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Russ

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GAMSAT info thread
« on: September 08, 2011, 09:12:45 pm »
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So, this has been sitting on my desktop for a long time now (6 months). It's not finished but here you go, I promised on irc to post it and I keep my promises.

So you want to be a doctor and you've finished high school! How exciting! You can apply for Medicine once you've finished your Bachelors degree and sat the GAMSAT.

If you're here, reading this, you probably already know a few things about the application process and what's involved. As such, I'm not going to bother trying to explain everything about graduate medicine - this thread deals solely with the GAMSAT and the implications of your results. If you want to talk about universities/GPA/etc, start a thread for that

What is it?

According to ACER
Quote
The Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) has been developed...to assist in the selection of students to  participate in the graduate-entry programs.  GAMSAT is designed to assess the capacity to undertake high level intellectual studies in a demanding course.

The test itself is comprised of three sections, each with very different content/focus:
I Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences
II Written Communication
III Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences

You get 100 minutes for Section I, 60 minutes for Section II and 170 minutes for Section III, with a 60 minute lunch break between Sections II and III. Yes, it's a 7 hour exam process. Yes, it sucks. Yes, you will be at the test venue 8am - 6pm. Prepare for that now and practice under those conditions so you don't end up falling asleep halfway through section III.

Sections I and III are all multiple choice and have 75/110 questions respectively. Section II requires two essays to be written on two different themes (you will be given quotes to base your response on).

When should I sit it?

Your results are valid for two years. That means you should sit it in the second last year of your undergraduate degree and then decide if you want to sit it again based on the results from that. There is also a UK GAMSAT with a testing centre in Melbourne that runs in September of every year. You can sit this if you want, but the results will not be released until after the application cycle for that year. Don't expect to use results from GAMSAT UK for admissions the following year.

How do I study for it?

With great annoyance and over your summer holiday. The test is late March every year. Most students start uni in March and will not have much time to study for the GAMSAT. Get the bulk of your study done in the New Year, so you can balance it with coursework as you approach the test date.

Set yourself a schedule and stick to it. Don't write "biology" on a study plan - write "membrane structure and function". If it takes you a day to just get the study plan written, so be it. It's going to be the most important part of your preparation. Make it realistic, don't try to write 4 essays and revise half of physics in a day because it won't happen and then you'll be behind.

Science is easier to study for but don't neglect the first two sections - they'll be half of your mark (66% at UoM). Get a reading list together. Pick a few classics and read them. Grab a book on philosophy/ethics and get some ideas bouncing around your head. Work on essay structure, especially if you haven't written one for a while.

What do the results mean?

You'll get section scores and an overall score. Your section scores are averaged, with section 3 double weighted to produce the overall. The 25th/50th/75th percentiles are scores of 50/56/60. The graph is a sigmoidal one, same way the UMAT is marked if you remember that.

Scores needed to get into medical school have been inflating recently and you should aim for 65+ (90th percentile to feel confident of an interview offer.

FAQs
Post questions, people will answer them

paulsterio

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Re: GAMSAT info thread
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2011, 08:48:18 pm »
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Hey Russ,
With the GAMSAT - where we are supposedly assessed on "Sciences" what sort of level are we assessed on and is it pure coursework material - similar to an exam? or is it more sort of like a competition olympiad paper?

Thanks!

Russ

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Re: GAMSAT info thread
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2011, 09:18:17 am »
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Section III is meant to be 20% physics, 40% biology and 40% chemistry, but there's inevitable blurring of those limits and you might get more of one type of question etc. The difficulty is meant to be 1st year level for chemistry and biology and year 12 physics, but I think that comes with a couple of disclaimers.

Physics will cover various things that might not be more difficult than year 12 level, but aren't taught in detail during year 12. Chemistry will, due to the dramatic difficulty increase from year 12, be the hardest question type on there. Biology, since it doesn't get difficult until 2nd year and explanation questions, is easier than chemistry.

I've never seen Olympiad questions (or if I do I don't remember), link me to some and I'll tell you

luffy

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Re: GAMSAT info thread
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2011, 09:31:17 am »
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Section III is meant to be 20% physics, 40% biology and 40% chemistry, but there's inevitable blurring of those limits and you might get more of one type of question etc. The difficulty is meant to be 1st year level for chemistry and biology and year 12 physics, but I think that comes with a couple of disclaimers.

Physics will cover various things that might not be more difficult than year 12 level, but aren't taught in detail during year 12. Chemistry will, due to the dramatic difficulty increase from year 12, be the hardest question type on there. Biology, since it doesn't get difficult until 2nd year and explanation questions, is easier than chemistry.

I've never seen Olympiad questions (or if I do I don't remember), link me to some and I'll tell you

Wow - suddenly my interest in doing the GAMSAT is rising (though I doubt I will ever actually do it :( ). Just out of curiosity, do they have any questions which are part of both physics and chemistry? Or chemistry and biology? If so, the test could get really interesting.

Russ

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Re: GAMSAT info thread
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2011, 10:25:53 am »
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Wow - suddenly my interest in doing the GAMSAT is rising (though I doubt I will ever actually do it :( ). Just out of curiosity, do they have any questions which are part of both physics and chemistry? Or chemistry and biology? If so, the test could get really interesting.

Why's that increasing your interest lol

In general, no (this isn't biochem), but there will be a few questions that link the two. Mostly it's just a chemistry/physics question in a biology setting (eg fluid dynamics in an artery or Hb processing in red blood cells).

paulsterio

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Re: GAMSAT info thread
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2011, 01:57:33 pm »
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Wow - suddenly my interest in doing the GAMSAT is rising (though I doubt I will ever actually do it :( ). Just out of curiosity, do they have any questions which are part of both physics and chemistry? Or chemistry and biology? If so, the test could get really interesting.

LOL! Even if we both get into Undergrad Med, let's both do the GAMSAT for kicks yeah? :D

Tomw2

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Re: GAMSAT info thread
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2012, 03:48:46 pm »
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The difficulty is meant to be 1st year level for chemistry and biology and year 12 physics, but I think that comes with a couple of disclaimers.

The difficulty of the stimulus materials is at 1st year chem/bio + yr12 physics, so in order to be able to read the GAMSAT those credentials are recommended, however answering the questions themselves is another story.


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Jenny_2108

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Re: GAMSAT info thread
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2012, 05:25:12 pm »
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The difficulty is meant to be 1st year level for chemistry and biology and year 12 physics, but I think that comes with a couple of disclaimers.

The difficulty of the stimulus materials is at 1st year chem/bio + yr12 physics, so in order to be able to read the GAMSAT those credentials are recommended, however answering the questions themselves is another story.

Are the questions very hard? Do they relate to maths as well or just science?
Is the GAMSAT requirement to get an interview?
How about scores in undergrad? What kind of scores should we aim to get into med postgrad?
Thanks!!!
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Thanks to gossamer, TT, pi, laserblued, Thus for helping and supporting me during VCE

Tomw2

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Re: GAMSAT info thread
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2012, 08:03:50 pm »
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Are the questions very hard?

Depends on the person, but the vast majority of people who sit the GAMSAT describe it as one of the most challenging exams they have ever sat. The way in which it is challenging differs depending on who you ask. For instance, my biggest issue with the GAMSAT - specifically the biological & physical sciences section - was speed. I was able to get the correct answer most of the time, but it took me longer than the timeframe allowed.

Many people find the humanities section very challenging too for the same reason (lots to read, little time).

Quote
Do they relate to maths as well or just science?

For the sciences section (Section III), there is a mix of chem, bio and physics (as stated above in this thread). In about half the questions there will be some type of mathematical reasoning required - but this rarely goes beyond arithmetic, scientific notation or basic transformation of formulae provided.

Remember Sections I and II are humanities and written expression tests, not science.

Quote
Is the GAMSAT requirement to get an interview?

Yes, except at UQ where there is no interview. The med schools rank people differently for interview - for instance, some use GPA as a hurdle and GAMSAT to rank applicants and some use a combination of GPA and GAMSAT.

Quote
How about scores in undergrad? What kind of scores should we aim to get into med postgrad?

Varies depending on where you would be applying and where you would realistically be able to take up an offer. The obvious answer is do the best you can, because it is much easier to do the GAMSAT again the following year than it is to get a new GPA!

Very crudely, according to current trends, people would be wanting to get about 6.0 weighted minimum to be competitive.


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Jenny_2108

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Re: GAMSAT info thread
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2012, 11:10:42 pm »
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^ Thanks heaps!!!  :)
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Thanks to gossamer, TT, pi, laserblued, Thus for helping and supporting me during VCE

MM1

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Re: GAMSAT info thread
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2014, 06:58:19 pm »
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How many times can one sit the GAMSAT? Apparently it's 2, but I'm not certain.

Russ

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Re: GAMSAT info thread
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2014, 07:25:22 pm »
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As many as you like (and can afford), there's no hard limit.

MM1

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Re: GAMSAT info thread
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2014, 07:56:17 pm »
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Is it possible to do a Science degree and then do the GAMSAT and get into medicine? Is this a viable pathway?

Russ

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Re: GAMSAT info thread
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2014, 07:59:32 pm »
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Yes, probably the most common pathway all up I guess.

excal

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Re: GAMSAT info thread
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2014, 11:14:52 pm »
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I would hazard a guess they biomed / med sci would be more popular
excal (VCE 05/06) BBIS(IBL) GradCertSc(Statistics) MBBS(Hons) GCertClinUS -- current Master of Medicine candidate
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