Timing of the Test
The GAMSAT test day is made up of five and a half (5.5) hours of testing time, 25 minutes of reading time, and one hour of recess time. In addition, pre-testing procedures will take some time to complete. Therefore, it is not possible to guarantee start and finish times. Candidates must report to their test centre at the time designated on their Admission Ticket, this will normally be at 8.15am local time. The test itself will start as soon as all pre-testing procedures are completed. Candidates should anticipate being at the test centre for at least nine hours.
The table below shows the structure of GAMSAT by section and time.
|Section||Number of questions||Reading time in minutes||Writing time in minutes|
|Section I, Reasoning in Humanities|
|Section II, Written Communication|
|Section III, Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences|
There is no break between Section I and II. Candidates may not leave their desk or access their personal belongings at this time.
There is a lunch break of one hour between Section II and Section III. Please note: there may not be canteen facilities at the test centres. All candidates are advised to bring their own packed lunch.
Candidates may use the bathroom during testing time, but this will not be permitted during reading time and in the last ten minutes of each section. No additional time will be granted for bathroom breaks.
Candidates may not leave the test centre before the full testing time has elapsed, except in the case of illness. Candidates leaving before the start of Section III will not receive their GAMSAT scores. Candidates leaving during Section III due to illness are expected to provide a medical certificate explaining their need to leave the test centre. This must be provided no later than seven days after the test day; failure to do so may result in scores being withheld.
Once a candidate has departed the test centre it is not possible to re-enter and continue the test.
The GAMSAT Section 2 consists of two parts: Task A and Task B. According to the ACER Info booklet for GAMSAT, Task B usually consists of personal responses, which makes it thereflective essay in GAMSAT.
Take, for instance, the following quotes:
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
Fear cuts deeper than swords.
-George R.R. Martin
Courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.
Each of these quotes deal with something very personal: fear. While it may have societal and cultural implications in a more macrocosmic way, fear is still something we relate to very personally. Hence, it is a pretty good example of what the reflective essay in GAMSAT comprises.
Now, as in Task A, you have to structure your reflective essay in GAMSAT around the comments you are given. Note that all the comments given in the task adheres to a single theme. Consider the comments given here as examples. Each revolves around the general theme of fear, but each comment, taken singularly, adheres to a separate aspect of fear, or of separate perspectives from which one looks at fear.
Checklist for the reflective essay in GAMSAT
- Put forward a well-constructed and two-sided argument
- Take care of your grammar and spelling.
- Communicate your viewpoint without any ambiguity
- If possible add quotes to give credence to your work
- Don’t ramble
- Be coherent in your thoughts
- Provide illustrations
- Do not contradict your principal viewpoint
- Do not be repetitive
- Brevity in language is appreciated
- Support your arguments with clear and precise logic
- Make sure all your hypotheses are supported with arguments
- Personal experiences add volumes to the essay
- Stick to the structure of an essay
- Make it an interesting read
How to Approach?
The examination points out in its instructions for the reflective essay in GAMSAT that you will be judged on the effectiveness of your response and how well you express yourself. It specifically says that you will not be judged on your personal views and attitudes. In other words you will have free rein to write what you want as long as it is written in a way that you get your point across effectively.
As such, you can formulate your reflective essay in GAMSAT either around the general theme given, or around one/more/all of the comments. If you are writing your essay based on the general theme, however, you must make sure that your essay contains clear references to the ideas expressed by the comments.
Usually, the reflective essay in GAMSAT is written in a personal manner, which means a first person narrative and a story-like feel is more than welcome. A dash of humour, or an entirely humorous write-up is also much appreciated. However, do keep in mind that there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to approaching a topic. When the basic idea is to ensure that you are able to communicate your viewpoints, you have free rein to tackle the essay in any which way.
Practice makes perfect, folks! One can be a born writer, but no one is born a writer, and the best of skills need to be sharpened to shine! So, get hold of as many essay topics as you can, and ensure that you write at least one essay a day. That’s not much!