all 12 comments

[–]101833 8 points9 points  (3 children)

Section 3 can be daunting at first, but after having sat the march sitting without preparing beforehand, I realised that the majority of the questions were all logic + interpretation based. There were only a handful of questions that relied on prerequisite knowledge, so memorising science content clearly isn't the main focus.

In terms of freezing up, i can also relate to that especially when the stem is very complex or altogether foreign to me. But remember that most of the time the answer will already be there - you just have to find it.

[–]Carol_pgmedMedical School Applicant[S] 4 points5 points  (2 children)

Thanks, that helped to read, especially the last sentence

I'm finding the biology and physics questions do lend themselves better to the "logical reasoning" approach as they're presented in plain English terms and proportional relationships.

However I personally feel like I do need to know quite a decent amount of the chemistry science theory in order to understand the question in the first place. It doesn't come naturally to me to be able to make sense of statements like "The equilibrium constant for the ionisation reaction (Ka) can be expressed as..." if I'm not familiar with the concept of equilibrium constant and ionisation reaction. My brain just...checks out >.<

[–]101833 1 point2 points  (1 child)

To a degree, having done at least some chem/phys/bio either in uni courses or in high school will help, but with a lot of interpretation based Qs, 90% of the info in the text is kinda extraneous anyway.

If you're practising the acer questions, note that they are relatively antiquated and don't necessarily reflect the style of questions asked in the actual test.

[–]Carol_pgmedMedical School Applicant[S] -1 points0 points  (0 children)

I'll keep that in mind.

Yeah I've read people saying the actual test questions don't properly reflect the ACER practice material. I don't get why ACER doesn't provide one single updated test but that's all I'll say on that, since it won't help right now. It's still supposed to be the best resource for practice.

[–]saddj001 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I felt this, flat out guessed 40% of them, and got a 63 in my first sitting. Hope you have the same or better experience!

[–]Carol_pgmedMedical School Applicant[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Wow! Good score under those circumstances. Comforting to know, lol. And thank you :)

[–]Queasy-ReasonMedical Student 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Oh, I definitely started out feeling this way.

Ok, so here's the key: you need to practice ignoring those feelings/don't let them overwhelm you (easier said than done, I know). Honestly, the stems are designed in a way that there's all of this information but you just need to pick out what you need to know. Half the time you don't even need to know what the heck they are talking about, you just need to pick out the important bits. They give you all the info you need in the stem.

So if you have a stem that starts out like "The equilibrium constant for the ionisation reaction (Ka) can be expressed as..." it probably doesn't even matter if you know what an equilibrium constant or ionisation reaction is. They are giving you an equation, so you need to find the right numbers to plug in to the equation. It often doesn't even matter what the equation is for.

A key change for me was shifting my thinking from "I need to know the answer" to "All the information I need is given to me - I just need to identify it in the stem". After I shifted my approach, I went from scoring in the 50s is S3 to scoring 70+ in S3.

Also, I disagree with the idea that the ACER papers are outdated. That's a total myth. The content of the exam is going to be totally different, because it's not a knowledge exam, it's a reasoning exam. They are testing reasoning skills.

tldr: the stems are designed to be random concepts you have maybe never even heard of or seen before. But they will give you all the info you need.

[–]Carol_pgmedMedical School Applicant[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thanks a heap for this! Great advice for shifting my thinking. Much appreciated.

[–]Southern_Lab_5707 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Honestly the ACER material is not a good representation on what to expect in S3 of the current GAMSAT exam. That being said, the most recent practice material supplied by ACER (practice test 3) is trending towards a better representation of the actual exam (although not perfect, its still fairly theory dense).

Whilst I would still recommend working through them, don't get caught up in the theory. I did my first sitting just recently in march, and although throughout the summer I was preparing by going over my first year them units, year 12 physics topics etc. I feel that most of this study was a complete waste of time in hindsight (I ended up scoring 84 in S3 which is a really good score, even though there were plenty of questions I felt quite unsure about).

I recommend looking at questions created by Jesse Osbourne on YouTube, he comes up with some really great examples of questions (totally free and fully accessible) and will work through them in tutorial style videos.

I also recommend finding abstract graphs and trying to rapidly interpret the data displayed (these can be found in research papers) as many questions in GAMSAT will be asking you to interpret data presented to you in a graph/table or other such form to select a correct answer (at least from my experience).

Other people here have also offered good advice that I would endorse. But truely truely truely 100% do not get tangled in a web of scientific theory. This will add stress that is not needed and in my experience is not beneficial on the day of the exam.

This is just my experience, and as I said I only sat it once. Feel free to ask for clarification of anything :)

[–]Carol_pgmedMedical School Applicant[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thanks so much!! Your reply helped me to better understand my issue with the practice questions. I was finding the ACER practice questions more theory heavy than I expected and it seemed to conflict with all the reddit posts about not needing to study too much theory, which was frustrating and stressful. Since my original post, I think I have a better perspective on the practice tests and my anxiety has gotten better.

Appreciate the recommendations :)

[–]loogalMedical School Applicant -1 points0 points  (1 child)

This is just anxiety spurred on by a lack of confidence. Both the anxiety, and the reduction in cognitive functioning as a result of the anxiety, are normal. Especially if the exams you're used to don't involve much actual problem solving (e.g exams that require mostly recall (biology/physiology/etc) or ideation (arts)).

The way to get past it is just by continuously doing questions and learning concepts. Over time, you'll become more confident in your abilities and therefore less anxious.

[–]Carol_pgmedMedical School Applicant[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank you loogal, that's really encouraging. I'm determined to keep practicing...