory was proposed as an explanation for the observed relationship between mass and spin for certain particles called hadrons, which include the proton and neutron. Things didn’t work out, though, and Quantum Chromodynamics eventually proved a better theory for hadrons. But particles in string theory arise as excitations of the string, and included in the excitations of a string in string theory is a particle with zero mass and two units of spin.  If there were a good quantum theory of gravity, then the particle that would carry the gravitational force would have zero mass and two units of spin. This has been known by theoretical physicists for a long time. This theorized particle is called the graviton.

One can add a graviton to quantum field theory by hand, but the calculations that are supposed to describe Nature become useless. This is because particle interactions occur at a single point of space time, at zero distance between the interacting particles. For gravitons, the mathematics behaves so badly at zero distance that the answers just don’t make sense. In string theory, the strings collide over a small but finite distance, and the answers do make sense. This doesn’t mean that string theory is not without its deficiencies. But the zero distance behaviour is such that we can combine quantum mechanics and gravity, and we can talk sensibly about a string excitation that carries the gravitational force.

Think of a guitar string that has been tuned by stretching the string under tension across the guitar. Depending on how the string is plucked and how much tension is in the string, different musical notes will be created by the string. These musical notes could be said to be excitation modes of that guitar string under tension. In a similar manner, in string theory, the elementary particles we observe in particle accelerators could be thought of as the “musical notes” or excitation modes of elementary strings. In string theory, as in guitar playing, the string must be stretched under tension in order to become excited. However, the strings in string theory are floating in space-time, they aren’t tied down to a guitar. Nonetheless, they have tension. The string tension in string theory is denoted by the quantity 1/(2 p a’), where a’ is pronounced “alpha prime” and is equal to the square of the string length scale.

If string theory is to be a theory of quantum gravity, then the average size of a string should be somewhere near the length scale of quantum gravity, called the Planck length, which is about 10-33 centimetres, or about a millionth of a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a centimetre. Unfortunately, this means that strings are way too small to see by current or expected particle physics technology and so string theorists must devise more clever methods to test the theory than just looking for little strings in particle experiments.

The assessments must include whether or not the particle spectrum includes fermions. In order to include fermions in string theory, there must be a special kind of symmetry called supersymmetry, which means for every boson (particle that transmits a force) there is a corresponding fermion (particle that makes up matter). So supersymmetry relates the particles that transmit forces to the particles that make up matter, though never directly observable thus far.

1 The main idea or thesis of the passage is:
A. String theory – an augmentation of quantum mechanics
B. Particle physics and an exploration of the implications of string theory
C. A general overview of string theory in relation to theoretical physics
D. String theory – from the graviton to supersymmetry

2 According to passage information, which of the following describes the properties of a graviton?
I    have a corresponding fermion and boson
II   has zero mass and two units of spin
III  are mathematically verifiable

A. I
B. I & II
C. II only

 3 It can be inferred from passage information, that at the basic core of discussions of String theory is:
A. The hadron, made up of a proton and neutron
B. The properties and degree of gravity
C. Supersymmetry between boson and fermion
D. Classical thermodynamic notions of energy and volume  

4 Based on passage information, which of the following assertions, in relation to String Theory is false?  Which is the exception?
A. All types of strings are closed loops
B. String Theory attempts to philosophically “verify” gravitational spin
C. All types of strings roughly correspond to the size of Planck length
D. The string tension is equal to the square root of the string length

5 What is the major theoretical drawback of the notions proposed by String Theory?
A. The graviton lacks explanatory power for gravitational spin
B. Supersymmetry is too specific, therefore considered a hasty generalization
C. Strings cannot be empirically quantified, nor observed in experiment
D. Classical Physics and Quantum Mechanics really cannot be reconciled on a scientific basis

gamsat section 1 questions unit 10

Answers – GAMSAT Section 1 Questions Unit 10

C is the Correct Answer.

Since both quantum mechanics and particle physics are considered to be theoretical physics (C) represents the best choice answer, because the passage focuses on how string theory provides a general overview and a connection between the two.  (A) & (B) only reflect one of the two, while (D) is too specific on aspects of String theory in general 

C is the Correct Answer. Only II or (C) describes the properties of the graviton, which can be affirmed by a close reading or re-scan.  String theory itself is unobservable, its main weakness, ruling out III, Fermions and bosons are associated with supersymmetry

B is the Correct Answer. At the very basis of discussion, gravity must be the basis for the discussion, all the other notions are related, to a certain extent, but not at the core, as asked in the question. 

A is the Correct Answer. All are true except (A) it does not state this in the passage, but:

String theories are classified according to whether or not the strings are required to be closed loops, 

C is the Correct Answer.

Clearly (C) is the best answer.  Strings are only theoretical.  They cannot be observed.


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gamsat section 1 questions

GAMSAT Section 1 Questions Unit 9

Re: GAMSAT Section 1 Questions Unit 9

Here’s the link to the previous unit – GAMSAT Section 1 Questions Unit 8

GAMSAT Section 1 Questions Unit 9

Questions 1-5

Study Goya’s painting “The Duelists” and assess philosopher of science Michel Serres’ commentary from his book The Natural Contract.

gamsat section 1 questions unit 9
A pair of enemies brandishing sticks is fighting in the midst of a patch of quicksand. Attentive to the other’s tactics, each answers blow for blow, counterattacking and dodging. Outside the painting’s frame, we spectators observe the symmetry of their gestures over time: what a magnificent spectacle-and how banal!

The painter, Goya, has plunged the duelists knee-deep in the mud. With every move they make, a slimy hole swallows them up, so that they are gradually burying themselves together. How quickly depends on how aggressive they are: the more heated the struggle, the more violent their movements become and the faster they sink in. The belligerents don’t notice the abyss they’re rushing into; from outside, however, we see it clearly.

Who will die? We ask. Who will win? They are wondering-and that’s the usual question. Let’s make a wager. You put your stakes on the right; we’ve bet on the left. The fight’s outcome is in doubt simply because there are two combatants, and once one of them wins there will be no more uncertainty. But we can identify a third position, outside their squabble: the marsh into which the struggle is sinking.

For here the bettors are in the same doubt as the duelists, and both bettors and duelists are at risk of losing collectively, since it is more than likely that the earth will swallow up the fighters before they and the gamblers have had a chance to settle accounts.

On the one hand there’s the pugnacious subject, every man for himself; on the other, the bond of combat, so heated that it inflames the audience, enthralled to the point of joining in with its cries and coins.

But aren’t we forgetting the world of things themselves, the sand, the water, the mud, the reeds of the marsh? In what quicksands are we, active adversaries and sick voyeurs, floundering side by side? And I who write this, in the solitary peace of dawn?

River, fire, and mud are reminding us of their presence.

Nothing ever interests us but spilled blood, the manhunt, crime stories, the point at which politics turns into murder; we are enthralled only by the corpses of the battlefield, the power and glory of those who hunger for victory and thirst to humiliate the losers; thus entertainment mongers show us only corpses, the vile work of death that founds and traverses history, from the Iliad to Goya and from academic art to prime-time television.

Modernity, I notice, is beginning to tire of this loathsome culture. In the present era, murderous winners are admired somewhat less, and despite the glee with which killing fields are put on display, they draw only unenthusiastic applause: these are, I presume, good tidings.

In these spectacles, which we hope are now a thing of the past, the adversaries most often fight to the death in an abstract space, where they struggle alone, without marsh or river. Take away the world around the battles, keep only conflicts or debates, thick with humanity and purified of things, and you obtain stage theatre, most of our narratives and philosophies, history, and all of social science: the interesting spectacle they call cultural. Does anyone ever say where the master and slave fight it out?

Our culture abhors the world.

Yet quicksand is swallowing the duellists; the river is threatening the fighter: earth, waters, and climate, the mute world, the voiceless things once placed as a decor surrounding the usual spectacles, all those things that never interested anyone, from now on thrust themselves brutally and without warning into our schemes and manoeuvres. They burst in on our culture, which had never formed anything but a local, vague, and cosmetic idea of them:


What was once local-this river, that swamp-is now global: Planet Earth.

1 The main underlying theme of the excerpt represents:
A man’s inhumanity to man
B an environmental plea
C culture as war-like
D the barbarism of society

2 The third position identified within the passage is:
A culture
B war
C nature
D society 

3 Serres writing style or genre could BEST be descibed as:
A subjective response
B argumentative reply
C editorial opinion
D a lyrical argument

4 Current culture, according to Serres can be characterized:
A as warlike and bellicose
B as marked by desensitization
C as being obsessed with spectatorship
D as being environmentally aware

5 The main implication of the excerpt is that:
A we are in a battle with nature and need a contract of peace
B we are spectators endlessly watching battles
C we are by nature war-like
D we are overly concerned with nature and its processes

gamsat section 1 questions unit 9

Answers – GAMSAT Section 1 Questions Unit 9

Correct Answer: B. This should be noticeable enough that this is an environmental plea, although there are all elements of A, C, & D – these are not the main underlying theme.

Correct Answer: C – nature is the third position and a close reading or rescan will affirm this.  While A, B & D are commented on within the passage they are not identified as the third position. 

3 Correct Answer: D – a lyrical argument.  There are elements of poetry, narrative, allusions, and metaphors to support his argument indicating “lyrical.”  A is too general – all responses are subjective, while C refers more to journalism. 

Correct Answer: B – culture is desensitized. D is just plain wrong, while A & C are subsumed under B.  Consider the following passage to support B:

Nothing ever interests us but spilled blood, the manhunt, crime stories, the point at which politics turns into murder; we are enthralled only by the corpses of the battlefield, the power and glory of those who hunger for victory and thirst to humiliate the losers; thus entertainment mongers show us only corpses, the vile work of death that founds and traverses history, from the Iliad to Goya and from academic art to prime-time television

Correct Answer A – this implication runs throughout the entire passage.  D is incorrect, of course, C is arguable, and B is inclusive of A.

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GAMSAT Section 1 Questions Unit 8

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GAMSAT Section 1 Questions Unit 8

Unit 8 (Long Passage)

Questions 1-5

Read and assess this academic explanation of M. H. Abrams classic theory of romantic poetry

In his classic study of romanticism and literary theory, The Mirror and the Lamp, MH Abrams points out the crucial change in images of the mind – from the mind as a “mirror” of outside reality to the mind as a “lamp” or a “fountain” that determines what it knows. In England, this shift was the work not of philosophers but of poets: “The Copernican revolution in epistemology – if we do not restrict this to Kant’s specific doctrine that the mind imposes the forms of time, space, and the categories on the ‘sensuous manifold,’ but apply it to the general concept that the perceiving mind discovers what it has itself partly made – was effected in England by poets and critics before it manifested itself in academic philosophy. Thus generally defined, the revolution was a revolution by reaction. In their early poetic expositions of the mind fashioning its own experience, for example, Coleridge and Wordsworth do not employ Kant’s abstract formulae. They revert, instead, to metaphors of mind which had largely fallen into disuse in the eighteenth century, but had earlier been current in seventeenth-century philosophers outside of, or specifically opposed to, the sensational tradition of Hobbes and Locke.”

Abrams specifically mentions the Plontinian image of the mind as a fountain that was employed by the Cambridge Platonists before being picked up by Coleridge: “In these writers, the familiar figure of the spirit of man as a candle of the Lord easily lent itself to envisioning the act of perception as that little candle throwing its beams into the eternal world.” According to Nathanael Culverwel, for instance, the spirit of man was “the Candle of the Lord,” since the Lord was “the fountain of Light,” and has furnished the world with “Intellectual lamps, that should shine forth to the praise and honour of his Name.” Further: “This makes the Platonists look upon the Spirit of Man as the Candle of the Lord for illuminating and irradiating of objects, and darting more light upon them, than it receives from them.”

Similarly Wordsworth: “Throughout, objects . . . derive their influence not from what they are actually in themselves, but from such as are bestowed upon them by the minds of those who are conversant with or affected by those objects.” Or this from Coleridge: “Images, however beautiful, though faithfully copied from nature, and as accurately represented in words, do not of themselves characterize the poet. They become proofs of original genius only insofar as they are modified by a predominant passion; or by associated thoughts or images awakened by that passion . . . or lastly, when a human and intellectual life is transferred to them from the poet’s own spirit.”

Literary theories, Abrams argues, can be divided into four main groups:

  • Mimetic Theories (interested in the relationship between the Work and the Universe)
  • Pragmatic Theories (interested in the relationship between the Work and the Audience)
  • Expressive Theories (interested in the relationship between the Work and the Artist)
  • Objective Theories (interested in close reading of the Work)

Working from the assumption that literature involves at least four variables, the work,  and its realistic representation of the universe or outside world, the effect of the work on the audience, the relationship between the work itself and the artist’s lifestyle or experience, and the work itself, it’s intrinsic elements, such as style and structure. Abrams would have profound influence on further studies in aesthetics, as well as his own proper focus:  poetry and literary theory.

1 According to passage information, the Copernican or Romantic revolution in epistemology heralded a viewing of the mind as:
A. having a direct one-to-one correspondence with the outside world
B. as creating the outside world subjectively
C. discovering, as much as creating the outside world
D. representing or reflecting the outside world

2 We can infer from the passage, that Kant’s “abstract formulae” of space and time, to which the Romantic poets reacted against were argued by Kant to be:
A. A Priori – Before Experience or Perception
B. A Posterior – After Experience or Perception
C. Ignum Experiencio – Independent of Experience or Perception
D. Effecto Experiencio – Effects Experience or Perception.

Literary theories, Abrams argues, can be divided into four main groups.  From which group below would the following example pertain to?  A literary critic interweaving the poet’s lifestyle and history into the ideas presented in the poetry.
A. Mimetic Theories
B. Pragmatic Theories
C. Expressive Theories
D. Objective Theories

A literary novelist who works painstakingly recounting and compiling actual historical events to compose his novel as realistically as possible, under Abrams four-fold theoretical schema would be:
A. Mimetic
B. Pragmatic
C. Expressive
D. Objective

5 Which of the following examples would not adhere to Abrahm’s “pragmatic” theory of literary types?
A. D. H. Lawrence shocking readers with sexual passages in Lady Chatterley’s Lover
B. A person reading Native American poetry and having a renewed interest in nature
C. A literary critic doing a very close analysis of a poem’s inner workings.
D. A person being profoundly affected by the reading of biblical passages.

gamsat section 1 questions unit 8

Answers – GAMSAT Section 1 Questions Unit 8

1 C is a direct paraphrase based on passage information, (A) represents an “objective” view of reality, (B) represents a subjective view of reality, while (D) represents, to a certain extent a mimetic-imitative “objective view of reality, or the outside world.

The Copernican revolution in epistemology – if we do not restrict this to Kant’s specific doctrine that the mind imposes the forms of time, space, and the categories on the ‘sensuous manifold,’ but apply it to the general concept that the perceiving mind discovers what it has itself partly made

2 A is the correct answer.

Kant’s specific doctrine that the mind imposes the forms of time, space, and the categories on the ‘sensuous manifold’ – indicates that these forms or categories are imposed before “senses” or experience or perception.  This is a difficult question, but by inferring that the Romantics used the metaphors of the “lamp” or “fountain” – in creating the external world, as much as discovering it, we must infer that Kant, held that certain forms or categories must be inherent or innate, existing before this light or flow of understanding.  (B) goes against this notion, more in line with Hobbes and Locke’s ideas of sensational tradition, while (C) and (D) are creations which sound good or important. 

3 C is the correct answer.

Expressive Theories (interested in the relationship between the Work and the Artist) 

4 A is the correct answer.

Mimetic Theories (interested in the relationship between the Work and the Universe)

All answers are pragmatic – having an effect on the reader or audience except C – the correct answer and exclusion. From Abrahms’ theories – C would be Objective – close reading.

GAMSAT Trial Exam

Re: GAMSAT Trial Exam

Are you ready to take your gamsat preparation to the next level? If so, then great! The AceGAMSAT team have released a gamsat exam. You can sit this exam under timed conditions and then check your answers with our fully worked solutions.

By sitting this trial exam under timed conditions, you will get an idea of what to expect in the actual gamsat exam. This gamsat trial exam contains questions which are just like the real exam. All of the questions contained in our gamsat trial exam have been carefully created to match the difficulty of the questions in the real exam.

Structure Of The Exam
Section 1: Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences – 75 Multiple Choice Questions
Section 2: Written Communication  – 2 Essay Questions
Section 3: Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences – 110 Multiple Choice Questions

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GAMSAT Section 2 Tips

From: Katherine
Re: GAMSAT Section 2 Tips

One of the most challenging aspects of section 2 is not knowing what the theme (or themes!) of the quotes will be. It can seem overwhelming to think about the vast subject matter that the examiners may draw upon. The following aims to help you feel slightly better prepared in terms of the topics that may be presented to you in section 2, and to feel more confident in tackling the theme no matter what it is on the day.

Learn to see any theme from a variety of perspectives

The first point of this point is that you should attempt to develop your ability to consider any topic from a variety of perspectives. I often challenge students that I tutor in section 2 to imagine that the theme is a cube. Once a cube is visualized, I ask students to practice trying to rotate the cube in their head, allowing them to view the theme from a variety of perspectives. This is an excellent mental exercise to try, and can be used alongside other brainstorming strategies such as mind-mapping. For example, the theme might be imagination, and you might rotate your cube to come up with various angles on this theme including (but not limited to!):

  • What is the role of imagination (in the lives of individuals/ in society as a whole)?
  • What are the benefits of being able to utilise imagination?
  • What are the possible risks/ negative aspects of having imaginative faculties?
  • Does imagination allow for escapism, and is this escapism ‘true escapism’ or a false sense of having overcome the limitations of our physical lives?
  • Does imagination have a role in human development (e.g. in childhood)?
  • Does imagination operate in fields which are traditionally perceived as ‘scientific’ (e.g. creativity in engineering)?

 gamsat section 2 tips

 Write what you know

Almost everyone has heard the saying ‘write what you know’, and if you haven’t, it is a great one to become acquainted with! It simply refers to the fact that many people often write much better (i.e. more clearly and persuasively), when they write about something that they are familiar with. For example, if I was writing an essay about being able to overcome adversity, I would probably do a much better job crafting an argument using the example of Frieda Kahlo, whom I know a little bit about, than using the example of Martin Luther King (whom I know relatively little about!). You can often use the same example in a variety of contexts, and this is a great skill to practice in the lead up to the exam.

Hopefully, these two strategies will assist you in dealing with the unpredictability of section II!

Keep practicing and best of luck on exam day!


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GAMSAT Essay Themes

gamsat essay themes

Re: GAMSAT Essay Themes

So, you are completing practice essays and perfecting your structure. You might also be (understandably!) wondering how you are meant to deal with the vast number of themes that might arise in section II, and considering how you should approach type A and B quotes (is there even difference, you ask?). If you are at this stage, then this is the guide for you!

Firstly, the difference between ‘type A’ and ‘type B’ sets of quotes…

Note here that I have referred to type A and B ‘sets of quotes’ rather than ‘essays.’ This was intentional! Sometimes there is the perception that there is a certain ‘type’ of essay that must be written in response to either type A or B quotes, but the reality is that you could craft an effective response for either styles of quotes using a variety of essay styles, including a persuasive essay style or reflective/ creative essay style. The most important thing is to find a style and structure that you understand and can utilise effectively.

Ok, back to the different between type A and B quotes! Type A tends to focus on an issue that is perhaps more ‘objective’ (in that is can be observed playing out in society) and is often a more political issue (think democracy, the environment, terrorism, the legal system etc.), whereas type B quotes usually refer to something that is more subjective (in that many people will have different, individual views on the matter that they have developed over their lives) (think trust, love, relationships, childhood, optimism etc.)

Ok great. Are there any ways of predicting what the theme will be?

The short answer is no! Unfortunately there is no way of predicting what kinds of themes will be included in section II in a given year. It would appear, however, that often at least one of the themes relates to something that is quite topical. This does not necessarily mean that the topic has been apparent in the media in the last week or month or even year. It might be something that has been going around for a while, and the assessors feel as though it would raise interesting ideas for candidates to consider. Currently, for example, you might consider democracy and its utility (in the wake of the US election), gender equality (pretty much always quite topical), or themes surrounding gender identity and sexual orientation (an area which is currently receiving a lot of attention, especially in the field of research). 

So, what are some examples of type A and B themes?

Note that the following lists are by no means exhaustive! They are simply suggestions in order to get your brain pumping and for you to build on!

Sample Type A GAMSAT Essay Themes:

  • Technology
  • The scientific endeavor
  • Human rights
  • Diplomacy
  • Conflict/ warfare
  • Evolution
  • Space exploration
  • Medicine
  • Stem cell research
  • Multiculturalism
  • Censorship
  • The media and/or social media
  • Religion
  • Bureaucracy
  • Justice

Sample Type B GAMSAT Essay Themes:

  • Imagination
  • Childhood
  • Death
  • Art
  • Marriage
  • Love
  • Trust
  • Optimism/ attitude
  • Perception
  • Ageing
  • Parenthood
  • Change 

Hopefully this post has left you feeling better prepared to deal with any theme thrown your way!

Happy essay writing!


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GAMSAT Writing Advice

GAMSAT Writing Advice

As I have said multiple times before (and am clearly about to say again), there is no single correct way to approach section II. There is no one perfect method. In fact, using a method or structure that you do not understand or that does not fit with your way of thinking may land you in an uphill battle and cause you to produce suboptimal essays. Anyway (rants aside), the following post aims to identify some two common pitfalls that you might encounter as you prepare for section II and how to overcome them.

Pitfall #1: Covering a very small proportion of the theme (i.e. writing a very specific essay)

For example, let’s pretend that the theme of imagination is represented by the iceberg below. If you were to write an entire essay (perhaps in response to a single quote) that looked only at how imagination allows us to overcome limitations present in our lives, you might be able to cover a vast amount of ideas on the function of imagination and this notion in general. However, what you might end doing, depending on your writing ability, is only dealing with a tiny bit of the imagination iceberg sticking out of the water at the top (the ‘red box of death’)! Obviously this is to be avoided.

gamsat writing advice

How to fix it:

If you think you often end up ignoring a large chunk of the theme, consider a ‘layer cake’ image when composing your thesis and thinking of your examples. Can you explore issues/ examples that relate to your thesis on an individual, group and societal level, or would you need to expand your thesis in order to do this?

gamsat writing advice Basically, thinking of cake is helpful when preparing for section II.

Ok, where were we?

Pitfall #2: Not linking your body paragraphs back to your thesis

This is an extremely common area of weakness in students that I tutor. Many students will develop an excellent thesis, and identify wonderful and persuasive arguments to use to flesh out that thesis. They even select good examples that illustrate their argument and explain these well. Their paragraphs often lack conviction and cohesion, however, because they fail to explicitly tie what they have just said (often really well!) in their body paragraph back to their thesis and the points that they have already established in their essay.

How to fix it:

Become a master at the linking sentence. This final sentence of your paragraph is critical to ensuring that your essay as a whole is persuasive and logical. Ensure that this sentence also includes persuasive language (e.g. ‘The above examples of social prejudice powerfully exemplify the capability for discriminatory behaviour amongst human beings and the deleterious effects of this for individuals and society’).

I hope that the above advice is beneficial to you, and assists you in overcoming challenges that you may be experiencing in your preparation.

Happy essay writing!

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GAMSAT Section 1 Reading Tips

gamsat section 1 readingFrom: AceGAMSAT
Re: GAMSAT Section 1 Reading Tips

Like many a GAMSAT candidates before you, you may be wondering how to best prepare for section I. It may seem like a daunting task, and you may be wondering what in fact you can do to feel more capable of answering the endless brainteasers that section I seems to provide. Obviously practice questions are critical, and you should get your hands on as many of these as possible. However, section I is also testing your ability to read effectively and efficiently, so it makes sense to put some time into honing your reading skills in the lead up to the exam.

Tip #1: Read, read and read some more (even if you don’t enjoy it or think that you are not improving)

Obviously reading is a skill that is developed over many years of practice, and not an ability that you can reform overnight. However, the more you read, the better you become at obtaining the most essential pieces of information, and picking up on the more subtle aspects of a text. Reading extensively will also help you in section II, as the more you read the more you learn and are able to emulate effective styles of writing that you have encountered.

Tip #2: Make a list and start a ‘text library’  

Make a list of the different text types that appear in section I, including poetry, argumentative pieces (e.g. essays, letters to the editor etc.), excerpts from fictional works (short stories, novels etc.), song lyrics, plays, cartoons (often political) and diagrams. In section I you are presented with a variety of different text types, and part of the challenge is being able to interpret them confidently and accurately. Once you have made your list (and you can add to it as you study and encounter new text types), get yourself a scrap-book (or folder on your ipad/ tablet/ whatever) and start collecting examples of the text types you have identified.

Tip #3: Use your library to practice your reading and textual interpretation skills

Read each of the texts that you have collected, and afterwards, ask yourself the following questions and document the answers:

  • What is the purpose of the text? (E.g. To persuade, inform etc.)
  • Who wrote the text and what were they trying to achieve?
  • How does the writer’s context influence the meaning of the text?
  • How does your context as the reader of the text influence the text’s meaning?
  • Could I represent the ideas conveyed in a flow chart?
  • What is the overall meaning of the text and how does this compare to the meaning conveyed by its individual components? (E.g. The idea contained in the individual components of an essay versus the overall thesis of the essay.)

Tip #4: If there is a text type that you struggle with, read more of it!

If you typically struggle with poetry, find examples of poetry online and also read criticisms and appraisals of the same works, in order to compare the meaning you obtained from a text with the meaning obtained by someone else. If you tend to struggle with older texts, find some novels written 50 years ago and read these. Once you are comfortable, look for something from the last century, and practice reading this. The more you expose yourself to a text type that you find challenging, the better you will become at interpreting that type of text in the exam.

I hope these tips assist you in your section I preparation.

Happy studying!


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GAMSAT Humanities – Graphical Representation Questions

From: Matthew
Re: GAMSAT Humanities – Graphical Representation Questions

The GAMSAT humanities section is the first section of the exam (reasoning in humanities and social sciences). This section tests student’s reasoning abilities with a range of different types of texts. The different stimulus material given in section 1 can be categorised into 4 groups – prose, poetry, social and behavioural science, and graphical representations.

The following questions are in the category of Graphical Representations.

Graphical Representations In GAMSAT Humanities

Questions 1-4

Read and assess the following definition of the vesica piscis and representation images 

The vesica piscis is a shape that is the intersection of two circles with the same radius, intersecting in such a way that the center of each circle lies on the perimeter of the other. The name literally means the “bladder of a fish” in Latin. The shape is also called mandorla (“almond” in Italian). The term is also used more generally for any symmetric lens.

The mathematical ratio of the height of the vesica piscis to the width across its center is the square root of 3, or 1.7320508… (since if straight lines are drawn connecting the centers of the two circles with each other and with the two points where the circles intersect, two equilateral triangles join along an edge). The ratios 265:153 = 1.7320261… and 1351:780 = 1.7320513… are two of a series of approximations to this value, each with the property that no better approximation can be obtained with smaller whole numbers. Archimedes of Syracuse, in his On the Measurement of the Circle, uses these ratios as upper and lower bounds:

gamsat humanities

Oddly enough the vesica piscis in total form resembles a Venn diagram and is known in geometry as a “fillet.”  Note the connections, bladder of a fish, the symbol of astrological Pisces, et. al.

gamsat humanities 1
The vesica piscis has been the subject of mystical speculation at several periods of history, and is viewed as important in some forms of Kabbalah. More recently, numerous New Age authors have interpreted it as a yonic symbol and claimed that this, a reference to the female genitals, is a traditional interpretation. One author claims that the total solar eclipse inspires images of the vesica piscis. The ancient Egyptians practiced sacred geometry based on the shape. Architects and artists copied the solar eclipse/vesica piscis and its mathematics in their sacred buildings and artwork to reflect their religious beliefs. This ancient tradition was passed on through the centuries by the Freemasons.

In Christian art, some aureolas are in the shape of a vertically oriented vesica piscis, and the seals of ecclesiastical organizations can be enclosed within a vertically oriented vesica piscis (instead of the more usual circular enclosure). The cover of the Chalice Well in Glastonbury (Somerset, United Kingdom) depicts a stylized version of the vesica piscis designThe vesica piscis has been used as a symbol within Freemasonry, most notably in the shapes of the collars worn by officiants of the Masonic rituals.  It was also considered the proper shape for the enclosure of the seals of Masonic lodges. The Vesica Piscis is also used as a proportioning system in architecture, in particular Gothic architecture. The system was illustrated in Cesare Cesariano’ Vitruvius, which he called “the rule of the German architects”.  Below is a 13th Century representation of “Christ in Majesty” from the evangelists:

A complex combination of vesica pisces has been named by sacred geometry promulgators “The Flower of Life”:

1. Based on passage information, the vesica piscis is also known by a host of other names.  Which of the following is it NOT known as?  Which is the EXCEPTION?
A bladder of a fish
B mandorla
C asymmetric lens
D fillet

2. Based on passage information, the symbol has been used in a number of cultural contexts.  Which of the following has it NOT been used in?  Which is the EXCEPTION?
A Freemasonry
B Gothic architecture
C Sacred geometry
D Surrealistic art

3. The ratio of the vesica piscis is represented mathematically as:
A 265:153 = 1.7320261… and 1351:780 = 1.3720513
B 265:153 = 1.7320261… and 1531:780 = 1.7320513
C 256:153 = 1.7320261… and 1351:780 = 1.7320513
D 265:153 = 1.7320261… and 1351:780 = 1.7320513

4. The BEST definition of the vesica piscis is
A the intersection of two radii with the same circle, intersecting in such a way that the center of each perimeter lies on the circle of the other.
B the intersection of two radii with the same circle, intersecting in such a way that the center of each circle lies on the perimeter of the other.
C the intersection of two circles with the same radius, intersecting in such a way that the center of each circle lies on the perimeter of the other.
D the intersection of two circles with the same radius, intersecting in such a way that the center of each perimeter lies on the circle of the other.

gamsat section 1 questions
Answers To GAMSAT Humanities – Graphical Representation Questions

1. Correct Answer: C – asymmetric lens. A trick question – it is referred to as a “symmetric lens.”  All A, B, & C are not exceptions.

Correct Answer: D – Surrealistic Art is never mentioned in the passage, while the other answers are. A close reading or rescan will affirm this.

3. Correct Answer: D – a close comparison will indicate this to be correct.  A mix-up type of question. 

4. Correct Answer: C – another mix-up type of question with subtle substitutes made.  A rescan or close reading will affirm C.


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