Last Saturday, 3000 med-hopefuls flocked to the showgrounds to do the GAMSAT. I joined in on the fun and report back with five lessons about the exam!
1. Wait to join the queue
The lines to get into the testing centre are absolutely HUGE. Simple arithmetic explains why: there are 3000 people taking the test but only 12 entrances.
Many people doing the GAMSAT for the first time jump in the queue as early as possible.
This is a terrible idea!
Wait until the queue dissipates and then get on. That way you can wait outside, rather than spending 1.5 hours (no joke) waiting inside the testing centre at your desk.
2. Traffic is a nightmare
Getting to the test centre can be an absolute nightmare. Because of the huge number of students trying to get to the Showgrounds all at the one time, Epsom Rd becomes completely chaotic. The last kilometre of your trip to the Showgrounds can take a good thirty minutes. It’s better to just get dropped off near Epsom Rd and walk.
3. You shouldn’t resit the GAMSAT unless you’re absolutely committed
For the past three years I’ve been fighting an internal battle about whether or not I actually want to do medicine. This Saturday was the second time I’ve done the GAMSAT and doing so was absolutely a mistake (a $550 mistake at that).
It was a mistake because, as a result of not being fully committed to doing medicine, I did not do any study for the GAMSAT. Therefore, it’d be utterly ridiculous to expect an improvement on last year, for which I did equally little study.
The lesson in this is that you shouldn’t resit the exam in order to improve your score unless you’re committed to doing the work.
4. Reading really helps with section I
Until last year, I had never been a particularly big reader. As a consequence, I’ve always found sections of exams devoted to reading and analysing texts a real struggle.
After a lot more reading, I found section I a lot more manageable this time around.
Last year, I’d get really frustrated with each question and dismiss the examiners’ interpretations as bullshit, but this year I found the texts made a lot more sense and that I was finding meaning where I wouldn’t have before I started reading a lot.
5. The test may only be 5.5 hours, but expect to be there for at least 10
ACER do warn you that the entire day of exams may take a long time. This would have to be the understatement of the century.
Getting everyone into the room and seated, and then handing out all of the exam papers takes hours. With a requisite cock-up added on, the total time you spend in the exam centre comes to 14.3 billion years.
This year, we made it there at 7.30am and got out of the exam centre itself at 6.45pm.
Getting out of the Showgrounds, however, added another half an hour on, so we didn’t leave Ascot Vale until 7.15. With my long drive back to Geelong added to that, I didn’t manage to get home until 2033.
The lesson? You’re going to be there for an enormously long time, so don’t make any plans that night and also don’t expect to have children, because your biological clock will have run out in the exam centre.