Changes in the GAMSAT

Al2029

Lurker
Hello everyone,

So I have recently decided to sit the GAMSAT and go down the path of postgraduate medicine. While doing some research about the exam, I learnt that there were some changes in the March 2018 exam (it became more interpretation based, speed reading, less science etc.), and the past ACER and Des O'neil questions are no longer very reliable sources for the actual GAMSAT.
I was considering purchasing the Gold Standard textbooks as a start to guide me through my studies, but now I'm not too sure. With these changes, I really don't want to focus my energy preparing for the wrong things, and I'd like to know what are the best resources for the GAMSAT following these changes. (Also please feel free to share any other resources you believe are worthwhile, I'd really like to gather a wide understanding of what's available).

Unfortunately I cannot get access to paging dr., so I'm really not able to see what's going on there. If you know how I can register please let me know!

Thanks in advance :)
 

chinaski

Regular Member
Registration for PD should open in business hours, but be aware that discussion about commercial prep courses is not allowed there in any case.
 

dotwingz

Google Enthusiast
Moderator
If you're not doing a health/science/biomed student, you just need to spend a bit more time to study for the GAMSAT.

Interesting because 2/3 of the GAMSAT is humanities based, (from what ive heard) the science section is more lateral thinking then direct assessment of content. Suffice to say, you need to be a generally well rounded person to do well - maybe a BA/BSc :p :p would be best
 

chinaski

Regular Member
Yep, calling shenanigans on the implication that non-science grads need to spend more time prepping for GAMSAT. Additionally, the oblique suggestion that it is "easier" to obtain a high GPA in an Arts degree than a science degree is also false.
 

Unluckydude

Regular Member
Interesting because 2/3 of the GAMSAT is humanities based, (from what ive heard) the science section is more lateral thinking then direct assessment of content. Suffice to say, you need to be a generally well rounded person to do well - maybe a BA/BSc :p :p would be best
For most science questions, they give you the formulas or underlying theory and ask you to apply them. So having a science/biomed background only provides minimal advantage.
 

Unluckydude

Regular Member
Yep, calling shenanigans on the implication that non-science grads need to spend more time prepping for GAMSAT. Additionally, the oblique suggestion that it is "easier" to obtain a high GPA in an Arts degree than a science degree is also false.
I didn't mean it's easier to get a high GPA in an arts degree. What I meant was admissions only look at applicants' GPA and not their degree.
 
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dotwingz

Google Enthusiast
Moderator
oblique suggestion that it is "easier" to obtain a high GPA in an Arts degree than a science degree is also false.

Agreed. To be fair I think unluckydude was simply referencing how discipline is not important, not indirectly taking a jab at arts students
 

chinaski

Regular Member
For most science questions, they give you the formulas or underlying theory and ask you to apply them. So having a science/biomed background only provides minimal advantage.
So why did you suggest it's the non-science grads who have to prep longer for the exam...?
 

Unluckydude

Regular Member
So why did you suggest it's the non-science grads who have to prep longer for the exam...?


With regards to GAMSAT preparation, I agree that the advantage provided by a science degree is little (when I said a bit more time, I literately meant a bit) , but I don't think we can totally ignore the fact that biomed students on average receive more education on biology, chemistry and maybe physics (biophysics). For example, I found the following sample question:

"The visual pathway controls conscious visual perception in humans. Each eye views a monocular field (split into nasal, N, and temporal, T, fields), and together, they have a binocular visual field (left and right nasal fields) as shown in Figure 1.

1596771641500.png


  1. Lesion B results in __________________.
    A. Complete blindness of the left eye
    B. Complete blindness of the right eye
    C. Complete blindness of both eyes
    D. Nothing
  2. A person only has nasal vision. Which lesion best explains this?
    A. A
    B. B
    C. C
    D. D
  3. What combination of lesions results in vision in the left temporal field only?
    A. B & E
    B. B & D
    C. B & C
    D. B & A
I remember I I had two lectures on the visual system and vision loss was tested in the prac, quiz and final exam. Therefore:

1) I don't really need to read the prompt to understand the underlying theory.
2) I can still remember the answers to very similar questions.
3) As a result of 1 and 2, I would probably have more time to do other questions.
 
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chinaski

Regular Member
With regards to GAMSAT preparation, I agree that the advantage provided by a science degree is little (when I said a bit more time, I literately meant a bit) , but I don't think we can totally ignore the fact that biomed students on average received more education on biology, chemistry and maybe physics (biophysics). For example, I found the following sample question:

"The visual pathway controls conscious visual perception in humans. Each eye views a monocular field (split into nasal, N, and temporal, T, fields), and together, they have a binocular visual field (left and right nasal fields) as shown in Figure 1.

View attachment 3851


  1. Lesion B results in __________________.
    A. Complete blindness of the left eye
    B. Complete blindness of the right eye
    C. Complete blindness of both eyes
    D. Nothing
  2. A person only has nasal vision. Which lesion best explains this?
    A. A
    B. B
    C. C
    D. D
  3. What combination of lesions results in vision in the left temporal field only?
    A. B & E
    B. B & D
    C. B & C
    D. B & A
I remember I I had two lectures on the visual system and vision loss was asked in the prac,quiz and final exam. Therefore:

1) I don't really need to read the prompt to understand the underlying theory.
2) I can still remember the answers to very similar questions.
3) As a result of 1 and 2, I would probably have more time to do other questions.

Science content represents only one-third of the entirety of GAMSAT. The majority is NOT science-based.
 

dotwingz

Google Enthusiast
Moderator
Whilst were getting a bit off track I've quoted this article when talking with others about paths to grad entry med. Whilst it's a bit outdated its still valuable


Look at table 3. I think its important to acknowledge that people with background knowledge with disciplines that are featured in the GAMSAT will do better in those sections. The Arts/Social Students clean up in the two humanities sections (although S2 is somewhat close together), whilst fall behind in the science section compared to the physical and biological science students. Does this mean that Arts students aren't as smart as science students? No. It reflects that physical/biological science people have greater contextual knowledge of the field, as well as a genuine interest in - making them more likely to bear multiple hours of preparation of the skills required to do well.

A science student can improve their humanities skills the same way a humanities student could improve their science skills. Hence the prevailing idea is still that someone should pick the field that both interests them and they do well at. I'd argue that someone who studies science would have to study just as much as someone who studies art, just in different areas.
 

chinaski

Regular Member
Worth pointing out that the above-cited paper looks at GAMSAT data spanning 2005-2014, therefore taking into account results of the "old" GAMSAT format, wherein the advantage of a science background for Section 3 is almost certainly much greater as it formerly assumed a great deal of prior knowledge, quite different to today's format. Section 3 has since evolved into more of a "problem solving" exercise, thus diminishing any advantage a science background previously bestowed in completing that section alone (not the entire GAMSAT exam). Conversely, Sections 1 or 2 have not changed significantly over time.
 
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Unluckydude

Regular Member
Science content represents only one-third of the entirety of GAMSAT. The majority is NOT science-based.
Science makes up one of the the three sections of GAMSAT, but it contributes to 50 percent of the final mark (except UQ, UNIMELB and UNDF/UNDS).

Worth pointing out that the above-cited paper looks at GAMSAT data spanning 2005-2014, therefore taking into account results of the "old" GAMSAT format, wherein the advantage of a science background for Section 3 is almost certainly much greater as it formerly assumed a great deal of prior knowledge, quite different to today's format. Section 3 has since evolved into more of a "problem solving" exercise, thus diminishing any advantage a science background previously bestowed in completing that section alone (not the entire GAMSAT exam). Conversely, Sections 1 or 2 have not changed significantly over time.

The data spanning from 2005 to 2014 were used to analyse other things such as number of candidates by gender, percentage in age categories and percentage by highest degree. However, the data on the on GAMSAT performance by academic background were sorely collected from candidates who sat the GAMSAT in 2014. I don't think 2014's GAMSAT was in the old format?

In the original post, Rose99 asked about the following courses:

Bachelor of Biomedical Science
Bachelor of Pharmacy (with Honours)
Bachelor of Biomedical Science/Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science (I assume he meant biological or health sciences)
Bachelor of Advanced Science


According to table 3 of that article, the mean overall GAMSAT scores and section 3 scores of those candidates in 2014 were as as follows:

Arts/Social Science - 55.99 49.84
Biological Sciences - 58.16 57.66
Human Biosciences (biomed?) - 58.87 58.28
Pharmacy - 57.77 57.61
Health sciences - 55.13 52.46

Only health science students received a slightly lower average.

However, it is important to note that correlation doesn't equal causation. There is the possibility that that people who are good at science/section 3 are more likely to study science courses. Without more evidence or further research, I believe I can reasonably suspect that science students are a little bit (I literally mean little bit) advantaged when it comes GAMSAT. But to avoid controversy, I'll change my original reply from "you just need to spend a bit more time to study for GAMSAT" to "you may need to spend a bit more time to study for section 3 of the GAMSAT".

Note: I'm not recommending year 12 students to study biomed/health science/science for the purpose of getting into med. Please check out the following thread:
 
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Crow

Medical Student
Emeritus Staff
I don't think 2014's GAMSAT was in the old format?
It definitely was. There has been a progressive change over the years but there was a particularly major change between 2016 and 2018 - I sat both 2016 and 2018 versions of the exams and can guarantee the science sections were vastly different, as was the sentiment expressed overwhelmingly by all those that sat the exam in that period.

This is all overlooking the fact that non-science students have a strong advantage in sections 1 and 2, which quite a number of unis weight equally to section 3 now.
 

Unluckydude

Regular Member
It definitely was. There has been a progressive change over the years but there was a particularly major change between 2016 and 2018 - I sat both 2016 and 2018 versions of the exams and can guarantee the science sections were vastly different, as was the sentiment expressed overwhelmingly by all those that sat the exam in that period.

If GAMSAT was indeed restructured in 2018, then I might indeed have derived the wrong conclusion from old sample GAMSAT questions. Was it officially announced by ACER?

This is all overlooking the fact that non-science students have a strong advantage in sections 1 and 2.

Based off statistics from the article, they do have minor advantage in section 1 and moderate advantage in section 2. But biomed, biological science and pharmacy students still scored a bit higher overall.


which quite a number of unis weight equally to section 3 now.
I think now UQ, UNIMELB and UNDF/UNDS weight them equally. A while ago only uni did that?
 

Crow

Medical Student
Emeritus Staff
If GAMSAT was indeed restructured in 2018, then I might indeed have derived the wrong conclusion from old sample GAMSAT questions. Was it officially announced by ACER?
Yep, the old sample questions are not an accurate reflection of the current exam. And no, they didn't need to announce it officially, though, as their test information has stated that the emphasis is on reasoning rather than knowledge for a long time.
 

Unluckydude

Regular Member
though, as their test information has stated that the emphasis is on reasoning rather than knowledge for a long time.
Didn't they also state this when they still had the old format with a section 3 which favoured science students? But since I don't know much about the changes that took place in 2018, I'll assume that you guys are correct.
 

chinaski

Regular Member
Yep, the old sample questions are not an accurate reflection of the current exam. And no, they didn't need to announce it officially, though, as their test information has stated that the emphasis is on reasoning rather than knowledge for a long time.

Interestingly, it has ever been thus. Certainly when I sat it a million years ago, if you didn't do substantial study in science prior, you stood a fairly good chance of outright failing Section 3 - it was heavily dependent on factual knowledge. Regardless, it was still advertised as a test in reasoning which I found really weird at the time.
 
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