This student has not considered that the ACER GAMSAT biology syllabus does not specify which first-year biology course is a prerequisite for GAMSAT performance. Universities offer various first-year biology subjects, and these also differ between universities! The syllabus provided by Fraser’s GAMSAT is compiled from decades of staff, and past students sitting this exam. This is how we constructed a comprehensive list of key topics relevant to GAMSAT biology. This is why, even with a biomedical science background, a review, as well as a spot-check of biology concepts is required. Furthermore, the content is only a small aspect of success in GAMSAT Section 3 biology - it is necessary to integrate study across the science disciplines, and engage in question logging to develop the cognitive skills needed to achieve a high GAMSAT score in Section 3.
This fallacy can be applied to almost any aspect of the GAMSAT. After all - are there not infinite essay formats to master for Section 2? Are there not infinite variations of text types to review for Section 1? In our review of GAMSAT tuition services, we mention that the principle of GAMSAT preparation is that of increasing your odds of high performance - all preparation increases your GAMSAT score. Furthermore, the vastness of the GAMSAT biology syllabus is balanced by solving practice questions, and question logging, which allow a candidate to focus their revision on unfamiliar concepts. Another benefit of a question log is that the specifics of each question stem may differ, but the core principles remain the same. This means that a log would allow a candidate to identify question types based on the logic required to reach a solution, rather than by recognition of rote-learned facts.
In the absence of a science background, all biology studies will improve a candidate’s score. In fact, in many ways, the absence of a science background can even be advantageous if undertaking a tuition course. Tuition courses allow a student to avoid preparation misconceptions, as well as streamlining the content delivery. This means no more wondering what GAMSAT preparation materials are best, or guessing which content is worth studying. Furthermore, Fraser’s GAMSAT ‘Sprint Courses’ are specifically designed to elevate a student of any background to appropriate GAMSAT standards. Such courses are useful for most candidates, but this is especially true for candidates with a limited science background.
While this may have been an effective approach two decades ago, when the GAMSAT was conceived as a biomedical science content exam, this is no longer the case. Practice questions are samples of GAMSAT topics, and GAMSAT logic, that should be used by students as a springboard for study. One does not train the Olympic Games by registering to compete in the Olympic Games! Much as with elite sports, GAMSAT preparation should be focused on drills training the various skill-sets required to achieve a high score. This means integrating question logs, and biology note ‘spot-checks’ into the training regimen.
The practice questions provided by ACER are generally almost identical between seasons and are often more straightforward than their GAMSAT counterparts. The other flaw with this logic is that of volume - the ACER practice questions are primarily designed to give the candidates a hint of the style and formatting of the questions. There are simply too few ACER GAMSAT practice questions to appropriately prepare a candidate for the exam. This is precisely why our team at Fraser’s GAMSAT has spent the last decade identifying, and writing various question styles that are likely to appear on exam day.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Questions often require candidates to have sufficient background knowledge across the fundamental sciences in Section 3. Solutions must be deduced based on novel information provided in the stem, however not all underlying principles will be provided. A solid understanding of the major GAMSAT chemistry topics and a log of practice questions are key to building the confidence required to achieve a high GAMSAT score. Furthermore, the greater a candidate’s familiarity with the GAMSAT chemistry syllabus, the easier it will be to navigate the question stems.
As with most things in life, dramatic improvement in a subject can be achieved through consistent study and diligence. Many questions in Section 3 integrate chemistry, biology, and physics - a major gap in chemistry knowledge will undoubtedly hinder your performance in the majority of Section 3 questions. Furthermore, pursuing a career in medicine requires lifelong learning not simply in chemistry topics, but across a broad range of areas in order to achieve the best outcomes for patients. Resilience is a key trait to be practiced even before admission!
While a basic understanding of GAMSAT chemistry formulas is useful to familiarise yourself with the key variables and mathematics required, formulas are often provided in the stem. As a result, candidates should spend their time applying GAMSAT chemistry formulas in a variety of contexts and keep a record of their strengths and weaknesses through a question log. This is more likely to yield a high section 3 score rather than simply memorizing a list of formulas.
GAMSAT physics equations are often provided to candidates within the stems. Though it is useful to study the relevant formulas over the course of your GAMSAT physics preparation, this is largely for you to be comfortable with the mathematical and practical aspect of the equation.
While the more complex formulas will usually be provided to GAMSAT candidates, they are extremely difficult to comprehend and apply in the time-pressured environment of the GAMSAT exam without prior experience. Furthermore, formulas for basic mathematical manipulation such as operations involving logarithms or trigonometry, would likely not be provided to examinees.
This approach would make for very poor preparation for medical training, which heavily relies on physics concepts. Secondly, physics is heavily integrated into a large number of GAMSAT exam questions, therefore, such a selective approach would undermine a candidates capacity to attempt many of the biology and chemistry questions - not just the physics stems. Finally, this statement is simply unscientific - there is no great mystery or difficulty attached to year 12 physics. In fact, the design of a highschool standard subject syllabus is explicitly such that any student may succeed given the appropriate tuition and study resources.