Re: GAMSAT Section 1 Reading List

gamsat section 1 reading list

Have you been wondering whether you should be reading certain material in your preparation for Section 1? If so, then this post is intended for you! The following hopes to give you some hints and tips for reading as part of your Section 1 preparation, in addition to a suggested gamsat section 1 reading list.

First things first: should you be reading as part of your preparation for Section 1?

The answer is most likely yes! Unless you are an extremely avid reader (or even if you are), it is most likely a good idea to be reading to some degree as part of your preparation for Section 1. Section 1 is essentially a comprehension test, so the more that you practice the skill of reading, and are in the habit of thinking critically about written information, the better you will perform on exam day. Even if you do not feel that reading is an issue for you, putting in a little bit of time in order to read some text types that you would not usually read (e.g. newspaper articles or 18th Century Poetry), is likely to be beneficial when it comes to the variety of stimulus materials that you may encounter in Section 1.

What should you be reading?

The simple answer is anything that you can get your hands on! Anything that you enjoy reading (or even anything that you dislike reading) will be beneficial to your comprehension skills and thus beneficial to your Section 1 preparation! Beyond simply reading as widely and frequently as you can, there are a few suggestions that you might want to consider in terms of a suggested Gamsat Section 1 reading list. The following table sets out some examples of different reading materials, why they are good and where and how you can access them.

GAMSAT Section 1 Reading List

Type of reading material 


Where and how you can access it



Novels, novellas (short novels) and short stories

Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet (good for issues surrounding personal identity, family conflict, grief and resilience), Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein (good for the themes of nature versus technology, women’s autonomy and the supernatural), Phillip Pullman’s The Subtle Knife (good for themes including childhood, innocence and spirituality), Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader (good for exploration of the human endeavour, crime and punishment, Nazi Germany, breaches of human rights and self-identity) and Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One (good for themes of the apartheid, self-identity, and growth from childhood to adulthood).

All these books should be available at your local library or university library, or alternatively online/ through Kindle/ Amazon. 

Poetry, song lyrics

Try anything by John Keats (seems to feature in Section 1 quite frequently), Samuel Taylor Coleridge (also comes up a bit) or try reading some song lyrics by Paul Kelly, Missy Higgins or Counting Crows and analysing the themes and ideas they contain.

These suggestions can be found online!


Shakespeare is a good place to start (and you don’t have to read an entire play, you can just start with a few acts and jot down the plot and themes or use Spark Notes or similar resource to compare your view of the characters and events against someone else’s). You could also try reading or listening to Under Milk Wood (a radio play) by Dylan Thomas.

These kind be found in hardcopy in libraries or online.


Obviously these might fictional, partly fictional or on non-fictional depending on the context! You can start with political comics and then move on to something that entertains you.

Try the newspaper, or have a squiz in libraries or op-shops.


Newspaper articles, letters to the editor

Try any newspaper that you enjoy, but consider reading a couple (e.g. The Sydney Morning Herald and The Courier Mail) and comparing and contrasting how the two papers deal with the same issues and whether they tend to often side with a particular political perspective or whether they remain objective.

Available to purchase in hardcopy, or try reading online (either free or with a subscription).

Historical or autobiographical texts

This could be anything really! Reading something that concerns Australian history (in particular, the history of Australia’s First Peoples and their devastating interactions with Europeans) can be good idea as this arises quite frequently as a stimulus material for Section 1.

Libraries, online, op-shops.

We hope that this gamsat section 1 reading list gives you a few places to start, and that you are ticking off some text titles in no time and boosting your comprehensive skills.

Happy reading!

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