How to Study for the GAMSAT
GAMSAT preparation can seem like a huge task. Learn more about how to study for the GAMSAT in 2024, how hard it really is, and some general study tips covering all backgrounds, including non-science backgrounds.
20 min read|
Read 111601 times
The secret to preparing for the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test ( GAMSAT ® ) lies in the approach. The GAMSAT ® is designed to 'assess the capacity to undertake high-level intellectual studies in the medical and health professional programs’ , and it does this by assessing your analytical and critical thinking skills. Make no mistake, the GAMSAT ® Exam is focused on examining your reasoning and problem-solving skills rather than your recall of specific content and, in this respect, it requires a different approach to preparation compared with a typical university assessment.
GAMSAT ® preparation can be best summarised as the following:
The above is only a summary, the below guide is designed to provide you with further tips and information on how you can organise and approach your GAMSAT ® prep to give you the best chance of success.
Not sure where to start your GAMSAT ® Preparation and feeling overwhelmed with all the information available? No worries! One of our expert tutors, Georgia, has summarised the contents of this page in this How to Prepare for the GAMSAT ® Exam video guide.
Visit ACER’s website to register for the GAMSAT ® exam in 2023. Below you will find more details about 2023 GAMSAT ® exam dates. Late registrations are allowed but will incur an extra fee, so make sure to register as soon as possible!
|March GAMSAT ® exam||September GAMSAT ® exam|
18 - 22 March 2023
8 - 12 September 2023
Monday 30 January 2023
Tuesday 11 July 2023
Late Registration Closes
Friday 10 February 2023
Friday 21 July 2023
Refund/Deferral Request Closes
Friday 10 February 2023
Friday 21 July 2023
Late May 2023
Mid November 2023
It’s a common question: When should I start preparing for the GAMSAT ® ? There’s no one correct answer, because it depends on many factors such as whether you are familiar with physics, chemistry, and biology assumed knowledge or if you are doing GAMSAT ® preparation from a non-science background. Some students find the humanities sections easier while others find Section 3 easier. You can learn more about this in the section below.
Students who lead busy lives tend to study for the GAMSAT ® whenever they can instead of following a specific study schedule. While it can be hard to stick to a schedule, this is very important in order to keep your GAMSAT ® preparation structured, effective and efficient. We’ve done the legwork for you and prepared a GAMSAT ® study schedule that you can use as a starting point and adjust as required.
According to ACER’s guide, the GAMSAT ® exam aims to test your problem solving, critical thinking and writing skills. These are outlined in more detail below.
|Section 1: Reasoning in Humanities||Tests critical reasoning skills as well as the ability to draw conclusions based on evidence with stimuli derived from a variety of non-scientific texts.|
|Section 2: Written Communication||Tests your general knowledge and ability to draw on prior knowledge under pressure to construct a cohesive argument or reflection.|
|Section 3: Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences||40% Biology, 40% Chemistry, 20% Physics|
Once you know what skills the GAMSAT ® exam aims to test, you can start preparing for the three different sections in a more structured manner. Below you’ll find a breakdown of the number of questions in each section and how much time you have to complete them.
|Number Of Questions||Total Test Time|
|Section 1: Humanities||62||100 mins (8 mins reading + 92 writing)|
|Section 2: Essay Writing||2||65 mins (5 mins reading + 60 minutes writing)|
|Section 3: Sciences||75||150 mins (8 mins reading + 142 mins writing)|
For more details about how to prepare for each section, visit the GAMSAT ® Preparation Overview part of this page.
It’s also important to get familiar with GAMSAT ® subtopics so you can break your study down into smaller chunks and focus on the subtopics you’re not familiar with. Our GAMSAT ® Free Trial contains details about each section’s subtopic along with a week-by-week study guide.
GAMSAT ® Section 1 consists of humanities multiple choice questions. GAMSAT ® Section 2 is an essay writing section. GAMSAT ® Section 3 contains science multiple choice questions - 40% Biology, 40% Chemistry, and 20% Physics. Practice questions are the key to any GAMSAT ® preparation because there’s only so much you can learn from reading textbooks.
Sign up for our GAMSAT ® Free Trial to get access to 50 free MCQs as well as a wealth of other preparation materials to help you kickstart your preparation!
It’s good to practice writing essays for GAMSAT ® Section 2, but if you don’t get feedback for your essays, it will be hard to figure out how well you did and how you can improve. At GradReady, we provide GAMSAT ® essay marking services where our tutors will provide expert feedback to help you improve.
The GAMSAT ® is unlike any other exam you’ve taken before in that it covers such a wide range of topics. Naturally, you will be strong in some topics and weak in others. At GradReady, we’ve designed our technologically-advanced MCQ system to automatically track your performance across the 4 subject areas and 26 subtopics. Use this information not only to guide the focus of your studies but also to compare your performance with other GradReady students.
Sign up for our GAMSAT ® Free Trial to get access to 50 free MCQs and test our advanced online learning system for yourself!
Once you feel like you’ve sufficiently prepared, it’s time to take a GAMSAT ® practice test.
Our Free GAMSAT ® Practice Test gives you access to Section 1 and Section 3 MCQs of varying topics and difficulty levels, similar to the actual GAMSAT ® exam. You will complete the practice test on our online exam platform which is designed to closely mimic the official ACER GAMSAT ® exam, giving you the option to put yourself under realistic time pressure and helping you familiarise yourself with the online delivery of the exam before test date.
Sign up for our Free Trial to get access to our GAMSAT ® Practice Test as well as heaps of other free resources!
Try to read more in your spare time. Reading widely will help improve your GAMSAT ® Section 1 and Section 2 score. Check out our blog article on What to Read for the Humanities Section of the GAMSAT ® Exam for some tips and recommendations.
Overall, the GAMSAT ® exam can be incredibly overwhelming and it can often feel like a challenge in and of itself to just start your GAMSAT ® prep. There’s also the question of how long it takes to study for the GAMSAT ® , which we’ve addressed separately below: How long do I need to study for the GAMSAT ® ?
The confusion exists primarily because there are a wide range of diverse and often conflicting opinions as to how to best prepare for the GAMSAT ® exam. Here at GradReady, we’ve tried to filter out all the noise, simplify the process and break it down into the following no-nonsense approach to help you start your GAMSAT ® preparation. The best thing about this approach is that it can be adapted as a general set of principles to how you, as an individual, study best, and provides you with a framework to best prepare for the GAMSAT ® exam.
The GAMSAT ® Exam is broken down into three major sections and we have three separate guides that provide specific tips on preparing for each section:
62 MCQs, 100 Mins (including 8 mins reading time)
This section is designed to assess reading comprehension and the ability to apply this comprehension and understanding of the humanities in an MCQ environment. Questions contained within Section 1 are variable in their content, length, and difficulty. There may be interpretation of cartoons, analysis of poetry, comprehension of extended passages from famous works of literature, and questions relating to political understanding.
Visit our Section 1 Guide: How to Study for GAMSAT ® Section 1
2 Essays, 65 Mins (including 5 mins reading time)
For this section, you are provided with two sets of stimuli (in the form of five quotes per stimulus), which relate to several themes, from which you must create a written response per stimulus. This section generally calls for the application of argumentative writing for one essay, and the utilisation of more creative, or reflective, writing for the other.
Visit our Section 2 Guide: How to Study for GAMSAT ® Section 2
75 MCQs, 150 Mins (including 8 mins reading time)
The GAMSAT ® ACER website advises that first year tertiary levels of biology and chemistry are assumed knowledge, along with year 12 level of physics. Section 3 is built upon long, complex passages in which you must work to unpack the relevant information and solve the presented problem. It is also double-weighted (exceptions apply – visit our Guide to GAMSAT ® Results to learn more), making it the most important section in the GAMSAT ® Exam. In addition, the majority of universities across Australia require a score of 50 in all three sections to be eligible for selection, so practicing and perfecting strategies for Section 3 is imperative. It is important to note that although any direct recall-type knowledge of the sciences is not required, a working ability with the sciences at the required level is essential in understanding the questions.
Visit our Section 3 Guide: How to Study for GAMSAT ® Section 3
For my information about the GAMSAT ® Exam itself, visit our guide: What is the GAMSAT ® ?
Here at GradReady, we strive to provide the Gold Standard in GAMSAT preparation. We do this by organising our GAMSAT ® Preparation Strategy under three key stages:
|Build the foundational content and knowledge||Our GradReady Students have access to our 1200+ page GAMSAT ® Textbook as well as over 25 hours of videos to provide them with all the tools they need to establish this essential foundation. In addition, as a GradReady student, if you ever need any further help with a particular concept or subject, our GetClarity system allows you to directly contact a GAMSAT ® Tutor who specialises in your area of query anytime – it’s just like having a personal tutor at your fingertips.|
|Apply this knowledge and develop a GAMSAT ® Exam and MCQ Strategy||We ask our students to prepare for our live classes by reviewing the content beforehand in order to allow our GAMSAT ® tutors to focus their time on teaching you to develop an exam strategy. As the GAMSAT ® exam has shifted towards challenging your reasoning skills in recent years, our courses have evolved accordingly to focus on developing your logical reasoning and giving you the skills to take MCQs apart.|
|Practice with realistic questions under accurate conditions||As a GradReady student you will have access to 8 Intelligent Online Exams, over 4000 MCQs, and the most realistic Mock Exam out there, featuring percentile reporting for your overall performance and a breakdown for each section that compares you to thousands of GradReady students, past and present.|
To learn more about our GAMSAT ® Preparation courses and compare their different components, view an in depth comparison here: GradReady Course Comparison
If you want to try out our industry-leading learning technology and student LMS for yourself, sign up for our GAMSAT Free Trial today!
The most crucial aspect of studying effectively for the GAMSAT ® exam is planning – this is the key first step to help you start preparing for the GAMSAT ®. Planning study by month, by week, by day, and often by hour, is typically necessary to ensure that you’re well covered on all the sections of the GAMSAT ® exam, and allows you to achieve the necessary amount of question-based practice.
Setting goals using the SMART algorithm is an important aspect of the planning stage, and this acronym stands for the following (with GAMSAT ® -type example/questions to reflect upon):
Is studying clinical pharmacology specific for the GAMSAT ® ?
Where does this specific part of study end? Reading a certain number of pages, chapters, etc.? Or answering a certain number of questions?
Is it realistic to achieve this? Can you read every piece of English-translated classic literature prior to the exam?
Are these readings/questions relevant to the GAMSAT? Are these questions, which require direct knowledge recall, relevant for study?
Are these goals defined by time? Complete by the hour/day/week?
SMART goals are a great tool to ensure that you remain focused on what matters in your preparation and that you make real, measurable progress.
When planning your study, a good approach is to set up a calendar or journal, and start at the very last date – usually when the next GAMSAT ® exam is, and work backwards.
For further tips on planning your time, check out the suggestions here: Balancing GAMSAT ® and Work
For a better idea of how much time you should aim to spend on your preparation, check out the section below: How much should I study for the GAMSAT ® ?
Our Free Trial includes a GAMSAT ® Study Guide with a week-by-week study schedule for each section to help you plan out your preparation, as well as key excerpts from our 1200+ page Textbook.
Sign up to access the study schedule as well as a wealth of other free GAMSAT ® resources:
Once you’ve set up a study schedule you can begin to plan the details of your study sessions – this will help you set goals for your study, and help you avoid getting bogged down trying to work out which things to prioritise.
The following points are key to follow:
A common erroneous belief is that the longer the time spent studying, the more you will cover. In fact, it is more likely that you will absorb information more effectively in the long-term if you take small breaks every 45 minutes. Break up your study and restore your mental energy. A useful time management technique is Pomodoros - You can learn more on our blog here .
In addition, get into the habit of studying at the same times each day to establish a good routine. Routine is particularly important in times of high stress such as right before exams. If you have a routine that involves study, eating, and sleeping at the same time each day, it eliminates the stress that comes with uncertainty. It also trains your brain to concentrate better between these times. For example, if you are more of a morning person, get up at 7am and study until mid-afternoon. Alternatively, if you’re a late night studier, assign study time between 3 and 10pm, for example. Ideally, you don’t want to be studying any later than 10pm to allow you a proper night sleep – unless of course you only thrive on late night study!
Goals help you stay focused and allow you to monitor your progress, as created through the SMART template above. At the beginning of each day, write a list of all the things you aim to complete in the day. As you sit down in each session (which, as above, should be ~45 mins), write down exactly what you want to achieve in that time (for example, “complete 30 Section 3 MCQs”). The key to making this skill a successful one is being realistic! Don’t try and be ambitious, if you have heaps to do, don’t rush it, just take a bit more time to do it.
You need to know what to actually study, and this can be the hardest part of studying for the GAMSAT ® exam. It’s important to make sure that you’re familiar with the content and structure of the exam. To learn more, you can read our introductory overview: What is the GAMSAT ® ?
Make sure that you’re familiar with each Section of the GAMSAT ® exam, and work out where your strengths and weaknesses lie. For more information you can refer to the specific guides for each individual section below, which contain section-specific tips as well as a breakdown of the content:
Download our GAMSAT ® Study Syllabus for a full list of Section 3 topics as well as tips and advice for Section 1 and 2:
Our GAMSAT ® Study Guide also contains a week-by-week study schedule for each individual section to help you plan out your preparation, with schedules for 3 months and 2 month of study. Sign up for the study schedule here: Free GAMSAT ® Study Guide
Once you’ve worked out what, when, and how to study, it’s time to begin practicing. Practicing GAMSAT ® -style questions is a vital component of GAMSAT ® study, and may be approached following a familiarisation with the test content/areas that are assessed.
It’s important to remember that the GAMSAT ® is an exam that tests your reasoning and problem-solving skills rather than your recall of specific content. As such, it's pointless to try and study for the GAMSAT ® it as if it were a knowledge-based exam (that is, by trying to memorise endless amounts of information to try and regurgitate in the test). In this respect, practice of GAMSAT ® - style questions can often be the most valuable use of your time – it allows you to develop problem-solving skills and familiarises you with the style of questions you’ll face on the day. To learn more, visit our introduction to the GAMSAT ® : What is the GAMSAT ® ?
Vitally, you should acquire as many practice resources as you can – MCQs and Essay Stimuli. Find tests online by googling the topic, or use the materials from GAMSAT ® Preparation Courses. It is also highly recommended that you save and use ACER’s Practice Exams as the final step of your preparation.
The GAMSAT ® exam requires a lot of mental stamina, and it is recommended that you eventually work up to practising under exam conditions.
As part of our GradReady GAMSAT ® Preparation Courses , we focus on this vital first step of guiding you to develop tried and tested MCQ & Exam Strategies and then subsequently build up your stamina through our extensive Online Intelligent MCQ Bank and Practice Exams.
However, it is also vitally important that you reflect and assess how you are tracking with the questions and essays.
Our Online Intelligent MCQ Bank is designed to help you with this and analyse your performance with the most advanced technology on the market. Our proprietary online system allows you to track your performance across 43 subcategories of MCQs to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, whilst also providing you with all the relevant resources (textbook chapters and videos) at the click of a button. Try our industry-leading online LMS for yourself and access 50 Free MCQs with our GAMSAT ® Free Trial.
Got half an hour to spare on the train? Reading is one of the easiest ways to maximise your spare time and study for the GAMSAT ® exam as you can do it anywhere, anytime.
Many students who are from a science-based background may find the humanities sections (1 and 2) particularly difficult, as they focus upon a very broad and thorough grounding in the humanities. Reading poetry, opinion pieces, scientific journals, political analysis, or novels is all extremely helpful. Reading improves vocabulary, increases awareness of socio-economic and political issues, and fosters creativity for essay-based writing. Some good sources for increasing your political awareness and accessing news are listed below. It’s important to be up-to-date in current affairs for the humanities sections in the GAMSAT ® , and not to mention the medical interviews.
In essence, anything that will broaden your knowledge base can be useful. However, make sure you’re not just skimming over things. Analyse what the author is saying and form opinions on the content. To get more tips on preparing for the humanities sections of the GAMSAT ® exam, visit the below guides:
The overall point is to find ways to incorporate study into your daily routine – read the paper with breakfast or read blogs at lunch instead of scrolling through social media. There are a number of apps that can help with your reading, including ones that send you a poem per day to read. Another tip is to follow newspapers, websites and other sources of information on social media. Their posts will pop up in your newsfeed, prompting you to read, even while procrastinating.
To help you learn on the go, our newly updated GradReady Online Learning Management System now features a mobile-friendly experience. Because our system is proprietary, we are able to constantly make updates in line with student feedback to ensure that students are getting the best learning experience possible. With our new update, you can now utilise our Intelligent MCQ Bank whenever and wherever your phone goes. You can read our textbook or view our course videos on the go and maximise your spare time.
To test out our new online learning system, sign up for our free trial today.
The best way to prepare for the GAMSAT ® is to get some practice in, to understand the style of questions asked, and how to manage your time.
It can be daunting to study for an exam with no set ‘curriculum’; however, the more familiarity you have with the different areas of the exam, and the more practice you have, the more comfortable you will feel during the exam itself. We have a blog article about GAMSAT ® Sections: A Breakdown which you might find useful.
Time pressure is consistently voiced as one of the major difficulties of the GAMSAT ® exam, which highlights the importance of practicing plenty of tests under exam conditions to enhance time-management skills. The exam runs for more than 5 hours, however in every section, students will generally struggle to complete the allotted questions. Passages and questions are verbose and syntactically complex, and it can take a while to comprehend the questions at a baseline.
The GAMSAT ® exam is not a matter of simple memorisation and regurgitation, unlike many other major exams in high school and university. It tests your ability to apply various concepts from more than one discipline to solve problems. The GAMSAT ® exam asks candidates to utilise complex thinking and perform problem solving within a very short amount of time.
Iit is vastly different from other exams in that it tests logical understanding, reasoning, pattern recognition, and problem solving, which is not common in other types of examinations. This is the biggest factor that makes the GAMSAT ® exam difficult, coupled with the intense time restrictions. For further insight from our tutors, you can read this article here.
According to a review of 50 scientific studies with more than 130,000 participants, the answer is a resounding yes. In fact, preparation for any sort of test works and preparation courses are especially helpful – there is no reason to believe that the GAMSAT ® exam would be any exception.
Here's an excerpt from an August 2015 Harvard Business Review Article explaining why test preparation works:
A review of 50 scientific studies with more than 130,000 participants shows that practice boosts performance on pretty much any kind of test, for three reasons. First, it decreases anxiety. As you’d imagine, the more trial runs you’ve had, the more confident and calm you’ll be when taking a high-stakes test, because the various formats and questions, as well as the entire experience, will seem more familiar. You’ll also discover what you don’t know, so you can brush up and feel more prepared. Second, practice makes proven test-taking strategies, such as skipping and revisiting difficult questions, come more naturally when the pressure is on. You’ll learn to ignore irrelevant information and make fewer errors in interpretation. And third, repeated test taking can help you develop the very qualities that employers measure.Harvard Business Review (Ace the Assessment)
Applying the above concepts to the GAMSAT ® exam,here's why GradReady GAMSAT ® Preparation Courses work:
Let's look at this another way: imagine that you are driving to your lodge in a small town during a trip in a new country. Maybe you think that your brain and a map are all you’d need, and that you’d make it to your destination easily. But that's only in theory. In reality, you probably stopped to ask for directions, you were probably confused and distracted by the various foreign road signs and driving norms, and you probably had to turn back a few times due to mistakes. In reality, the drive was a lot more difficult than you thought, and a local person, who is more familiar with the roads will always get to the destination faster and make less wrong turns than you would – even if you’re a renowned rally driver. But it's okay, you weren't in a race; you weren't competing against the local person.
Now look at the GAMSAT ® exam. The GAMSAT ® exam is the drive. Some people say that all you need are the general skills that you’ve picked up throughout your life – that is your brain and map in our previous scenario. But that's only in theory. In reality, you need guidance, you would benefit from being taught to recognise the various conventions and question types in the GAMSAT ® exam, and you do not have the time to constantly go back to correct your mistakes. In reality, if you are familiar with both the core concepts and how to approach questions based on those concepts, you will always do better than someone who is not.
Our GradReady GAMSAT ® Preparation Courses show you what it means to be truly familiar with the GAMSAT ® exam, and that's why our students do so well. Check out our statistically significant student results over the last 10+ years to learn more: GradReady Student Results.
The GAMSAT ® exam is a difficult exam with many different aspects to it. Of course you can sit the exam without studying, and some people may find it easier than others, but broadly speaking, most people will need anywhere from 3 to 6 months to fully prepare for the GAMSAT ®.
Many people like to have a ‘trial runthrough’ of the exam, just to see what to expect. However, even if you want to have a ‘test run’, you will get more out of the experience if you have done some study beforehand.
Even if you do have a background that helps you with some areas of the exam, it’s important to recognise that the GAMSAT ® is different to school or university assessments. It’s not something where knowledge per se is the key - it’s your ability to understand and reason with the information given to you.
This is a really big question. The GAMSAT ® exam exceeds 5 hours of testing time and draws on more content than you have likely ever been tested on in a single occasion before. This is coupled with the fact that the GAMSAT ® exam is primarily designed to test your reasoning skills and is therefore unlike any of the knowledge recall exams you would have done throughout your tertiary studies. The first thing to do when studying for the GAMSAT ® is to make sure you have an understanding of each section so that you can begin to understand what each section is designed to test you on. This can be found in our comprehensive guides for each section:
Now that you know what each of the sections entail, it is essential to have a compact and concise study syllabus that reminds you of all the areas you need to prepare for and allows you to organise your study in an efficient way. At GradReady, we have tried to do this for you in the best way we know how - by creating our own GAMSAT ® Study Syllabus. Our syllabus is a brief overview of the exam and how to best approach it by summarising the recommended content for each section and providing expert study tips along the way. You can choose to use it to kickstart your study, or as a way to check off topics as you go. You can access it for free here.
As with any exam, what you need to focus your study on will depend upon your strengths and weaknesses, and your own background. If you have a background in chemistry, for example, you may not need to focus on chemistry questions as much.
A good way to assess what you need to study is to give some questions a go. GradReady has a GAMSAT ® practice test for students to sit, which is a good place to start. If you then identify a topic with which you’re particularly uncomfortable, this can be a good place to start your study.
If you’re still not sure how to break down your study, however, using a structured approach like the GradReady textbook and MCQ bank is helpful. Our MCQs are split into different topics, e.g. ‘electrochemistry’, or ‘acids and bases’, depending on what the main focus of the question is. You can try splitting your remaining time before the exam into chunks according to each section. For example, spending two days on acids and bases, with the first day dedicated to understanding content (watching tutorial videos, reading the textbook, etc), and the second day dedicated to practising MCQs from this topic to consolidate your learning.
The short answer is yes. However, the long answer is much more complex. Having a background in the sciences will undoubtedly be useful for Section 3 of the GAMSAT ® exam - however it should be stressed that you do not need to have done an undergraduate degree in the sciences to do well in this Section. As mentioned previously, the GAMSAT ® exam is not designed to test your ability to recall pieces of information; rather all the information needed to answer the question is provided to you. It is up to you to use an appropriate set of skills which are deemed conducive to pursuing a degree in the medical field. In many ways, this has levelled the field for students with non-science backgrounds. In addition, it’s worth noting that most medical schools have removed prerequisites for graduate-entry medicine: All sorts of undergraduate degrees and backgrounds are welcome with the goal of creating a more diverse medical workforce.
That being said, a familiarity with basic science fundamentals and an understanding of the scientific method will help you engage with the content and ideas presented to you in Section 3, it will also help you make reasonable scientific judgements. This is akin to solving a puzzle with some pieces already put together for you and an idea of the final image, rather than starting a puzzle from scratch with no idea what the image will be.
For students from pure science backgrounds, while it is true that you may already have a firm grasp of the basic fundamentals needed for Section 3, this is no guarantee you will do well. In many ways, your scientific knowledge is double-edged: While it may give you a tremendous grasp of the scientific content presented to you, this knowledge can simultaneously hinder your ability to assess the questions and exam in an unbiased fashion. There will be an tendency or instinct to answer every question in a manner similar to your approach in previous science exams and a self-expectation that this will be your “bread and butter” section. You will find however that while the questions may seem familiar at face value, you will be forced to use the information provided to you.
Overall, the message for students is to treat Section 3 of the GAMSAT ® exam as its own separate entity. Do not be disheartened if you have not done much science nor be too dismissive if you have done lots of science, it is essential that students become familiar with the style and approaches required for this section.
The GAMSAT ® is an extremely daunting, challenging, and unfortunately necessary part of graduate-entry medicine. It’s an exam that students will typically sit more than once - Therefore, how can you go about ensuring that you can improve between sittings?
It is common knowledge that there are some standards of assumed background knowledge for Section 3 of the GAMSAT ® exam. ACER advises that the level of knowledge required for this section corresponds to the first year tertiary levels of biology and chemistry , along with a year 12 level of physics - A list of topics with assumed knowledge can be found in our free study syllabus or on our GAMSAT ® Section 3 page. Whilst the GAMSAT ® exam has definitely moved away from direct rote learning of the sciences and towards problem-solving, it is important to understand that a baseline comprehension of the sciences is necessary to give yourself the chance to break down and interpret the questions quickly.
When it comes to sections 1 and 2, many students believe that there are no expectations of background or prerequisite knowledge. Whilst this is technically true, both of these sections require a significant appreciation of global and social issues if students wish to excel in them. More specifically, GAMSAT ® Section 1 requires the understanding of a range of text types, including interpretation of cartoons, analysis of poetry, comprehension of extended passages from famous works of literature, and questions relating to political understanding. Students should become familiar with all of the above text types and more, and might find it useful to begin reading up on important social science issues through newspapers, phone apps or social media. When it comes to GAMSAT ® Section 2 , students will again be tested on social and cultural issues, but this time through the medium of personal writing. Again, students must be very well-read and well-informed on global issues, and must have an evolved and captivating writing style. ACER specifically states that responses that have been pre-prepared and do not relate to the provided themes will not score well. This only highlights the importance of having a broad range of knowledge on socio-cultural issues so that you are able to adapt and think on the spot to develop an engaging and thought-provoking piece of writing.
As previously explained, in recent years the GAMSAT ® exam has moved away from testing direct science recall and towards general skills in problem solving, logical reasoning and critical thinking. Whilst the multiple choice style of questioning remains the same, the questions themselves have transformed to include long passages, graphical and tabulated displays of information, and mathematical relationships.
For Section 1 , students are expected to unpack and interpret socio-cultural and interpersonal concepts through a range of text types and stimuli. Here’s an excerpt from the ACER GAMSAT ® information booklet 2023 describing the main types of questions found in Section 1:
For Section 2 , there is not as much emphasis on problem solving per say, but assessment of the standard of writing is made based on the student’s quality of argument and thought as well as their control of language to articulate their ideas and opinions.
Section 3 is typically the most challenging component of the exam in regards to problem-solving. Students must have well-developed skills in data interpretation, logical reasoning and critical analysis. For example, students may receive a passage of information about an unknown scientific domain that is accompanied by a graph or table. Questions for this unit may then revolve around interpreting the data within the graph or table, discovering relationships between text and data, extrapolating or interpolating evidence, formulating hypotheses and deducing consequences. Students will not be expected to have any pre-existing knowledge of the science that underpins the unit, rather they should be able to work with the information on the page to deduce the answer. These skills can predominantly be expanded on with repeated long-term practice of multiple choice questions, giving students the chance to also see patterns and strategies emerge.
Another common error students make is to only focus on 1 or 2 sections and hope that this will outweigh any deficits in the other section(s). It is highly recommended that you dedicate time to work on all sections of the GAMSAT ® exam, not just one or two sections. While the overall GAMSAT ® score is calculated with Section 3 doubly weighted , some universities use an average GAMSAT ® score in which each section is weighted equally (placing an importance on all sections), and the University of Sydney ranks students by each section separately. Therefore, to maximise your chances of success, you should work on every section of the exam which would give you both a strong average score and overall score.
Furthermore, many universities require a score of 50 in each section as a minimum to even be eligible for interview selection. You would not want to place yourself in a situation where you do amazingly well in 2 sections only to score under 50 in one section, rendering you ineligible. As you’re unable to mix and match scores across different sittings, your high performance in the other sections would be invalidated.
There are nuances to each section and it is remarkably important that you have a good grasp of what each section will look like and what is expected of you. A good example of this is Section 2 - Many students expect that just because they were good essay writers in high school means that they will ace Section 2 with no troubles, and so do not take the time to learn about the nuances of the section such as what common themes include, testing different essay styles, or how long to spend on each essay so you don’t run out of time. Another example is not being well-read on a range of global and social topics, or not staying up to date with current affairs. If you think about it, the GAMSAT ® exam tries to draw out a whole range of skills and traits that we aim to cultivate in future doctors, and being well-rounded and well-informed is invariably important.
Students who already possess the assumed knowledge specified by ACER (first year tertiary levels of biology and chemistry, along with year 12 level of physics) will usually need around 3 months or less to prepare for the GAMSAT ® . Students that come from a non-science background will usually need around 6 months in total to prepare. More advanced students can complete their preparations in 1 to 2 months. The amount of time students dedicate to GAMSAT ® study everyday is usually around 3 to 6 hours.
Various candidate-specific factors obviously influence the amount of revision that is required to firstly understand the basic concepts in the GAMSAT® exam. However, in a practical sense, in trying to determine how much time you need to prepare for the GAMSAT ® exam, it is much more important that you study up to a point where you are able to answer GAMSAT ® - style questions quickly and accurately. This means you should aim to do a few practice tests (at least). It’s recommended that you start your GAMSAT ® prep early in order to give you time to identify your weaknesses. This subsequently means that you’ll have a considerable amount of time to improve them, which is important especially if you are a cautious candidate or a candidate from a non-science background. To learn more on preparing for the GAMSAT ® exam with a non-science background, visit our blog here: GAMSAT ® Preparation for Non-Science Backgrounds
Nevertheless, the GAMSAT ® exam is a diverse test, and even biomedical undergraduate and science undergraduate students should start studying early, as even they may require tutelage and direction in certain areas – especially the humanities, which is a general weak point for students with such a background.
Remember: even starting with one or two hours a week early on can make a huge difference to your preparation later down the line as the exam draws nearer.
Overall, we recommend that you start 6 months prior to sitting the GAMSAT ® exam, i.e. in September if you are sitting the March GAMSAT ® exam. The reasoning is that you don’t know what you'll need to work on until you seriously start to plan your preparation for the GAMSAT ® exam. 6 months should be enough time for you to work on your weaknesses without suffering from preparation fatigue. Remember: even starting with one or two hours a week early on can make a huge difference to your preparation later down the line as the exam draws nearer.
For tips on how you can start studying for the GAMSAT ® exam, read the section above: How to Study for the GAMSAT ®
So you’ve made more of a last minute decision to sit the GAMSAT ® exam or you didn’t realise how much preparation was necessary? That’s ok, not everyone has the luxury of months and months to prepare. If you find yourself with only a couple of weeks to prepare, there are some strategies and techniques to streamline your preparation and make sure you’re only studying the most high-yield content.
Firstly, let’s reinforce the idea that the GAMSAT ® exam is moving away from memorising specific scientific content and towards logical reasoning and scientific interpretation skills. This means that spending your limited time in the textbooks will not prove to be very helpful at all. Instead, it is most important to complete practice MCQs to pick up on patterns and general problem solving skills. Work on your MCQ strategy, and as a bonus, learn the science along the way with each answer. Try our industry-leading online LMS for yourself and access 50 Free MCQs with our GAMSAT ® Free Trial.
Once you’ve done a couple of papers, try to pick up on your areas of weakness - whether this be a particular branch of science, or maybe even components of section 1 and 2. Once you’ve found your weakness, focus a big chunk of the remainder of your time on working on this. While it may feel like the less daunting avenue, there’s not a huge amount of usefulness in continuously repeating and relearning topics that you are already familiar and comfortable with. You may find that you may need to quickly step into the textbooks and learn a bit of theory before jumping back into the practice questions of your weak area. Alternatively, you may find that you need to seek out more exemplar essays before focusing on writing essays and getting your friends and family to read and critique them. Maybe you thought that section 1 was all about reading and comprehension, and have now realised that you want to read up and become better versed in different text styles. Whatever it is, you should now turn your focus here.
As mentioned above, students - particularly science students - often neglect sections 1 and 2 of the GAMSAT ® exam. Whilst there is some logic in this - section 3 is often double-weighted after all - many students find that not performing as well in sections 1 and 2 are what let their overall mark down. On top of this, most universities require you to score a minimum of 50 in each section, regardless of your overall score. Even if you have a limited time to study, make sure that you do not neglect any section. In a limited time frame, this may mean reading through exemplar essays , downloading newspaper apps on your phone to read in your spare time, or as always, completing practice MCQs for section 1.
From 2020 onwards, the GAMSAT will be delivered using a digital format rather than the traditional paper format. As such, there will be some changes you should consider in how you prepare for an online exam, for example:
At GradReady, our focus on delivering industry-leading online learning systems allows you to study smarter, not harder for the new digital format. Our Intelligent GAMSAT ® MCQ Bank utilises cutting edge web education technology in performance tracking and topic targeting, allowing you to track your progression across 43 subtopics. In addition, you are able to set the difficulty of the questions, allowing you to tailor the MCQs to your own ability. Fully Worked Solutions are provided for all MCQs.
We are the only GAMSAT ® Preparation Provider with our own proprietary online system - Unlike other providers who simply purchase a 3rd Party System, we’ve gone to the trouble of creating our online system to allow you to track your performance, quickly identifying your weaknesses and pointing you to the most relevant materials and even tutor assistance. As a proprietary system, we are also able to make updates in line with student feedback to ensure that students are getting the best learning experience possible.
Sign up for our GAMSAT ® Free Trial today to test our industry-leading online learning systems for yourself!
The thought of having to work full-time while studying for the GAMSAT ® exam can be enough to deter the best of us making a start on our preparation. However, although you might not have as much time, if you’re organised and motivated, there’s nothing stopping you from excelling in the GAMSAT ® exam. The secret is in the planning: check out the section above on Planning out your GAMSAT ® Study.
Here are some extra tips for those of you currently in this situation:
One of the most important areas in preparing for the GAMSAT ® exam that students often forget is the art of looking after oneself. It can often feel overwhelming but it’s important that you practice self-care physically, emotionally, and mentally.
We can all lose our connections to the exterior world – we become insular, focused on the infinitesimally-minute details. It’s important we don’t become so myopic that our vision for the future blurs; it’s important to maintain a view of the larger portrait before us.
How do you do it? Maintain your connections through text message and face-to-face contact with friends and family. Set aside the time to spend valuable and meaningful time with those people who form important support structures in your lives.
Moreover, part of effective study for GAMSAT ® exam is safeguarding against burnout and loss of interest. Ensure you’re well connected to those who are willing to support you through the emotionally-distressing times and haul you out of depressive shadows or anxious whirlpools. If you find yourself caught in a dark place, secondary to GAMSAT ® exam study or a mixture of life’s throngs, empower yourself with the courage to seek help and speak with a guidance counsellor, your family doctor, or a trustworthy individual who can empathise with your situation and provide some way out.
At the end of the day, we’ve all got different priorities and commitments, so you need to figure out what works for you. But by planning ahead and being prepared for a hectic few months, you can at least tackle everything head on.
The competitive nature of the admissions process and the incredible cut-off scores seen for contemporary applications means that a re-sit and hopefully a corresponding score boost is often necessary to improve a student’s chances in the subsequent year. It is extremely difficult to rebound back into the GAMSAT again, as it is such a draining affair – especially as most people are taking holidays and relaxing over the holiday break! However, students should be comforted in the fact that they know what to expect, they have a better feel for what’s high-yield study, and they feel the pressure to motivate further revision.
It is best to go back to basics when you are looking to re-sit the GAMSAT, and this means goal-setting with the SMART template. You should think about all the things you want to cover for each section and write it down. Then, order and prioritise these study items, set their achievement within a goal-based framework, and then start planning. You should then ensure that you make a note of when to commence addressing GAMSAT ® Exam-style questions and when to do the official ACER practice exams.
For those who have experienced a GAMSAT ® exam before, you have already gone through the arduous motions, and know exactly what to expect – though this shouldn’t be a cause of comfort and induce a slackening off. You know exactly what you need to do and what to improve on, so there are no excuses. Strong self-care, planning, and effective goal setting are crucial. You have a major advantage in being there before.
You can get further insights from our tutors in this blog article here.
If you’re looking for further tips on how to prepare for the GAMSAT ® , visit our blog for regular articles and insight on sitting the GAMSAT ® and the medical journey in general. The below are some hand-picked articles that you might find helpful:
Everything you need to know about the GAMSAT ® exam, from structure and overview to which universities require the GAMSAT ® .
Covers everything you need to know about your GAMSAT ® Results – How the scoring works, result release dates and even GAMSAT ® score cutoffs.
An overview of what to expect in Section 1 of the GAMSAT ® exam and how to prepare.
An overview of what to expect in Section 2 of the GAMSAT ® exam, how to prepare, and how to perfect your essay technique.
An overview of what to expect in Section 3 of the GAMSAT ® exam and how to prepare for each of the topics – Biology, Chemistry, & Physics.
Get even further details and specific tips for the Biology component of Section 3 of the GAMSAT ® Exam
Further advice and information specific to GAMSAT ® Section 3 Chemistry - Get a detailed breakdown of various topics.
Not sure about the value of preparing for GAMSAT ® Physics? Think again - The Physics component of Section 3 can be a key separator of student performance, get further details on how to prepare.
Let’s begin by candidly reflecting on the barriers and drawbacks of GAMSAT ® preparation courses. For many students, the primary obstacle to undertaking a structured course is the cost involved. Undoubtedly, you will be paying more for a course than you will for practice materials, mock exams, exam/essay correction, or individual tutoring alone.
Some students also cite the time-commitment involved in undertaking a course, and the lack of autonomy that results from following a structured curriculum, as obstacles to undertaking a preparation course. If these considerations are relevant to you, it may simply be the case that you have not yet found a course which can accommodate your specific needs. For this reason, it is important that the course you select be tailorable to your own desires and requirements.
One major benefit associated with undertaking a GAMSAT ® preparation course is that it will eliminate much of the wasted time associated with locating preparation materials of adequate quality, creating an efficient study plan that works well for you, and seeking out expert feedback to evaluate your progress. Moreover, the time-commitment and regular engagement required for the completion of a preparation course are beneficial for students who struggle to motivate and maintain a consistent and effective study schedule.
Taking these points into consideration, it is evident that a high-quality course will be worth your money in terms of the quantity and quality of the resources, materials and feedback you receive. In contrast to other modes of preparation, a high-quality course should not only provide you with preparation resources such as textbooks and practice exams, but also a structured curriculum to guide your study, and detailed feedback to address your weaknesses and enable you to perform at your best on the day of the exam.
Below is an outline of the GAMSAT ® preparation courses which GradReady offers. The option to undertake online or in-person courses allows students greater flexibility to select a course that is suitable given their availability and preferred mode of learning. Moreover, the availability of ‘Essentials’ and ‘Comprehensive’ courses in both the online and in-person formats allows students to undertake a course that is most suited to their requirements. Read on to determine if one of our GAMSAT ® courses is the best fit for you.
|GradReady GAMSAT ® Online Courses|
4000+ Intelligent MCQ Bank
1200+ page Textbook
8 Online Practice Exams
|Designed for students who are unable to make our attendance classes, this course gives you the essentials to succeed.|
10 Marked Essays with Personal Feedback
GetClarity: Tutor Assistance when you need it on whatever you need it on
|All the features of our Online (Essentials) Course plus Marked Essays and on-demand Tutor Assistance with our GetClarity system|
|GradReady GAMSAT ® Attendance Courses|
15 Day Course - 75+ hour of Learning
Interactive Classes capped at 21 students
Mock Exam and Subsequent Review
Complimentary Additional Round of Virtual PBLs
|Includes all the Online Resources included in our Online (Essentials) Course.|
15 Day Course - 75+ hour of Learning
10 Marked Essays with Personal Feedback
GetClarity: Tutor Assistance when you need it on whatever you need it on
Mock Exam and Subsequent Review
Complimentary Additional Round of Virtual PBLs
|Our most popular course: Includes all the live classes and Mock Exam as well as access to our Online (Comprehensive) resources|
|Attendance (Complete Care)||
15 Day Course - 75+ hour of Learning
7 x 1 hour Private Tuition sessions
Mock Exam and Subsequent Review
Complimentary Additional Round of Virtual PBLs
|Everything you need to succeed - Includes private tutoring sessions in addition to the Attendance (Comprehensive) Package|
To learn more about our GAMSAT ® Preparation courses and compare their different components, view an in depth comparison here: GradReady Course Comparison
If you’re not sure which course is best for you, try our Course Recommender.
If you’re after a single feature, such as our Textbook, or access to our 4000+ Intelligent MCQ Bank, or if you want to customise your preparation, you can do so here: GradReady GAMSAT ® Custom Course.
At GradReady, we pride ourselves on providing students with the Best Results at the Best Value:
To learn more about our courses and compare us to the competition, visit: GradReady GAMSAT ® Preparation Courses