Re: GAMSAT Books To Read – New Recommendations!
Many students send through emails asking “what are the recommended GAMSAT books to read?” My answer is always simple! Any reading of any kind is beneficial. Why? Because reading gives you new knowledge (obviously!), improves your comprehension skills and basically acts as a gym session for every part of your brain! So, in short, reading is great!
However, many people find that they do not have a huge amount of time available to them to study in the lead up to the exam, and would like to know how to get the best bang for their buck (or book…). The following is of course not an exhaustive list but aims to provide you with some direction if you are wondering what sort of reading material might be especially useful when preparing for the exam.
First things first: what you can do anytime you are reading (no matter what it is that you are reading!).
- Practice active reading. This means not zoning off and thinking about what you are going to have for dinner (or god forbid, how stressed you are about the Gamsat!) but really bringing your mind back to the contents of the text. Some people find that circling keywords is helpful, while others may find drawing a brief timeline of events down the side of their page (e.g. of the points in an argument or the events in a complicated narrative) useful. You can even try reading to yourself in an interesting voice (e.g. David Attenborough)…in your head, of course! Find whatever works for you, and practice your strategies for active reading as much as possible.
- Practice reading efficiently! Once you are happy that you are actively reading (i.e. actually taking in what the text is saying), start practicing to see how fast you are able to read whilst still absorbing the information. It is important to be able to read efficiently so that you don’t waste time (especially in sections I and III).
- Be analytical. Reading a news story on your phone? Consider who wrote it, what the writer’s objective is, and what kinds of arguments could be raised against the perspective/s contained in the piece. Consider the meaning behind advertisements, cartoons, political speeches and television programs.
Before we cover some recommended readings, you should download our free GAMSAT essay writing guide. This is the most important book you will ever read for your GAMSAT section 2 essay preparation.
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Ok great. What are some useful GAMSAT books to read?
Any reading is good…but here are a few suggestions!
|Why it’s good
|Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein
|Gives you practice at reading a more formal form of an English text. Themes: Humankind exceeding its boundaries, manipulation of nature, women’s autonomy.
|Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights
|Also gives you practice at reading something a little different! Themes: patriarchal society, insanity, reality versus perception, reason versus emotion.
|William Golding’s Lord of the Flies
|Good to use in essays if discussing corruption, human group psychology etc. Themes: corruption, exploitation of the weak, survival.
|Virginia Woolf’s Orlando
|A fairly straightforward text from the 1920’s. Themes: gender/ gender equality, sexuality, relationships, mortality.
|George Orwell’s 1984
|A good text to consider for essays. Examines many aspects of human nature and explores fears relating to the modern world. Themes: censorship, individual versus society, corruption.
|George Orwell’s Animal Farm
|Also great for essays! Good reference when discussing human nature/psychology. Themes: corruption, group dynamics.
Ultimately, the fastest way to improve is by learning the required content, tips, and strategies… and then applying these the thousands of practice questions. Students should practice writing as many essays as possible for Section 2 and it is highly advisable to receive feedback for each essay (either from a friend or a professional Gamsat essay marking service). Students should check out our GAMSAT Study Material below, which contains everything you need to learn for all three sections + 1000’s of practice questions which are just like the real exam.
Other things to consider:
- Newspapers/ news websites
- Comics/ cartoons/ advertisements/ graphs
- The Economist (discusses a lot of current issues succinctly and simply)
- National Geographic
- Mama Mia (website that covers a lot of contemporary issues circulating in the media)
Hopefully, these suggestions assist you in selecting useful reading material in preparation for the GAMSAT.
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