The best tip I can give is to start preparing early, to not panic and read widely with a critical mind. The GAMSAT is the first hurdle that one has to pass in becoming a health professional and thus is technically the ‘easiest’. With this in mind, view GAMSAT Section 1 as not merely a hurdle but something to develop your own skills in reasoning, critically analysing and simplifying ideas.
1. Read widely, think and understand
Look for the implied meaning in what you read, the subtle cues beyond what is explicitly written on the page – this would include the tone, the behaviour and the use of certain phrases.
When I was studying for the GAMSAT, ‘wide-reading’ was scheduled into my weekly preparation. The main goal should be to increase your speed in a variety of reading material, e.g. newspaper opinion section, journals of all types (e.g. political science, philosophy, anthropology, history), short stories, biographies. I would read at least one piece on the bus or train whilst travelling to university and attempt to identify the main idea in one sentence.
This will also help you with GAMSAT Section 2.
2. Critically analyse different text types
There are many text types in GAMSAT Section 1: cartoons, poetry, fiction, non-fiction and visual diagrams. When you are reading each text, I would ask myself these questions:
- What is the central argument presented here?
- What are 5 new words that I can include into my vocabulary?
- What does the author mean by the term X? How does their portrayal of an issue different from paragraph to paragraph?
- What made each essay unique? What style of writing could I incorporate into my next essay?
The goal here is to absorb a good piece of writing material – this includes the vocabulary as well as expression. If you have some time, you might also want to look at literature journals that provide critical analysis on a particular text, i.e. Google ‘Macbeth critical analysis’.
We go through more of our GamsatEnglishTutor Method in our private tutoring lessons.
Click here for resources in Section 1.
3. Practice visual analysis
Practice drawing conclusions from interesting diagrams and schematic representations of things.
During my preparation, I accumulated a variety of different graphs/diagrams related to socio-cultural issues and would write a few sentences about my ideas/opinions. This might cover diagrams about where individual beliefs lie in relation to differing economies, politics or family lineages.
4. Develop your vocabulary
The GAMSAT does not allow for a calculator to be used. You will need to have a strong If you have come this far in university, it is likely that you will encounter some words you have never seen before. The main goal here is to ensure that you begin writing down every word you don’t know into a book and using them in a variety of ways, e.g. diary, in daily conversation, writing an essay.
These words may come up again in the ACER GAMSAT test, and you will be ready for them! Vocabulary is a big part of understanding the nuances present in a Section 1 text.
5. Practice with feedback
There are many resources out there that are free and readily available for you to practice on. If you are a university student, there are many 2nd and 3rd year literature texts that can be obtained from your university database and library. The main thing is that you have an open mind and do some strength training for your mind!