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The GAMSAT Exam An overview

The Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test was introduced to the UK by St George`s Hospital Medical School in 1999, and is now also used by Nottingham, Swansea, Cardiff, Liverpool, Exeter and Plymouth, St Andrews/ Dundee (ScotGEM) and Ulster medical schools. Graduates applying to five year courses at Liverpool and Plymouth are required to sit the exam. Plymouth is unique as it offered the UK’s first graduate entry programme for dentistry, for which the exam is part of the admissions criteria. The test was initially pioneered and used in Australia in 1996 by four medical schools offering graduate entry programmes. The role of the GAMSAT Exam is to assist in the selection criteria primarily for students who are applying to study medicine on the new fast-track graduate entry programmes.

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Standardised Testing and Problem Based Learning

The exam draws upon a wide ranging skill set and subject knowledge, naturally aligns it to the problem-based learning environment in most medical schools. Whilst the GAMSAT Exam is predominantly multiple choice based, it places great emphasis on reasoning ability and critical thinking. It effectively gives a 360 degree overview of your ability to master information adeptly and select relevant responses within a limited time frame. It actively encourages a lateral thinking approach, thinking 'outside of the box'. After all, the study and practice of medicine demands the ability to sift through, interpret and make swift judgements from ever increasing quantities of information and data.

GAMSAT Structure and Release Dates

The results are normally released in Mid May for the March (Ireland) siting and mid November for the September (UK) sitting. 

The test is divided into three sections: 

Section Section Title Content Description
 I Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences   62 Questions (multiple choice) - 100 minutes  This section tests skills in understanding and interpreting ideas in social and cultural contexts. Most of the source material will be in the form of written passages, but some units will utilise visual images and tables of data.
 II Written Communication   2 Essays - 65minutes This section assesses your ability to develop and produce ideas in writing. The task A essay is more analytical in style and focused on socio-cultural issues. Task B deals with issues of a more personal nature. 
 III Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences  75 Questions (multiple choice) - 150 minutes  This section is made up of questions from the scientific disciplines in the following proportions – Biology (40%), Chemistry (40%), Physics (20%). The level of scientific knowledge generally equates to first-year undergraduate level in Biology and Chemistry, and A level (or equivalent) for Physics. Questions are based on passages, tables and/or graphical displays of data. They measure problem solving ability within scientific scenarios, to offer hypotheses, extrapolate reasoned conclusions and identify connections between given variables. 



The overall score is achieved as follows. (Please note Nottingham also calculate scores without doubling section 3.)

Overall Score = (1 x Section I + 1 x Section II + 2 x Section III) / 4

Scores are valid for two years. So results from September 2024 are valid for applications for 2025 and 2026 entrance. 

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Preparing for GAMSAT

Traditionally we are used to working towards exams with a detailed syllabus to guide us.  We know what to expect and usually have lots of past papers to work through, so the element of surprise is minimal.  Preparing for the GAMSAT is far more challenging.  In terms of the sciences, the level of Biology and Chemistry knowledge equates to first-year undergraduate level, whilst Physics is A-level (or equivalent) standard.  For those coming from a non-science background this can be daunting, and for those with a science background knowing what to cover and to what depth can be equally challenging.
There are five booklets of practice and sample questions that are produced by the examination board, ACER. These are the only materials they issue which provide some exposure to the style of questions encountered on the examination. Trying to learn undergraduate level Biology and Chemistry, and A level Physics, in a short time is an impossible task. The key is to understand what ACER are looking for in potential medical students, and know how to approach the relevant areas. Our task is to provide you with the knowledge and the application of topics, which will be of use not just for GAMSAT, but at medical school and beyond.   It is not uncommon for our students to tell us they still use the notes produced with us later at medical school.  This is where our twenty plus years of experience comes to the fore.

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Key Dates

The examination takes place twice yearly – March and September - in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Scores obtained in each sitting are equitable due to the standardised nature of the examination and results have a validity of two years. To keep up to date with current dates, as they are set by ACER, please follow our current news on the homepage, or sign up and follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

The next sitting will take place over 2 sessions. Section 2 (Essays) will be completed by remote proctoring on 24th/25th August 2024. Section 1 and 3 will be completed at a test centre on either 13th, 14th or 15th September depending on location.

Wednesday 13 September 2017
Wednesday 13 September 2017
Wednesday 13 September 2017