Best Way To Study For GAMSAT
This article will explain the best way to study for GAMSAT for people who are thinking of taking the test for entry to medical or dental school or pharmacy, optometry or any of the other courses which use the Gamsat as part of the admissions process.
Let me begin by saying that Gamsat is used for selection to university programs in Australia the United Kingdom and Ireland as well as several other miscellaneous universities around the world such the Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poland, Ben Gurion University in Israel and Duke-NUS University in Singapore among several others.
However the Gamsat test is exactly the same regardless of which country you are sitting it in or which country you are applying to university in.
So the best way to study for Gamsat will be exactly the same regardless of where you are sitting the test.
It is also the same regardless of which course you are applying for and whether you sit the test in March or September.
So let's get into the details of how to study for Gamsat and the main things you need to do to in your Gamsat preparation
The best way to study for Gamsat is to have a correct mindset towards the test and to have a good study plan. Don't allow yourself to be intimidated by the test and make sure your study plan covers everything you need to know.
The thing I want to emphasize is that for success in Gamsat you must have a success mindset.
Every year nearly 20% of the people who register to take the test don't actually show up to take it. In addition nearly 50% of the people who take the test every year are taking it for the second or third time.
These frightening statistics demonstrate that there are far too many people who are not going into the test with a pass first time at all costs mentality.
So the first thing you need to do is study with the idea THERE IS NO PRACTICE GO.
If you think that you're going to take Gamsat as a practice go this time and then improve your score next time you're effectively wasting your time and money. Why not just aim to pass first time - this time?
Maybe you think that you don't have enough preparation time to do the test justice this time round. Or maybe you're not applying this year and just want some experience in the test before giving it a proper shot next year.
Both of these concepts are fallacies.
Although it is ideal to be able to study for around 6 months before the test it IS POSSIBLE to pass with much less study time.
I have had people send me emails saying that they sat the test with very little preparation but actually scored high enough to get an interview at med school. Some of these were people who did very little preparation at all. I'm talking a couple of weeks in some cases.
But what did they have in common?
What they all did was they gave the Gamsat 100% when they sat it.
You see if you have the idea that "this is just a practice run" then maybe in the test you get a little tired half way through section three (remember this is a five and a half hour test) and so you slack off a little, don't give a 100% and maybe don't get to answer a few questions which maybe you could have answered.
Then how will you feel if you miss out on a pass by just one or two points which you could have got if you had just answered a few more questions correctly.
Or maybe because it's "just a practice run" you decide to get experimental with your essays in section two to see "what works" instead of having a clear and proven essay writing strategy as used by previous students.
And as a consequence you again miss out on a pass by just a few marks.
Even worse would be being one of the 20% every year who don't even turn up for the test.
How many of them might of actually surprised themselves and passed if they had taken the test?
We know this can happen because as I mentioned above I get emails from people telling me it has happened to them.
Don't ever allow yourself to be intimidated by the test. No matter how unprepared you feel, if you've registered for it, then go along and sit it. And don't just sit it, give it 100% on the day.
What have you got to lose? You already paid to do the test right? If you don't even turn up you're literally throwing that money away. And if you don't pass like you already believe you won't then at least you've got some valuable experience and will be in a better position next time.
The last thing I want to say on this is for the people who still have a couple of years before they need to apply to med school and may be thinking they'll be able to have multiple goes at the test.
Gamsat scores are valid for two years, how much better would it be if you could just pass first time and then relax for the next two years?
Planning Is Key
Ok let's move on and this time we'll assume that you do actually have plenty of time to study for the test.
So the second most important thing you'll need is a well thought out study plan covering at least 6 months.
Now setting this up can be harder than you think because there's a lot of different subjects you need to cover in Gamsat and a lot of practice questions to get through. So that 6 months can quickly run out sooner than you think.
I recently conducted a poll in my Gamsat Facebook Group asking the students there how many people had stuck to their Gamsat study plan. The result surprised me.
While I didn't expect many people to say they'd stuck to their plan 100% I did expect most people to say they'd "more or less" stuck to it.
The actual result of the poll was that most people said their plan had completely fallen apart.
The conclusion I get from this is that either people underestimate the difficulty of planning out a long term series of studies in multiple subject areas or they underestimated the importance of having a good plan and hence didn't put much effort into making a realistic plan in the first place.
Some people follow a Gamsat course to help them plan their studies, for more information see my other article - What is the best GAMSAT preparation course?
There is a famous quote attributed to the inventor Thomas Eddison, the man who invented the light bulb among many other inventions, which is
"Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. Great accomplishments depend not so much on ingenuity as on hard work."
So be prepared to put in small regular amounts of work over a sustained period of time.
A herculean effort concentrated in a short period of time MIGHT work for some people if you have no other choice, for example you only decided to take Gamsat a month before the test, but it isn't a smart strategy for most people.
Finally a quote of my own -
"There can be no greatness without great sacrifice"
Best of luck!
Dr Peter Griffiths