So the GAMSAT Exam is Online - What does this mean?
07 April, 2020
Clearly, the world is a very different place these days. Uni, work (for some), exercise, and even socialising have now all moved online, and of course, there’s the GAMSAT Exam, which has been moved to an Online GAMSAT Exam Format.
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There’s no doubt that it’s been a challenging ride processing all the changes that are happening around us, and on top of that we also had to find out right before the March GAMSAT date that, suddenly, it was not going ahead as planned.
In this very unprecedented global situation, it can be difficult to keep up to date with what all this means for those of us preparing for the GAMSAT. For that reason, I’ve put together here all of the news so far on the GAMSAT Exam—the basics and more.
Please do remember, however, that this pandemic is an unprecedented situation, and as we found out early in March this year, changes that we never thought were possible are in fact very possible. It’s important that if you are sitting the GAMSAT and applying for medicine, you continue to check with ACER, GEMSAS, and the universities for the most up-to-date information.
The May 2020 Online GAMSAT Exam Format
Firstly, if you have not read or seen the new ACER guide, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible. The importance of reading this guide cannot be emphasised enough. I have provided a summary of the important points so far, however it is in no way comprehensive nor intended to replace the ACER and GEMSAS information:
Am I Eligible?
You are eligible if:
- you were previously eligible (and registered) to sit the test (from 6 March 2020)
- you deferred or refunded the test after 6 March 2020 but now would like to sit it in May
- (page 6 of the new guide has instructions for re-registering)
- and you have an online ACER GAMSAT account
What choices do I have in regards to sitting the exam?
Students are instructed to log into their online account and choose between the three options by 9 April 2020
- Option 1: sit by remote proctoring (i.e. online)
- Option 2: defer your registration to the September 2020 or March 2021 GAMSAT
- Option 3: request a refund (not sitting any of the GAMSATs)
When is the new GAMSAT and how do I register?
You will receive an email from the proctoring software company, and must go online to book your test between 27 April and 24 May 2020
The test will be carried out over a number of dates: 28 May – 8 June 2020
Will I have to go somewhere to sit it on a special computer?
No. Unless you do not have access to an appropriate computer and internet connection at home, then you do not have to go somewhere special to sit the Online GAMSAT. If you do need to go somewhere, I’d recommend you check your university’s library hours.
ACER have provided a link to a video that explains how remote proctoring works, and that students must watch before the exam. You also need to test and sign up for an account with the proctoring software on your computer; the instructions for this are on page 10 of the new guide, under the heading ‘Step by step guide to prep’.
Will I have to pay any extra costs?
No additional payment is required to sit the new May Online GAMSAT.
Will the structure of the Online GAMSAT be the same?
No! The timing and number of questions have changed:
- Section 1 is now only 40 questions long (previously 75)
- Section 1 is now only 60 minutes’ duration (previously 110 minutes)
- Section 2 still has 2 questions and is 65 minutes total
- Section 3 is now only 60 questions long (previously 110)
- Section 3 is now only 120 minutes’ duration (previously 180 minutes)
- As usual, reading time is incorporated into writing time, however they now recommend 5 minutes for Section 1 and 6 minutes for Section 2 reading times
|| Section 1
|| Section 2
|| Section 3
|# of questions
|Total time for Section (reading and
writing time will be incorporated)
What has remained the same for the Online GAMSAT Exam Format:
- Section 2 is still 2x 30-minute writing tasks with 5 minutes’ reading time incorporating into the total Section time
- Section 3 is still divided in the following proportions: 40% Chemistry, 40% Biology, 20% Physics
- Section 3 will now be run in a separate sitting
How long will the new Online GAMSAT take?
ACER has now split the Online GAMSAT exam into two separate sessions - Section 1&2 and Section 3. Each session should take 2 hours for the exam time alone but you also need to consider:
- the time it takes to set up the test (anywhere between 15 min-1h)
- You should be prepared to spend 3h on each session
Can I write anything down during the test?
Students are allowed 2 pieces of paper per Section, which must be shown to the proctor at the start of each Section. Students will then be required to show the proctor the pieces of paper at the end of the Section, and then tear them up.
What am I allowed to have with me during the test (snacks, equipment etc)?
Refer to pages 15 to 16 of the new guide for a comprehensive list of what you will need to bring with you, and what you may not bring with you to your computer on the test day.
Can I leave my computer during the testing time?
ACER have stated that except in cases of ‘illness or a major technical difficulty’, students cannot leave the session before it has been completed.
This means staying at your computer:
- between Section 1 and 2
- during the last ten minutes of each Section
This means you can leave your computer:
- Between Sections 2 and 3 for the 1 hour break
- If you need to go to the toilet during testing time (but not in the last ten minutes). The testing clock will not be stopped.
What if I had applied for reasonable adjustments, or if I want to apply for them now?
ACER have stated that they will not be accepting any new requests for reasonable adjustments. For students who already had reasonable adjustments approved, ACER have stated that they will endeavour to provide these to the best of their ability. ACER have indicated that they will update any relevant students before the May sitting.
What else do I need to know before sitting the May exam?
- Go to Page 10 of the new guide and make sure you have completed everything in their checklist!
- You will still need to show photo identification on test day
- If you’re wondering what the Admission Ticket process requires:
- The day before the start of the testing window (so presumably, 27 May), you should log onto the ACER website and get your Admission Ticket. This requires completion of a photo identification document.
- Once you have your Admission Ticket, check it is correct! If not, get in touch with the GAMSAT Office immediately!
- Save your correct Admission Ticket to your desktop (required for the proctoring software)
Can I still use these results to apply for medicine commencing in 2021?
Yes! If you haven’t read this GEMSAS update, then I highly recommend you do so. Students who have sat the May GAMSAT should still complete their GEMSAS Application before the due date (5 June 2020). However, since it is anticipated that GAMSAT results will be released after this date, GEMSAS have announced that once the GAMSAT results are released they will allow students to make changes to their application or withdraw and receive a full refund of their application fee if desired.
So, overall, you can see that there have been quite a few changes to the GAMSAT this year. Just remember, it is a rapidly changing situation, and keeping up to date with ACER and GEMSAS to learn the most recent information about Online GAMSAT Exam Format is of utmost importance. Also of importance in this time, is taking care of yourself. The stress of sitting the GAMSAT even in a pandemic-free and relatively-predictable world can be hard enough for students to handle on its own. I encourage you to ensure that whilst studying for the May GAMSAT, you reach out when you need to and take care of your own health. Talk to friends and family, keep up your study groups within the constraints of social distancing (video chats are great!), and remember to take care of your physical health (who doesn’t love some 80s style aerobics in the living room?).
If you feel that you need some extra support, Headspace are just one of many useful resources out there. Plus, check out this blog article written by one of our Expert Tutors that gives tips and strategies to help you manage the stress of facing the GAMSAT Exam.