Understanding the GAMSAT

January 9, 2015

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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GAMSAT or the Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admission Test is essentially an entrance examination that must be completed by all students who wish to apply to graduate medical schools in Australia. A few medical schools in the UK and Ireland also require all applicants to pass this test in order to be eligible.

The purpose of this test is to assess each candidate’s ability to undertake high level intellectual studies in a demanding medical program. It allows educators to evaluate every applicant’s ability to understand and analyse material and to think critically about issues. The Written Communication section allows school authorities to see your ability to organise and express your thoughts logically and effectively under a variety of circumstances. The questions that are asked are based on material collated from several different sources and typically require you to read a passage of writing, to apply reasoning skills to tables of data, to use mathematical relationships and to construe graphical displays of information. Problem solving is a major focus of the test.

Structure of the test

GAMSAT is composed of three sections:

Section I: Humanities and Social Sciences

Section I comprises of 75 multiple-choice questions. These questions are centred around the interpretation of flowcharts, diagrams, prose, poetry, and cartoons. The time limit for this section is 100 minutes.

Section II: Written Communication

Section II comprises of two pieces of writing based on the themes of two sets of provided quotations. The essays can be written in any form as there is no specified format. However, candidates typically write these in essay format. The time limit for this section is 60 minutes.

Section III: Biological and Physical Sciences

Section III comprises 110 multiple-choice questions. Approximately 40% of these are biology based questions, 40% are chemistry based and 20% are physics based. These questions are set based on the first-year university level (for biology and chemistry) and HSC-level (for physics). The time limit for this section is 170 minutes.

GAMSAT Scoring

Each section of the test is scored individually out of 100, after which all three sections are combined to obtain a total GAMSAT score. This score is the one you will use when applying to any medical school. 

GAMSAT Schedule

The examination is held only once a year in the middle of March for Australian and Irish applicants and in the middle of September for UK applicants. It takes a whole day to complete. Your GAMSAT result is a mandatory prerequisite for applying to graduate-entry medicine and dentistry. To be eligible to sit for the test, you must already have a Bachelor degree or be in the final or penultimate year of a course leading to the award of a Bachelor degree.