Cracking the GAMSAT: Easy Ways to Tackle Each Section

Tuesday - February 6, 2024

The Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test, or GAMSAT, is a notoriously difficult exam for admission into graduate medicine, dentistry, optometry, veterinary science, podiatry, and pharmacy degree programs in Australia, Ireland, and the UK.

With intense preparation required across diverse areas of reasoning, writing, and scientific concepts, cracking each of the exam’s three sections can seem overwhelming and difficult. However, you can employ straightforward yet effective techniques to significantly boost your performance in every part of the challenging GAMSAT.

Approach to GAMSAT Section 1: Reasoning in Humanities

Known as one of the “easier” exam portions, Section 1 still requires extensive practice, especially with the test’s updated post-COVID format. You now have 100 minutes to carefully analyze and answer 62 multiple-choice reasoning questions on topics spanning fiction, poetry, social science passages, cartoons, illustrations, and more.

Here are actionable tips to excel in Section 1:

  • Practice answering exam-style questions under strict, timed conditions to simulate the real test closely. This intensely familiarizes you with the format while allowing you to pinpoint weaker question types needing more targeted work.
  • Read as widely as possible, from reputable newspapers and journals to critically-acclaimed novels and non-fiction. This builds reading speed, reading comprehension ability, and vocabulary over time. Make notes on new words and their definitions, literary techniques, and rhetorical devices.
  • Create a targeted question bank, logging any query types you find particularly difficult during practice. Revisit these questions, analyze why you struggled to address them, and how you would solve them on time.
  • Remember to carefully and closely read all stimuli material provided in Section 1—all the information you need to reason through and answer questions logically is in the passages. Avoid relying on outside knowledge.

Approach to GAMSAT Section 2: Written Communication

Section 2 contains two 30-minute tasks to test your advanced interpretive essay writing abilities under pressure. You must craft clear, compelling pieces that demonstrate highly competent reasoning and communication skills in response to one or more comments related to a shared theme.

Follow these tips for structuring essays for GAMSAT success:

  • Outline your approach before writing, quickly deciding which comment(s) best align with your perspective to address. Plan an introduction briefly stating your interpretation, 2-3 body paragraphs elaborating on key points, and a concise conclusion.
  • Support insightful interpretations of comments with real-world examples, like current events and personal anecdotes, to strengthen and ground your reasoning.
  • Practice writing complete essays under restricted time conditions. Later, check essays for balanced structure, concise and relevant sentences staying on-topic, skillful use of rhetorical devices, and proper spelling/grammar.
  • Brainstorm an “ideas bank” on wide-ranging, thought-provoking topics to store opinions, examples, and quotes to reuse as appropriate to a given essay topic. Original thought and creativity count on the GAMSAT’s unpredictable themes.

Approach to GAMSAT Section 3: Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences

This is arguably the most interesting section of the GAMSAT exam. This section has 75 questions with a time limit of 150 minutes. Section 3 is considered by most to be the most difficult portion of the entire GAMSAT exam. Your advanced skills in logically applying scientific concepts and reasoning quantitatively and graphically across biology, chemistry, and physics are thoroughly assessed.

Here’s how to tackle this tough Section 3:

  • Allow ample study time – review key foundational concepts across all three scientific disciplines at least three months before sitting the GAMSAT. Last-minute cramming is largely ineffective for long-term retention. 
  • Use diverse learning resources, from condensed textbooks summarizing principles to videos visually demonstrating complex 3D molecular interactions. Varied formats allow for information retention and in-depth scientific comprehension.
  • Learn and memorize relevant equations and practice mental math skills for speed, accuracy, and confidence during the actual exam, where calculators are prohibited.
  • Time yourself routinely when answering full practice question sets so you can accurately gauge your pacing and capability to stay within the recommended 2 minutes per question. Initially, focus just on familiarity before working on timing.


With focused preparation according to the demands of each section, you can develop effective strategies to help you successfully tackle every part of the mentally grueling GAMSAT exam. Reason carefully, write persuasively, and analyze scientific concepts precisely – this multifaceted approach will help you crack the exam. Believe in your abilities and prepare diligently to conquer each GAMSAT section. Stay motivated and confident you have what it takes to conquer this exam.

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