There is no official checklist for what students must know before sitting the GAMSAT exam, so we have produced our own guidance. As you might expect, studying for GAMSAT questions involves multiple aspects of preparation. It is not sufficient to concentrate on philosophy or classic literature, binging on videos and podcasts during the months that precede the exam. You will need to have a more structured approach, and we recommend the following as an outline for your studies:
- Practice Speed Reading
- Logical Linking
- Complete GAMSAT Practice Questions
- Reflection and Familiarisation
- GAMSAT Section 1Timing
- Create a Question Log
Practice Speed Reading
During GAMSAT Section 1, you are presented with multiple texts covering different subjects and in various formats. Therefore, many students find it challenging to maintain focus. It is crucial to concentrate when taking in this information because losing track can result in you re-reading the text, which quickly eats up the time you have for each question. This added time pressure can lead to a further loss in concentration, and so your performance can spiral downwards.
You can overcome this challenge by practicing speed reading. Speed reading doesn’t simply mean that you read the text as quickly as possible.
Effective speed reading is about moving through the text as efficiently as possible. It is more beneficial if you can read the text just once at a slower pace and understand it than if you rush through it and then re-read it several times to get its meaning.
When students analyse texts during problem-based learning classes, the focus is on using simple techniques to develop their concentration levels. These techniques are an excellent means of improving your focus and GAMSAT Section 1 timing and your overall performance during the exam. Examples of these techniques include following the text you’re reading with your finger or pausing to summarise a section of text.
An established philosophical logic tool called Occam’s Razor states that the most straightforward answer is generally the best one. This concept is helpful to adopt during GAMSAT Section 1, as it will steer you away from doing too much reasoning, which requires a multi-step approach to reach a conclusion. If an answer seems far-fetched or absurd, then it is almost certainly the case that it is. As you work through different question types, take note of the ones that you found challenging. You can do this by using the Section 1 Question Log we’ve provided.
Complete GAMSAT Practice Questions
Without a doubt, the best way to prepare for GAMSAT Section 1 is to do as many practice questions as possible. Doing so will give you exposure to the different writing styles and reasoning models you will face during the exam. It also allows you to become familiar with the different formats and structure of the questions.
Completing GAMSAT practice questions accurately and under timed conditions will give you a benchmark of your performance. It will allow you to gauge how your preparations are progressing and how you need to concentrate on your studies. By evaluating students’ performance on past papers for more than ten years, we are sure that completing GAMSAT practice questions is the best form of preparation for exam success.
Reflection and Familiarisation
GAMSAT Section 1 preparations are as much about discussing questions with fellow students and tutors as it is about completing practice questions and reading a wide range of texts. These discussions allow you to question and challenge interpretations and the validity of arguments. This process enables you to have a more robust and broader reflection on the logical links you’ve made in response to the GAMSAT questions. However, you should not limit your reflection to the classroom. Including readings from newspapers and novels or listening to podcasts will help you develop your vocabulary, soft language skills and help you contextualise contemporary issues covered in GAMSAT Sections 1&2.
Having a reasonable knowledge of current affairs is not a prerequisite of GAMSAT. Still, it will enable you to decipher Section 1 questions easier, just as a science degree aids in studying GAMSAT Section 3.
GAMSAT Section 1 Timing
Merely speedily completing numerous practice questions under strictly timed conditions is not an effective means of improving your GAMSAT Section 1 timing. After all, if you were struggling with a science problem, your solution would unlikely be to try and complete it quicker. Indeed, the opposite is the case.
Rather than speed things up and put added pressure on yourself, consider using different approaches that allow you to work through them quicker.
To establish these approaches, you’ll need to spend some time working through the questions in a slow time. Consider it to be a process similar to learning to run; you need to be able to walk first! Starting slowly and analysing every line and annotation extensively will give you the basis to build more speed.
It makes sense to practice this technique stem by stem rather than jumping around between different stem types. It is all about developing the foundations of technique to build the speed at which you can answer the questions. It is only toward the end of this process that you will benefit from completing practice questions under timed conditions. Your main aim in conducting timed practice sessions is to develop your ability to remain calm under such conditions. It is also a good method for getting an understanding of your best order to answer the questions.
Create a Question Log
The final stage of studying for GAMSAT is to create a question log, and this step is as critical as the others. Throughout your studies, you should note any questions you found particularly challenging and record these notes in a document. This document becomes your question log. Your question log should include at least 20% of the questions you’ve attempted. When you log a GAMSAT question, it should involve a complete stem dissection. You should include the following:
- Definitions of unknown or unfamiliar words.
- Text annotations.
- Explanation of the question.
- Descriptions of all answer options.
Your question log is designed to identify your weaknesses and develop them into strengths. You’ll also be able to build your ability to identify logic patterns, then recognise these and apply them during the exam.