Re: GAMSAT Section 2 Preparation

So… Let’s talk about GAMSAT section 2 preparation. Firstly, Section 2 may at times seem like a slightly random component of the GAMSAT. Two essays in 30 minutes may seem like a daunting task, especially if you have not had much essay writing practice as part of your undergraduate degree. It may also seem difficult to identify what is expected of you in terms of the content, length and structure of your essays. The following post aims to give you a stepwise approach to planning and practicing your essay writing for section 2.

GAMSAT Section 2 Preparation

gamsat section 2 preparation

Step #1: Appreciate that GAMSAT essays are a unique breed of essay

GAMSAT essays are not the same as essays that you may have written in the past. While they may share a number of the same ingredients (introduction with a thesis, body paragraphs, conclusion etc.) they are not the same as essays that you may have written at school or as part of undergraduate study. This is because you are allowed only a very short amount of time to write your essays. This means that GAMSAT essays can be viewed as ‘mini essays’ or ‘tasters’ of what you would do if you had many hours to compose an essay on a particular topic.

Step #2: Find a structure that works for you

As they say, there are many ways to skin a cat. There is no one single correct way of structuring your GAMSAT essays. The two main structures that appear to be suggested in various preparation texts are a) argument, rebuttal and synthesis, and b) thesis, two to three body paragraphs supporting your thesis, a rebuttal paragraph and then conclusion. It is imperative that you understand the goals of the structure that you are using, and this means knowing how each part of your essay contributes to delivering a cohesive and persuasive argument. If a structure is not making sense to you, find an alternative one that really gels with your style of writing and thinking.

Step #3: Become a thesis master

Are you confused by what is meant by the word thesis? It is nothing mystical! Your thesis is simply a concise statement of the argument that you are delivering in your essay. Practice generating a variety of thesis statements from the one set of quotes, and evaluate the types of ideas and arguments that each thesis would allow you to explore. How interesting is your thesis? How would your thesis compare to the arguments that other people sitting the test are likely to put forward? Could you simplify your thesis to make it more concise yet flexible in terms of allowing you to traverse a variety of diverse ideas? By asking yourself these questions, you can learn to evaluate possible thesis options automatically and not simply go with the first one that pops into your mind.

Step #4: Develop your own marking criteria and apply it to your practice essays

As you read about section 2 and receive feedback on your essays from your peers or from other sources such as tutors, compose a marking scheme that you can use to evaluate your practice essays. This is an excellent way of putting yourself in the mindset of those marking the GAMSAT essay and imagining what they are looking for.

Step #5: Perfect your time management

In the lead up to exam day, you want to ensure that you will be able to complete your essays within time. If you have practiced your structure, you will have an excellent idea of what you can achieve within 30 minutes for each essay. If you are having issues with time management, now is the time to take action! Are your introduction or body paragraphs too lengthy, or are your sentences generally too verbose? Be honest with yourself in terms of where you could save time, and be disciplined! 

By following the above steps, I hope that you can feel confident in approaching section 2 and using it to boost your overall GAMSAT mark!

Happy essay writing!

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