Gamsat Tips and Tricks
Unfortunately a lot of people fail to achieve the score they need in Gamsat because they failed to follow some simple Gamsat tips.
A few wise tips and tricks right at the beginning of your studies can set you off in the right direction and put you on the correct path.
Otherwise you're in danger of getting lost in a maze of disinformation and error which can sabotage your score before you even begin.
So let's look at my top tips to set your Gamsat studies on the right track.
1. There is no such thing as a "Practice Go"
A "practice go" is just a waste of your time and money.
Since most people can only retain knowledge learned for exams for a limited period of time, if you do a practice go a year or even only 6 months before you intend to sit the real test, then the chances are that you'll have forgotten a large part of what you learned by the time you get to the real thing.
So you'll have to learn it all over again. That's wasted time.
Plus it's demoralizing to have to start all over again.
And this is before we even start talking about the cost of the Gamsat entry fee which isn't cheap.
But what if it's a long time before you need to do your "real" sitting for med school entry and you want to get started?
Look, I know people who have passed Gamsat with very little preparation, in some cases with just a couple of weeks prep. And remember that Gamsat results are valid for two years.
So if you want to start on your Gamsat journey ahead of time within your two year window within which your results can still get you into med-school DON'T have the attitude that if you sit Gamsat it's "just a practice".
Have the attitude that every time you take the test it's to pass and go all out for it even if you haven't had time to do what you think is enough prep.
Because as I said above you COULD pass - so just go for it.
It would be a real shame to miss out on a pass by just a few marks because you had the attitude that "it's just a practice" so you didn't give it 100% either leading up to the test or even worse on test day itself.
How many people didn't pass because they got tired towards the end of section 3 and gave up because "it's just a practice"?
2. Don't expect it to be easy
Working as a doctor isn't going to be easy. Gamsat is supposed to test the skills that doctors need, so don't expect Gamsat to be easy either.
I often see people complaining that Gamsat isn't a good way to select doctors because doctor's don't need to interpret poems, or understand complex physics problems or write essays etc.
But Gamsat isn't really testing those things.
Gamsat is also testing your ability to teach yourself new information, your resilience, your perseverance and your work ethic. And yes it's also testing your intelligence.
A lot of Gamsat is basically just an intelligence test, and this is going to be hard for some people to accept, but not everyone is intelligent enough to be a doctor.
3. Make a plan
Most people taking Gamsat are either already studying another degree subject or are working full time.
So combining that with Gamsat study can be challenging - don't underestimate it.
Now most people's idea of a study plan is just to look at the total amount of what they've got to do and just split it up over the time available.
Your Gamsat plan will have to be more detailed than that. You'll need specific goals for each stage, plan when you are going to do your practice tests and which ones i.e. the official ACER ones or other commercially available practice tests etc.
By the way if you want more help planning for Gamsat I recommend you read my other article on this blog - Gamsat Preparation Plan
4. Don't spend too much time on student forums
Or should I say don't WASTE too much time on students forums.
At the beginning it's normal to spend some time on the internet researching the test, getting ideas, finding resources etc.
But don't get obsessed. Or use it as an excuse to procrastinate and not do any real work.
All too often I see people spending hours on forums or Reddit engaged in pointless discussions and speculation. It's a case of the blind leading the blind.
5. Don't start with Gamsat questions right away
The official ACER Gamsat questions are time consuming and difficult. Starting on them right away isn't a great way to kick off your studies and it's also time inefficient.
Now this doesn't mean that you shouldn't get all the official ACER questions - you should.
But it's better to use them as practice once you've already learnt a new topic and preferably tested your skills out on some easier quicker style questions of the type which will come in a standard science A level (year 12) text book.
6. Be prepared to spend some money
Obviously you have to pay the Gamsat test entry fee which isn't cheap. But if you want to stop spending there you're going to seriously limit your chances of success in Gamsat.
I can't stress enough the importance of buying ALL the official ACER practice questions.
Added to that you should also invest in some good textbooks to learn the science.
If you can afford it then consider investing in some of the commercially available courses for Gamsat also, a lot of your competition will be.
7. Brush up on your maths skills
We all know that you need a lot of science to do well in Gamsat, but an often overlooked facet is the maths skills you're going to need.
No calculators are allowed in Gamsat so make sure you are comfortable doing all the following manually:
Scientific notation - adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing
Basic geometry, sin, cos, tan
Squares and square roots
Knowing how to do these calculations or at least reach approximate answers without a calculator will allow you to get close enough to choose the correct answer in a multiple choice situation like Gamsat.
8. Get it right on the day
Finally make sure you don't sabotage yourself on the day of the test.
Pay extra attention to your nutrition - your brain needs plentiful energy stores to work at optimum efficiency.
Get working on this day before by making sure you eat well to top up your glycogen stores in the liver.
Similarly on the day of the test make sure you bring plenty of food with you to kill any hunger pangs before you start and in the break.
And of course make sure you arrive with plenty of time to spare so you don't feel stressed and make sure you have your printed admission ticket, photo ID etc. All prepared the day before obviously.
For more help with GAMSAT check out Griffiths Gamsat Review GAMSAT Home Study Course which takes you step by step through all three sections with advanced strategies for each.