Trip down memory lane and GAMSAT prep

This week has been a strange one. I’ve gone down memory lane quite a few times. I went to my old secondary school to help with personal statements for potential medical applicants. It was weird in more than one ways. First I was wearing a visitors’ lanyard not my school uniform. Second I was on first name basis with teachers who were previously Miss or Mrs. And finally I was helping people who were in the same exact position as I was just under a year ago. Weird, in fact, doesn’t even begin to cover it! 

Soon after that, I received a phone call from a medical student undergoing a research project in the paediatrics ward at a local hospital. He was calling old patients to ask follow-up questions. Now you must understand, I have not been eligible for seeing a paediatrician (children’s doctor) for seven years so it was a funny experience trying to recall what exactly I had even gone down for (it turned out to be my height!)

Then only two days back an old friend visited me. She too, is applying for medicine…graduate entry (like I did) and so amongst talks of old events and distant memories came the dreaded topic of GAMSAT. So let us talk a little about this exam…

GAMSAT is the official entrance exam for all medical schools in U.S.A and Australia but only a select few universities here in the U.K. It is a tough  exam, lasting for 6.5 hours (I think how you fare in this exam directly correlates to your stamina and if you’d be able to pull through long haul shifts in clinics and hospitals under stressful conditions!) with 3 distinct sections. Section 1 is comprehension and typically well-read individuals who have a firm grasp on the nuances of the English language will be well prepared for this section. Not to worry if English is your second language or if you generally can’t stick to the thought of reading through dense texts…there are two more sections!

For bloggers, writers, authors, fanfiction writers, readers and well everyone actually, the second section (Section 2) is essay writing. My advise would be to write as much and as often as possible. Read or watch different genres and topics so that your knowledge base increases. Get other people to give feedback. Follow a structure and mind your spellings 😉

The last section is the hardest, longest, most important and probably the basis for the rest of your medical career. It is the science section. But don’t let this section fool you. It requires logical thinking is vast amounts and scientific knowledge in considerably less amounts. Essentially the answer is in the question but obviously the more familiar you are with the source material, the quicker you’ll be at solving the question. So do make sure you know your alkanes from your esters and memorise the speed of light in a vacuum and Newton’s 3 laws of motion…

Make sure to practice full length papers. Take food. Have a good night’s rest and give yourself a chance by maximising your revision time, getting the right help and resources and remember: friends, family and social events will still be there post exam…GAMSAT will not wait around for you!

Below are some links to pages I found useful…

Section 1: GAMSAT-style questions

Gold Standard GAMSAT by Dr. Ferdinand (I used this)

Quotes galore: For Section 2 essay writing practise

Funny Cat videos to relax your mind

p.s: The fitness and health page was updated today and it went that way –> Page update: Fitness and Health

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