GAMSAT Study Plan
Making a GAMSAT study plan is the one best thing you can do to ensure success in the test. By effectively planning your Gamsat studies right at the start and gathering the resources you need you can eliminate the trial and error and put yourself on the path to success.
I've listed here the step by step study plan you need to take from beginning to end.
1. Register with ACER
ACER is the Australian Council For Educational Research who organise the GAMSAT. You'll need to register with them to sit the test and to buy some of the preparation materials you'll need.
2. Plan your test date
Once registered with ACER you then have to decide which date you are going to sit the test on AND then register for that separately. I recommend you register for the test as soon as possible for two reasons;
Firstly because once you've registered and paid your fee it makes it real and gives you a firm goal to work towards. However please note that test registration may not yet be open when you are beginning your studies but in this case at least have a firm decision which date you are going to go for and then register as soon as possible.
The second reason to register as soon as possible is because test centre locations are filled on a first come first served basis. If you leave it until the last minute you may find your closest test centre is already full and in that case you could be faced with the choice between several hours travel on test day or going overnight and paying for a hotel. The last thing you'll want to do.
3. Buy the official study materials
When you register for with ACER you'll then be able to get the official practice questions. But these aren't included in the hefty test registration fee. Oh no, you have to purchase them separately.
Nevertheless I recommend you get them all as they are the closest thing to the actual questions you'll be asked in the real test. Currently you can buy three full length practice tests and two shorter booklets equivalent to about half a test each.
These won't be the only things you'll need to buy for your Gamsat preparation but I'll go into that in more detail further on.
4. Write down your Gamsat Study Plan
This may seem obvious but so many people don't actually do it. But make sure you actually commit your plan to paper. Don't just plan it in your head.
This will hold you accountable to the goals you set for yourself.
You'll need to make an outline of what you need to do in the time you've got available (I recommend setting yourself six months to prepare) and then dividing that up into manageable chunks with periodic goals.
Here's an example of the study planner from my Gamsat Home Study Course which has already been designed to optimize your studies and the timing of your mock tests etc but you could make something similar yourself if you haven't got my course yet.
5. Obtain your Gamsat study materials
You'll now need to decide which Gamsat study material you're going to use to study for each of the three sections of the test.
Because there's a lot of different fields to cover, humanities, sciences, essay writing etc. this is a huge topic in itself and I could write a whole separate article on it listing the best books, videos, online resources and so on.
In fact I already did which you can read here - Gamsat Preparation Plan
6. Quick start study guide
Before you get into that however let me give you a quick start study guide about the best way to organise your studies.
Remember that in Gamsat you're hardly ever tested on memorized information. Virtually all of the questions are based around calculations and problem solving.
So during your studies make all your preparation question based, and specifically questions which test calculation and problem solving skills rather than rote memory. You should only memorize the bare minimum necessary to do this.
I suggest studying a topic without specifically trying to memorize information. Then try some practice questions. If you do well then move on to another topic. If not go back and study the topic again to discover what you missed to be able to solve the problem. Then try some more practice questions and so on.
7. Keep a question log
There's a LOT of material to cover in Gamsat. Starting with reading comprehension, poetry interpretation, visual reasoning, essay writing, biology physics, chemistry, organic chemistry...
With so much to keep track of it can be hard to measure which areas you're already proficient in and where your weak areas are so you can dedicate more time to them and stop spending time on the topics you are already good at.
The best way to do this is to record all your practice questions for Section 1 and Section 3 breaking them down into topics and recording whether you got them right or not.
Here's an example of how to do it.
This is one of the question logs from my home study course which automatically generates charts and tables to show you at a glance where you're going right and where you're going wrong.
If you're a whizz at Excel you could make something similar for yourself.
8. Do a mock Gamsat
Apart from your regular question practice make sure you set aside a whole day near the end of your studies to do a full length mock Gamsat under timed test conditions.
In fact I recommend doing two or three if you can, but at least try and do one.
The main idea of this is to build up your mental stamina rather than testing your knowledge. The actual Gamsat is a whole day of a continuous five and a half hours testing with only a break for lunch.
One of the big problems that candidates report is difficulty sustaining concentration for such a long period of time and running out of steam in the all important science section in the afternoon.
For more help with GAMSAT check out Griffiths Gamsat Review Home Study System which takes you step by step through all three sections with advanced strategies for each.