GAMSAT Section 1 is the first section of the GAMSAT exam that you will need to tackle on test day. The humanities and social sciences in the GAMSAT may not be the longest, but it will challenge even those from non-science backgrounds. This is the only section testing your proficiency in the English language, degree of vocabulary, as well as your interpretative nature when challenged with literary materials. For this reason, the preparation becomes difficult, and quite abstract, since one cannot safely decide on an accurate study syllabus.
Section 1 questions have a broad range of theme sets, and the dominant theme may not necessarily repeat itself in consecutive sittings. Amongst the numerous, strong Section 1 themes you have to prepare for, the available GAMSAT resources for comments tend to be lesser in contrast to concepts like social sciences, art, philosophy, and graphics.
This is mainly because the probability of occurrence for a comments-based question in the exam when compared with something like poetry analysis is significantly less. Although we can’t say with certainty as to why ACER includes two or three question-themes in larger numbers and limits others to one or two questions only. But this shows that ACER doesn’t stick to a rigid template when it comes to developing their question papers and has a variety of themes in each sitting to gauge the cohort’s interpretative-ness to the highest quality.
For this reason most students make a deliberate choice to overlook ‘comments’ (not known as proverbs anymore) due to the fact that these stem types are usually less prevalent in Section 1.
This type of fragmentary learning is something we as GAMSAT experts don’t recommend. We believe that your GAMSAT study process should not only focus on the presiding themes, but also on the less prominent ones. If you can give it your best shot at interpreting even 1 or 2 metaphorical statements or comments, then your overall GAMSAT score will only have a positive impact.
Remember, for universities such as The University of Sydney, Section 1 makes all the difference for your chance to get an offer!
It is important that you strengthen your skills at the interpretation and recognition of complex literary language to gain all the marks you need for a high score.
Before diving into the tricks that can help you solve this section 1 theme, let us elucidate the fact that proverbs are currently referred to as ‘Comments’. This is not an abrupt change but a rather gradual one that is part of the GAMSAT evolution in recent years.
GAMSAT Section 1 comments are short, indirect, and widely confusing in their composition. We find that advanced poetry, with its nuanced vocabulary, makes distinct conclusions similarly hard to draw. This convoluted characteristic of comments is similar to the difficulty students often tackle in GAMSAT poems. Hence, skills in metaphorical reasoning need to be considered during your study process to refine your problem-solving skills towards these questions.
One common, apparent feature of poems and comments-question stems are their clever use of language to express meaning, sound, rhythm and tone of a phrase. Therefore, this simplifies your GAMSAT study to a great extent as your preparation for both these themes will follow a similar pattern of study.
As we are about to connect poetry and comments, it is good to define what GAMSAT Section 1 poetry is all about. The popular opinion that GAMSAT poetry is inexplicable and the literary devices like metaphor, foreshadowing, simile to name a few are complicated, is just a myth. But in saying that, there is a subtle difference between what you would be expected during the GAMSAT poetry analysis in comparison to casually reading a Shakespearean work!
Although there is no direct connection between poetry and the healthcare profession, as opposed to the intricate science component of Section 3, GAMSAT assessment won’t choose anything less than extraordinary when it comes to the poems. Thus, from the initial stage of GAMSAT study, even excellent Section 1 students have to learn to read a poem for what the author wishes to convey, and simultaneously understand the diverse emotions they evoke - love, hate, rage, empathy and many more.
As the general rule of thumb, the more you read, the greater your capacity to constructively identify the different themes in a poem or comments and gain familiarity of reading complex written material.
Despite poetry analysis being a time consuming aspect to master in GAMSAT Section 1, it is certainly worth the effort as it helps expand your verbal expression and depth of vocabulary. This way, the poetic expressions and keywords you come across can also be incorporated into your GAMSAT Section 2 essay prompts!
The simplest yet effective strategy that is a one fit for all archetypes of GAMSAT preparers is the ‘Halves method’.
In the halves technique, you are categorically splitting a given comment into two distinct parts. The first part is termed as the ‘Precedent’, and the second part of the sentence describes the effect of this precedent. This trick is favourable when the question stems are longer and more than one comment needs to be interpreted.
Once the comments are carefully broken down into two parts, driven with purpose and meaning, you need to scan for a common theme or a pattern within these statements. The concept of pattern recognition is commonly used, which is a strong strategy in psychometric evaluations as these tests are largely objective-based measures to gauge one’s personality and intelligence. Such a technique is commonly employed in UCAT Abstract reasoning, for those of you familiar with applications to Undergraduate Medicine.
The final step in the halves technique is correlating these fragmented ideas to the statements in the answer section. You will be amused to notice that a majority of the comment-oriented questions are the same, with minor fluctuations in concepts or sentence structure.
Through the halves method, you can figure out the theme but coincidentally the sub-argument even before looking at the answers, this is very helpful and helps solve such questions through a definitive explanation.
NOTE: Try to initially express the comments in your own words and dive deeper into the meaning of the quotes before skimming through the answer options.
Objectively speaking, the comments-related questions give you two major advantages to equip you with. Such advantages include the ability to compare or find similarities in a vast range of comment stems, and to recognise crucial differences between two supposedly detached statements. This is what we know as the contrasting technique.
In situations where you need to read, understand, and match the predominant theme across 4 different statements; the ability to ‘compare and contrast’ can really make the difference. A ‘metacognitive thinking’ ability is basically the critical awareness you’ll need to develop for comment-based questions. This unique ability helps you focus on the relevant details and derive the closest theme in a given question. This method again relates to the necessity of turning away from the literal sense of texts.
In addition to this, comparing and contrasting are two sides to the same coin, and can easily be trained through brain training games and exercises. If you are unsure of what these games entail, our skills workshop training as part of our majority of GAMSAT courses can also be the nudge you need to achieve these minor yet important skill goals.
In order to truly gauge your existing skills and areas for improvement, you need a GAMSAT learning package that gives you a starting point to figure out where you really stand in the GAMSAT.
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GAMSAT Section 1 is the first section of the GAMSAT exam that you will need to tackle on test day. The humanities and social sciences in the GAMSAT may not be the longest, but it will challenge even those from non-science backgrounds. This is the only section testing your proficiency in the English language, degree of vocabulary, as well as your interpretative nature when challenged with literary materials. For this reason, the preparation becomes difficult, and quite abstract, since one cannot safely decide on a select study syllabus.
From works of fiction, poetry, and illustrations, to technical texts, GAMSAT Section 1 is unusual in that it tends to also draw inferences from comments and proverbs. As you can see, not only does Section 1 present a variety of distinct concepts but are somewhat unrelated to one-another.