Shadowing a DoctorNovember 28, 2013
The GAMSAT or the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test is an admissions test that is used by many medical schools for graduate applicants applying for a select few courses. The test aims to evaluate an individual’s ability to think critically about issues and to understand and analyse material. In the Written Communication section, the test aims to evaluate the individual’s ability to organise and express their thoughts in a logical and effective way.
The questions that are asked in the GAMSAT are based on material drawn from assorted sources. The test requires candidates to apply reasoning skills to interpret tables of data, to read and analyse a passage of writing, use mathematical relationships and to interpret graphical displays of information. The primary focus of the test lies in problem solving.
The test is divided into 3 sections that are designed to evaluate the student’s performance in the areas of:
Section I – Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences
This first section assesses students’ skills in interpreting and understanding ideas in cultural and social contexts. Texts of different kinds are used as stimuli material, from personal passages to imaginative, argumentative and expository writing. The stimuli materials in this section could be in the form of written passages or they could in visual or tabular form. Questions in this section are of multiple-choice format, and students have to choose one from four options available per question.
Section II – Written Communication
The Written Communication section evaluates the student’s ability to create and develop ideas in writing. It involves two 30 minute writing tasks, with each task offering numerous ideas relating to a common theme. The themes are usually general rather than specific in nature. In selecting topics for the writing tasks every effort is made to try and minimise any existing factors which might put non-English candidates at a disadvantage.
Two criteria are used to assess the Written Communication section. These criteria are related to the quality of the thinking about a topic and the mastery of language shown in its development. Assessment focuses on the way in which ideas are integrated into a thoughtful response to the task. While control of language is considered to be a key component of good writing, it is not evaluated in isolation. When assessing control of the language, its contribution to the overall effectiveness of the response is taken into consideration. Candidates are not evaluated on the ‘correctness’ of the ideas or attitudes they display.
Section III – Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences
The last section is made up of questions with a fixed proportion to each scientific area – 40% of questions relate each to chemistry and biology, and the remaining 20% relate to physics.
Questions are asked in multiple choice format, with 4 alternative answers for students to choose from. Stimulus material is presented in a variety of formats ranging from text and diagrams to mathematical, tables and graphs. This section also examines the recall and understanding of basic science concepts.
The level of subject knowledge that is required for the Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences section of the test is equivalent to the first year of university studies in biology and chemistry, and A-level in physics.