G-DAY: My foray into the GAMSAT experience

 jackhynes via Flickr

The GAMSAT for first timers can be an elusive maze that one has to make it through to get into medicine. You do not know what awaits, only that you must trudge on forward. Today, I hope by sharing a bit of my experience that I can take away some of the mystery. Just a general reminder of GAMSAT structure before we begin.

GAMSAT Structure
Section 1 - Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences
Section 2 - Written Communication
Section 3 - Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences

Editors Note:
The remainder of this post was original written the day after GAMSAT 2009 for another publication and recounts the experience of my first GAMSAT.

Timeline
8:00 Arrived at GAMSAT test centre.

    Sat down and got ready for the beginning of Section I.

9:00 Started GAMSAT Section I

15minute Break between 1 & 2. Apparently from talking to people who did it last year this doesn't always happen.

GAMSAT Section II

12:30 Lunch

1:30 Lunch ends, headed back in for section III

1:40 Started GAMSAT Section III

4:49 Finished Section III

5:00 A sigh of relief as the chief examiner says 'We have finished collecting materials, you are now free to leave'. Out of there.

It was a long day, and after the first session you are wishing that you didn't have the science section awaiting you in the examination room. The humanities section seemed to consist of quite a few long passages, but also had a couple of diagrams (flow, venn, etc).  In relation to Des O'Niells Practice test, myself and others agree that the actual GAMSAT was harder. But quite a few people said it was a lot harder than last year's GAMSAT (2008), so it could be a reflection of a sudden increase in hardness, rather than poor test design by Des.

The stimulus material for Section II was both good and bad in my opinion. The general theme of each task was: 1. Intelligence 2. Ageing
For me personally,  I found the stimulus material that eluded to the theme of intelligence much more easy to write to, but that’s just my opinion and would be interested to hear others.

Finally, the Science section. The Science section in the GAMSAT was a lot easier than Des O'Niell's. This may be due to the smaller number of organic chemistry questions (seems to be my weakness). While, in essence it was easier I still did not properly complete the section and probably spent too long on some questions. Thus, I would recommend developing a clear strategy for each section of the test before commencement of the GAMSAT.

New general test tips:
  1. Keep Warm - Bring a jumper or something similar as some exam rooms are freezing and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
  2. Feed the mind - Bring some Sugar (e.g. jelly beans are a good one)
  3. Energy Drink Warning - I would caution against drinking energy drinks (e.g. red bull, etc) as one guy had to keep on going to the bathroom during the exam. Where possible you have got to maximise your GAMSAT time.
  4. Work steadily through the test - I would advise you not to spend too much time on any one question. If you think you know the answer to a question, mark it, even if you are not certain. Go on to the next question and come back later if you have time.  No marks are deducted for a wrong answer.
    Wrap up
    Finally try not to stress too much about the GAMSAT. Make sure you get out and about; go for a run, clear your head and do not worry about what you don't know. Focus on strengthening the information you do know and applying it in test conditions. Next week I will be providing a rundown of what I did the night before G-DAY.
      So you think you could do medicine series
      Introduction | Where to Study | GAMSAT: The Day Before. On the DayTips. | UMAT: An Introduction

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