One of the most dreaded experiences for a student interested in medicine has to be getting into a suitable medical school. Each year, the number of students competing for a medical place is increasing, and it is worth noting that the medical school's acceptance rate is based on many inter-dependent factors. Therefore, it is only fair that a qualitative selection process is implemented to select for students whose sheer amount of subject knowledge and personality is best suited for medical school and future practice.
The GAMSAT psychometric evaluation is a significant criterion for selection to med school. Therefore, months of hard work and preparation are often essential to optimise your performance and face any type of adversity during the dreadful 4.5 hours of the exam.
It goes without saying that at Fraser’s, we know that student to better if they spend more time and effort towards GAMSAT preparation. But what if we told you that there is a GAMSAT study plan that involves less studying?
Yes, it definitely sounds far-fetched, but we believe that these GAMSAT-hacks can influence your GAMSAT prep in the right direction. However, remember that these hacks will only contribute to minor improvements in your score on the day. Adequate preparation is the answer, widely advocated by experienced GAMSAT tutors, and there is no shortcuts to success in this test.
Now, let’s dive right into the 4 simple hacks that can help you during your preparation and ‘on GAMSAT day’.
Logically speaking, the GAMSAT has three sections, each differently timed and assessing an array of knowledge and concepts, so it is only wise to commit to question-types within your bounds. For starters, set realistic expectations for yourself and understand your strengths and weaknesses across individual sections.
On this basis, you will develop an awareness of question-themes and GAMSAT sections that are easily attainable compared to the challenging ones. If you encounter a question that perfectly encompasses everything that you don't know - just guess it, and move on! Remember that your ultimate goal is to secure a GAMSAT score higher than the medical school's expected threshold, so a stronger performance in a section you are confident with can compensate for any weaknesses in another.
Even during your practice sessions, think about how effectively you can manage the allocated time. Do not be reluctant to make an informed guess, flag the question and move on during the test. You can always revisit the questions you are doubtful about.
By following this method, you are making the best use of the time and are focused on optimising your overall GAMSAT performance rather than getting each question correct at the expense of finishing the test.
Since GAMSAT has turned into an online exam, the new paper format has been altered as a skill-based assessment rather than a content-oriented exam, so it is unlike anything that you have encountered during your high school or university studies up until now.
Having mentioned that, it is only right if your preparation is built around understanding the skills you need to display in the exam. Like problem-solving, interpreting data, communicating ideas in a well-structured manner, and effective time management skills to name a few. These cognitive attributes constitute how you approach the GAMSAT exam and the accuracy at which you solve the questions.
Another circumstance you may encounter during the preparation is the mountain of information you need to process. This should not mean that you need to agonise over rote learning concepts hastily for an impending GAMSAT exam. Such rote learning could take the form of memorising formulas for Section 3 Physics and learning in detail the vast spectrum of Biology and Chemistry theories.
If you are short on time, do not cram information, instead think about developing your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Remember one cannot induce these attributes within them overnight. Therefore, your practice should incorporate as many variations in the question types under timed conditions to understand the skills you need on the day of GAMSAT.
As discussed, GAMSAT without much preparation does not mean no preparation at all. You need to understand that GAMSAT is a challenging exam; it takes more than one sitting for most students to acquire their dream score and get into medicine. As such, a good GAMSAT score cannot be achieved if you lack preparation and perseverance.
Which GAMSAT section people find easier varies from person to person. While GAMSAT Section 1 and Section 3 test reasoning and logical skills, Section 2 essay writing is observed to be unique in its assessment, as it comes down to a well-expressed essay backed by great ideas and appropriate references.
Gone are those days when one assumed that an Arts or Commerce student could produce an articulated piece while a science student may struggle with it. Since GAMSAT transformed to a skill-oriented test in recent years, Section 2 solely depends on how well you structure your thoughts and how accurate you are in your writing, without the ability to use auto-correct or spell-check.
To make sound arguments in Section 2 essays, the first thing to master is control over your vocabulary and grammar. These two are crucial factors that can structure your essay and help convey your thoughts succinctly. Furthermore, GAMSAT Section 2 measures how effectively you incorporate ideas into your writing and critically analyse a few critical concepts rather than tapping on different arguments that can loosen the relevance of the essay.
It is important to build an essay that is evidence-based and is analytical, because these factors contribute to a well-thought-out essay. Steer clear from using jargon words, remember it is ultimately quality over quantity that is valued in these essays.
A good technique to keep in mind is to regularly practise structuring your essays. Try to include relevant statements in your essays and experiment with different essay prompts and themes. This method can help exercise your mind when you encounter new ideas and easily improvise on the test day.
In recent years, it has come to many students' attention that many of the GAMSAT questions are repeated, or at least are extremely similar in their nature. It implies that you could stay on the lookout for questions from the previous GAMSAT sitting that can re-appear in the next one. Your preparation should therefore pay particular attention to what skills were examined in any previous GAMSAT attempts.
On this basis, you get familiar with the question types, and if you encounter the same question in the real exam as you did from the mock tests or previous GAMSAT papers, your chances of getting the question right should move up a notch.
It is likely that if you consistently practised previous GAMSAT papers, your GAMSAT score could substantially improve and also provide you with the reassurance of the fact that you know what questions you need to deal with. It is also beneficial to look back on past students who undertook the exam and understand their experiences with the GAMSAT so you can learn from their mistakes without needing to make them yourself.
Now that we have discussed GAMSAT without much preparation, it is important to reiterate that you really need to identify your strengths and fix weaknesses during your preparation to ensure that you can perform at your best on the day.
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