From: Matthew
Re: How To Pass The GAMSAT

Want to learn how to pass the GAMSAT? Well… First things first: There is no one magic secret to passing the GAMSAT. The instructions are not located in a single book, nor do you need to attend a super-expensive weekend lecture course to make it through the exam. Phew. Now that we have cleared that up, let’s get on to what you can (easily and relatively inexpensively) do to help yourself perform at your best in every section of the exam.

Note that the following advice has been split up into the relevant sections of the test!

Section I: Become a comprehension guru

Practice active reading and become a master at taking the most from a text in the shortest amount of time.

Every time that you are doing a practice question (or reading anything for that matter!) consider what themes and perspectives it contains. Consider what the author’s purpose was, and how you would explain the overall meaning of the text if you needed to explain it to a friend. Even think about what questions you might expect to get in relation to a piece of text as you are reading it by considering what is challenging about the information (e.g. are there multiple characters in the narrative, or is a lot of the writer’s meaning implicit rather than explicit?).

Identify the text types that you have trouble with the practice these!

In order to make the most of your study time, it is imperative that you identify which text types you find most challenging and hone in on these. Avoid spending time on opinion pieces, for example, if you find these easy, and instead go for questions on text types (poetry is hard, am I right?) that you find most difficult. Remember that you are practicing thinking skills not memorising questions, so don’t practice skills that you already have down pat.

Watch the clock

Section I requires very close attention to time management. Time management is important throughout the exam, but especially so in section I because it can be easy to get sucked into ‘solving’ a particular question or wrapping your head around a particularly confusing section of text. Become good at knowing when to persist and knowing when the clock says that you must move on.

How To Pass The GAMSAT – Section II

Know that Gamsat essays are a unique breed

Out of all of the advice that I give students for section II, I would say that arguably the most important piece of knowledge is the understanding that Gamsat essays are not quite the same as essays written in other contexts. Try viewing the essays as ‘mini-essays’ that demonstrate to the marker that you know all of the basic ingredients of an essay (introduction with a thesis, body paragraphs, rebuttal and conclusion) and can use these to form an intelligent and empathetic argument.

How To Pass The GAMSAT – Section III

Have a systematic way of studying, but remember that you are being assessed on thinking skills, not just theory

There are many different ways of approaching section III. Some students like to work through many of the different theoretical concepts assessed in section III using a very structured method such as an online training course or Gamsat preparation textbook. These are excellent ways of ensuring that your revision is methodical and thorough!

Bear in mind, however, that if you are struggling to come to grips with the ocean of knowledge that seems to be assessed in section III, the test is also examining scientific thinking skills, not just specific pieces of knowledge. It may be worth investing in a few sessions with a section III tutor (or even just a mate who has done well in section III) and gaining some insight into how others have reasoned their way through much of section III without necessarily having a complete knowledge of the underlying theory.

I hope that this post has given you some ideas on how to pass the gamsat by succeeding in each section of the test, and some objectives to keep in mind when studying.

Best of luck!

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