[TRANSCRIPT] I’m Tom from Fraser’s GAMSAT Tuition. I’m one of the lead tutors here and have been for many years, and I think one of the things people get wrong in preparing for GAMSAT Section 1 is believing that they can’t improve. You can improve! You can definitely improve following these steps to improvement and changing the way that you are thinking about section one and the GAMSAT.

Accuracy

The first thing is that you really need to start your preparation with accuracy as your focus. A lot of people worry about timing, reading or the actual semantics of the actual event itself. E.g How you are going to sit and take the test, going into the room, doing reading time etc. These are very important but Section 1 is really about reading comprehension. The other way you actually are going to actively improve is if you think about the different ways in which you can think through questions. Certain questions lead to certain answers, and the way you go through the lines, how you approach a poem or cartoon or a narrative or whatever it is.

I think taking way more time than what is actually allotted to is the best way early on to build your understanding of how to best approach different types of questions. So at Fraser’s, we have what we called cognitive tool kit. Some questions are asking you to use deductive reasoning. Other questions are asking you to use inductive reasoning. There are questions asking you to use comparative reasoning by looking into different comments and how they are related to one another. Some are quite general; they are looking at the all-round point of views. Some are very specific, looking at the connotations of different words and if you take more time focusing on accuracy rather than speed, you become  better at identifying.

You get better and knowing which question type is this, what question is this, where does this actually fall into the bigger picture of the other questions in Section 1. It’s kind of like a flow chart in your brain. If you know the type of question, it is then that pushes you down a flow chart. For example if you know that is specifics, that means you should go word finding. Look at every single word in the question and trying to understand what the connotations of each are. Practicing that kind of hyper-analytical approach is really important earlier on in the GAMSAT.

Identify

Step 2 is to use what you have learned in the accuracy phase and push it into test-based timing. You get good at identifying which types of question and what kind of tactics. You should be aware of the strategy you should use based on the question type. And now you are going to turn on the heat. The best time to do this is January onwards because that gives you enough time to ensure you actually finish the section.. You can implement the strategies you have learned in the accuracy phase of your preparations in a timely environment.

You have 100 minutes for 75 questions, that is roughly 1.33 minutes per question. However I will be aiming at 1 minute per question. The reason is that it gives you a 25 minute buffer at the end. The 25 minute is used to buffer for all the questions; some really difficult questions could take more time. During this phase, don’t forget all the things you have done before. Keep the accuracy and when you go on, reflect more on the questions, spend more time on the tougher questions. Ask yourself, “did I get it wrong? Did I get it right? Is that actually the answer, what are the different thing that leads me all that way?”  So, accuracy rather than speed, focus on that for at least the next month or a couple of months then turn on the timing to focus on using those strategies built.

The GAMSAT Section 1 Question Log

The third thing is a Section 1 question log. Question logs are absolutely extremely valuable. They are absolute assets to your GAMSAT preparations. This question log is basically a high-tech excel spreadsheet that lets you tag types of questions you just did. Also, did you get the questions right or wrong? What lead you to pick your answers, and what were the things that said the answers was actually right or wrong? This is useful because it gives you an awareness of when you are getting things right because you know, so you can have an evidence-based approach.

Evidence Based Approach

The fourth step is having an evidence-based approach. You need to make sure that you know why you have picked an answer and why it’s right. You have to have lines of prove why your answer is right. It can’t just be a feeling or something implicit. It needs to be some evidence  based – be it specific lines, words, connotations, whatever it is that actually makes your answer right. The best way to incorporate all three of these steps, your accuracy first, then incorporating your timing and three, using an evidence-based approach, is there a question log. So question log is basically a high tech excel spreadsheet.

In my preparation, I improved 10-15 marks in Section 1, and one of the biggest factors was my question log. I use a high tech excel spreadsheet where I tagged what type of questions it was, whether it was deductive reasoning, poetry, and cartoon, etc. The best reason for this is: one, you can draw patterns so you can see what types of questions you are getting wrong and what are the things leading to you getting it wrong? The second thing is even when you get questions right; it can show you when actually know when you are right. Is this something you know why you have gotten it right, or was it chance or because of a feeling.

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