5 GAMSAT Study Tips to help you Succeed
20 May, 2019
For a lot of people, the idea of studying for and sitting the GAMSAT is daunting, and sometimes it’s even just knowing what to do and where to start that is the biggest hurdle. When I studied for the GAMSAT, something I found really helpful was getting tips from other people who had sat the exam before. So, I’ve compiled some advice that hopefully will quell any fears you have for the GAMSAT road ahead.
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Know the GAMSAT
For any assessment, whether it be an exam or assignment, the first thing you should always do is make sure you understand what it involves and what is required.
That’s why my first tip for sitting the GAMSAT is, know the GAMSAT! GradReady have a really good overview on all things GAMSAT, and it’s definitely a great place to start. The ACER information booklet is your go-to for all the examination details, and should not be skipped. Don’t forget to be aware of the processes of exam day, how to get there, and everything you need to bring with you (see tip 4 below!).
Having a proper understanding of what the exam is actually assessing is essential. This is because it forms the basis for how and what you study, and will ultimately determine your success. Countless times I’ve witnessed other students studying for exams by cramming in excessive amounts of information that is either too detailed or too irrelevant to the actual exam content. They put themselves through unnecessary stress and waste time studying extraneous information.
Just remember, you can’t be prepared for something without having a good understanding.
And that brings me to my next tip. Once you have a good understanding of the GAMSAT, you really need to understand yourself.
Firstly, make sure that you’re doing the GAMSAT because it really is something that you want to do. The GAMSAT is a big commitment, and a marathon of an exam. I’m not saying that to try and deter you, however as someone who has spent time and money to study for and sit the GAMSAT (and is very glad for it despite the challenge), I’d recommend you really consider that it’s what you want to do.
Next, it’s important that you know your strengths and weaknesses. The GAMSAT covers a lot of information: biology; chemistry; physics; and the humanities. Identifying early which parts you’re not confident in is really important. That way you can allocate more time and effort to studying that particular content, and not leave it to the last minute.
Speaking of allocating time, another important tip for the GAMSAT is making a plan (and having a goal).
Have a plan
Creating a plan can be tricky, however is essential to ensuring that you cover everything before exam day.
Lucky, there’s a lot of great advice online on how to prepare and plan for the GAMSAT. My first piece of advice would be to set your own goal. A lot of people can become overwhelmed before exams by comparing themselves to how much their peers are studying. I usually avoid this unnecessary stress by setting my own expectations and being confident in the plan I make from the start.
Once you have your own goal, it makes it easier for you to establish a long-term plan for study. My next tip would be to break it down into smaller chunks and time periods, so that you have more specific plans for what you will study during each week and each study day. It may seem overwhelming, and even time-consuming to have such an extensive plan; however, I really can’t emphasise how helpful it will be in the long-run to keep on track and allow yourself to cover everything you expect to!
There is however, one other thing I mentioned earlier that should really be included in your planning...
Something A LOT of people forget, and something that can really trigger a lot of anxiety on the day, is understanding the logistics of exam day.
Firstly, getting there. There is likely to be hundreds of other people traveling to your exam venue that day. Make sure you read up about where you can park, whether or not it’s easier to get public transport, whether or not you’ll be fighting peak hour traffic to get there, etc.
Secondly, when you’re there. Some of the venues are really big, so leave some time to get your bearings at the actual exam venue. Also, much to my dismay there were no food or beverage outlets open at my GAMSAT venue on exam day. Luckily, I’d packed a LOT of food and some caffeine to get me through the long, long day. I was very thankful for that in retrospect!
Basically, if you read through the ACER info booklet and make sure you have everything you need and know where you’re going, you’ll have a (relatively) stress-free GAMSAT day!
Practice! Practice! Practice! (And don’t cram)
The best way to learn all you need for the GAMSAT is by doing practice questions and doing them often.
A lot of people worry about cramming excessive amounts of content into their brain in order to pass the GAMSAT, but the truth is, you really shouldn’t need to cram that much (and hopefully after reading this article will have a plan that avoids the need for last minute cramming). Of course, it’s important to have a certain level of understanding of the subject areas covered by the GAMSAT, however, the exam is designed to assess your reasoning and problem-solving skills rather than your ability to regurgitate memorised information.
By doing practice questions regularly, you’re not only testing your knowledge but also your ability to answer the particular style of questions that are in the GAMSAT. It’s a much higher-yield (and sustainable) form of study.
So hopefully after reading these tips, the prospect of sitting the GAMSAT exam is a little less frightening. And if you’ve already forgotten everything I’ve talked about (because there is a lot of advice out there), just remember these five points:
- Know the GAMSAT exam
- Know your strengths and weaknesses
- Make a plan to reach your goal
- Be prepared for exam day
- Practice! Practice! Practice!