Success in an exam like the GAMSAT relies upon a good understanding of what is important to pass the exam. Monitoring GAMSAT results during practice is crucial but focussing on the wrong indicators can result in a low score.
A key performance indicator (KPI) is a type of measurement that evaluates progression over time. It is widely used by organizations to monitor and analyse factors deemed crucial to the success of the company. During preparation for the exam we will use GAMSAT key performance indicators (GKPIS) to increase productivity and study-efficacy.
By setting GKPIs you are adopting an evidence-based approach to studying where you make smarter decision based on the outcome of GAMSAT practice.
Poorly structured KPIs that are too difficult to monitor on a regular basis are not helpful in assessing one’s GAMSAT performance.Therefore, choosing the right KPIs relies on its practicality and a good understanding of what is important to pass the exam. GKPIs must follow the S.M.A.R.T requirements:
- Time Based
We will discuss the two most important GKPIs and how to evaluate them.
Error rate it a measure of accuracy, and it refers to the frequency at which you answer questions incorrectly within a specific section of the exam. It is a good metric in assessing section 1 and section 3 of the GAMSAT, but not helpful for section 2 evaluation. For section 2 read our article on the GAMSAT essay marking guide.
How to calculate Error Rate
It is measured as a percentage using the formulae below:
E.R = Total number of incorrect responses/total questions attempted X 100
Your error rate should be used as a tool to measure accuracy, ideally you want to reduce your error rate over time. As a rule of thumb a good error rate would be about 20%, i.e for every 10 questions you answer you get 2 incorrect. When you have completed a set of practice questions or mini-mock calculate error rate and compare results periodically. To give you an idea of how to record performance, find below an example of an error rate report for the GAMSAT.
From the table you can see the candidates performance improved over time, for instance the error rate in section 1 went from 64.5% to 32.5% – that’s a 50% improvement! By monitoring this metric you can effectively identify the techniques and strategies that are working.
What to do if Error Rate isn’t Improving
They may be some of you that may find yourself in a position where your error remains the same, or may get worse. I recommend diving deeper into the section of concern. For instance, say your section 3 was not improving after attempting three practice tests. I would recommend calculating the error rate for the question-types to identify the area of weakness. The table below is a example of a section 3 error rate report.
The goal here is to identify your weakest question-type based on its error rate. From the table above you can deduce that Chemistry is the weakest section. Rather than spending more time doing general section 3 questions, I would recommend doubling down on Chemistry questions, go over chemistry concepts with resources such as Khan Academy.
There may be situations where you feel comfortable with a question-type but it may not be reflected in error rate performance, for example: you may be comfortable with balancing chemical equations but you seem to answer incorrectly in the exam. This may require you to audit your exam technique or re-design a new approach to how you validate the answer chosen.
Speed is a measure of pace, and refers to the rate at which you attempt a section within its time limit. This is an important KPI that must be monitored during every timed exercise.
How to set timed practice exercises
The GAMSAT is a 5.5 hour test, it is unrealistic to set a full timed test during revision. Instead you will have to break it down into mini practice exercises. The table below shows the writing timing for each GAMSAT section.
From this we can calculate the estimated time required per question in each subtest by simply using the formula below:
Timing (mins) = Number of Questions / writing time
For example, you may want to set a section 1 practice test of 30 questions then you would aim to complete it in 40 minutes. See the table below for a break down of the time per question for each section (use it set mini-tests during prep):
What to do if speed doesn’t Improve
Improving your pace can be difficult. We recommend focusing on accuracy first (i.e. improving your error rate), then stepping up the speed in which you answer questions. When it comes to improving speed it is important to perform a self evaluation to identify what the underlying causes may be. Audit your approach and figure how you can use shortcuts wherever possible. Learn and test time saving tips for more time saving tips, techniques and strategies check out the rest of our GAMSAT blog.