Average GAMSAT Score - Complete Guide
Based on the 2019 results as released by ACER an average GAMSAT score was 59 for entry in 2020.
This would put you in exactly the 50th percentile which means that 50% of people did better and worse than you.
Further breakdown reveals that 68% of people score between 52 and 65. However in order to be called for interview in most years a score equivalent to being in the top 20% or 80th percentile is necessary which in 2020 was a score equivalent to 64.
A high score is anything over 65
A low score is anything under 52
We can further break down the average scores by section:
Section 1 Average Score 59 - 62
Section 2 Average Score 56 - 61
Section 3 Average Score 57 - 60
Average marks tend to fluctuate most widely in section 2 which perhaps indicates that this is one of the hardest sections to adequately prepare for.
The overall GAMSAT score will be calculated using the following formula:
Overall Score = (1 x Section I + 1 x Section II + 2 x Section III) ÷ 4
It is important to note that Gamsat scores are not a straightforward percentage score. The marks obtained by each candidate undergo a form of statistical manipulation known as Item Response Theory (alternatively known as Latent Trait Theory).
Unlike in traditional test marking models, such as Likert Scaling, where each question is considered to be of identical difficulty and therefore marks are assigned equally for each correct answer, in item Response Theory the varying difficulty of individual items is recognized and a variable scoring structure is thus applied.
In simple terms if two Gamsat candidates answer 5 out of 10 questions correctly, although both have a raw score of 50% candidate 1 may have answered 5 difficult questions correctly and candidate 2 may have answered 5 easy questions.
Since the IRT model attempts through complex mathematical modeling to assess both the difficulty of an item in the test and also an individual parameter of a person such as intelligence and thus works out the probability of each candidate scoring correctly.
Candidate 1 is therefore deemed more proficient and will end up with a higher Gamsat score than candidate 2.
This type of test scoring was first developed from the 1950's onwards by mathematicians such as Georg Rasch and psychometricians such as Frederic Lord but did not gain widespread acceptance until the 1970's when advances in computing power allowed the complex calculations required to be performed in a way that made use of IRT practical.
In terms of Gamsat IRT is specially suited since a bank of questions can be built up whose difficulty has been rated through prior testing and hence every year a sample of questions can be selected so that the difficulty of the test remains the same from year to year.
It is this characteristic of the Gamsat scoring system which allows universities and medical schools to use the results of Gamsat from different sittings in order to select candidates.
Currency of Scores
Gamsat scores have validity for two consecutive years. If you have sat the test twice in one year, i.e. both the March and September sitting then you may choose which score to use for your application.
For applicants to Australian universities for courses starting in 2021 you can therefore use your Gamsat score from September 2018, March 2019, September 2019 or March 2020.
For Irish applicants applying to a course starting in 2020 it is similar and you can use your Gamsat score from September 2018, March 2019, September 2019 or March 2020.
For applicants to university courses in the United Kingdom beginning in 2021 you can use Gamsat scores from March 2019, September 2019, March 2020 or September 2020.
How To Improve Your Average Gamsat Score
1. First of all what not to do - don't assume that doing a practice run or sitting the test multiple times will necessarily lead to an improvement in your score. In fact research which evaluated ten years worth of data and published in the journal BMC Medical Education found that although a massive 45% of the people in any particular sitting are repeating the test, the average increase achieved between their first sitting and last sitting is ONLY approximately 4 points. (GAMSAT: A 10-year retrospective overview, with detailed analysis of candidates’ performance in 2014. Annette Mercer, Brendan Crotty et al. BMC Med Educ. 2015; 15: 31).
2. Spend long enough preparing to take the test. It goes without saying that adequately preparing will improve your chances of success. Most people need around 6 months to get ready. However this will need to be adjusted depending on your own personal circumstances. If you are working full time for example you may well need longer since the amount of free time you have available to study will be limited.
3. Don't skimp on preparation materials. The average Gamsat score used to be nearly 10 points lower than it is now. Over the last 10 years it has been creeping upwards to the level it is at today. One of the likely reasons for this is the growth in tutoring services and courses specifically designed to prepare people for Gamsat. As the amount of well prepared and trained candidates grows then so does the average score creep up and up.