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Retaking the GAMSAT Exam

Should You Retake the GAMSAT Exam?

by , 05 July, 2022
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Given the importance of the GAMSAT on the pathway to medicine in Australia, it is no surprise that many students retake the GAMSAT exam to better their scores and improve their chances of getting in. However, re-sitting the GAMSAT is not something to be taken lightly, as it is a costly venture. The financial costs are obvious: GAMSAT costs over $500 to sit, and the price has been going up. But there are other costs too: re-sitting the GAMSAT will cost you in terms of study time and your sanity. Given these costs, is it worth re-sitting the GAMSAT test?

 

Cost #1 of Resitting the GAMSAT Exam: Financial


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As mentioned previously, GAMSAT is a costly exam. Just the entrance fee alone is over $500, and that’s not even counting any extra practice questions that you may choose to buy from ACER. There are also other indirect costs—for example, if you have to take unpaid time off work for exam day, that’s a day’s worth of wages that you’re also missing out on. Additionally, if you choose to purchase test prep materials or seek private tuition, you will accumulate extra costs in the process.

As well as the immediate cost of GAMSAT, you should also consider the cost of going to medical school. If you’re a domestic student, your fees are heavily subsidised, and you can get HECS loans to cover tuition. Check out our Australian Medical Schools: General Overview page to learn more about the different Australian medical school fee types and more. Nevertheless, there are still many costs involved, particularly if you need to relocate to go to medical school. Accommodation close to universities doesn’t tend to come cheaply!

Furthermore, medical school can be very hectic and, if you are currently working, you may need to cut back on your hours once you enter medical school. There may be periods where you are required to be on placement or on campus for 40 hours per week, with extra study on top of that as well. Thankfully, medical school in Australia doesn’t tend to be as hectic as medical school in some other countries (e.g. the US), but it is still a considerable commitment.

With all of this in mind, it’s worth considering your financial situation before you choose to re-sit the GAMSAT exam. If you’re financially struggling at the moment, it may be best to see what you can do to better your financial situation before you take on the commitments of re-taking the GAMSAT and attending medical school after that. On the other hand, if you are fortunate enough to be comfortable financially, the cost of the GAMSAT may not be a major factor in your decision. Some may consider the cost of re-taking the GAMSAT to be an investment into a stable well-paying career in the future.

 

Cost #2 of Resitting the GAMSAT Exam: Time



Preparing for the GAMSAT takes time. If you want to not only maintain your GAMSAT performance, but also exceed it, you’ll need to make sure that you have sufficient study time in which to do so.

It’s rare that you’ll find a “perfect time” to sit the GAMSAT test. Nearly everyone’s life is busy with study, work, or other commitments. Things will inevitably pop up from time to time and eat into your study time. While you shouldn’t sit around waiting for a “perfect time” to sit the GAMSAT, since that “perfect time” will likely never come, you should still be realistic. If you’re dealing with multiple sick relatives, working overtime, and a baby on the way, perhaps now is not the best time to re-sit GAMSAT. If, however, things are business as usual for you, then you should consider re-sitting.

To minimise the time costs involved with re-sitting GAMSAT, think about your study strategy and how you can make it as time-effective as possible. It’s the old mantra: “Study smarter, not harder.” If you’re not sure how you can optimise your study time this time around, I recommend looking around on the GradReady blog as we have several posts about study strategies for GAMSAT, for example Keys to Effective GAMSAT Preparation. If you’re really stuck, a session or two with a private tutor may be just what you need to help you discover what you need to work on and how you can tackle it most effectively. Learn more about our GAMSAT preparation courses here.
 

The (Hopefully Obvious) Potential Benefit of Retaking the GAMSAT Exam


As with anything else, the costs of re-sitting the GAMSAT need to be weighed up against the potential benefit. Hopefully, the benefit of re-sitting the GAMSAT should be obvious: you’re giving yourself another chance at getting a good GAMSAT score, which in turn might help you secure a place in medical school!

How big this benefit will be will depend on several factors. Firstly, how much you want a place in medical school. For some people, becoming a doctor is something that they’ve wanted for many years and there’s nothing else that they can consider themselves doing. For others, becoming a doctor is one of several attractive career options. Consider your own motivations and how much you want a medical school place. Will it be worth the cost? Remember that as well as overcoming the GAMSAT exam, you’ll also need to get through four years of medical school!

Secondly, consider what your performance was like in your most recent sitting, and what you will need to do to bring your score up to the level that you need. If your score was quite low, you’ll probably need quite a lot of work to bring it up; in that case, you may want to consider waiting a full year between re-sits, rather than a half year, particularly if you’ll have to juggle study with many other commitments. If your score wasn’t too bad to begin with, then those few extra months until the next GAMSAT will probably be enough to bring you over the line.

 

Conclusion



Hopefully, this blog post has given you some food for thought if you are thinking about re-sitting the GAMSAT exam. While re-sitting the GAMSAT test does have costs in terms of time and money, it does have the very real benefit of increasing your odds of getting into medical school. To make sure that the costs are worth it, be sure to go in with a game plan so that you can optimise your study time. If you can get your score over the line and make it into a medical school, the costs will have been well worth it!

The key to improving your GAMSAT score is practice. Check out our Free GAMSAT Practice Questions and Materials and start your preparation today.