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A Detailed Guide to the GAMSAT

ACAlpina ChariFeb 2, 2024

What is the GAMSAT? 

The Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) is a standardized test that assesses the aptitude and skills of candidates who wish to pursue graduate-entry medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, and veterinary science in Australia, as well as some universities in the UK and Ireland. It is a test that evaluates the abilities and skills that candidates have gained through prior experience and learning, relevant to the study and practice of medicine. 

The GAMSAT was first introduced in 1995 by four Australian medical schools: the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland, the Flinders University of South Australia, and the University of Sydney. These schools wanted to develop a tool to select candidates who had the potential to succeed in their graduate-entry medicine programs, which required a prior bachelor’s degree in any discipline. Since then, the use of GAMSAT in Australia has expanded to include seven more medical schools, as well as schools of dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, and veterinary science. The test has also been adopted by several graduate-entry medicine (GEM) courses in the UK and Ireland. The GAMSAT is now recognized as one of the primary and most important requirements for medical admission in Australia. 

The test is designed to measure not only the knowledge of basic science concepts but also the ability to apply them in various contexts, as well as the general skills of problem-solving, critical thinking, and writing. As such the GAMSAT is often the deciding factor between highly qualified applicants, and is extremely important in the process of admission to top medicine programs in Australia. 

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to the GAMSAT exam, including information on test format, key dates, costs, how to register, etc.

Overview of GAMSAT

Conducted By  Australian Council for Educational Research
Purpose  Entry to Graduate Medicine Entry Programs 
Duration of Test  5.5 hours
Exam Fees  549 AUD 
Eligibility  Bachelors degree and other general requirements. 
Exam Date  August to September 

GAMSAT Exam Structure and Scoring 

The GAMSAT consists of three sections that assess different skills and knowledge:  

Section 1: Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences. This section has 75 multiple-choice questions that test your ability to comprehend, analyze, and interpret various types of texts, such as articles, cartoons, poems, and graphs. You have 100 minutes to complete this section, which accounts for 25% of your overall score. 

Section 2: Written Communication. This section has two essay questions that test your ability to write, coherently, and persuasively on a given topic. You have 60 minutes to write two essays, one based on a set of five quotes related to a common theme, and another based on a different set of five quotes related to another theme. You can choose any genre or style of writing, such as argumentative, reflective, narrative, or descriptive. This section also accounts for 25% of your overall score. 

Section 3: Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences. This section has 110 multiple-choice questions that test your knowledge and application of basic science concepts, such as biology, chemistry, and physics. You have 170 minutes to complete this section, which accounts for 50% of your overall score.

The GAMSAT score is calculated by weighting the three sections of the test as follows: Section 1 (Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences) = 25%, Section 2 (Written Communication) = 25%, and Section 3 (Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences) = 50%. The score ranges from 0 to 100, with a mean of around 50 and a standard deviation of around 10. The score is valid for two years.  Different medical universities have different GAMSAT score requirements and cut-offs for their graduate entry courses. Some universities also consider other factors, such as academic performance, personal statement, work experience, and interview performance, in addition to the GAMSAT score. A good GAMSAT score is generally around 59-62, which will help you secure an interview at some GEM (Graduate Entry Medicine) medical schools. However, the score needed may vary depending on the competitiveness of the course and the number of applicants.

Suggested Reading: Study Medicine in Australia

GAMSAT Eligibility 

Although there aren’t many requirements to take the GAMSAT. Here is a brief overview of the conditions to be met: 

  • GAMSAT eligibility typically requires candidates to hold a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent qualification from a recognized institution. While there is no specific undergraduate major required, most candidates have completed degrees in science or related fields. 
  • Some universities may have specific academic requirements, such as prerequisite courses in biology, chemistry, and physics. 
  • GAMSAT eligibility is usually open to both domestic and international applicants. However, certain restrictions may apply based on citizenship or residency status, depending on the policies of individual medical schools or the country in which the test is being taken. 
  • There is typically no upper age limit for taking the GAMSAT. However, candidates should verify specific age requirements with the medical schools to which they plan to apply, as policies may vary. 
  • GAMSAT candidates may be subject to restrictions on the number of times they can attempt the exam within a specified period. For example, some testing authorities may limit candidates to a maximum of four attempts overall or one attempt per year.

Suggested Reading: Study Dentistry in Australia

GAMSAT Application Process 

The GAMSAT application process consists of the following steps:  

  • Register for the GAMSAT exam on the ACER website. You will need to create a GAMSAT account and pay the registration fee. Registrations open in November for the March GAMSAT and May for the September GAMSAT. You can choose your preferred test location and date from the available options. 
  • Prepare for the GAMSAT exam by reviewing the test format, content, and scoring. The exam is delivered in a digital format and takes about 5.5 hours to complete. You can use various resources to study for the GAMSAT exam, such as official practice materials, online courses, books, and tutors. 
  • Sit the GAMSAT exam on your chosen date and location. You will need to bring your GAMSAT ID, photo identification, and any permitted materials to the test center. You will also need to follow the test rules and regulations, such as wearing a face mask, maintaining social distancing, and not using any prohibited devices. You will receive a confirmation email after completing the exam. 
  • Wait for your GAMSAT results to be released. GAMSAT results are usually released about two months after the exam date. You can access your results online through your GAMSAT account. Your results will include your overall score and your scores for each section. Your results are valid for two years from the date of the exam. 
  • Apply to your chosen medical schools through GEMSAS or directly to the institutions. GEMSAS (Graduate Entry Medical School Admissions System) is a centralized application service that allows you to apply to multiple medical schools in Australia with one online application. You must provide your details, academic transcripts, GAMSAT results, and preferences for up to six medical schools. You will also need to pay the application fee and submit any supporting documents. 
  • Attend interviews and receive offers from the medical schools. If you are shortlisted for an interview, you will be notified by the medical schools or GEMSAS. Interviews are usually conducted between July and November. The interview format and criteria may vary depending on the medical school. You will be assessed on your motivation, communication skills, ethical reasoning, and suitability for medicine. After the interviews, you will receive offers from the medical schools based on your GAMSAT results, GPA, interview performance, and other factors. You will need to accept or decline the offers within the specified time frame.

Suggested Reading: Study Veterinary Medicine in Australia

Application Deadline and Fees 

The GAMSAT is offered twice a year, in March and September. The registration for the March 2024 GAMSAT opened in December 2023 and closed on 1 February 2024. On the other hand, registration for the September 2024 GAMSAT opens in May 2024 and closes on Thursday 4 July 2024. The late registration closes on Thursday 11 July 2024, with the same additional fee of 110 AUD. The September 2024 GAMSAT will also be conducted in a digital format, with Section 2 (Written Communication) completed by remote proctoring on 31 August – 1 September 2024, and Sections 1 and 3 completed at a test center on either 13th or 15th September 2024, depending on the location. The standard registration fee for the September 2024 GAMSAT is 549 AUD.

Suggested Reading: Entrance Exams for Medicine and Dentistry in Australia

List of Universities that Accept the GAMSAT 

In Australia

For medical degree programs  

  • Australian National University 
  • Deakin University 
  • Flinders University 
  • Griffith University 
  • Macquarie University 
  • The University of Melbourne 
  • University of Notre Dame Australia (Fremantle and Sydney) 
  • The University of Queensland 
  • The University of Sydney 
  • The University of Western Australia 
  • The University of Wollongong 
  • University of Tasmania 

For dental 4 year graduate-entry programs 

  • The University of Melbourne 
  • The University of Queensland 
  • The University of Sydney 
  • The University of Western Australia Optometry 

For 4 year Doctor of Optometry 

The University of Melbourne

For 2 year Master of Pharmacy 

The University of Sydney

Suggested Reading: Admission and Eligibility for Medical Studies in Australia

Conclusion 

In conclusion, GAMSAT is an important requirement for securing a medical degree seat in Australia. However, passing this exam is not an easy task, as it requires a high level of knowledge, reasoning, and communication skills. Therefore, candidates need to prepare well in advance and follow some effective strategies to ace the exam. Some of these strategies are: registering for the exam early, making a realistic study schedule, revising the relevant content and theory, practicing GAMSAT-style questions and essays, getting feedback and help from experts or peers, tracking progress, and identifying weaknesses, simulating the exam conditions and timing, and reading widely and critically in spare time. By following these tips and taking guidance from reliable sources, candidates can increase their chances of achieving their desired score and pursuing their dream of becoming a doctor in Australia. For more information and guidance regarding medicine admissions in Australia, contact our admission experts at Gyanberry. Book your free video call appointment

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) is a standardized exam used to assess the aptitude of candidates seeking admission to graduate-entry programs in medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, and related disciplines in Australia, Ireland, and the UK.

The GAMSAT assesses candidates’ reasoning in biological and physical sciences and their ability to critically analyze and interpret written material. It also evaluates their written communication skills through a written communication section.  

The GAMSAT is typically offered twice a year, in March and September. Candidates can register for the exam on the official GAMSAT website and select their preferred test date and location.

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