We’ve spent the last 18 months working on the GAMSAT Virtual Tutor and interviewed over 100 high scoring candidates to get some insight into their study plan for the exam.
The GAMSAT study plan I share in this article is the exact approach I used to prepare for the exam and it’s amazing to discover its a similar approach used by many of the top scoring students I had the pleasure to speak with during the research of the book.
So what is this GAMSAT study plan then?
Step 1: Recognise
This is the first step and It involves recognising your strongest and weakest areas in the GAMSAT. It is important to identify this early on as it will dictate how you prepare for the exam. This step is carried out in TWO parts:
- Recognising your weakest and strongest areas in each GAMSAT Section.
- Recognising how well you manage time with respect to each question-type and GAMSAT Section.
I’ve noticed that many students aren’t as critical when reviewing their practice test results, if you’re dedicated enough you can literally spend 10-20 minutes per question, breaking down your thought process and recognising evidence that support, oppose or confuse you. By going into as much detail as you can about each answer option and reflecting on your train of thought you can find underlying causes and recognise patterns in performance. This isn’t easy to say the least, and its best done supervised with an experienced tutor or diverse study group of more than two people.
Step 2: Prioritise
A lot of candidates fall into the trap of practising what they enjoy and are good at, whilst neglecting the areas they find more challenging! Avoid this at all cost! Once you’ve identified your weakest areas (step 1) you want to spend majority of the time working on them, hence the necessity of this step. This step involves prioritising weak areas and topics, thus improving your overall performance in the shortest time possible. For section 1 and 3, prioritise the section and sub-areas with the poorest performance. For section 2, build on background knowledge and commit to writing at least 1 essay task per week until test day.
Step 3: Improve
Use textbooks, Khan Academy, courses, tuition, forums, etc (basically any reputable resource you can get your hands on) and learn tips, concepts, techniques and strategies to improve weak areas. The goal is to improve your accuracy first then focus on speed/pace afterwards.
You will inevitably come across strategies, approaches or techniques that may improve accuracy but significantly hinder pace. This is fine at the beginning, as you practice more and more try to tweak and adopt things to save more time. Keep this up until you reach your ‘sweet spot’ and are able to manage time effectively.
Step 4: Practice
Whilst it is important to practice ALL sections of the GAMSAT, this step involves putting everything you have learned into practice by attempting practice questions, make sure to also allocate an appropriate amount of time to practising solely weak areas! If you find yourself not improving consider doing additional practice beyond the scope of the exam.
Step 5: Evaluate
Evaluation is usually in the form of timed practice tests. You want to replicate the same conditions as the exam and assess a number of key performance indicators (KPIs). These are key metrics to assess your progress over time and they must be compared to the previous practice test. they include:
- Accuracy rate (or error rate)
Accuracy Rate/ Error Rate: This is a measure of the frequency at which you answer questions accurately. it should be measured as a percentage. For instance, if you get 45 questions correct out of 75 in a Section 1 practice test, then your accuracy rate would be at 60% (or error rate at 40% ). Record this with each timed test and compare over time.
Speed/Pace: This is a measure of how quickly you complete a section within its time limit. During timed practice, avoid stopping when you reach the time limit, instead continue and work out your natural pace. For example, imagine a scenario where you are attempting a Section 1 practice test under timed conditions and you only got to question 60 out of 75 when the 100 minutes writing time was up. Instead of stopping, continue until you finish the test and record the time it took you. Let’s imagine it took you 120 minutes instead, record this as t + 20 mins. This tells you that you were 20 minutes over, with the next timed practice test for section 1 focus on beating that rather than the 100 mins allocated time, gradually improve your pace until you reach t + 0 mins. If you complete a section with time to spare record as t – x mins. x being the amount of time left. Record this with each timed test and compare over time.
Cyclic Nature of The Study Plan
The study plan is continuous, the results from step 5 are used to recognise (Step 1) new strengths and weakness and allows you re-prioritise accordingly. The idea is that as you go through step 1 to step 5 you refine the topics/concepts you need to focus on for the GAMSAT. This will effectively ensure you are working smart throughout.
For more GAMSAT preparation tips check out the rest of the blog. Furthermore, take preparation to the next level with one of our premium GAMSAT resources >> Visit Store.