If you've decided to pursue a career in the medical field, a key hurdle you’ll have to overcome is the various medical school entrance exams.
GAMSAT is a competitive entrance exam for graduate entry medical studies. You will have to sit this exam if you want to get into a medical course in Australia, UK, or Ireland. It is conducted twice every year, in March and September with the results coming out in the months of May and November respectively.
The GAMSAT consists of three sections. You must ensure that you prepare well for each of the sections because when your results are released, you’ll get individual section scores as well as an overall score, which is usually calculated as (1 x Section 1 + 1 x Section 2 + 2 x Section 3)/4.
Although the majority of students will always have strengths in 1 or 2 particular sections, it’s important to prepare for all as they will all contribute to your overall score and will help you secure a seat in the university of your choice.
The three sections in the test are:
Reasoning in Humanities & Social Sciences
Reasoning in Biological & Physical Sciences
In order to score well in all the sections, you must understand what each of them consists of:
GAMSAT Section 1: Reasoning in Humanities & Social Sciences
The first section of the exam consists of 75 MCQs and you will be allotted 100 minutes to complete the section with an additional 10 minutes of reading time.
This section is designed to test your logical reasoning and literary analysis skills. You will have to answer questions based on a variety of literary material including plays, poetry, and prose. To score well in this section, you must have a sound knowledge of basic literary interfaces along with good analytical skills.
Analyzing poetry based on basic techniques like metaphors and similes is critical to answering questions in this section. Going through poems of different genres and reading their critical analysis on a regular basis will help you prepare for this section.
Having a good vocabulary will also come handy in this section as often you will get questions that will require you to provide meanings of similar words.
GAMSAT Section 2: Written Communication
In the second section, you are required to write two essays in an hour. You will be provided with a reading time of 5 minutes. One of the essays is generally of an argumentative nature and the second one is more personalized in nature. For each essay you will receive a prompt which consists of 5 quotes focused around a group of themes.
Your essays need to be well-structured and have grammatically correct sentences. Your ability to form strong arguments with logical points is tested in this section. Basic essay writing skills are important for this section.
Often, the essay section is overlooked by those appearing for GAMSAT and they fail to practice for it. You must not make this mistake. Remember, both the essays carry the same mark and that's why you need to provide equal time to write both these essays with the same creativity.
In addition, Section 2 is often the hardest section to prepare for – It requires extended practice over time and is not something that can be easily improved in the space of a few weeks. Many students who come from a science background struggle with Section 2 due to the lack of recent essay writing experience.
This section provides you with a golden opportunity to establish yourself in front of the examiner as someone who will be a good medical professional in the future. Mostly, the theme you will be given can be related to the medical field.
GAMSAT Section 3: Reasoning in Biological & Physical Sciences
The third section consists of 110 MCQs that you have to answer within 170 minutes. An additional 10 minutes will be given to you as reading time.
Unlike the other two sections, this section will require you to possess a sound knowledge of basic scientific concepts. This section carries about 50% of the weight in the exam and therefore, scoring well in this section is essential to have a good overall score.
Questions will be related to Physics, Chemistry, and Biology with Physics carrying about 20% of marks while the other two consist of 40% each. You must have a year 12 (final year of secondary education) standard knowledge of Physics, first-year university knowledge of Chemistry and Biology to build a solid foundation.
Your logical reasoning will also be tested based on your interpretation of different stimuli like graphs. If you are from a non-science background, don't worry. All you have to do is to start studying basic scientific concepts before the exam.
With the details of each section in mind, it’s now time for you to start your GAMSAT preparation. Give it all that you have. On some days, it might become difficult to pull through but remember your long-drawn dream to serve the society is at stake - Visualize yourself already living the dream and you will never be able to give up!