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GAMSAT exam early preparations

Is it really that far away?

by , 18 July, 2017
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Sadly, the answer to the title of this blog is no, no it isn’t. Although GAMSAT 2017 is probably just a recent, possibly traumatic, memory, the next iteration of this legendary exam is really not far away. However, there are many considerations and variables to have in mind as to when you should start turning your mind to this relentlessly unstoppable exam in 2018.

The GAMSAT is as much a test of biological, chemistry, physics, and humanities knowledge and skill as it is a test of patience, motivation, and timing. I have known hundreds of academically brilliant students who have sat the GAMSAT and not quite scored the marks that they wanted on their first try, and it was purely from a lack of proper preparation and a lack of consideration to the other aspects of the GAMSAT, such as the lead-in study time.

I advocate a well-considered approach, which emphasises effectiveness of study, rather than a huge time commitment. A number of years ago now, when I sat the GAMSAT, I literally put my head in textbooks for four months prior to the GAMSAT and did nothing else for my GAMSAT study. There were no practice questions, no tutoring, no discussion with others. Needless to say, I could have done much, much better in the test. In my attempt, I had prioritised a quantitative amount of study that I thought was needed, not an efficient and effective use of my time.

There is a school of thought, which I certainly prescribe to, which states you can easily over-prepare, over-psych yourself, and burn yourself out from starting to study for the GAMSAT too early. I’m talking about the actual practice of studying, not preparation. I would recommend that starting your substantive study 10-12 months out from the test is probably not a good use of your time, unless you feel that you have absolutely zero background in any of the ‘test areas’ found on the GAMSAT. Especially as the GAMSAT more relies on pattern-recognition, logic, and conceptual understanding, not technical and academic knowledge in these subjects.

However, in saying that, now is the ideal time to start preparing your approach to your studies. You should now start to consider exactly how you want to go about your study towards GAMSAT 2018, and consider what is right for you. It might be worth starting to build up a network of contacts who are also attacking the GAMSAT in 2018 for a prospective study group, or at least a support resource. You might want to consider teaching courses and online materials that will help you conduct effective study – find practice questions, explanatory videos, online forums, and teaching modules (online or in person) that you can have at your disposal when you start your study proper.

You shouldn’t be scared into rushing and frantically starting your substantive GAMSAT-related study now, but you should have one eye to the future. It is beneficial to you if you can get through the GAMSAT early on, and you don’t get stuck in a repetitive cycle of taking these tests, as they are not only expensive but emotionally taxing as well. Preparation is the key. GradReady will certainly be there for you for your preparatory needs, and ensure you reach out to similar GAMSAT-2018’ers as a source of support and camaraderie.