reasoning in humanities and social sciences

Re: Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences

The best way to approach section I, which examines reasoning in humanities and social sciences, may seem elusive. You may feel that you are being presented with a collection of confusing and diverse questions, and may be struggling to comprehend the best way to approach this section of the GAMSAT. This post aims to demystify section I and help you direct your study in order to achieve the best possible score.

What Is Examined In Section I
Reasoning In Humanities And Social Sciences?

Section I consists of comprehension-style questions. Questions are based on extracts from various text types, including works of fiction, opinion pieces (e.g. newspaper articles, letters to the editor), technical documents, poems, cartoons and diagrams. Answer options are provided in a multiple choice format. Similarly to section III, candidates are often required to choose the most correct answer. Section I is largely testing your ability to obtain information from a text and then use that information to answer a question.

What Is Challenging About Section I?

Section I is made challenging by a number of factors, including

  • the fairly short amount of time candidates have to read quite a large volume of text and answer questions that often require synthesis of information obtained from various sections of a text (e.g. multiple paragraphs from the same short story);
  • the diverse range of text types, meaning that you have to efficiently adapt to new texts as you complete the section;
  • questions which often require candidates to comprehend both the literal and more abstract meaning of a text; and
  • questions which require both an attention to detail (e.g. close analysis of a specific line) and an appreciation of the overall meaning, message etc. stemming from a text.

Having an appreciation of these challenges from the outset of your study can assist you in approaching the test more effectively and understanding what the examiners might be looking for.

How Can I Prepare For Section I?

There is no single correct way to preparing for section I. Different people may find different aspects of section I challenging (for example, some students are able to accurately answer questions yet find that they take a very long time to read the stimulus material, while others may be good at obtaining information from the texts yet struggle to apply such information to the questions). It is important to identify your own areas of weakness, and find ways of improving your skills.

Avoid practicing a style of question that you often find easy (e.g. narrative comprehension), and try to focus on types of questions that you find especially confusing (e.g. poetry). The best way to get a feel for section I is by doing section I questions!

For example, the first step in your preparation might be to sit down and complete practice questions in our Full GAMSAT Practice Test or complete the carefully chosen section I questions in The Humanities Bible. You might then turn to section I style questions that you have from other sources and complete these, identifying types of questions that you often struggle with. You can then focus in on these problem areas, and begin completing questions under time, in the lead up to the exam.

You can get both of these resources (GAMSAT Practice Test and The Humanities Bible) in our GAMSAT Study Package. Click below to find out more!

gamsat revision material

Hopefully this information assists you in preparing for (and conquering!) section I!

Published by