GAMSAT Preparation Advice
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GAMSAT Preparation Advice – Understanding — and Beating! — GAMSAT
In order to make it to medical and dental programs offered in Australian and UK learning institutions, candidates need to clear a hurdle in the form of the Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admission Test. Also known as GAMSAT, this entrance exam is administered by the Australian Council for Education Research (ACER) as a means to determine if a candidate is eligible for admission to higher Graduate Entry Programmes.
Students can sit the GAMSAT anytime during their University degree. GAMSAT results will be valid for two years and students must have completed ANY bachelor degree (3 years minimum) before starting their medical / dental degrees. Students can sit the GAMSAT whilst still studying their bachelor’s degree.
Registration is the first step in the GAMSAT entrance exam process and involves going to the ACER website (http://gamsat.acer.edu.au/) if a candidate is from Australia or to the GAMSAT UK website (http://gamsatuk.org/) for candidates based in the UK.
The annual GAMSAT is held every March in Australia, while in UK it is held every September. This yearly schedule works well for candidates as they get two opportunities to pass the test, and exam results from either GAMSAT sitting are considered valid for both Australian or UK university applications. Students in Australia can still sit the UK exam in September.
After registration comes the crucial stage: preparation for the exam. Truth is, taking the GAMSAT isn’t going to be easy. It is taken under pressure and it generally puts to the test a candidate’s reasoning skills far more than his or her stock of knowledge.
Reviewing for the GAMSAT requires familiarisation of the 3 sections of the test.
Preparing For GAMSAT Section I
Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences – In this section, written media in various forms are presented to the candidate who is tasked to make proper interpretation, analysis, and judgment of said media which may take the form of prose, poetry, logic puzzles, tables and graphs, etc.
Candidates are given 100 minutes to complete 75 multiple choice questions with an additional 10 minutes reading time (110 minutes total). Candidates therefore have 1.33 minutes to complete each question in section 1. Each question consists of 4 answer choices A, B, C, and D.
When working through this section students should aim to cross out the incorrect answers when trying to determine the correct answer choice. In many cases you can cross out at least 1-2 answers. This will increase the probability that you make a good guess even when you are not completely sure of the correct answer.
We have developed two outstanding strategies that will help you select the correct answer for all multiple choice questions:
- The AceGAMSAT Elimination Strategy
- The AceGAMSAT Guessing Strategy
These strategies are covered in detail in our GAMSAT Home Study Course.
An important thing to keep in mind for this section is that practice is the fastest way to improve your ability. Practising GAMSAT-like questions is crucial to your success in this section.
We recommend that you practice all questions from the 5 ACER booklets (found on the ACER website) as some questions have been repeated from previous years. The ACER questions are limited in number (there are less than 300), so we recommend that you utilise our thousands of practice questions found in our study materials.
As the saying goes – ‘practice makes perfect’! Practising as many questions as possible (with proven strategies and techniques) and checking the solutions for all questions is the best way to achieve a great score in this section.
Section I additional resources:
Preparing For GAMSAT Section II
Written Communication – As its name suggests, this section is about written communication skills assessment where candidates are required to write essays on each of two sets of quotes presented to them. Each essay will surround a common theme which is presented in 5 given quotes.
Candidates are required to write two essays in 60 minutes, with 5 minutes additional reading time. It is commonsense to spend 30 minutes on each essay in this section.
You can download your Free GAMSAT Essay Bible which will teach you everything for Section 2 essay writing.
Recommended readings for S1 and S2
The readings below can help improve your ability in Section 1 and Section 2, however, this should only account for approximately 10-20% of your study time. The remaining 80-90% of your study time should be spent on learning the most effective strategies and most importantly PRACTISING!
In other words, practising GAMSAT-like multiple choice questions for S1 and practising your essay writing for S2 and receiving feedback (either from a friend, a tutor, or a professional essay marking service) should be your main focus when preparing for these sections.
One of the best books for generating essay ideas for Section 2 is called The Meaning of Things by Ace Grayling.
Another great book to read is called 50 Big Ideas You Really Need to Know by Ben Dupre.
Ted Talks can also be extremely helpful for generating great ideas to use in your essays – www.ted.com
Section II additional resources:
Preparing For GAMSAT Section III
Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences – This section of the exam deals with biology and physical sciences that include chemistry and physics. To fare well here, candidates’ physics knowledge needs to be up to year 12 level and their aptitude with the other sciences (biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry) at par with first year university level. As is generally true about the GAMSAT, reasoning skills play a big part here where understanding — not memorisation — of key concepts is what matters.
The more comfortable candidates are in all areas of the biological and physical sciences and the better their understanding of how one concept fits in to the whole scheme of things, the higher their chances are of acing this section.
Candidates are required to complete 110 multiple choice questions in 170 minutes, with 10 minutes additional reading time (180 minutes total). Students therefore have 1.545 minutes to complete each question in section 3.
Note: The only break in the GAMSAT is between section 2 and 3. This break is for one hour.
Section III additional resources:
Gearing Up for Exam Day
Registered candidates can expect to hear from ACER via email two weeks before the GAMSAT exam date. The message will include details about the exam venue as well as the candidate’s test admission ticket. Knowing how to get to the venue would be a natural first concern, so it’s best to take care of that at the outset.
The eve of the exam should be about total relaxation — both physical and mental — capped off by a tight and pleasant sleep. Don’t make the mistake of cramming or doing last-minute review sessions. Instead, drop everything that has to do with the GAMSAT and just restfully drift to deep slumber so you’d wake up refreshed and nicely-charged the next morning. Start your day with a filling and satisfying breakfast to ensure that you pack the energy needed later in the day for your exam. Make no room for stress and nervousness by being on time at the venue and maybe initiating light conversation with fellow examinees, or even simply reading away the lull moments as you await the start of the test.
Also, don’t forget to bring the following:
– 3 or more hard & black (HB) pencils
– 2 black or blue trusty pens
– a sharpener and an eraser
– a bottle of water
– your exam admission ticket
– a valid ID, which could be a passport or driver’s license
– your own packed lunch (examinees are given an hour-long break after Section II which is ample time to have a meal)
Your GAMSAT Exam Results
Exam results are usually released after 2 months. Candidates are contacted by ACER through email where a link to your results online is indicated. On the results page both the candidate’s section and overall scores are presented as well as a graph that depicts how your scores compare to other examinees’.
We have created another blog post which covers the exam success rate in the GAMSAT and shows an example of the results chart given to candidates. Find Out The GAMSAT Success Rate Now
Entering Medical School
The GAMSAT is only one of few criteria medical schools require candidates to meet for application eligibility. The other two are a candidate’s undergraduate GPA and interview results. Interviews, however, are not universally required and there are some institutions that look only at a candidate’s GPA and GAMSAT score.
It would help, nonetheless, to talk a bit about how a medical school application interview goes.
The Interview in a Nutshell
After meeting a medical school’s GPA and GAMSAT criteria, candidates can expect to attend a series of Mini Interviews (MMI). Dressing appropriately should help a candidate score well on the first-impression department.
But of course, initial impressions can go well beyond how a candidate is attired, so projecting calm and confidence as you and your interviewers exchange introductions is always a good thing. Make sure you manifest those traits in your body language, your manners of expression, and by keeping good eye contact while sitting up straight. Being “with them,” so to speak, throughout the entire MMI session is a good sign that you don’t stumble under pressure.
Communication skills are another skill set that interviewers will be closely watching. Maintain eye contact the whole time while making sure you don’t speak either too slow or too fast, and don’t be afraid to take a moment to quickly ponder on questions or ask for clarification before answering.
The interview can go notches higher in terms of difficulty once interviewers start engaging the candidate in various activities designed to assess his or her ability to interpret and communicate ideas and opinions. But this is no reason for panic. Make it part of your preparation to be conversant with global events, especially medical-related concerns, and couple this with your being a “natural” at Sections I and II of the GAMSAT and you will be fine.
Best of success!
If you’re planning on sitting the GAMSAT it would be a great idea to check out our GAMSAT Home Study Course:
Note: If you haven’t already done so, you can download your free gamsat sample test below: