Top GAMSAT Tips
Considering applying for Graduate Entry Medicine?
You may be required to sit the GAMSAT exam – and you can find out which universities require the exam on our Graduate Entry Medicine page. Here, one student who sat the exam explains his top tips for sitting the GAMSAT.
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What is the GAMSAT?
The GAMSAT is a notoriously difficult exam that requires a lot of dedication compared to the UKCAT and BMAT. There are very few practice papers and resources and no actual past papers are released. It takes up the whole day with registration beginning at 8am and the exam starting at 9am.
You are then expected to sit Section 1 and 2 and are given a one-hour lunch break and then sit the final Section before finishing the day around 5pm. The exam is taken in a handful of centres so you may have to travel and stay the night nearby.
As a consequence of the few centres, you will be sitting in one big exam hall with around 1,000 people. This is quite daunting, so it is important you are mentally resolute and prepared for this type of environment so you perform to the best of your abilities!
Section 1: Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences
In this section, you will be faced with comprehension or verbal-reasoning-style questions based on texts such as poetry and prose. The text the GAMSAT writers like to use isn’t your everyday English; it’s quite old fashioned, so it’s a good idea to brush up by reading older novels and poetry. I’d also recommend buying a poetry analysis textbook to help you become familiar with common literary techniques.
You may also be faced with some data and statistics, and these are designed to be confusing and ambiguous, not your standard pie or bar charts! The best way to get familiar with these questions is to use the GAMSAT past papers but also one trick I would recommend is to research published scientific articles, and read and interpret their “results” and “discussion” sections. The statistical analysis and graphs can be very unique and this will be helpful for the exam.
Section 2: Written Communication
You have an hour to complete two essays. You’re given three quotes for each essay and there is usually a common theme between them, for example social mobility and technology. The topics can range and vary from politics to love.
My advice for this section is to read widely, listen to TED talks and other videos so you have a foundation of ideas and topics that you are familiar with.
You need to plan the essay well because there are marks for good structure. My advice is to Google random quotes on topics like love, write down three quotes on the topic and then practice writing essays based on them. You will only get better with practice.
This section is often underestimated by candidates because graduates have a lot of experience with essays, but if you score highly on this section it can compensate for the other sections.
Section 3: Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences
Depending on your background (and previous degree) you may need to give this section more attention.
The questions don’t require pure scientific recall of facts, but the application of certain scientific concepts. For example, a physics question may require you to calculate the acceleration of an object using F = ma formula (you are not given any formulas or equations).
You may be tested on the concepts of isomers in organic chemistry where you have to identify the correct configuration of a molecule. The vignette at the beginning of each question will contain a lot of information, so it is important you read it carefully.
My advice for this section is to complete the questions in the practice papers so you can familiarise yourself with the questions and then focus on the topics which you find more difficult.
Words: Hassan Ahmed