So perhaps you've spoken to a recent graduate-entry medical student who was successful in the GAMSAT exam, having acquired a place at Medical School. Naturally, you ask for his/her advice on how to revise, what to look up and generally how to go about it all. You may have received a response along the lines of 'just look through the A level CGP Science revise guides (or some other A level equivalent texts), then practise some of the end-of-chapter questions and you'll be fine'. Or, 'download the GAMSAT past papers and just work through them straight away, looking up anything you don't understand as you go along.'
Well, this is exactly the advice I received from a medical student at Swansea University. And is indeed, exactly what NOT to do! If a person manages to pass GAMSAT using such frugal revision techniques, or even more impressively, places within the top 10% in the country (and thus considerably improving their chances of gaining a place at Medical School), then take it from me - they are exceptionally talented individuals and are the sort of people who would score within the top 10 Finals’ exam marks for a difficult Oxbridge degree. In other words, they can get away with doing little work and still do very well. If, however, you consider yourself to be relatively intelligent and hardworking, have achieved a decent set of A level results (or equivalent), and a commendable degree, then you also stand a good chance of passing GAMSAT – however, you must be prepared to work very hard. And if you’re from a non-science background, even harder!
The GAMSAT exam is run twice a year, during March and September. It is a 6 hour exam comprising three sections. Section A tests students’ ability with verbal reasoning, comprehension, poem and cartoon interpretation, as well as complex grammar. Section B involves two structured essays and Section C – the Science section (the hardest in my opinion) - is based on A level/first year undergraduate Chemistry, Biology and Physics. From experience, most of the questions tend to be centred around Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biology, with a few Physics questions thrown in for good measure.
I recommend between 4-6 months revision for the GAMSAT exam assuming you must fit studying in around full-time employment. Additionally, you will need to know all of the GAMSAT topics in quite some detail – skim reading will not cut it. Coming from a good Science background myself, I am continually impressed with the difficulty and thoroughness of the questions. I often think to myself ‘there is no way someone could do such and such question unless they thoroughly understand the key principles behind it.’
Essentially, the revision process should follow something like this:
- Detailed notetaking of the subject content using the appropriate literature, along with practising A-level style questions (actual GAMSAT questions should be kept for much, much later on), and checking answers against the mark schemes to ensure the subject content has been understood.
- Following this lengthy period of study, perusal of a couple of GAMSAT papers (and other non-official GAMSAT style papers), should be the next task. Questions should be done slowly and in detail, in order to understand the format of the exam. Continue to write notes during this period whilst you familiarise yourself with question format.
- 1-2 weeks out from the exam date (with all content learnt and understood), is the time to attempt those GAMSAT papers you set aside at the beginning of your revision process. It is VITAL that these papers are attempted under timed conditions. The purpose of this is to develop your time management skills and assess whether or not you can answer complex questions under pressure.
So…. How can I help? Well, with all of it really – as much, or as little as you like. Depending on your requirements, I can teach the entire Science course to you (time/money permitting); go over exam technique; answer specific questions on content you may have already covered; go over the mathematical requirements and how to answer quantitative questions e.g. like those encountered in Thermodynamics, Acids/Bases and Physics, without the use of a calculator. Essentially, I can provide whatever level of support you need, in order for you to successfully pass GAMSAT and gain entry to Medical School.
With that said, only serious enquiries only please – you must be a self-starter, highly disciplined and committed to the cause of passing this exam. I do not want to waste my time, or your money, on something that is very challenging and requires dedication. My intention is not to discourage you; indeed, it is fair to say that if you pass GAMSAT and score well, then you honestly deserve a place at Medical School – it can be that difficult.
Rate: £50 per hour. Feel free to get in touch any time through the Contact Form.