The Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) is a pivotal milestone for aspiring medical students. Chemistry, in particular, plays a significant role in this assessment. This article delves into the intricacies of GAMSAT chemistry, offering both an overview and detailed insights to help you prepare effectively.
According to ACER, chemistry questions constitute approximately 40% of the Section 3 GAMSAT exam. While learning the relevant information, it is important to understand the major GAMSAT chemistry topics to maximise your chances of success.
Section 3 focuses on the ability to problem solve within the space of biological and physical sciences. Consequently, the candidate should approach Section 3 with the mindset that 44 questions assess reasoning skills that go hand in hand with chemistry-related topics.
GAMSAT chemistry questions are focused less on what you know, and more on how you apply your knowledge in a broad range of contexts.
ACER will not ask for the electron configuration of a given element as is often done in high school and university. Instead, they may ask you to determine a particular electron configuration amongst unfamiliar information or graphs. Thus, one must utilise critical thinking and deductive skills, as well as a basic understanding of electron configuration, in order to solve the problem. In this article, we will provide an overview of the pertinent chemistry topics that would be useful in creating targeted GAMSAT chemistry notes for exam preparation.
While ACER does not release an explicit list of the Section 3 chemistry syllabus, Fraser’s GAMSAT chemistry team have spent over 10 years monitoring the GAMSAT questions that have been used across both ACER exams and practice materials.
For those of you that wish there was a GAMSAT chemistry syllabus, here is a list of the major GAMSAT chemistry topics a strong Section 3 GAMSAT candidate should focus their exam preparation:
Preparing for the GAMSAT chemistry section requires a strategic approach that goes beyond traditional study methods. This section offers a comprehensive guide on how to tailor your study sessions to maximize understanding and retention, ensuring you're well-equipped to tackle the complexities of the GAMSAT chemistry questions.
Dive deep into the GAMSAT chemistry topics, ensuring you understand the foundational principles and can apply them in various contexts.
Track your progress, mistakes, and areas of improvement using a dedicated Section 3 Question log. This objective method helps in refining your study strategy over time.
Every mistake is a learning opportunity. Analyse your errors, understand the gaps in your knowledge or reasoning, and adjust your study approach accordingly.
Beyond memorization, hone your analytical and critical thinking skills. Engage in exercises that challenge your understanding and application of chemistry concepts.
ACER often revisits certain question patterns. Familiarizing yourself with these can give you an edge during the exam.
Broaden your preparation horizon. For instance, Fraser’s GAMSAT offers access to its ever growing Free LMS which includes Section Specific atlas, video tutorials and Online Question Banks make use of all such relevant resources that are available..
In order to successfully answer GAMSAT chemistry questions, it is critical to developing an ability to integrate new information into an existing framework of knowledge. For instance, you may be asked to apply a common principle, such as buffer pH calculations, to the real-world context of a patient with chronic respiratory disease. In this context, the GAMSAT requires you to incorporate an understanding of acid-base chemistry into a novel scenario with previously unbeknown variables.
Key cognitive skills in successfully answering GAMSAT chemistry questions necessitates:
In the above scenario, knowledge of acid-base chemistry, as well as some physiology could be required to successfully answer the question. You may be wondering why it is necessary that you have this skill; the answer lies in the demands of medicine. As a clinician, you will constantly face similar problems requiring knowledge across various areas. Accurate diagnosis and the linking of effective management requires an ability to combine knowledge across multiple disciplines such as microbiology, anatomy, physiology and pharmacology. In this respect, the GAMSAT is testing your ability to reason like a doctor.
Creating study notes for the GAMSAT chemistry section can be a daunting task, given the breadth and depth of the subject matter. This guide provides a structured approach to note-taking, ensuring you capture the essential concepts and can easily review and apply them as you prepare for the exam.
1: Understand the Core Concepts
Begin your preparation by ensuring you have a solid grasp of core chemistry topics. This foundational knowledge should be equivalent to what is taught at a 1st-year university level.
2: Create a Checklist
To streamline your study sessions, draft a checklist of essential topics derived from the GAMSAT chemistry syllabus. This checklist will not only help you stay organized but also allow you to quickly identify crucial keywords and formulas that can serve as handy references.
3: Focus on Key Concepts
While it's tempting to dive deep into every topic, it's vital to resist the urge to create exhaustive and intricate notes. Instead, prioritize understanding and applying key concepts. For instance, rather than delving deep into the intricacies of stoichiometric analysis or Gibbs free energy formulas, it's more beneficial to grasp their broader relevance and application.
4: Go Beyond Rote Learning
GAMSAT preparation requires more than just memorization. Remember that simply recalling formulas, equations, and theories isn't enough. The real challenge lies in comprehending and then applying these basic scientific concepts in new and unfamiliar scenarios.
5: Understand Overarching Principles
To tackle the diverse range of questions in the GAMSAT, equip yourself with a sound understanding of the overarching principles of GAMSAT chemistry topics. This foundational knowledge will serve as a robust base, enabling you to approach various question styles with confidence.
6: Adopt a Practical Approach
The vastness of the chemistry syllabus can be overwhelming. To make it more manageable, break it down into digestible sections or chunks. This method not only simplifies complex topics but also enhances retention. Fraser’s GAMSAT champions this practical approach by deconstructing the syllabus, making it more accessible to students.
7: Utilize Available Tools
In today's digital age, there are numerous tools available to aid your preparation. One such valuable asset is Fraser’s Chemistry Checklist. Available for free, this tool is designed to help you focus and monitor your GAMSAT preparation, ensuring you stay on track.