The GAMSAT stands for Graduate Medical School Admissions Test and is an admissions test used by certain medical schools for graduate/mature applicants applying for entry onto a select few courses. The test assesses a person's ability to understand and analyse material, to think critically about issues and, in the case of the Written Communication section, to organise and express your thoughts in a logical and effective way. GAMSAT questions are based on material drawn from a variety of sources. They typically require candidates to read and think about a passage of writing, to interpret graphical displays of information, to use mathematical relationships and to apply reasoning skills to tables of data. Problem solving is a major focus of the test. The test is divided into three sections designed to assess performance in the areas of:
I - Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences
II - Written Communication
III - Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences
A background knowledge of science is assumed for the test, though a humanities student should be able to manage provided that they study for the test, and are expected to do well on section I of the test.

For more information on the GAMSAT test, please see the GAMSAT website here

Sections of the Test


The GAMSAT is divided into three sections as follows:
I - Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences
II - Written Communication
III - Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences

Section I
The Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences section tests skills in the interpretation and understanding of ideas in social and cultural contexts. Different kinds of text are used as stimuli, including passages of personal, imaginative, expository and argumentative writing. Although most of the stimuli materials in this section are in the form of written passages, some units may present ideas and information in visual and tabular form. Materials deal with a range of academic and public issues, with an emphasis on socio-cultural, personal and interpersonal topics. Questions in this section are of multiple-choice format, with four options available per question.

Section II
The Written Communication section is a test of the ability to produce and develop ideas in writing. It involves two thirty-minute writing tasks. Each task offers a number of ideas relating to a common theme. The theme will be general rather than specific in nature. The first task deals with socio-cultural issues while the second deals with more personal and social issues. In selecting topics for the writing tasks every effort is made to minimise factors which might disadvantage candidates from non-Englishspeaking backgrounds.
Written Communication is assessed on two criteria. These criteria address the quality of the thinking about a topic and the control of language demonstrated in its development. Assessment focuses on the way in which ideas are integrated into a thoughtful response to the task. Control of language (grammatical structure and expression) is an integral component of a good piece of writing. However, it is only assessed insofar as it contributes to the overall effectiveness of the response to the task and not in isolation. Candidates are not assessed on the ‘correctness’ of the ideas or attitudes they display.

Section III
Section III is made up of questions with a proportion to each scientific area. With 40% of questions relating to biology, 40% to chemistry, and the remaining 20% relating to physics.
Questions from the three discipline areas are integrated throughout the section and are in multiple choice format, with four alternative answers from which candidates choose the most appropriate. Stimulus material is presented in a variety of formats including text, mathematical, graphs, tables and diagrams. In addition to testing reasoning and problem solving within a scientific context, this section examines the recall and understanding of basic science concepts. The skills assessed include the ability to identify knowledge in new contexts, analyse and interpret data, discover relationships, translate knowledge from one form to another, formulate and apply hypotheses and make generalisations, deduce consequences from models, follow and evaluate a line of reasoning, evaluate evidence, categorise and select information relevant to problems, generate and apply strategies to solve problems, make comparisons, extrapolate, interpolate, estimate and recognise limits in accuracy. The level of subject knowledge required for the Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences section of the test generally corresponds to the first year of university studies in biology and chemistry, and Leaving Certificate or A-level in physics. The test focuses primarily on problem solving and on the use of knowledge that will be presumed at the beginning of the medical program: that is, a basic understanding of biology, chemistry (organic and physical) and physics.

Source: GAMSAT UK 2012 info book

Important dates and costs


Registration Opens: 4 June 2012
Registration Closes: Midnight BST 10 August 2012
Late Registration Closes: Midnight BST 20 August 2012 (note - late registration incurs an additional fee of £60)
Test Date: 21 September 2012
Results Released: Late November 2012

The cost of the test is £222, with an additional £100 for applicants taking the test in Melbourne, Australia. An additional fee of £60 is applicable for late registrations.

Timing and order of the tests


The test takes 5.5 hours, and has a one hour break in between sections I and II. There is no rest allocated between sections II and III.
Section I comprises of 75 questions, with 100 minutes to do so.
Section II comprises of 2 questions, with 60 minutes to do so.
Section III comprises of 110 questions, with 170 minutes to do so.

Ten minutes reading time is given for sections I and III, with five minutes reading time allocated for section II.

Test Centres Available


For GAMSAT UK, there are test centres available at the following cities:
• Bristol
• London
• Nottingham
• Sheffield
• Swansea

• Melbourne, Australia (please note, there is an additional fee of £100 to sit the test in this centre, and limited places available)

How the test is scored


Candidates will receive scores for each individual section, as well as an overall score.
Each section score is expressed on a scale of 0 to 100. Note that these are NOT percentage marks.
The overall score is calculated on a weight scale, with the following formula:

(1 × Section I + 1 × Section II + 2 × Section III) ÷ 4.

Who uses it, and how is it used?

UniversityUCAS Course CodeHow do they use it for medicine applicants?

ExeterA100The GAMSAT is required by two groups of applicants:

•Students for whom it will be more than two full academic years (September to August) since they completed their A levels or equivalent qualifications when they enter the BMBS programme.
Applicants must meet a minimum score cut-off to be considered.

NottinghamA101 or A90All applicants are required to sit GAMSAT. A specific cut-off score is set for each year’s entry: in the past few years, this has varied between 60 and 62. From 2012 entry a higher GAMSAT cut-off score has been applied for applicants with a Lower 2nd class first degree: this will vary, but may be set about 5 GAMSAT points higher than the cut-off for applicants with 1st or Upper 2nd class degrees.

In addition to achieving the cut-off score, candidates must also achieve a minimum score of 55 in Section 2; 55 in either Section 1 or 3 and at least 50 in the remaining section in order to be invited for interview. If they have sat the GAMSAT for 2 consecutive years; the highest GAMSAT score achieved at a single sitting will be taken.

PlymouthA100The GAMSAT is required by three groups of applicants:

•Students for whom it is more than two years since completing GCE A levels or equivalent qualifications.
•Students who intend to enrol onto the second year of an existing degree programme.
Applicants must meet a minimum score cut-off to be considered.

St George'sA101 or A901"For 2013 entry our score requirements are as follows: as well as achieving the minimum overall score, candidates must achieve a minimum score of 55 in all three Sections of the GAMSAT. Please note that a poor score in one section cannot be compensated for by good scores in the other sections."

SwanseaA101"Prior to applying to Swansea through UCAS, you are required to sit the GAMSAT and to achieve a minimum overall score of 50, with a minimum score of 50 in section 3 (reasoning in biological and physical sciences) in order to be eligible for consideration."

Preparing for the GAMSAT


If you have information on preparing for the GAMSAT that you would like to share with future applicants, please contact a member of the medicine moderation team, so as to help update this page with useful information - Penguinsaysquack