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Section I

The Written Communication and Verbal Reasoning course seeks to emphasise the skills of critical thinking and logic, but also sensitivity to the emotional nuances of words and information.  These are of course essential to a medical career, and almost all medical departments now use tests which seek to assess how, regardless of academic background, a person might approach a patient or process information of different kinds.  

Our course will introduce key characteristics of the GAMSAT Section I paper, such as underlying structure and rationale, cascades, red herrings, and verbal camouflage. Students will also be shown the techniques behind the questions used by examiners to enhance the difficulty of multiple-choice examinations.  One part of the course features an exercise involving the construct of questions from carefully chosen extracts of data, and thereby gain an insight into the minds of, and limits upon, the examiners.

These and other integral features relating to critical thinking and linguistic reasoning are followed by an in-depth analysis of examples. These have been carefully constructed and added to over the years to produce insights and to emphasise techniques.  The course is accompanied by one thousand simulated questions with full detailed explanatory answers.






How to write a GAMSAT essay

There are two key points to mention when it comes to the Written Communication section of GAMSAT:-

Firstly, no one has ever taken an exam like GAMSAT before.  Using the academic essay writing that you may be used to as a model will not help much. Academic essays are designed to test knowledge and are written in a sealed system for professionals who use a language that has about as much appeal to the general reader as a legal document or a tax bill. GAMSAT  essays are not like this. They have to pass the same test as good quality journalism. They have to engage the reader, and to do that they have to be accessible and readable. That is one of the reasons that the exam is called written communication. A lot of attention is paid to this on the courses we run.

Secondly, these are not knowledge based examinations, and although knowledge is always necessary, the real criteria is to show intelligence and to be interesting. That means, as GAMSAT say, that the mark you get will depend on “what you have made of the task”, namely, the essay title. To make the most of the essay title you have to learn the key skill of creative thinking, which involves learning how to interpret statements in a variety of ways and how to generate ideas out of what may at first sight seem like unpromising materials, how to link those ideas to other ideas, and how to deliver those ideas in a readable package within thirty minutes. It takes practice! The Gradmed course is designed to clarify and demonstrate those skills, and to create space for you to develop them.

Section II

There is an inner logic to the GAMSAT examination, which consists of testing two fundamental types of intelligence.  This is most easily seen in the “Written Communication” paper.  Section A requires the candidate to write an analytical essay dealing with ideas, which tests intellectual intelligence. Section B requires the candidate to write a personalised essay dealing with inter-personal issues, which tests emotional intelligence.  This matches the skills required by an effective medical practitioner, who has to analyse symptoms (intellectual intelligence) and simultaneously manage the people who present those symptoms (emotional intelligence).     

Section A

You will need to develop a "universal model" for successful analytical essay writing and develop the techniques of analysing questions or statements, and using information. This covers the skills of “questioning the question”, exploiting hidden opportunities, constructing arguments, dealing with emergencies, editing and timing and various other strategies.

Section A Example Essay

Section B

For section B you will need to consider the use of completely different techniques for writing the more "expressive" personalised essays that GAMSAT requires, together with an analysis of some successful examples in the history of the genre. This allows the planning for specific titles, as a way of building on the knowledge derived from your verbal reasoning experiences

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Section B Example Essay