How to improve your GAMSAT results
11 January, 2021
2020 was a particularly challenging year to sit the GAMSAT, firstly due to general COVID-19 related stressors, and secondly due to the change to a computerised format. Unfortunately, despite persisting through the struggles of this year, inevitably some of you may have received a score lower than what you were hoping to achieve. Although it is difficult to generalise how to improve your GAMSAT score across all three sections of the test, this blog will attempt to do so, and offer you some quick tips to globally improve your GAMSAT score – whether you are a new student to the GAMSAT, a repeat offender, or a seasoned veteran to this brutal test.
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Plan your Approach
Firstly, create a study plan. Many students (especially with a background from the natural sciences) dismiss the necessity of having a plan leading up to the GAMSAT, reasoning that they have studied enough of the natural sciences to excel in the GAMSAT. However, it is important to note that (1) the GAMSAT is not just a test of the natural sciences, as two of the sections are within the humanities, and (2) the GAMSAT does not purely test a candidate’s ability to recall information, and the correct application of knowledge to pattern recognition and complex reasoning is required. These skills are not always embedded in high school and undergraduate courses. As such, they must be gained, and to this end, it is essential that a study plan is created – so that you can work constructively and progressively up until the day of the test.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Secondly, and related to the first recommendation, ensure that you equip yourself with plenty of practice questions! Again, the questions in the GAMSAT are unique, and so it is vital for everyone to ensure that they have a range of practice questions so that they can understand what kind of skills the test requires, and then practise applying these skills again and again in preparation for the test! ACER provides their own practice questions that should be downloaded by every candidate if the cost is not a barrier. Since these questions are written by the same company that administers the GAMSAT, these questions provide the most direct insight that one will have into the type of GAMSAT questions you should expect.
Broaden your Resources
Thirdly, using multiple sources may be helpful in helping to consolidate new information and to view this new information from different viewpoints. When you are preparing for the GAMSAT, you might go over your university/high school notes, as well as YouTube videos addressing the topic, websites, Khan Academy, etc to relearn the same concepts. However, do remember that it is not possible to go through every single resource available in depth, so while using multiple sources can be helpful, it may be best to limit yourself to a few favourite resources. Finally, you should then pressure yourself to teach others these same bits of knowledge and/or skills, as this will firmly entrench it in your mind, and demonstrate to yourself that you will be able to apply your knowledge in the GAMSAT. As alluded to previously, the GAMSAT is more of a test of understanding and applying knowledge, and by teaching others, you will be practising these skills.
Finally, and most importantly in my opinion, is to read… read… and read! A vast majority of students who start their GAMSAT preparation, as they are from a natural sciences background, simply do not read enough books (I’m talking non-textbooks here). It is vital to regularly read novels, short stories, poems… anything! As this simple act of reading frequently will enhance your comprehension, grammatical skills, spelling, vocabulary, and familiarity with literature, which are all vital aspects of both sections one and two. Specifically, reading short stories and argumentative essays will be highly important for section two, so that you can have a high level of familiarity with this type of writing before you start practicing writing these essay types yourself.
These are just a few small points that broadly answers the question how to improve your GAMSAT score – these should be applicable to everyone! However, your own context and educational background will determine what you need for more specific improvements, and it is vital that you start thinking about this early, rather than later! The best way to discover your specific strengths and weaknesses and improve on them is to enlist the assistance of an expert GAMSAT tutor, such as by enrolling in a GradReady course. As medical school entry is becoming more and more competitive, preparation is key to optimal performance.
Now, as we work hard to improve our GAMSAT score, it is also important that we take all possibilities into consideration. What if I don’t get the GAMSAT score I wanted? What’s next? Find the answer to that question and explore your options in our article Admission Series - What if I don’t get the GAMSAT score I wanted?