Preparing to Sit the GAMSAT...Again
10 October, 2021
So, you’re preparing to sit the GAMSAT exam again? The second, the third, the fourth time? Or maybe even more! Whether it’s because you flunked the first exam or you’re just persisting for a better mark, resitting the GAMSAT is a daunting proposition. There are a few cautionary measures you should take and GAMSAT preparation tips you should know to ensure you don’t repeat any old mistakes, and that you'll ace the GAMSAT exam this time around.
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Nonetheless, if you’re re-sitting the GAMSAT exam, you are definitely not alone. Many people require several attempts to gain a place in a medical or dental school. Here are some tips that we at GradReady have compiled to get you through yet another study regime and overcome any obstacles you may have faced the first time.
1. Avoid wallowing in despair
The idea of having to sit (let alone just pay to sit) the GAMSAT for a second, third, fourth (whatever number!) time can be seriously disheartening. It can be tempting to tell yourself that you will never get in, and you might as well give up. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind to boost your morale and encourage yourself to maintain a positive attitude about your performance.
Firstly, the competitive nature of the admissions process and the incredible cut-off scores of the GAMSAT exam we’ve seen in past years mean that a re-sit and hopefully a corresponding score boost are often necessary to improve your chances. You’d be surprised at just how many people sit the GAMSAT multiple times before scoring well enough to gain an interview.
Secondly, you now have the benefit of experience. You’ve sat the GAMSAT before. You know what to expect, you have a better feel for what’s high yield study, you are becoming familiar with the style of questions asked on the GAMSAT. You’re surely at somewhat of an advantage to perform better than those who have never sat it before.
Moreover, you’re persistent. If you’re sitting the GAMSAT again, then it is likely that you are a diligent worker. Sure, you might feel like you didn’t try hard enough the first time. Or you might be dreading the prospect of doing it all again. But even just deciding to sit the GAMSAT again shows that you’re dedicated. Use that to encourage yourself to study harder and to study better, which brings me to my next point…
2. Identify and address your downfalls
Study better? That sounds easier said than done. But really, if you’re wise enough to reflect on what brought you down the last time you sat the GAMSAT, you’ll be at a great advantage when sitting the exam again.
This can be hard. Obviously, you don’t get to look over your previous exam and see which questions really defeated you. However, you do have the scores you received in each section, and hopefully if you’ve done (or will do) some practice exams, you can use those to identify areas of weakness. You may also remember if there were certain questions or topics that stumped you during previous attempts. Once you’ve made a list of all the areas you weren’t so great in, you can dedicate more time in your plan to address why you didn’t get them right the first time.
Of course, if you’re sitting the GAMSAT again, it doesn’t mean you should neglect whole areas of study that you think you smashed in the past. However, you do have the advantage of knowing that you can spend less time on these areas, so that you can spend more time on areas that you struggled with. It might even be worth getting some advice from someone who has sat the GAMSAT before who did well in the sections you flunked and see how they might have done things differently.
Once you’ve identified the parts of the GAMSAT that you struggled with (and don’t worry if this means most of the exam!), you can start making a study plan.
3. Make a detailed plan
Creating a well-defined GAMSAT study plan is essential to succeeding in the GAMSAT exam, especially if it is not the first time you are sitting it. It can become way too easy to brush over certain areas because you feel you’ve studied them enough the previous time you sat the exam, and this can become dangerous.
Remember, you still need to ensure that you cover all the high yield concepts for the GAMSAT exam, and just because you studied them last year, it does not necessarily mean the information or skills are still profoundly ingrained in your memory. Furthermore, GAMSAT questions often require you to think about things in different ways, so ensuring that you have a solid foundation is absolutely crucial.
So, getting to the plan itself. As well as your overall goal of improving your GAMSAT score, it is also helpful to have small goals along the way to motivate yourself and keep yourself on track. When setting goals, it may be helpful to use an established framework such as SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based. You could have goals based around how much you get done in a certain amount of time (e.g. study X topics and do Y practice questions by the end of the month), or around what scores you get on practice exams (though be aware that practice exams can be somewhat variable in terms of difficulty).
Having a plan in front of you can be the first great thing you achieve on your (second, third, fourth, whatever) journey to sitting the GAMSAT again, and kick you into gear with knuckling down to the books. Whatever your plan is, be sure to include lots of opportunities to apply and practise what you learn. GAMSAT questions are becoming less about memorised content and more about problem solving, which is a skill that can only be learned through practice. Be sure to incorporate practice questions throughout your studying, even during the early days, so that when the real thing rolls around, you’ll be more than ready!
After all of this, you still may be thinking that it really sucks that you are sitting the GAMSAT again. I’m not going to sugar-coat things: it’s not the most fun experience in the world, but you are certainly not alone in this, and you now have the benefit of experience on your side! If you acknowledge your strengths, address your weaknesses, and set out a detailed and focused plan, you will be sure to improve on your re-sit score.
The GAMSAT is a long road, especially when you’ve already been down it before. But at least you’ll come at it this time with a much better idea of how to succeed.
Happy studying, and we recommend checking out our next article that will help you avoid common pitfalls that students make in the GAMSAT.