The March 2022 GAMSAT went by in a flash, and now it boils down to your GAMSAT scores and the next steps to apply to medical school. We are proud of the efforts and dedication you invested over the past months to sit through yet another tedious and stressful exam sitting.
Let’s do some GAMSAT reflections on the latest March 2022 sitting, followed by predictions into the September 2022 GAMSAT!
When we talk about the 2022 March sitting in particular, most of our students noticed apparent differences in the structure of GAMSAT Section 1, but more importantly, the pattern at which the exam was conducted compared to other sittings in the past. For example, some of our students mentioned that there was only one exam session as opposed to two sessions per day as it was during the 2021 GAMSAT.
This year, as a whole, the exam lasted longer than usual, and the ACER team made a conscious decision to host a single session in a day. This change to the number of sessions may have impacted most students and their exam taking styles.
This is not brand new information that we are about to drop, but the biggest change to the structure of Section 1 has to be the increase in total number of S1 questions to 62 over 100 minutes of test time. This drastic change expected a number of things from students, like staying hyper-focused in the humanities section, greater levels of creativity and maintaining that focused work for Section 2 essays as well.
All this level of concentration may have added to the existing pressure by the time they reached the longest GAMSAT section, Section 3, but this is a given considering the dreaded nature of the GAMSAT.
In saying that, we would like to highlight that Section 1 questions were largely standard, but the significant increase in diagram-based questions and longer question stems were unusual in this section. Besides Section 1 was majorly influenced by literary prose but the diagrams as part of the Cartoon theme had some interesting graphs that almost made S1 resemble the dreadful Section 3.
Another unexpected Section 1 encounter was the replacement of quotes in Section 1 comments segment to random statements like, "I act to further my financial position" or "I act to try to help as many people as possible". These one liners were predominantly used to test one’s interpretative nature and posed a real challenge to students who had to step out of their comfort zone and work with unfamiliar comment-based questions. However, this experience cannot capture the emotions of all but only a few GAMSAT sitters in March.
NOTE: The information we are providing is not an absolute rather a collection of different experiences that has been summarised to help you in your upcoming September GAMSAT.
Additionally, a few of the comment-related question stems were apparently longer in length and had up to 5 - 6 questions per comment. This certainly may have caused some minor disruptions to one’s time management abilities during the test.
Overall though, Section 1 featured a combination of all the major themes spread across the entirety of the section in a manner meant to be challenging. For example, the passage-oriented question stems tended to be shorter in length but had a tricky twist of both technical texts and a diagram as part of a single question.
GAMSAT Section 2, a pure writing component, widely known for its distinct essay prompts, apparently had some fascinating curveballs in the March 2022 GAMSAT.
For instance, there were some highly specific themes that students had to study to develop a well-articulated essay. Some of these themes needed an economic response and an argument that is constructed on good organisation and evidence-based reasoning.
Second notable feature at the recent March sitting in Section 2 was the inclusion of a broad range of question prompts, from prompts on ‘wealth distribution’ to ‘personal judgements’ and ‘socio-cultural scenarios’, Section 2 came across as an exam section that demanded one to think innovatively and creatively.
Third component in Section 2 that may have acted as a creative barrier to some students is the quote-theme relating to ‘being thrifty’. ‘Thrifty’ as a theme was deeply rooted in the quotes, and as it is not an everyday concept you know of, the interpretation was time consuming. This topic also had some conflicting views from students as some found it uncomplicated and chose a very self-reflective approach to presenting a well-thought-out essay, whereas others built an essay framework on concepts like power and knowledge to construct their perspective.
The attempt by ACER to disguise the broader themes in a given Section 2 quote was rather efficiently done, and may have burdened some students to keep on their toes at all times.
GAMSAT Section 3, the most-exhausting section compared to its counterparts, tests your prerequisite knowledge in Chemistry, Biology, Physics and to a certain degree, your numerical knowledge as well. Usually, students have to refresh their university-level knowledge of Chemistry and Biology, and Year-12 expertise for Physics to be advanced in answering the tricky science questions in S3.
Usually the ratio of Chemistry, Biology and Physics question-stems follow the generic trend, 40:40:20 but lately, there seems to be a tweak in this pattern and students have witnessed a combination of all these subjects in a majority of questions as opposed to being highly specific. The mix in all three subject matters made March GAMSAT Section 3, a particularly tedious test section on GAMSAT day.
Based on our student’s observations, we found it interesting that most questions in Section 3 of the March sitting were not just focused on testing prerequisite-knowledge (as one may expect) but rather explicitly assessed concepts like pattern recognition, which is not a skill traditionally tested in Section 3. A majority of GAMSAT sitters were fully prepared for a knowledge test but were taken aback by this unusual assessing process.
Finally, the entire section was heavily testing mathematical concepts and had many graph-oriented questions that were pretty complex to decipher, and needed a strong mathematical foundation. A general sentiment that prevailed amongst many test takers was that this March 2022 Section 3 was a really tough challenge compared to prior years.
The GAMSAT test has always been full of uncertainties. Besides, the 2022 March GAMSAT is an apt example that the ACER consortium invariably imposes changes to the GAMSAT exam style. In saying that, it has come to our attention that some students were unable to keep up with the draining exam structure and were amongst the list of sitters who didn’t finish the exam.
So if we were to summarise our prediction of the September 2022 GAMSAT in one sentence, then here’s what it is: Expect the unexpected. And be more flexible in your GAMSAT preparation. Try to open your mind to many possible variations in each section and train yourself to be competent enough at solving these questions without being shocked at a random theme change in a section.
ACER aims to deliver a highly balanced GAMSAT exam every year and 2022 March sitting was no exception to this. Considering how unique the GAMSAT is, it is important to be very thorough in your preparation and bank on your strengths, for which you certainly need an effective GAMSAT study syllabus.
Final thoughts: GAMSAT Section 1 may have more diagrams in the upcoming sitting. With regards to Section 2, expect strange essay prompts. There could be fresh concepts tested in Section 3 but always remember to strengthen your cognitive skills for the approaching GAMSAT.
As the March GAMSAT testing window has come to an end, it’s only wise to keep tabs on the timeline of your GAMSAT score release date: Last week of May 2022.
Here’s a table on the September GAMSAT exam dates for your reference.
Since the COVID-outbreak this question has surfaced multiple times: Will GAMSAT be an online exam?
The simple answer to this is, yes, GAMSAT has now been fully converted into a virtual exam from the traditional, paper-based format.
With respect to 2022, the March GAMSAT was an online exam that was conducted at an approved test centre and the September GAMSAT should be the same, unless ACER makes a last-minute announcement.
The GAMSAT is primarily known for its intellectually draining question-styles and to solve them, you don’t just need higher problem-solving skills but also sufficient time to crack them all. This is why the GAMSAT test timing has been set at 5 hours and 25 minutes, which includes 21 minutes of reading time plus 60 minutes of break time for every student.
The blunt answer to this question is, no, 2 months is probably not suitable enough to cover all the content and develop the required skills for a successful sitting. Therefore, our GAMSAT experts who have observed the evolution of GAMSAT and know for a fact that the GAMSAT is a skill-based assessment recommend a GAMSAT prep time of at least 6 months prior to the actual test date.
Our GAMSAT tutors’ also help students strike a healthy balance between GAMSAT study and other commitments, which can optimise one’s GAMSAT performance while maintaining an impressive GPA.
You may be working full time, or are overloaded with university study, finding it hard to balance GAMSAT practice without external guidance. So, our tutors thought it best to create a new and decisive GAMSAT Essentials Package that allows you to undertake a large amount of your GAMSAT study by yourself from the comfort of your own home, while having the unparalleled support you need.
With our GAMSAT Essential’s expanded question bank and state of the art online ATLAS, you will be able to fit in quick, yet effective, GAMSAT study anywhere amongst other commitments.
The GAMSAT Essentials Package is the perfect nudge in the right direction for students starting their GAMSAT prep or for those getting some final self-practice before test day.