Tips & Tricks to Help You Ace the GAMSAT
18 December, 2019
Preparing for and sitting the GAMSAT exam can be an arduous journey. Reading and receiving (sometimes, against your will) all the tips and tricks on how to ace GAMSAT can be even more overwhelming.
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I remember first sitting down to plan everything I needed to do before sitting the GAMSAT and immediately questioning my life decisions and aspirations. A 5+ hour exam where you have to write two essays and answer almost 200 MCQs? What was I thinking?! Those feelings did soon subside, however, when I realised that it wasn’t too hard to formulate a well-structured plan, and that some of those tips and tricks I was hearing about were actually useful.
So, to help try and save you those initial frightened thoughts and doubts, I’ve compiled a list of the top tips and (some corresponding) tricks that are essential to acing the GAMSAT exam.
Tip 1: Understand what you’re studying for
So hopefully if you’re planning on sitting the GAMSAT exam, you know why you’re doing it and at least the basics of what’s involved. You may have even already registered, which means that you’ve probably heard about the acer information booklet. Yes, it’s long. Yes, it includes a lot of information. And yes, you guessed it, it’d be a really really reaaally good idea to read through it. Another guide that you might additionally want to check out, is here.
If you’re still not convinced, knowing what the GAMSAT involves (including all the logistics of exam day), is going to dictate how and what you study. If you don’t know first-hand what the exam aims to assess, how it is structured, what content it covers, etc, you probably won’t study for it as efficiently as you should.
Speaking of efficient study brings me to my first trick to help you ace the GAMSAT…
Trick 1: Personalise your GAMSAT Study Plan
There are some great resources out there that help you devise a study schedule and plan for the months leading up to the GAMSAT exam. I would highly recommend utilising these, especially if you haven’t made a study plan before. However, one of the reasons I stress Tip 1 above so much is because it allows you to achieve Trick 1: devising your study plan to address your individual needs.
The GAMSAT exam tests a wide range of skills and knowledge-areas. It is also taken by a wide range of individuals every year from diverse educational backgrounds. It is no wonder then that someone else’s GAMSAT study plan may not be best for you.
If you want to ace the exam, you need to understand not only what the GAMSAT is looking for, but also what your strengths and weaknesses are. For example, I had a strong science background, but knew my essay-writing skills needed a lot of work and knew I didn’t have an adequate humanities background for Sections I and II. When I made my schedule for study, I allocated a greater portion to reading widely and practising critical-analysis and essay-writing.
And this brings me to my next how to ace GAMSAT point…
Tip 2: Read Often and Broadly
This tip really should not be overlooked by anyone wanting to ace the GAMSAT exam. You have probably heard it a lot, and may be wondering: what does read widely even mean?
The GAMSAT Section I aims to assess your interpretation of different kinds of texts and understanding of concepts in cultural and social contexts. Throughout the section, your comprehension skills for a number of different types of texts may be assessed. So, when people advise you to read widely, they really mean that you need to get used to reading a diverse range of media types.
This might involve reading novels, online news and opinion articles, poems, cartoons, essays – the list goes on.
Especially if you don’t have a huge background in reading and the humanities, it’s really important to include a variety of texts in your study plan. This will also be super helpful for Section II, as you can draw on the insight you’ve gained from the variety of texts you’ve read in the lead up to the exam.
Trick 2: Don’t just read
And that’s why Trick 2: do more than read widely, becomes absolutely essential in helping you ace the GAMSAT.
Reading widely is not going to be very beneficial for you unless you also allow time to: reflect on what you’ve read; critically-analyse the text; derive concepts and interpretations from the texts you read; and consolidate your critical-thinking by comparing the conclusions you’ve drawn from the text to others’ insights.
Tip 3: Do a lot of practice
Moreover, you should not only be practising your critical thinking, but in order to ace the GAMSAT exam it is extremely important to practice all of its components. This includes doing practice essays, practice MCQs, and at least once or twice, a whole timed practice exam.
Whilst a certain level of pre-requisite knowledge in biology, chemistry and physics is recommended for students planning to take the GAMSAT, the primary objective of the exam is not to test students’ recall. In fact, if you’ve already followed my first handy tip (understand what you’re studying for), you’ll know that the GAMSAT is actually assessing your capacity to analyse, understand, and apply reasoning skills to the information it contains.
So, if you’re stressing about trying to memorise crazy amounts of biology, chemistry, and physics content, think again. It’s debatable, but in my opinion, doing practice questions is one of the best ways you can prepare yourself for the GAMSAT.
As I always say: practice, practice, practice! There are plenty of resources out there to help you along the way.
Trick 3: Become familiar with the unfamiliar
To reiterate what I’ve said above, the GAMSAT is designed to test your ability to critically-analyse and synthesise new information in order to solve problems.
That’s why my third trick to help you ace the exam, is not to be scared by practice questions that are wholly unfamiliar to you, but instead to seek them out! Unless you know everything there is to know about humanities and the sciences, you’re probably going to come across some new information in the GAMSAT that you need to quickly read and answer questions about. Clearly, having some practice in this would be helpful!
So, if you’re doing practice questions and thinking to yourself ‘Oh no, I don’t know any of this!’ – change your view! It will actually be beneficial to become familiar with this feeling of having to approach the unfamiliar.
So, I guess it’s safe to assume that if you’re reading this article, you’re pretty keen to learn how to ace GAMSAT. Hopefully now you can incorporate these tips and tricks into your approach, and start to feel more and more prepared for exam day! And in case you’ve already forgotten them:
- Understand the GAMSAT and personalise your study plan.
- Read widely, and widely critically-analyse.
- Practice, practice, practice – especially the unfamiliar!
Ready to apply these tips & tricks and ace the GAMSAT? Don’t forget to check out our library of free GAMSAT preparation materials designed to help you consolidate your exam prep!