What If I Don't Get the GAMSAT Score I Wanted?
24 May, 2021
So you’ve received the email – “Your GAMSAT 2021 results are now available.” You log in to the ACER website frantically, messaging all of your friends who sat the GAMSAT with you. You click on the link to access your results. And your GAMSAT score is… not what you wanted. Where can you go from here?
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Celebrate and commiserate
GAMSAT is an odd exam, in that it is difficult to prepare for and requires a fair amount of stamina to sit. And yet, you succeeded in sitting one of the most dreaded exams in Australia! No matter what the numbers on your scorecard say, this is a phenomenal achievement and shows that you are determined and hardworking. So, give yourself a pat on the back! Take a break from studying and stressing and reward yourself for a job well done. And don’t forget to tell your friends, and either commiserate with them or share in their success!
Look at your options
When you’re ready, it’s time to work out what those scores really mean. It’s important to know the entry requirements for all of the med schools. For example, some universities (namely the University of Notre Dame and the University of Wollongong) also have a portfolio component to their application process, which means that your GAMSAT score has less of an impact on your overall ranking. If you haven’t already, refer to the medical admissions guide, look carefully at the entry criteria for all of the Australian universities, and consider re-arranging your preferences on your GEMSAS application. The best resources for finding this information are the current university websites and the GEMSAS guide, as the entry criteria can change from year to year, and there have been significant changes due to COVID-19.
The type of place you apply for is also very important. Bonded Medical Places (BMPs), which require 3 years’ return of service in an area of need, have lower cut-offs than Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs). Both BMPs and CSPs receive government subsidies, so the cost is around $11k/yr for domestic students. The only difference is that students with a CSP will not be required to do the return of service. The BMP program is an excellent opportunity to get into med school and then go to work where doctors are really needed. Another option is Full Fee Places (FFPs), which tend to have lower cut-offs again as many people are not willing to pay that amount, which can be around $70k/yr or more, depending on the university. Note that Australian citizens who choose to go down this route can get FEE-HELP loans to cover some of the cost, but as the lifetime maximum for FEE-HELP loans typically does not cover the cost of a FFP degree, you should make sure that you have another means of covering the remaining cost.
Finally, consider universities that are not in your city or state – the more places you apply to, the more chances you have of getting in! Moving interstate to study medicine can definitely be a rewarding and enriching experience.
Take it again!
A vast majority of students sit the GAMSAT multiple times before getting a high enough score to get into med school. It’s important to remember just how hard the exam is and that the only way to get better is through practice – both of the styles of questions but also attending the exam itself. Nothing can really prepare you for your first time sitting GAMSAT, so don’t give up hope! You know better how to prepare and what sections you need to improve, so your next attempt is bound to be better with a little more hard work.
Make sure you’re not just repeating the study you’ve already done! Focus on areas you know you struggled with – whether that’s chemistry, or section 1 or essay writing. There are lots of tips on how to target those areas on this blog, as well as general study tips – select a category or use the search engine on the right to find what you’re looking for! Some helpful articles are: How to Prepare for Section 1, How to Prepare for Section 2 and How to Prepare for Section 3.
Another option to consider is formal GAMSAT tutoring or a GAMSAT Preparation Course. Preparation courses can provide you with a range of learning materials, face to face classes, specific feedback and lots of practice opportunities. GradReady also offers free webinars throughout the year on our Facebook page, so be sure to follow the page so that you know when these are happening.
If you are planning on sitting GAMSAT again, sign up early to avoid the late registration fee! This has the added advantage of giving you more time to study and to build study into your regular routine – don’t leave it for a few months beforehand to start cramming!
So don’t give up if you didn’t get your dreamed of GAMSAT score – there are plenty of other options and strategies and it’s not the end of your career. Medicine is a long path, regardless of the road you take, so if it’s truly your passion you’ll get there in the end! Good luck!
If you’re not sure what your GAMSAT score means for your medical school application, check out our Definitive Guide to GAMSAT Results 2021.