Originally Posted by Janey778
So it's very last minute but I have decided to do the GAMSAT in September. I'm now completely panicking about sections 2 and 3 after looking through sample questions and I am completely overwhelmed.
I had thought I'd be fine for section 3 as I have a science background, but I really am screwed for the chemistry and physics sections.. I plan on getting Chemistry for Dummies and Organic Chemistry for Dummies, and I already have the leaving cert Revise Wise books for chemistry and physics, but will going through these with the sample questions be enough?
And I don't even know where to start with preparing for section II. Do I need to incorporate the comments into my essay or just discuss the comments?
I plan on getting "the meaning of things" by A.C. Grayling, and I will watch TED talks and read news websites and use vocabulary builders, but I still don't really know how to prepare essays, and I can't seem to find a good marking scheme.. is there any extensive lists of potential topics out there that I have missed?
I had wanted to get the Des O'Neill GAMSAT materials secondhand but they're so expensive or the people selling them are not replying... are the Ace GAMSAT preparation books any good? I don't have much money so can't do one of the preparation courses.
Any advice would be really appreciated!
I did the Sept 17 GAMSAT and thankfully did well enough to qualify for a place this year.
In general, my main pieces of advice are:
1. Do realistic practise (timed, using MCQ sheets and handwritten essays...also try to do your full-length practise exams according to the day itself as the day itself is tiring!)
2. Choose a few resources and trust them, otherwise you are going to feel unprepared (i.e. you can't decide and so you constantly flick between resources and as you are flicking between resources you become indecisive and as you develop indecision you become less confident etc, haha! Happened to me!)
3. Have a timing strategy: I timed myself in batches, so I knew how many Q's I needed to do per interval
My main resources were the official ACER material, gamsatsamplequestions.co.uk and the Gold standard YT series (I did not buy the book).
I also came across Des O'Neill's stuff and Griffith's review. The review is decent and actually amounts to a wee syllabus of sorts.
For SI and SIII, do timed practise and do it on MCQ sheets. As you come across certain topics, study them on Khan academy, Dummies book or whatever suits you. I'd recommend YouTube. In the exam, I answered according to my strengths, so my strongest questions first. Be careful to monitor the MCQ sheet as you may place the mark in the wrong place!
For SII, I did about 10 essays per task in the lead-up. I used the robo-marked ACER utility and Devin from gamsatsampleqs (weblink above^). I paid him but I wouldn't recommend paying if you can get your hands on a friend who has a decent command of both English (LC level) and current affairs. As always, time yourself...eventually! In the beginning, I'd recommend constructing quality essays, then - with time and increased familiarity - move onto timed practise.
My understanding of SII was that I had to respond to the theme with the aid of a quote or quotes. I didn't incorporate the quotes verbatim but did include snippets of one or two.
Tbh, I wrote, or at least I felt I wrote, awkward and babyish essays in the real thing. However, I did have a structure and voiced sensible ideas. In the end, I managed to achieve a 64 in that section. I was a happy camper I tell ye!
Yes, so get going with your preparation. Try your best and do a least one full-length practise exam under realistic conditions. The day before the exam accept what you've done and let go of any guilt spiralling around your skull. Sleep.
Oh, and one more thing! A key point. Accept that you're going to struggle at points in the exam. If you go in thinking that you have to ace it and you come across a tough set of Q's, you'll receive a big emotional shock! If you acknowledge the possibility of struggling you'll be able to let go and move on from a stickler of a question when in the actual exam. TRUST me, do not get bogged down on a single MCQ question! Yes, so - and this may seem a bit contradictory - acknowledge that you will struggle (at times in the exam) yet be prepared to maximize your score (nail your timing strategy, don't leave any blanks and obviously be familiar with the mental reasoning and physical stress associated with the exam).
I also made a wee video outlining my GAMSAT experience
GAMSAT preparation - section by section Ireland
Hope this helps. Best of luck!