Re: How Hard is the GAMSAT?
So, you’ve have decided to sit the GAMSAT! You may have sat the test before, and therefore know exactly what to expect. Alternatively, this may be your first time, and you are wondering what lies ahead of you. If you are in the second boat, this post aims to demystify the GAMSAT and help you to simplify your approach and feel more at ease before the day arrives.
So…how hard is the GAMSAT?
There is obviously no one correct answer to this question. Different people will find the test challenging for different reasons, and some may find the experience on the whole, more stressful than others. It is important to acknowledge that all emotions (fear, excitement, anxiety and self-doubt) are normal and expected! The following outlines three aspects of the test that make it especially challenging and the best strategies to manage these.
Challenge 1: A lot to do, and not much time to do it
The first point to note is that the GAMSAT asks candidates to complete a lot of thinking and problem-solving within a short amount of time. In section I, there is quite a lot of reading to get through (which may be especially challenging for those of us who are slow readers!), while in section II you must effectively write two essays within an hour (not something that most people are in the habit of doing!) and in section III, candidates are provided with a lot of information in many different forms, including passages of text, graphs, diagrams and tables. Phew! You may be wondering where you will find the time to answer all of the questions and get through the exam in its entirety.
Strategy: A key aspect of the GAMSAT is time management! You need to manage your time effectively and intelligently. Practice reading efficiently yet accurately, and know how quickly you can make yourself ready whilst at the same time still taking in the key information contained in the text. Practice making an educated guess at a question that you are stuck on, rather than chewing up time struggling to figure out the answer. Often, if you are baffled by a question, spending more time on it will not yield greater returns. It is often better to move on and allow yourself the chance to complete as many questions as possible in a considered manner. You should also practice your essays within the time limit, and ensure that you set yourself time management targets as you move through the day (e.g. by 11:30 am, I must have completed 25% of the questions in section I).
Challenge 2: Mental fatigue and a lack of satisfaction when answering questions
Consider an exam that you have studied for and completed in the past. Often you will remember having a feeling when answering questions that you really knew the correct answer/s and would get the feeling as you moved through the exam that you were gaining marks for sure! The GAMSAT is fatiguing because every question may seem like a brain bender, and often you have to put down an answer without feeling certain that it is correct.
Strategy: Expect to feel fatigued and frustrated! The more that you accept this feeling, and prepare for it by doing as many practice tests as possible, the better off you will be. Be kind to yourself and congratulate yourself for small victories (yay, you just completed the first 20 questions of section I!) and give yourself moments of rest in between periods of stress. Know that most (if not all) candidates are feeling tired and frustrated and be proud of yourself for keeping on keeping on all day.
Challenge 3: Feeling as though you don’t have enough information or knowledge to answer a question
You may often find that you are staring at a question and nothing is coming to you. You may wonder how a question even relates to the stimulus you have been given.
Strategy: Look back at the information you have been provided with and ask yourself what the question might be trying to assess. Do you need a common-sense approach rather than a specific formula, or are you overlooking a simple observation that you had whilst reading a text for the first time that would be helpful in answering the question? By doing this, you may be able to think of a way of answering a question that had previously seemed impossible.
Hopefully, these tips assist you in overcoming the challenges of the GAMSAT! Remember, the GAMSAT is hard, but there are many things you can do to make it seem more manageable and reduce your stress levels.
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