I've started a mini gamsat group for anyone who'd be interested in collaberatively working together for the gamsats.
more so about pooling resources and topics to be covered and any difficulties therein.
feel free to join in
thanks for the post. No we havent met up at all. We only still talking about it but we're about 6months to gamsat 2010 so (personally I think) its time to start knuckling down for it. (imho)
So I set up the group, join it! its more collaberative, people might want to meet up once a month or something and go over tougher sections etc.
I'm gonna look at the topics tonight and put up, what to me is a realisitic schedule. then people can tweek it as they want. The more heads that think about it, the more topics can be covered and hopefully the more focused we can get for the gamsat.
Also if you sit the gamsat you'll have incredible knowledge (yes i'll be a leech..not too often i am that)... but I really hope, in the nicest way u dont have to join the group and that you get a spot. but if u r not successful... there'll be a pint somewhere waiting for ya!
I would be interested in joining, too. I did the exam in March and got a UL offer but really want to bring up my score for RCSI/UCD. I can't bring much to the table except maybe essay tips - I am quite good at that - but would be glad to help in any way possible. Have my study plan up til Oct done and can share that around if helps. PM me anyway.
Thanks to PhoenixIre and Daviper for these posts. I havent been able to link them so I'll just copy and paste but these posts are sensational
GAMSAT: A guide
So over the summer I decided that I would try and get into postgrad medicine, and at a whim decided to sit the GAMSAT in London in September. I was initially very addled and intimidated by the prospect of the exam, as the marking scheme is shrouded in secrecy and everyone seems to think it is an excrutiatingly difficult test to take and prepare for. I spent quite some time lurking on this and other boards, compiling scraps of information and advice that I tried to work into my preparation. I promised myself that if I did well, I'd come back and create this thread to try and help those like myself who are facing into the exam.
The GAMSAT UK results came out last Wednesday, the 5th of November, and I was pleasantly surprised with my overall score of 71, especially because I thought I had rammed the exam. I'll try and layout exactly what I did, when, and post links to other resources that I found resourceful. I hope this cuts down the groundwork for others and lets you concentrate on studying rather than surfing the web.
So you want to get into postgrad medicine in Ireland, but found that you must sit and preform well at an exam called the GAMSAT. GAMSAT has been utilised in Australia and the UK for a few years, and the first Irish sitting was in 2007. Entry into the UL, UCC, UCD, RSCI and NUIG (hopefully coming online in 2010) graduate-entry medicine courses is based entirely upon the results you obtain on the GAMSAT. In the UK, your results are simply to determine whether or not you are granted an interview. Score one for Ireland.
The GAMSAT seems to have been devised as a holistic exam, with 50% of the marks going for your proficiency in the humanities, communication and social sciences, with the other 50% going for the three basic sciences (Physics, Chemistry and Biology.) In this way it should select for people who are not simply exceptional at science, but who also have the necessary interpersonal and empathatic skills. It also enables applicants from non-scientific backgrounds to try their hand at medicine. I'm sure we all know of people who achieved medicine in the Leaving Cert with 600 points who will probably make terrible doctors simply because they see medicine as a chance to showcase their intellect, rather than a bona-fide opportunity to help people. Hopefully the GAMSAT will go some way to ensuring that this is not the case at postgrad level by rewarding those with a genuine humanistic bent.
The GAMSAT exam will take pretty much a whole day; I arrived at eight in the morning and didn't get out until about 17:15. Of this time, roughly 5.5 hours were actual exam time, the rest being taken up with registration, a break and lunch. It may sound gruelling, but once in there the time actually flies.
Acer is the company that run and organise the GAMSAT, and their website http://www.gamsat-ie.org/ has some very important information that you should definately peruse. Firstly, the Irish GAMSAT will be held on the 21st of March, 2009. Registration for the exam is currently open, but will close on the 3rd of February, 2009.
You can sit GAMSAT Ireland 2009 at Dublin, Cork, Limerick, London, and Melbourne Australia.
The cost of registering for the exam is 300 euro.
Acer's official GAMSAT information booklet can be located here: http://www.gamsat-ie.org/images/info...relandIB09.pdf
and it should get you started on what you need to know.
As mentioned above, the exam draws upon both knowledge in the traditional sciences and in the humanities and social sciences. It is divided into three sections; section 1 and 2 deal with the humanities, while section 3 deals with the standard sciences.
Section 1 is in a multiple choice format, each question having four possible answers. There are 70 questions to be completed in 100 minutes, effectively giving you 1.33 minutes per question. You do, however, get 5 minutes at the start of the exam to take a look, but will be unable to write in this time.
The seventy questions will be divided up into between 10-15 units, each unit with its own stimulus material. This is good news, because it means you won't have to read new stuff for every single question, one passage will generally get you 3-10 questions, so you can afford to spend some time reading and understanding it.
The content of section one varies considerably: passages from literature and poetry abound, but so too do cartoons, graphs, and more esoteric methods of displaying data. For instance, the first question on the UK paper was based on a graphical code for annotating dance: the candidate was expected to understand and absorb the information and then answer questions such as: what direction does the right foot move in the 8th beat, or which body part rotates first.
Basically, they can give you anything in this section, and it is probably the hardest section to prepare for. It seems to examine your ability to adapt to novel forms of information rapidly, as well as look at your ability to understand both people and the english language. If you think of it as a glorified IQ test you won't go too far wrong.
Section 2 is an extension of the Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences. It commences after a 10-15 minute break from section 1, and you are expected to write 2 essays in 60 minutes, giving you a half-hour per essay. There is once again 5 minutes to peruse the paper, but again you can't write anything during this time. You will be given a set of related quotes for each essay, and you are to write your essay on one or more of these quotes, whilst addressing the underlying theme.
The first essay is to be written in an argumentative style, basically it should be a debate for or against your quote(s) and demonstrate your ability to identify arguments both for and against your chosen quotes. An appreciation of the strong and weak points of your argument is a must.
The second essay is to be written in a personal/discursive style, and I feel that it is there to give an insight into your 'soul'. You must select a quote/quotes and talk about them from a personal perspective, rather than in a debating manner. More than anywhere else, this essay is your opportunity to demonstrate that you are a empathetic, responsible individual who would be a great choice for medicine .
In the UK exam this year, the argumentative essay was based upon the theme of racism, while the personal/discursive was based upon optimism vs pessimism.
After this section, you have an hour for lunch. In practice it worked out at only about 45 minutes, and I found it worthwhile to peruse some condensed notes to help my brain make the transition from an english to a scientific mode.
Section 3 deals with the standard leaving cert trinity of science: Physics, Chemistry and Biology. There are 110 questions to be done in 170 minutes, allowing roughly 1.5 minutes per question. This time you have 10 minutes to take a look at the paper before you can start writing. Like in section 1, it is multiple choice, with 4 possible answers per question. Likewise, the 110 questions are broken into units, so you won't be reading new material for every question. This is definately a good thing.
There is less emphasis upon physics than chemistry or biology. Physics will account for roughly 20% of the marks in section 3, while biology and chemistry will account for roughly 40% each. Therefore it would be worthwhile making sure that you're up to speed with both chemistry and biology.
There is no official curriculum for the GAMSAT science section, but ACER do say that knowledge of biology and chemistry to a 1st year University level should be sufficient, whilst Leaving Cert physics will be fine.
In practice, biology seems to be the vehicle for presenting you with graphs and other information, and allowing you to make deductions from here. In this manner it is very like section 1, forcing you to rely upon commonsense rather than drilled facts. Chemistry deals with both physical chemistry (stoichiometry, the periodic table, thermochemistry) and also organic chemistry. The bad news is that the organic chemistry in the GAMSAT is far more detailed than that presented in the Leaving Cert, and it was definately this section that frightened me initially.
Physics is as it was in the leaving cert, with emphasis on rearranging formulas and lateral thinking.
Preparation and Recommended Materials.
It seems that most people on the internet recommend a period of between 4-6 months of preparation for the GAMSAT; I myself managed with slightly less than 2 months, but this was possible due to the fact that I am in a science degree and had chemistry and physics at Leaving Cert, plus the fact that I have always had a penchant for English. I'd hazard that 2 months is probably the minimum amount of time necessary for the GAMSAT.
The first thing you'll want to do is order the (horrendously insufficient) preparation material from ACER; the only official material out there. ACER sell 3 booklets with sample GAMSAT questions in an exam format.
2 of the booklets, GAMSAT Practice Questions and GAMSAT Sample Questions, are basically half-exams. They do, however, include explanations for quite a few of the multiple choice questions. Each booklet sells for 15 pounds sterling.
The third booklet, GAMSAT Practice Test, is a full mock test, but sadly doesn't include explanations for why some questions are right or others wrong, leaving you to figure it out for yourself. This one sells for 25 pounds sterling. You can view and order this preparation material from here: http://www.ucasbooks.co.uk/acatalog/..._Material.html
While these are undoubtably very important resources, because they enable you to see and understand the layout of the exam, as well as get an idea of the difficulty involved and practice your timing; they still don't give you much guidance as to what exactly you should be studying. This was the big problem that faced me when I decided I wanted to sit the exam: where the hell do I start?
I have always had a problem with chemistry; and so this was what bore the brunt of my attentions. I utilised my chemistry textbook from college, Chemistry: The central science (http://www.amazon.com/Chemistry-Cent.../dp/013218642X) and worked my way through each chapter, doing a lot of the questions along the way. I found it important to make concise notes from each chapter, since there is a lot of waffle in it. I did find it useful to read it relatively leisurely, but compiled notes in bullet-point form that I could drill at a later date.
However, my travels on the internet led me to realise that the organic chemistry section of even this textbook was woefully inadequate, and a surprising remedy was suggested: Organic Chemistry for Dummies. (http://www.amazon.com/Organic-Chemis...6170632&sr=1-1)
This book was really amazing, it was written in a light, funny style, and there is even a whole section dealing with the basics of physical chemistry that are always worth brushing up on (orbitals, acids and bases etc.) I ordered it from Amazon for a very reasonable price and was delighted I did.
In addition I utilised the Rapid Revision Chemistry book from the leaving cert as a quick refresher; though you definately will need more information than this book provided. Still, a great way to get you kick-started and rolling.
As for Biology, I used my college textbook 'Biology' (http://www.amazon.com/Biology-Neil-C...6170931&sr=1-1), paying paticular attention to cell based material, metabolism and respiration, as well as the major organ systems (cardiovascular, pulmonary, muscoskeletal, neuronal, renal and endocrine.) Realistically speaking, you could chill with this aspect of the exam: most of the material seems to be commonsense rather than regurgitation of facts: indeed that's what the GAMSAT is about, it stresses lateral thinking. However, there's an awful lot more to be done in chemistry and even physics.
Physics proved to be a bit more interesting. I learned Rapid Revision Physics backwards, and it was very handy. I also used my college textbook 'Physics' (http://www.amazon.com/Physics-John-D...6171201&sr=1-1) to help with areas I had trouble in, such as magnetism and electric fields.
I also availed of one of the many preparation resources out there, the Ozimed practice papers- http://www.ozimed.com/ . Basically, they give you 10 full length practice papers, based on the theory that standard study will only get you so far and practicing timing is very valuable.
I really can't say how much they helped me, but I was slightly underwhelmed by the papers. Section 1 was far too easy, scoring 90% or over in half the time given was commonplace. Section 2 had both essays comprised of argumentative style essays, no discursive ones. Finally section 3 dealt with Physics at a higher level than was necessary, and a lot of the questions in biology and chemistry expected you to remember and recall arcane information like in the leaving cert, rather than the more dynamic, lateral-thinking approach necessitated by the GAMSAT proper.
My sentiments seem to be mirrored by many people who have ordered the OZIMED papers, but they argue that they are invaluable for developing timing. Unfortunately, I can't even make this statement, as I lost track of time in section three and had to rush the last thirteen questions, blindly guessing at the last two without even reading the question. Nevertheless, perhaps it helped me acclimatise to the exam format or something else. I refuse to believe that I spent 200+ euro plus on something that wasn't worthwhile .
I made it my business to write between four and five essays a week, drawing on general themes and a mix of argumentative and discursive essays. Section 1 I revised for using the OZIMED papers, allowing myself only a single look through the stimulus material and forcing myself to answer the questions without looking back. In this way I compensated for the low difficulty, and hopefully helped develop focus and information retention.
Many people I've come across whilst lurking on the internet swear by Des O' Neils courses (http://www.comptext.com.au/). I can't vouch for them myself, but I can tell you that they are quite expensive . Another prep course I have heard recommended is Medprep International (http://www.medprepinternational.com/). However, bear in mind that all of these are unofficial, so caveat emptor.
I heard of another resource that came highly recommended, but sadly it was too late to be of much use for me. MCAT's Exam Kracker Verbal Reasoning (http://www.amazon.com/Examkrackers-M...6172986&sr=8-2) has been claimed by fellow netizens to be the best resource for developing proficiency in Section 1. If I had the time probably would have bought it.
Acer are very secretive about how the GAMSAT is marked, offering only perfunctory information. Each section is given a mark, but the mark for section three is multiplied by two, making your section 3 mark quite important. The three results are then added together and divided by four to give your overall GAMSAT score.
Though each of the three sections is given a mark, this is not a percentage mark. That would be too straightforward and unintimidating for the GAMSAT . How exactly it is marked is a matter of conjecture, but I have heard from other, unofficial sources theories as to how it is marked.
These sources, located at http://pagingdr.proboards61.com/inde...play&thread=62, say that GAMSAT uses a process called Item Response Theory. To paraphrase and simplify it, basically the MCQ portion of the exam is corrected after the exam is completed. After correction, ACER have statistical information on how many people got each question right. Questions that the majority of people got right are weighted so they are not worth too much, but the questions that 'beat' the majority of candidates are worth much more.
In addition, the scoring seems to use a log scale, as evidenced by the following table provided by Medprep in 2007. Basically it gets progressively harder to gain GAMSAT points as your percentage/raw score increases. Don't worry though, the table below seems to be far more brutal than the one they use in practice, but it should give you an idea that there is a sizeable difference between your GAMSAT score and your raw percentage. (apparently the Medprep material is much easier than the actual GAMSAT material, so they devised an exceptionally nasty table to compensate for it.)
One of the questions I had was how do your practice test scores correlate to your real score on the day?
I charted my progress along the way and here's an example of how my practice sessions rated with my final score:
Actual GAMSAT (not percentages):
So you can see that despite some early problems, especially with the sample questions, the end results were quite good. So don't despair if you're not doing great in the practice sessions, especially at the start. It's all a big learning curve.
There's also a thread over at PagingDr where lots of other people do the same type of analysis that you may find interesting:
The way that the GAMSAT works in Ireland is simple; the people with the highest scores get the first places. Eventually there will be no more places available and people below this 'cut off mark' will be out of luck.
The cut off mark varies from year to year due to supply and demand, but the results below give you an idea of what it was last year. Typically they seem to have remained steady or even decreased slightly from year to year: there has been no rise to my knowledge.
UL's cut off was a GAMSAT score of 57
UCC's second round cutoff was a score of 56, random selection.
RSCI's cut off was 59
UCD's cut off was 58, random selection.
Keep in mind that UL is increasing its places for the final time in 2009, so the cut off can reliably expected to fall next year, as it has every year since it was established.
It's definately do-able. Sign up for it and break out the textbooks, giving yourself plenty of time to go over everything. Start on the practice material early to get the feel for the exam.
Always, always bear in mind that timing is paramount: the real difficulty of the GAMSAT is not that the questions are savagely hard (but they're not the easiest either), it's that you must do them under time pressure. As section 1 and 3 are multiple choice, make sure you take a guess even if you have no clue what's going on; there is no negative marking.
Do the official papers under exam conditions; this is essential! It lets you know how intensive the real thing will be. By the same token, don't worry if your results aren't stellar, especially early on.
I'd advise that surfing the internet for advice and opinions is a double edged sword, it can give you handy information but there seems to be an element of hysteria on a lot of the forums I visited that definately freaked me out and made me doubt in myself.
Finally, don't be disheartened if you don't feel it went well; I was absolutely devastated coming out of the exam. I thought I screwed up the argumentative essay and barely looked at the last 13 questions of section 3; yet despite this I did better than I ever dared to hope.
If I can help any of you in any other way, post away below and I'll do my best to help. Otherwise, best of luck with your exam and happy studying!
Section 3 Syllabus
I am giving the GAMSAT in March next year in Dublin. I found the following 'syllabus' for section 3. Do you think this is sufficient or going over board??
* Projectile Motion
* Motion Equations
* Displacement/Time/Acceleration Graphs
* Laws of Motion
Force and Inertia
* Force Equations
* Heat Transfer
* Gibbs Free Energy
* Hess's Law
* Density and Pressure
* Pascal's Principle
* Colombs Law
* Electric Fields
* Electric Potential
* Equi-Potential Lines
* Electric Potential Energy
* Magnetic Field
* Force on a Moving Charge
* Force on a Current Carrying Wire
* Sources of a Magnetic Field
* Direct Current
* Circuit Laws
* Capacitors and Dieletrics
* Simple Harmonic Motion
* Principles of Superposition and Phase
* Characteristics of Sound and Intensity
Light and Optics
* Atomic Number
* Mass Number
* Nuclear Reactions/Decay
* Atomic Weights
* Electron Affinity
* Ionisation Energy
* Types of Elements
* Chemistry of Groups
* Types of Chemical Reactions
* Ionic Equations
* Neutralisation Reactions
* Applications of Stoichiometry
* Covalent and Ionic Bonds
* Molecular Orbitals
* Reaction Mechanisms
* Reaction Rates
* Reaction Orders
* Efficiency of Reactions
* Factors Affecting Reaction Rate
* Law of Mass Action
* Equilibrium Constant
Phases of Matter
* Ideal Gas Law
* Gas Phase
* Real Gasses
* Ideal Gases
* Boyle's Law
* Gay Lussac
* Avogadro's Principle
Acids and Bases
* Strong Acids and Bases
* Hydrogen Ion Equilibria
* Weak Acids and Bases
* Applications of Ka and Kb
* Amphoteric Species
* Polyprotic Acids and Bases
* Oxidation and Reduction
* Electrochemical Cells
* Electrolytic Cells
* Electro Charge Designations
* Electromotive Force
* Reduction Potentials
* Alcohols and Ethers
* Aromatic Compounds
* Aldehydes and Ketones
* Sequences: e.g., R=R?= R??=R???= H
* Structural Isomerism
* Stereo Isomerism
* Geometric Isomers and Chirality
* Fisher Projections
* Optical Activity
* Meso Compounds
* Confirmational Isomerism
Hydrolysis and Dehydration
Amino Acids and Proteins
Carbohydrates & Sugars
Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic Organism
* Metabolic Pathways
Muscular and Skeletal Systems
Respiratory and Circulatory System
* Systolic/Diastolic Blood Pressure
* Arterial Pressures - Cuff Pressures
* Uptake of Oxygen Consumption
* Dominant/Recessive Genes
I just begun mine today
I'm in my third year of a nursing degree and want to sit it this year so that I wont be trying to study for it when I'm studying for my final exams. I'll be on a clinical placement until Christmas so I'm hoping this will give me plenty of time to get myself sorted for the GAMSATIdeally, after xmas, I would only be revising and not actually trying to learn new material.
I'm happy enough about most of the exam. My biggest fear would be Physics!!I HATE IT!!!!!But I keep reminding myself its the smallest part of the exam!
Anyway..I have a tendency to ramble a bit so I'm going to stop typing now...But I look forward to more gamsat talk in the future!
Good news is I've plenty of notes and books from college (biochem and chemistry) which should be helpful. Allsaintsue, did you do much science in nursing? I'm in 3rd year too have exact same idea as you get it over with before 4th year!! Hopefully!
In Nursing, there is plenty of biology, after that however there has been 2 chemistry lectures and one physics lecture, both in first year but I have all my lecture notes from them. I also have all my leaving cert biology and Chemistry stuff!
And I am supposed to be buying GAMSAT prep material this week or next week off someone so hopefully between us, we will all have plenty of resources!
Im doing the gamsat uk on friday, i might be jumping the gun....but what score wold you consider "safe" ie will def get rcsi, basically wat score do i need to be in a postion where i don't have to do gamsat ireland?