Shantanu Sikdar

With over 8 years of experience in teaching and training, I have done extensive work in designing assessment tests and creating test content for a great variety of competitive exams. I am helping GAMSAT, UKCAT, Subject GRE, LNAT aspirants to succeed in their respective exams.
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Tips for Great GAMSAT results

The Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admission Test (GAMSAT) is a test set each year by the Australian Council of Education Research (ACER) as a selection process for students aspiring to enter medical schools.

Writing Your GAMSAT Essay

The essays you are expected to write at GAMSAT are often the most difficult part of the paper for many students. However if you understand the art and craft of composing an essay this job becomes a lot more manageable for you. In this article we shall deconstruct for you the basics of an essay to help you understand how to approach it at GAMSAT.

Even with many test preparation tools available, many aspirants of the GAMSAT struggle with the essays in Section II. The ones to face the biggest fears in this section are the Science and English-as-Second-Language (ESL) students. Therefore, it is important to understand what writing of these essays is all about.

One of the most difficult questions to answer is – how much time is required for GAMSAT preparation? Even an ACER official with years of experience in GAMSAT might not be able to state a specific time-period for preparation.

One of the most frequent questions that comes to our mind after going through a couple of GAMSAT practice booklets by ACER, is why the Biology questions in Section III contain graphs and data tables so frequently. Many GAMSAT candidates often get confused or scared at this approach as they find it difficult to collate the data given in graphs and tables with the subsequent multiple choice questions (MCQs).

For a lot of aspirants, appearing for GAMSAT, writing the essay is the most unnerving part of the paper. Multiple choice questions may be simpler to answer because you have to deduce the information and choose a response from among those given. However, in writing the essay you have to read the quotes given, understand the principles that are conveyed in them and finally write two essays based on the two quotation sets in 30 minutes. It may not be easy to write a winning essay based on quotes given in a set and you may veer off the topic you are expected to write on without even knowing it. Hence, it is very important that you get some writing practice before the day you appear for GAMSAT. However, it may not be easy to find time to write essays when there is so much more to study or do. A number of aspirants are managing GAMSAT preparation alongside a job or other study and therefore, it is very difficult for them to go through sample essays, solve sample GAMSAT papers, study for other sections of the paper as well as write practice essays. What you can do, therefore, is to manage your day in a manner that leaves 30 minutes worth of free time at least. It is even better if you can manage 60 minutes because ultimately you will have to write two essays in an hour but if that seems like a daunting job right now, manage with 30 minute spans and write only one essay at a time. Once you have scheduled a time for writing an essay, treat it like the time you would use to study for other sections of the paper. Do not allow distractions to take your time away from the writing or allow your mind to veer into other areas while you are writing the essay. Turn off the television and phones so that there is no distraction coming your way unexpectedly. Switch off the internet so that you do not feel the urge to quickly check your mail inbox or check who has sent you an instant message. Also shut the door so that there is no background activity to disturb you and ensure that others know that they cannot walk in to talk to you then about anything at all. Remember that being able to say “No”, “later” and “I have to study now” may sound rude right then but these will go a long way in helping you face the task of writing an essay on the day of GAMSAT. The most important thing to do when you are writing the essay is to time yourself. You get 30 minutes per essay or 60 minutes for two essays. You must ensure that you are keeping to the time limit. Set yourself an alarm for every 30 minutes of an hour when you are writing the essay so that you do not exceed the time at all. Better still, use a stopwatch to time how long you take to finish writing one essay and then improve your speed to reduce the time.

Test anxiety can make or break your day when you are answering multiple choice questions (MCQs) in GAMSAT. According to research, students facing such test anxiety score up to 15% less than those who are not disturbed about the test.

GAMSAT is largely about multiple choice questions (MCQs). So, while the answer sheet is checked by a machine and you need to mark your answers neatly, you are not really being asked to explain your answer as you would be in a personal interview.

In GAMSAT you get some significant amount of reading time before each section begins. For Sections I and II you are given 10 minutes and for Section III you are given 5 minutes reading time. You need to optimise this reading time to cover as much as possible of the paper, pick out the questions you are going to answer, and have a basic understanding of the paper.

Most of us get by without the knowledge of or the understanding of difficult words. Since simple English is the order of the day, we do not make an attempt to read or understand challenging material unless we are forced to.

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