The Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test, or what is popularly known as GAMSAT, is a test that assesses a candidate’s intellect and suitability for a pathway in medicine and approves them to pursue higher education in professional health programs. Clearing the test if often the first step to ensure you are eligible to study medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, podiatry, and veterinary science at leading universities of Australia, Britain, and Ireland. The test is commissioned and coordinated by ACER (Australian Council for Educational Research) and is designed to test the analytical, cognitive, and critical thinking skills of the candidate.
Breakdown of the test.
The test is divided into 3 sections: Section 1: Reasoning in Social Science and Humanities, Section 2: Written Communication, and Section 3: Reasoning in Physical and Biological Sciences. All the three sections are aimed to assess various aspects of the candidate’s intellect and comprise multiple-choice questions (or MCQs) and written format. While section 1 and 3 is MCQ based, section 2 requires the candidate to type their responses in the form of a long answer.
How to start with the preparation?
GAMSAT is different from other competitive exams in the respect that it assesses different aspects of intellect. Before you begin outlining the study patterns and goals, it is important to understand what each section expects from the student. On the basis of test syllabus and objectives, the student can allocate time to each subject individually.
This section assesses the emotional quotient of the student and their interpretation of the political and economic understanding of the student with respect to the social sciences. The test of emotional intelligence of the candidate is required because as a medical professional, you will often find yourself in situations which test your ethical compass and require you to interact with a diverse range of patients from across the socioeconomic levels.
There are 47 MCQ questions in section 1, with four options for each question for which the candidate will get 70 minutes. The first 6 minutes are for reading and the rest 64 minutes are for writing the answers. Here are some tips that will come in handy while preparing for section 1:
- Speed reading has to be a must. 6 minutes are not sufficient to go through all the questions with reasonable analysis but with continuous reading practice, you can set your mind to retain more things from a quick reading.
- The questions are framed on two levels- literal and figurative. Thus, the preparation has to involve reading superior quality literature books and routine vocabulary enhancement. Also, incorporate reading philosophies as part of your spare time in order to gain perspective on the world.
- The questions can vary from excerpts from journals, prose, literary classics, cartoons, proverbs, and diagrams.
- Take continuous mock tests as part of your gamsat course online in order to track your progress. Though the section is an assessment of your emotional responses, but they must be backed with reason.
The second section of GAMSAT is a test of writing and thinking skills where the candidate is expected to write two essays on different topics in 60 minutes. The first essay is usually a comment on socio-cultural issues and expects the student to take a stance with logical reasoning. The second essay is often themed around personal and social issues where the writing style is introspective in nature. Here are tips to prepare for section 2:
- Marks for the section are allotted on two key parameters – content and expression. Make sure to practice writing on recent topics on a regular basis. For expression, start building a vocabulary for generating a rhythm during writing.
- Typing and writing speed will also play a major role in completing the essays on time. The exams are now run digitally, so make sure to keep track of your words per minute while typing.
- Subject your essays to constant scrutiny and criticism by experts for continuous improvement.
Section 3 is purely based on physical and biological reasoning and comprises 75 MCQs for which the student gets 150 minutes. The subject-wise weightage of the section is as follows:
- 40% biology.
- 40% chemistry.
- 20% physics.
The following are tips to prepare for the final section:
- The student should have university level knowledge of biology and chemistry. For physics, the expected efficiency is till year 12.
- Take one topic at a time and give mock tests on a regular basis.
- Develop a time-based preparation strategy in order to score more in the final paper.
To sum it up, GAMSAT is an advanced level testing platform which requires the candidate to equip themselves with superior intellect and understanding in addition to the prescribed syllabus.