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Sitting the GAMSAT Exam Again

Preparing to Sit the GAMSAT Again: Tutor Q&A

by , 29 August, 2021
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Preparing to sit the GAMSAT again can be very discouraging. The GAMSAT is already taxing to prepare for, so having to re-sit might make the exam seem like an insurmountable wall. But you’re not alone. This article is a compilation of Q&A with three of GradReady’s expert tutors. They’ve been in your place before. They did not give up and finally beat the GAMSAT exam. Now they are here to offer their tips and tricks to maximise your GAMSAT exam preparation for your next—and hopefully final—attempt!

  

Kayley Crebbin – Biology Tutor – sat the GAMSAT in 2017


  
  1. How would I prepare for the exam again?
For me, my section 3 marks were far better than my section 1 and 2 marks, so I would probably have more to gain by focusing on the first sections. For section 1, I would try to do more practice questions, and take greater time to understand why the correct answer was correct. For section 2, I would try to find people to give feedback on my essay writing, even if that meant having to pay for a service that marks papers, because I probably could have done with some more feedback to help me hone my essay writing skills.
 
  1. Tips/Advice
My main advice would be this: do not underestimate self-care! Leading up to the GAMSAT I made sure that I got 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Furthermore, because on the day I would have to wake up much earlier than usual to get to the testing venue on time, I gradually shifted my sleep time earlier and earlier during the week prior to the GAMSAT, so that on test day, I was able to wake up feeling fresh.

It was also important to give my brain a break when I had a chance, even on the testing day itself. During the recess between sections 2 and 3, I ate my lunch in the shade and tried to enjoy the weather – it was a lovely day! I felt that really giving myself a break helped me to feel refreshed when I went back into the testing centre for Section 3, allowing me to do well in that section.

  

Elliot Dolan-Evans – Humanities Tutor – sat the GAMSAT in 2010

  
 
  1. How would I prepare for the exam again?
The re-preparation that you may complete will be heavily determined by how successful you were in the respective sections – the humanities sections (S1 and S2) are quite often the most troubling for many students, and you need to deeply reflect as to how seriously you took these sections and whether your humanities preparation was deep and integrated enough. Most students neglect the broad and intensive work required for these sections – including constant reading of texts, practice of writing essays, reviewing current affairs and news, and completing practice MCQs. If you are not completing all these vital components, this is certainly one area to address. Otherwise, if you are comprehensively immersing yourself in the broad humanities sciences, then it may be a question of the style of your learning. If you are purely reading/writing (certainly an appropriate approach!) perhaps you should try to integrate videos explaining key concepts, audiobooks, tutors, and even drawings and illustrations to give your mind another way to learn crucial points.
 
  1. Tips/Advice
Resitting the GAMSAT is unfortunately a highly common occurrence, and is, really, the norm rather than the exception (a 2014 study found the percentage of repeat takers of the GAMSAT went from 31% of all GAMSAT-takers in 2005 to 45% in 2014). There are thousands upon thousands of students who now sit the GAMSAT at each sitting, far more than ever before, and GAMSAT entry scores into medicine are increasing yearly, it seems. The most important point is to not be too hard on yourself if you need to re-sit this mammoth test, as it is incredibly common.

  

Nicholas Brummer – Biology & Physics Tutor - sat the GAMSAT in 2018


  
  1. How would I prepare for the exam again?
The first step for preparing to re-sit the exam is looking at what your goal for the new outcome is going to be. If you felt well prepared going into your previous sitting yet struggled to get through the exam on the day, you’ll benefit more from doing practice questions under exam conditions. If you felt good about the Science section but had difficulty making it through the humanities material, that should be where you spend most of your preparation. This will give you a direction to your study that will guarantee you’re focusing on the areas where you need the most work. As Einstein said, insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, and expecting different results – so try something new.
 
  1. Tips/Advice
Look at what went well and what didn’t go well. Look at your scores in the various sections. For Section 3, consider which topics were especially difficult for you; the GAMSAT is about interpreting complex data and critical thinking to arrive at an answer. If you have spent all your previous sitting(s) focusing on concepts and content, it’s likely you’re lacking the ability to apply those in the abstract way as is required on the exam. Instead of constantly trying to sift through physics textbooks and videos online, focus your time on going through practice questions and fill in the gaps in your knowledge with content as you go. Conversely, if you have limited background in any of the subjects, it’s advisable to go back and at least learn the basics. If you’ve done both of these things, perhaps ask others what they did that worked for them, and practice general exam skills such as educated guessing, estimating, rounding, simple mathematics.
 
  1. Detailed plan to prepare for the GAMSAT
Make sure that in all of this you give yourself an explicit timeline and how you’re going to achieve the goals you’ve set out in the above sections. It’s too easy to say, ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ or ‘I’ll focus on physics in the next three weeks’ or even ‘I’ll write an essay a day in the final month.’ Sit down and write yourself a schedule of what you’re expecting to cover each day, which topic and how long you will spend on it. Ensure you are making smart goals. Furthermore, spend some time on each subject and specifically focus on those you identified as difficult for you in the previous exam sitting(s). When there are still many months left before the exam, it’s always a good time to be spending your energy on learning concepts and ideas. But once you hit around the 2-month mark out from test date, you should be weaning off learning new content and focusing on doing practice questions, and then using those to identify the gaps in your knowledge. Finally, make sure you schedule in some down time; it’s no use spending all of your energy in the lead up to the exam and then being burnt out by the time you finally get to sit it.

If you feel you need some professional help in order to ace the GAMSAT exam, GradReady’s GAMSAT preparation courses are a great choice! Click here to learn more.