GAMSAT 2017 – What should I be doing now?
10 October, 2016
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Although GAMSAT® Exam in 2017 appears to be very far away and distant, even to the keenest of observers (think the elf eyes of Legolas), it is always prudent to have an eye (or two!) to what you could be studying now in preparation for the big day. As a GradReady tutor, I have continually been asked by students as to how they can best prepare for sections 1 and 2 (the dreaded humanities sections), and so this blog is really a culmination of those recommendations – and just to cut a long story short right now, the answer is to read… a lot!
First, let’s outline exactly what the first two sections of the GAMSAT® Exam are designed to test in the candidates. I would suggest that
Section 1, which is a number of MCQs in the humanities area, really looks to test your ability to analyse social situations, comprehend human interaction, and understand subtexts and themes in writing.
Section 2, however is a complete test of your skill in the humanities – think common grammar/vocabulary/spelling, as well as sentence structure, use of literary devices, ability to construct characters, to shape arguments, and to create an enjoyable piece of writing. In immediate retrospect, these requirements are a BIG ask, and we often get students who don’t put enough time into these sections… but they are by far the most enjoyable to improve!
Let me qualify that previous statement, which may be perplexing to some of you: your study in the science sections involves looking into the complexities of physics, chemistry and biology through chunky textbooks, never-ending questions, and poorly designed YouTube videos. In contrast, you can really have fun with the humanities.
I always, always recommend to my students to read a mountain of books prior to the GAMSAT® Exam – a sure-fire way of improving on all of the humanities areas that I mentioned in the second paragraph is to read books, and then read some more! You should be engaging with a wide range of texts, from authors from different backgrounds, varying the genre, and perusing different methods of laying out the written word. Here is a reading list, which I recommend to anyone taking the GAMSAT® Exam:
Ralph Waldo Emerson: Essays, Second Series – includes a range of wonderful short essays from the American classic.
Fyodor Dostoevsky: Crime and Punishment – though also a good descriptor of your GAMSAT® Exam experience, a wonderful book looking at the psychological torture of murder and guilty.
John Milton: Paradise Lost/Paradise Regained – two absolutely outstanding epic poems about the fall of Satan from heaven, Adam and Eve, and the temptation of Christ.
Dante Alighieri: Inferno – the first part of the epic poem, ‘The Divine Comedy’, it’s about the journey of the author through the various depths of Hell.
Hafez: Any of his works – Iranian poet who created outstanding works in the 14th century, which still occupy a central place in the lives of Persians today.
Henryk Sienkiewicz: Quo Vadis – a love story set during the madness and bloodshed of Nero, and the rise of the Christian faith
These are but a few recommendations – and it would even be worthwhile to purchase the related study books to assist with your early interpretation of the works. Please, please, please read a lot for the GAMSAT® Exam, AND for your life as a future medical practitioner – the profession suffers terribly from a lack of broader knowledge and literary expertise.
I will return to write more articles addressing these humanities sections, and will have some blogs that address methods and themes to explore for your essays!