The Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) is undoubtedly one of the most challenging exams that any aspiring doctor will have to face in postgraduate medical or dental courses at the top universities in Australia, Ireland and the UK.
GAMSAT evaluates the nature and extent of abilities and skills gained through prior experience and learning, including the mastery and use of basic science concepts and the acquisition of more general skills in problem-solving, critical thinking and writing.
GAMSAT consists of three components:
- Section 1: Reasoning in Humanities
- Section 2: Written Communication
- Section 3: Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences
Section 2, the written communication component of the GAMSAT, assesses the ability to organise and express one’s thoughts logically and effectively. It is a test of one’s ability to produce and develop ideas in writing.
In this section of Philosophy, I will present my practice essays (marked with feedback). This will provide guidance to future candidates, explaining where to start, what to expect and how to approach the exam. I will also present my thoughts on a wide range of topics in general.
When I first began preparing for the GAMSAT in March 2020, I thought Section 2 would be the easiest, with the least need to prepare, because of my writing experience gained through my dental publications and Bachelor of Arts degree. I thought I was confident enough in my writing skills, but oh boy, I was wrong! I struggled to put my thoughts on a single piece of paper on familiar but somewhat ambiguous and broad topics. I had never organised my thoughts in this way before, and as a result, scored poorly. I realised that it could be extremely challenging without a solid understanding of how to approach the exam.
To establish a foundation of the essay structure and consistent way of approaching the various topics, I joined the GAMSAT Essay Writing Course organised by the METC Institute (https://www.metcinstitute.com/). The institute provides Medical Education and Training Courses for current and future health professionals.
The way METC Institute approaches the GAMSAT essay writing is almost formulaic and strictly structured, using TAS (Thesis – Antithesis – Synthesis) writing to compose an expository essay for both sections A and B. Academic tone and formal writing is also highly recommended, with strong use of evidence. The METC Institute provides a reliable and comprehensive writing course that I’ve found beneficial – not only for the exam preparation but also improvement of my overall writing skills. The contents presented in the Philosophy section show my practice essays submitted to the METC Institute for feedback and marking.
The themes I will be presenting as my essay examples are:
While I acknowledge the value of the course offered by the METC Institute and appreciate their rigid approach, I felt that their formal style limited my capacity and creativity to freely express my ideas in my way (because that’s not my writing style), and wanted to seek a second opinion. Thus, I forwarded the same essays, without any modification, to two other GAMSAT tutorial institutions:
I also present their feedback and marks as a comparison. It is interesting to see the differences based on the different markers; in fact, some of the essays show significant differences in the given score.
While searching for another approach to the preparation for Section 2 of the GAMSAT, I’ve come across a document that fits my style and presents the ideal approach that I can connect with – Beat The Curve: GAMSAT Essays by Devin Anderson – https://www.scribd.com/doc/311452169/Beat-the-Curve-Gamsat-Essays
I am currently preparing for GAMSAT in March 2021. Over the next three months, I will be revising all the feedback received from the institutions mentioned above and then fine-tune the essays and reconstruct the ideas based on Devin’s style. If you are a student preparing for the future GAMSAT exams, I hope my thoughts and contents are useful to you. Good luck!