Saturday, September 30, 2006

Tips for Gamsat

This was written on 10th July this year. It is the only salvageable entry from my ill-fated Livejournal blog.

Gamsat tips
I think I've said last time that I will put some Gamsat tips up here. I believe they will be of more use to people than my daily woes. Some disclaimers-1. These tips worked for me. They may not work for you.2. I only got 51 for my written essays. I have some thoughts on preparing for essays but keep in mind i only got 51.

ok. So here we go. These are in no particular order.

1. if you don't do well in your first go, just take it as a practice run. Unless you do do well in your first go... in which case, stop reading this, you are too smart, go away. I got 60 first time I did it in 2005. Having done it before, the second time you do it, you feel much more confident and you are much better at preparing for the test as well as handling your nerves (and your time) on the day. So don't feel deflated if you are unhappy with your first score.

2. Go to a prep course. Prep courses are expensive, I know. I went to Des O'neill's prep course for my first attempt, but not for my second. In truth, his course probably taught me nothing that I didn't know already or couldn't learn from a textbook (with regards to science that is) in my own sweet time. I mean, cramming the sciences into 3 days really gets you no where. However, if there is something you don't understand it is a good chance to pick someone's brains out. But most importantly, Des O'neill (or any other major course provider) does make you feel confident. Des has many years' experience in the GAMSAT, so he knows some trends (eg which subjects are ALWAYS tested and which subjects are a pet area in recent years). The course left me feeling confident. And when I did it in 2006, i thought, many times, DAMN! Des said last year this might be on! But is it worth all that much money? Can't anwer that question.

3. For section 2, practice heaps

4. For section 1, read lots of 'complex' texts - newspapers, opinions, essays written by university academics, philosophy, political theory, classics, translated novels... Some of it is even interesting.

5. For section 3... Make sure you understand the key concepts. Don't stress too much about the detail. I have an anecdote about this... shortly after the Gamsat, a friend and I were chatting and he suddenly mentioned something about the Poly A tail. My reaction? Er, what is that? He was very surprised I didn't know it. Apparently it is like in introductory Biology, something about RNA transcription. (I never did yr12 bio or biology in uni). He said, "Didn't you learn this for the Gam?" and i replied "I just assumed that if needed it would be explained on the paper". He said "you are the poster girl for S3" (cos I got 82 in that section). Perhaps one shouldn't take such a laid-back approach but i don't think it's worthwhile stressing about specifics.

6. Visit a Gamsat Forum- talking with other Gamsatters helps a LOT. Go to the people on there are really helpful and it's a great place to soak up some Gamsat vibes and some great advice. For me, reading about other people stressing out made me more motivated to study.

7. Food on the day - I brought soooo much food to eat on the day. Just ask anyone who saw me. It was all carefully chosen to be low GI foods - nuts, avocados, the typical asian box of stir fry with rice, musli bars, lollies (for quick energy fixes in the afternoon). Not that I am suggesting that you do it... I have been laughed at for the amount of food I brought and I did feel silly but seriously I do not regret it. I also brought 2 bottles of water - one pure water and one which has sugar dissolved in it, for energy in the afternoon.

8. Enjoy the ride - I really enjoyed preparing for the Gamsat, both times. I love science and the second time around I also learnt to love reading the 'complex texts' and other people's complex ideas. Many of my friends say that I have not been the same since.

9. Pray - the essential and foremost element in all endeavours.

And I remembered one more thing - I listened almost exclusively to classical music, which apparently helps. (well I like classical music anyways )

It is cold and my fingers are cold. I can't think of anything else but if i do I will make amendments. Go to the forum, lots more tips from other people there.


Neon_stamp said...

Am I allowed to post yet?
Shift eyes

I'm very amused.

Thanks for making me smile.

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