I know some will think it is way too early to kickstart this thread, specially considering that there's a whole year to go to sit the 2016 GAMSAT, but I thought it would be nice to start a little earlier and have more time to help each other with any discussion pertaining the exam we may have throughout this upcoming year. Also, I want to thank everyone on the 2015 thread for inspiring this thread, specially the user Marathi, because without any of them, I wouldn't be posting this


I'll try to keep it brief and it will be mostly a repeat of what's available at http://gamsat.acer.edu.au/gamsat-uk and the 2015 thread.

Table of contents:

1. What is the GAMSAT?

2. Who uses the GAMSAT?

3. Studying for the GAMSAT.

4. Key GAMSAT dates.


1. What is the GAMSAT?
The Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) is a five and a half hour exam used by some medical schools in the UK, Ireland, Australia and I believe some US schools too.

The exam is broken down into three sections:

Section 1 - Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences
This is an MCQ section and covers 75 questions in 100 minutes. With 10 minutes reading time.

Section 2 - Written Communication
Two essays, 30 minutes each. One socio-cultural, the other more personal and reflective. With 5 minutes reading time (for both questions, not 5 minutes each). You will receive 5 quotations for each essay on which they will be themed, you must answer your response to at least one of them. You can choose to quote your chosen quote (so to speak), but I don't believe that it is necessary.

Section 3 - Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences
Another MCQ section which covers 110 questions in 170 minutes. With 10 minutes reading time.

There is an hour lunch break inbetween sections 2 and 3. The whole day lasts at least 7 hours, more typically in the region of 8+ with registration, seating, distribution and collection of papers, etc.


2. Who uses the GAMSAT?
I'm only going to list UK universities and their scores for 2016 entry, you can find out about Irish, Australian, etc universities at the link at the top.

This information is subject to change once the official GAMSAT website has been updated for 2016 entry:

University of Exeter - 5 year undergrad course - 63 overall.
Will accept a degree in any subject from 2ii and above.

University of Nottingham - 4 year graduate entry course - 61 overall for 2i+ applicants, 66 for 2ii applicants. With minimum of 55 in S2, 55 in S1 or S3, and 50 in remaining section.
Will accept a degree in any subject from 2ii and above. Or will accept a 2ii with a Masters or PhD in any subject in lieu of a 2i (thus enabling you to hit the lower score).

University of Plymouth - 5 year undergrad course - 65 overall
(I do not know the breakdown of the score - I was told over the phone but can't remember, but it was very random in comparison to the others!)
Will accept a degree in any subject from 2ii and above.

St. George's University of London - 4 year graduate entry course - 62 overall
(I do not know the breakdown of the score - if someone has the breakdown please post and I will update).
Will accept a degree in any subject from 2ii and above.
From 2016, onwards, SGUL has implemented a tiered scoring system akin to Nottinghams. 2.ii applicants will be expected to score up to 5 more points higher than the cut off for 1st/2.i applicants.

Swansea University - 4 year graduate entry course - 58 overall
(I do not know the breakdown of the score - if someone has the breakdown please post and I will update).
Will accept a degree in any subject from 2i and above. Or a 2ii with a Masters or PhD in any subject in lieu of a 2i.

University of Liverpool - 4 year graduate entry course and 5 year undergrad course (applying as a grad) - 57 overall
(I do not know the breakdown of the score - this is from 2014 entry. If someone has 2015 and breakdown please post and I will update).
Liverpool have much more detailed entry requirements, please visit their website for further information.

Cardiff University - 4 year graduate entry course, 5 year undergrad course (grad entry), 6 year undergrad with foundation year (grad entry) - 57 overall, with minimum of 55 in S3
Even more complex entry requirements than Liverpool, depending which course you plan to go for. Please visit their website for more info.

Your GAMSAT overall score is calculated thus:
S1 + S2 + 2xS3, then is divided by 4 (eg 70 + 80 + 2x55 = 260/4 = 65)

Or Notts and SGUL also include a less science bias version:
S1 + S2 + S3, then it is divided by 3 (eg 70 + 80 + 55 = 205/3 = 68)

Disclaimer: Please if you believe any of this information to be wrong let me know with a resource of why it is wrong and I will update accordingly.

3. Studying for the GAMSAT.
This is one of the harder areas to cover. But I will try to break it down into the sections and then different groups of students (science v non-science) and what I feel is worth trying to see where you are with regards to your score.

Section 1:
Probably the most difficult section to prepare for. I have been told to read, read, and read some more. Anything from books I just want to read anyway, to classic literature, newspapers and online news websites. Read the newspaper comic strips, learn to quickly assess data in its many forms (pie charts, graphs, tables, etc - also useful for S3). Also try to broaden your range of vocabulary. There are a considerable amount of questions focused on words that aren't very common in current language.

Section 2:
More of the same as S1. But also you need to practise, practise, practise! Get used to writing at least one and a half sides of A4 within thirty minutes (not as easy as it sounds when you have five minutes to plan!). ACER has it's own official GAMSAT essay scoring service, but I did it twice last year and it gave me the same essay twice. Also it is automatically scored by machines, not by people as per the real exam, so take your results with a pinch of salt.

The Gold Standard book has some essay tasks which are helpful but can be easily imitated without the book. Just find a quote on a socio-cultural or personal theme and write an essay about it. Typically Essay A (socio-cultural) suits more of a third person, argumentative style but doesn't necessarily have to. Essay B should be more reflective and personal, how something has affected you, what you learnt from it, how it shaped your future, etc.

Having a plan is probably the best advice most people offer for this section. Spend your reading time thinking about the points you want to make, then in the first 5 minutes of writing use this time to jot them down into a plan that flows and has strength. Having a strong range of vocabulary is essential for this section too as some of the themes can be based on very specific phrases. For example one of AUS/NZ essay themes was on meritocracy. A term I have heard of over and over again throughout my degree, but one that someone who's doing a science degree may have never heard about.

Section 3:
Science time! ACER says the section is broken down as - 40% Chemistry, 40% Biology, 20% Physics. Some Organic Chemistry is included under the Chemistry umbrella (perhaps up to 50% (so 20% overall)).

It's recommended to have at least an A-level knowledge of each subject. But it could be desirable to delve further into Chemistry and Biology at least, perhaps to a 1st year undergraduate standard.

GAMSAT Gold Standard is a book many people seem to have used to revise for the exam, but they are very mixed about it; in many ways, it seems to have the marmite effect. I haven't brought it given my budget constraints, so I can't really say how good or bad the book might be, but if you've used or is planning to use it to revise for the GAMSAT, please tell us how it goes.

According to liam__ in the 2015 GAMSAT thread, said this:
The Griffiths review basically has; an overview of each section, tips for S1, sample essays and suggested essay structure for S2, and an unofficial "syllabus" for areas to concentrate your studies for S3. It also has some practice, GAMSAT style, questions for all 3 sections. It comes highly recommended, and it's something I'm definitely glad I bought early on in the process to save wasting time studying things that aren't likely to be on the exam.

Another set of books I hear get recommended a lot is the Letts X Science in a Week AS and A2 books. However, I am starting to revise using the Pearson Baccalaureate Higher Level books for the IB science syllabus and whose content is roughly equal to the 1st year of an undergrad in the UK. So far I can say, I am really happy with them.

Most people say that the best way to revise is to get hold of an ACER practise exam, or at least the practise questions and get an idea of what you need to improve on. For example as a science undergrad/graduate you should fare quite well in S3 and may just need to brush up on those sciences outside of which you studied - but you may not fare as well in S1 or S2. Whereas a non-science student, like me (History and Archaeology) may fare really well in S1 and S2 but horribly in S3.

As of when to start, it really depends on how well you do on those tests. The Gold Standard book states 3-6 hours over 3-6 months leading up to the exam, but I know people who have done it with far less and others who have needed far more. I have just begun to read and watch some Khan Academy videos to get over and done with the basic concepts, as I haven't done any Biology since GCSE and never really did Chemistry past KS3.


4. Key GAMSAT dates

The UK dates will be posted as soon as they are available on the GAMSAT website.