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10 Top Tips for GAMSAT Section 2

Section 2 of the GAMSAT is known as ‘Written Communication’. You are required to write two written pieces, one from Section A and one from Section B. You are provided with five quotes and comments that are related to a common theme and you are asked to write a piece in response to one or more of them.

Read this guide to improve your essay writing and achieve a great mark for GAMSAT section 2!

Guide cartoon GAMSAT Section 2

GAMSAT Section 2

10 top tips for gamsat section 2.

  • Develop a strategy
  • Create an ideas bank
  • Read more in your spare time
  • Get feedback
  • Familiarise yourself with politics, philosophy and psychology
  • Work on spelling and grammar 
  • Time yourself

1. Practice!

Practice writing as many essays as you can and try to write on a variety of different topics. You will probably come across topics that you find easier to write about but challenge yourself and make sure to practice topics that you are less comfortable with.

Also use this time to see whether you are able to use more than one comment. You can write a response to one or more of the comments so this is the perfect time to see whether you can handle developing more than one comment. I wouldn’t recommend trying to use more than three as this will most likely disrupt the flow.

When you begin practising, do not feel as though you need to stick to a time limit, it is a good idea to just let yourself keep writing and developing your ideas.

Aim for approximately 500 words per piece. You may find that you do not have enough time for this but don’t worry, it’s the quality of the essay that is the most important aspect.

GAMSAT Section 2 preparation cartoon

2. Develop a strategy 

Become familiar with the general layout of a GAMSAT section 2 essay, it normally consists of an introduction, 2 or 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. 

Plan how you are going to tackle section 2;

For example:

  • Read the comments and decide on the common theme
  • Select your comments then brainstorm your ideas
  • Plan the structure and layout of your paragraphs
  • Then start writing!

Also plan how you are going to ensure you produce a good essay; 

  • Keep your body paragraphs balanced and a similar length, this will allow you to develop each idea equally.
  • Write concisely and try to keep every sentence relevant.
  • Use rhetorical questions, these will keep the reader engaged.
  • Use analogies and metaphors; real world examples and personal reflections can help to explain your ideas and opinions.

3. Create an ideas bank.

Although the themes that come up in GAMSAT section 2 are completely random and it is unlikely a topic you have practiced will come up, it’s a good idea to create an ideas bank. Examples or opinions that you develop in your practice essays may be applicable to other themes. For example you may develop ideas and opinions on the importance of friendships and these may be relevant if asked to write about familial relationships.

Creating an ideas bank will also increase your creativity and may help to make your essay more unique. Don’t be afraid to reflect on your own personal experiences.

GAMSAT Section 2 ideas bank cartoon

Here are some sample topics for an essay idea bank:

  • Discrimination

TED Talks and ‘The Meaning of Things’ by AC Grayling will help you to gather ideas for GAMSAT section 2.

Kickstart your GAMSAT Prep!

gamsat essay tips

4. Mind map.

You are presented with 5 comments in each part of section 2 and it can be hard to identify the best comment(s) for you to use.

Whilst practising, it is a good idea to mind map for each comment to determine which you will be able to write the most on. You won’t have time to do this during the exam but practising this will allow you to identify the most suitable comment in less time.

Students can fall into the trap of picking a comment which may not be best suited to their ideas and opinions so practising this will help to avoid it on the day of the exam.

GAMSAT Section 2 mindmap

5. Read more in your spare time.

Whether it’s a magazine, a newspaper or a novel, reading will help to improve your creativity and will give you ideas for your essays, add these to your section 2 ideas bank! 

Reading will also help you to improve your grammar and spelling for the GAMSAT.

You can also incorporate quotes into your writing so highlight any that you feel may be useful in your essays.

The Economist

The New Yorker

GAMSAT Section 2 Read more cartoon

6. Get feedback

It’s important to get feedback on your writing in order to improve and develop your essay writing. This will allow you to see whether you have developed your ideas in a way that can be understood by others.

Getting another opinion can also allow you to come up with more ideas, ask anybody that is willing to read your writing! 

Feedback is also very important for grammar and spelling as you may not be able to see your own mistakes. 

Feel free to ask your tutor to correct your GAMSAT section 2 essays. Click here for more information about our tutoring options.

GAMSAT Section 2 feedback cartoon

7. Familiarise yourself with politics, philosophy and psychology

When expressing an opinion, it is a good idea to use real world examples to back up your opinion. 

The news and documentaries may provide you with current political or philosophical events that may be relevant to your essay, this will allow you to create a powerful argument and will also show the examiner that you are self-aware and conscious of world issues and events.

GAMSAT Section 2 news cartoon

8. Work on spelling and grammar for GAMSAT section 2

Whilst writing practice essays, be aware of autocorrect if you are using a digital device. It can be all too easy to get used to relying on these devices to perfect your writing so make sure to turn this feature off. 

On the flipside, practising on a digital device such as your laptop can be beneficial as it will point out spelling and grammar mistakes and provide you with a correct option. Just make sure these are highlighted and not automatically corrected.  Make note of any continuous spelling or grammar mistakes.

GAMSAT Section 2 spelling and grammar cartoon

9. Time yourself

As you get closer to the GAMSAT, begin timing yourself as this will allow you to see how quick you can plan and will also show you realistically how many words you will be able to produce within the time frame.

It is recommended that you roughly divide your 30 minutes for each GAMSAT section 2 essay into: 5 minutes of planning, 20 minutes of writing and spend the last 5 minutes proof-reading.

GAMSAT Section 2 time yourself cartoon

10. Relax

If unusual topics or themes turn up in GAMSAT section 2, don’t panic! There is a common misconception that these essays are a test of your knowledge of current world affairs but don’t worry if you don’t have concrete examples of events. The main purpose of these essays is to test your ability to express your ideas.

GAMSAT Section 2 relax cartoon

Sample essay themes:

  • Civilisation
  • Genetic modification
  • Natural disasters

In conclusion, practising section 2 essays is of great importance and getting feedback is even more important! Don’t be afraid to include personal reflections and get creative with your ideas and opinions. And on the day of the exam, do not panic if unfamiliar themes are included in GAMSAT section 2. Make sure to check out our GAMSAT tutoring options, click here .

Feel free to leave any comments or questions below

GAMSAT Section 2 comments cartoon

Frequently Asked Question

→how do i improve my gamsat section 2.

10 top tips for GAMSAT Section 2: Practice Develop a strategy Create an ideas bank Mind map Read more in your spare time Get feedback Familiarise yourself with politics, philosophy and psychology Work on spelling and grammar Time yourself Relax

→What is a good score for GAMSAT Section 2?

The average score for section 2 is slightly higher then section 1. Aim for a score above 63 where the average score is between 59-65

→How do you write a GAMSAT Section 2 essay?

Keep your body paragraphs balanced and a similar length, this will allow you to develop each idea equally. Write concisely and try to keep every sentence relevant. Use rhetorical questions, these will keep the reader engaged. Use analogies and metaphors; real world examples and personal reflections can help to explain your ideas and opinions.

→How can I improve my essay writing skills for GAMSAT Section 2?

Improving your essay writing skills for GAMSAT Section 2 involves practicing timed essay writing, reading widely and critically, developing a clear and concise writing style, using examples to support arguments, and seeking feedback on your writing from others.

→How can I manage my time effectively during GAMSAT Section 2?

Managing your time effectively during GAMSAT Section 2 involves allocating a set amount of time for planning, writing, and revising your essay. It is important to stick to the allocated time for each section and avoid spending too much time on any one aspect of the essay.

→How important is grammar and language in GAMSAT Section 2?

Grammar and language are important in GAMSAT Section 2, as they play a significant role in conveying ideas and arguments clearly and effectively. It is important to use proper grammar, syntax, and vocabulary in your essays to ensure that your writing is clear and easy to understand.

→How can I prepare for GAMSAT Section 2?

Preparing for GAMSAT Section 2 involves practicing timed essay writing, reading widely and critically, developing a clear and concise writing style, using examples to support arguments, and seeking feedback on your writing from others. It can also be helpful to review sample GAMSAT Section 2 prompts and practice writing essays in response to them.

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Struggling with how to write the perfect GAMSAT Essay? Check out our free GAMSAT Example Essays with tips and corrections to master your preparation for the GAMSAT Section 2 Essays

Final Week to Register for Our Free GAMSAT® Section 2 Online Workshop! | Thursday 7 December at 7pm Melb Time

Free GAMSAT Example Essays

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Writing GAMSAT ® practice essays is the most important aspect of preparing for Section 2 of the GAMSAT ® Exam. Regularly writing essays allows you to develop and practise your essay writing skills and is something you should aim to start from early on. It’s important to get into a routine: Whether you aim to type an essay once a week or once a day, every bit counts.

Writing regularly also helps develop your confidence, and prevents having that ‘writer’s block’ moment in the exam.

We’ve prepared a handy GAMSAT ® Essay Writing Guide you can download which includes all the information on this page, as well as some extra tips, some example essays to help you get a head start on your preparation for Section 2 of the GAMSAT ® Exam. Start preparing today!

  • GAMSAT ® Essay Writing Tips
  • GAMSATE ® Essay Qualities
  • GAMSAT ® Essay Writing Guide
  • GAMSAT ® Section 2 Essay Topics
  • GAMSAT ® Section 2 Example Essays
  • Further Free GAMSAT ® Preparation Materials

Section 2 Webinar

Want more tips on how to ace GAMSAT ® Section 2 after reviewing our GAMSAT ® example essays? Our expert tutors, Nick and Caroline, provide further tips to help improve your essay writing skills in this Free GAMSAT ® Example Essays video guide.

GAMSAT Essay Writing Tips

Simply writing GAMSAT ® essays is not enough - It needs to be done in a structured fashion to ensure that you get the most out of your preparation. We recommend that you:

  • Get feedback on your essays. It is vital that you get your friends, family, tutors and anyone else to read these essays - ask them to provide criticism and suggestions.
  • Critique your own essays. After every essay you write, read it aloud to yourself and listen to see if it makes sense. Try to mark your own essays -use the list below as a useful guide
  • Start gently. Don’t feel the need to write under time pressure from the word go. It’s more important that you develop and improve your essay writing skills before gradually applying realistic time pressure.
  • Type your practice essays. It’s important that you get accustomed to typing your responses. There is no spell-check function in the GAMSAT ® exam , so practise typing responses into word processors without spelling and grammar corrections. You may also need to work on your typing speed. You will still be able to use provided sheets of paper for planning and brainstorming if necessary.
  • Vary the type of essays that you write. You should make sure you try argumentative, personal reflective essays, fictional creative essays , poetry, and any other medium that can work in the GAMSAT ® exam. The GAMSAT ® exam can throw up unexpected prompts that might be difficult to write in a particular style: it’s important to give yourself the flexibility to deal with anything the exam might throw at you.

You can find more detailed GAMSAT ® Section 2 Essay Writing Tips and a Section 2 Reading List on our guide here: How to Prepare for GAMSAT ® Section 2.

Make sure you also sign up for our GAMSAT ® Free Trial to get a wealth of other free GAMSAT ® Resources including a recording of our GAMSAT ® Essay Writing Webinar:

  • 50 Free MCQs
  • Week-By-Week Study Guide
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gamsat essay tips

GAMSAT Essay Qualities

A strong GAMSAT ® essay, no matter what structure you choose, should:

  • Be strongly related to the theme of the prompts. The GAMSAT ® is a test of reasoning skills: Your markers want to see how you think. In order to assess this, they need to see how you have thought about the prompts provided. GAMSAT ® essays that are unrelated give the impression of being ‘pre-written’, and are penalised quite heavily.
  • Be well-written and well-structured. Sentences should be clear and concise. Paragraphs should only contain one main idea. Introductions and conclusions should summarise the essay, and not include any information that you do not analyse in your body paragraphs.
  • Be interesting and original. Rather than simply arguing that the theme of the prompts is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, try to come up with something more specific. For example, for a set of prompts about research, rather than arguing that ‘research is good for the development of society’, you could take a more specific approach and argue that ‘research is a male-dominated field that suppresses female voices’.
  • Include detailed critical analysis. Again, your writers want to see how you think, not ‘what you know’. This means pulling your examples apart in great detail. Ask yourself questions, and answer them in your response. What were the motivations behind it? Was there a driving ideology? What were the consequences? What does this show about human society?

GAMSAT Essay Writing Guide

How do you start writing a gamsat essay.

  • Understand the Theme: Read the quote, identify the main theme, and any other related ideas. Your response needs to engage strongly with this - otherwise your markers cannot reward you.
  • Brainstorm Ideas: Build a bank of ideas. Look over many essay prompts, and try to come up with three supporting examples that could be used for the theme. If you can’t think of any, do some research - current affairs, history, literature - anything that is relevant.
  • Create a Thesis: What is your opinion on the theme? Make it clear, concise, and easy to understand.
  • Choose a Structure: Consider what is most appropriate for the theme and explore your options. You might choose an argumentative response with concrete supporting examples, a more reflective response drawing on your own experience, or a fictional response that allows you to explore emotions and psychology.
  • Plan Body Paragraphs: Each body paragraph needs to support your thesis, and go into detailed critical analysis. Support your thesis by referring back to your central idea at the beginning and end of each paragraph, and throughout your analysis.
  • Be Clear & Succinct: Write in logical and well-phrased sentences that can be easily understood by a marker who will be reading your essay at a fast pace. Long sentences are not necessarily sophisticated sentences. Think of the great speech-makers. They use concise language. Simple writing is often the most powerful.
  • Review your Essay: Review what you have written and ensure it makes sense. Check for typos and errors of grammar and punctuation. You want to give your marker the best impression possible.

For a further breakdown and more tips visit our guide: How to Prepare for GAMSAT ® Section 2.

Is GAMSAT Section 2 written or typed?

After the trial of a digital platform for the March and September GAMSAT ® in 2020, ACER decided that all future exams will be conducted digitally. Thus, GAMSAT ® Section 2 is typed, not written. Note that this change has not impacted the total allocated time, and you will still have 65 minutes to complete the two pieces of writing. However, students are now permitted to write in the 5 minutes that were previously allocated solely for planning.

Many students will be used to completing practice essays by hand, and it is important to tailor your practice to the exam context as closely as possible. Note that on the digital interface of the GAMSAT ® exam, there will be no autocorrect function or ‘copy and paste’ functions. Thus, it is important that when practising, you disable the autocorrect feature as well as any automated correction functions of your writing software. Programs with a simple interface like Notepad (and similar alternatives available online) are recommended.

How long are the essays in GAMSAT?

Another consideration with regards to Section 2 preparation is the paragraph/word count you are expected to reach. 400-600 words per essay has typically been used as a rough estimate of what students should aim to achieve under the previous handwritten condition. In contrast, a reasonably fast typers will be able to reach up to 1000 words in a 30-minute essay. Whilst the emphasis should still be on the quality of your writing and ideas, it is still important to keep in mind that you should be aiming for a longer essay than you would under handwritten conditions.

How to Practice for GAMSAT Essay Writing

  • Get into the practice of typing. Whilst many students may be used to texting or typing out their assignments, typing under time pressure is a different skill altogether. The last thing you want is for your typing speed to limit the amount of content you can produce in the exam. Typing your essays under timed conditions will be the best practice in this regard.
  • Make effective use of planning time. It is much easier to write-out and edit your plan on the digital interface. Whilst you’re now permitted to write during the 5-minute planning time at the start, it is advised that you use this time to plan out your essays and perhaps even write out your topic sentences to keep you on track during the writing process.
  • Practice editing. As with planning, editing essays is much easier on a digital interface than in handwritten conditions. Nonetheless, it is important not to spend large chunks of writing time editing an incomplete essay. It is preferable that you aim to complete your essays a few minutes before the writing time ends so that you have time to edit. When editing, look for simple grammatical mistakes as well as changes to words and sentence structure that can increase the depth and clarity of your ideas. It is also a good idea to assess the flow of your essay, and integrate connecting words (thus, however, therefore, furthermore, etc.) to link your ideas and more clearly explicate the relationship between them.

For more information, check out our GAMSAT ® to Med School Podcast episode which specifically covers GAMSAT ® Section 2 advice and best practices.

GAMSAT Essay Structure

ACER does not provide any guidelines in regards to an essay structure, minimum word count, or how long your GAMSAT ® Section 2 essays should be. However, a maxim that holds true even for the GAMSAT ® Exam is 'quality over quantity'.

The quality of what you write is much more important than the quantity and as such, you should focus on what you write about and your expression and organisation of ideas. A basic guideline to your GAMSAT ® Essay Structure is:

  • An Introduction
  • 3 Body Paragraphs
  • A Conclusion

Note however that this example structure is not necessarily applicable to every type of essay. If you were to write a creative piece, the structure of your GAMSAT ® Essay could certainly be more flexible. The main factor to take into account is how to best organise your ideas to ensure that your arguments are conveyed logically and coherently.You can practise using our Free GAMSAT ® Quote Generator which has over 90 Section 2 essay prompts, covering 40+ themes.

How many words should a GAMSAT essay be?

As mentioned above, a common piece of advice is to aim for about 400-600 words, but the most important point is to focus on the quality of your essay rather than the quantity. If you can express an idea clearly and effectively in fewer words then do it.

For tips on Section 2 of the GAMSAT ® exam, our study guide contains a 14 pg Section 2 Essay Writing Guide. Sign up here: GAMSAT ® Free Trial

For general tips and strategies on how you can prepare for the GAMSAT ® Exam, visit our Guide to GAMSAT ® Preparation.

How do you choose a GAMSAT essay style?

There are many GAMSAT ® essay styles to try, and each have their own advantages, disadvantages, and challenges. The list below is by no means exhaustive but may help provide you with some ideas and styles to trial. You should aim to test different styles and work out what works for you best.

Argumentative Essays

  • Personal Reflective Essays
  • Short Stories

These GAMSAT ® essays follow a basic structure, using an introduction, 2-3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. You will take a strong central opinion, and introduce it in your introduction. Each body paragraph should contain one supporting example, and detailed critical analysis, in order to defend your argument. These essays:

  • Are usually students’ preferred option.
  • Allow you to analyse political and social themes very effectively.
  • Require a good breadth of knowledge in order to provide three supporting examples.
  • Follow a set structure or formula, and can therefore be easier to get the hang of if you are not as comfortable writing.
  • However, argumentative essays can be difficult if the prompts are about something very personal or introspective, for example, ‘love’.
  • They can also make it more difficult to be interesting and original in your response.

Personal reflective essays

These GAMSAT ® essays allow you to demonstrate your emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and empathy. These are vital qualities to demonstrate in the entrance exam for medical school. Try to avoid a hybrid of argumentative and personal styles: personal essays that take three short anecdotes and discuss them in an introduction/three body paragraphs/conclusion structure do not usually come across as sincere.

Taking one, strong personal experience that is related to the theme of the prompts, and analysing it in detail, is a great way to start. Show your marker what you felt and why you felt that way - demonstrate your emotional and psychological analytical skills. These essays:

  • Are an excellent way of being interesting and original: your experience is your own.
  • Make it easier to demonstrate emotional awareness - It is much easier to provide emotional insight into something with which you have personal experience.
  • Can move your marker. Your marker is a human being! Giving them a personal response gives them a connection to you.
  • Are the least challenging of the non-argumentative essays - most students like to start with these essays before branching into more creative writing.
  • However, it can be difficult to write these essays if you have no experience related to the theme of the prompts. Collecting a ‘bank’ of personal experiences that can be used for various themes is a helpful way of knowing whether you can use a personal reflection for a set of prompts.

Short stories

Writing short stories is an excellent way of standing out. They allow you to show emotional and psychological insight, but without having the restraint of personal experience.

In a short story, try to stick within your own realm of experience. A short story does not have to be a Hollywood Blockbuster: often the simplest plots are those that are the most sincere, touching, and effective. Remember that the point of these essays is not to write a dramatic story. It is to demonstrate your social, emotional, or psychological reasoning skills to your marker. These essays:

  • Require practice. Refine your writing style to be simple, sincere, and not far-fetched.
  • Require creativity! Think of creative ways to describe emotions or situations. Avoid cliches in your descriptions.
  • Should deal with one strong central idea that is related to the theme of the prompts.
  • Can produce outstanding marks. Well-written and thoughtful short stories allow you to demonstrate the sophistication of your expression, your originality, and your analytical skills.

GAMSAT Section 2 Essay Topics

Section 2 of the GAMSAT ® Essay consists of two different essays (usually called Task A and Task B), each in response to their own set of stimuli. These prompts are presented as a set of quotes (usually 5), with each set centred around a common theme.

GAMSAT Section 2 Task A Themes:

Gamsat section 2 task b themes:.

  • Originality

GAMSAT Section 2 Questions

Theme: truth.

  • Gossip, as usual, was one-third right and two-thirds wrong. (L.M. Montgomery, Chronicles of Avonlea)
  • The truth is rarely pure and never simple. (Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest)
  • Truth is a matter of the imagination. (Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness)
  • You don't destroy what you want to acquire in the future. (Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay)
  • To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow - this is a human offering that can border on miraculous. (Elizabeth Gilbert, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage)

Theme: Justice

  • Being good is easy, what is difficult is being just. (Victor Hugo)
  • I don't want tea, I want justice! (Ally Carter, Uncommon Criminals)
  • It is better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one. (Voltaire, Zadig)
  • Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it. (William Penn)
  • Keep your language. Love its sounds, its modulation, its rhythm. But try to march together with men of different languages, remote from your own, who wish like you for a more just and human world. (Hélder Câmara, Spiral Of Violence)

You can find further essay topics using this free GAMSAT ® Section 2 Essay Quote Generator:

gamsat essay tips

GAMSAT Section 2 Example Essays

Even with all of the above tips and topics, it can be difficult to start writing without an idea of what a GAMSAT ® Essay should look like. That’s why we’ve decided to provide an example essay below with feedback provided by our tutors to help you make a start on your preparation for Section 2 of the GAMSAT ® Exam.

GAMSAT Section 2 Task A Example Essay

Task a example essay question.

  • Don’t forget your great guns, which are the most respectable argument for the rights of kings. (Frederick the Great)
  • The people are that part of the state that does not know what it wants. (G W F Hegel)
  • Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything. (Joseph Stalin)
  • Win or lose, we go shopping after the election. (Imelda Marcos)
  • Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms which have been tried from time to time. (Winston Churchill)

Task A Example Essay: Medium Standard Essay

  • The people are lead to believe that their votes decide the power, however the real power resides with those who count the votes. Whether the power is attained by corruption or manipulation, the people have little say even what they try to stage a backlash. Examples of corruption aren’t hard to find, but the frustrating case of Robert Mugabe is a strong example. Constant broken pre-election promises try to manipulate the people even at a staged constituency. Time and again tyrants pop up to demonstrate clearly how compromised the electoral process can sometimes become.
  • The strings of bad decisions made by Robert Mugabe have devastated Zimbabwe, whilst somehow benefiting him and his family. In 200 President Mugabe enacted the removal of white ownership of farmland. His plan was to give the land to the native Zimbabwean’s to make them more successful and therefor give them more of the power. This was an important promise and made him very popular with his countrymen. During the crossover period, Mugabe’s family ended up with 39 farms, with the rest going to un-experienced Zimbabweans. The result was a complete slump in food production and in return a failing economy for Zimbabwe, forcing them to abandon their currency in 2009. Ironically the white farmers had been very effective in their farming and had bolstered the economy. In the 2010 election, despite being generally despised by many Zimbabweans, Robert Mugabe won another term by a giant 60% of the votes. It seems unlikely he would win reelection given the circumstances. Corruption among the voting officials who were under the control of Mugabe is suspected but few are willing to question his authority.
  • It’s partially expected by citizens of democratic countries that pre-election promises are seldom kept. However when a candidate is making promises that would highly benefit you and your community, it’s hard not to jump on their bandwagon. In the 2013 election, the Labor party promised millions to rural communities to fund different community projects which would have provided stimulation for their economy. However since winning the election and releasing the budget, those promises have been revoked in order to cut costs. Resulting in thousands of rural citizens feeling manipulated by false promises made by the Labor party.
  • Most recently in WA, an alleged 1800 people have voted multiple times at different polling stations in the 2013 election. Before this, thousands of votes had believed to have simply vanished so a new election was to be held, but in light of this new information an additional investigation is being held. This is an example of the people trying to take back the power. Although it is illegal, most would not consider it to be any less morally wrong than corruption or manipulation especially on a huge scales such as the examples of Robert Mugabe and the Labor party. Voting is only a human invention, and it can be easily manipulated just like any other human invention.
  • Tactics of politics are harsh. With emotional and physical tries to power, its not a surprise that votes feel the need to use the same tactics in order to win back the power. Examples can be found all over the globe with Zimbabwe and Australia just scratching the surface. In the words of Joseph Stalin – “Those who cast the votes deiced nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.”

Task A Example Essay Correction and Feedback

  • This is a well-written essay and appears to make a sound argument by incorporating some well-informed examples.
  • There is no major flaw with the written expression in this essay. While sentences in some cases can be shortened and written in a more direct manner, this is not a major criticism of the essay. There are, however, multiple small errors: ‘people are lead to believe’ should be ‘people are led to believe’; ‘the people have little say even what they try to stage a backlash’ should be ‘the people have little say even when they try to stage a backlash’, amongst others. Whilst these are small details, it’s important to give your marker a strong impression of the quality of your written expression.
  • The structure of the essay also follows the basic argumentative essay structure. One of the main issues that prevents this essay from receiving a higher mark is that the quote that the writer has selected is not compatible with the second example that they have provided. This example talks about a political party changing its tune after an election. It is not clear how it furthers the argument that the electoral process itself is compromised in some way. In argumentative essays, every supporting example should be defending and strengthening the thesis. Irrelevant examples and analysis is very difficult for a marker to reward. In fact, they can actually weaken, rather than strengthen, an argument, as they distract the reader from the central idea.
  • The content of this essay appears informed. The writer, however, has made a crucial mistake in saying that the Labour party won the 2013 election. It was the Liberal party. If this mistake were made once in the text it could be dismissed as a typographical error under the time pressure; however, it is repeated.
  • This essay could also go to a more sophisticated level of critical analysis. The details of the examples could be teased out to further support the central example. For example, in the third body paragraph, what are the consequences of these votes being ‘lost’? Democracy is being compromised and people’s votes are being silenced: imagine living in a country where voting is compulsory, yet your vote is not counted. Is this a betrayal of the people? How is it an example of the people trying to take back power? Perhaps because they are demanding accountability from their democratic government. Is this, in itself, promising? Namely, whilst voting is open to corruption, in a true democracy, the people have a right to freedom of speech and to transparency of government. Does the true spirit of democracy, then, help to defeat the possible corruption of the voting process?
  • Going into this level of detail would demonstrate stronger reasoning skills. Markers want to see how a candidate thinks, and how deeply they think - not simply ‘what they know’.
  • This essay is quite good, and it has chosen a challenging argument to present. However, it can be improved by a better selection of content that goes directly to the argument that the writer is trying to make.

GAMSAT Section 2 Task B Example Essay

Task b example essay question.

  • Creativity is the defeat of habit by originality. (Arthur Koestler)
  • Create like a god; command like a king; work like a slave. (Constantin Brancusi)
  • Truth and reality in art do not arise until you no longer understand what you are doing. (Henri Matisse)
  • You are lost the instant you know what the result will be. (Juan Gris)
  • An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail. (Edwin Land)

Task B Example Essay - High Standard Essay

  • Creation is a power no mortal man should be gifted with. And it’s exactly that. A gift. It can give rise to ugly life forms capable of destruction yet it can also wondrously design and improve our small insignificant lives. A gift not bestowed upon me and perhaps for good reason.
  • The power of creation is given to those who sit on the outskirts of our society, like outcasts and the insane. These poor souls, if poor is the best fitting word, let their minds wander aimlessly and ironically discover and churn out fantastical and absurd ideas. How blissful.
  • Desperation summons creative too. When we are pushed to the extremes and our normal ways fail, new ideas spawn almost spontaneously. When there is no other option but to be creative, we find ourselves stumble upon the new and the amazing.
  • Regardless, there is a very good reason being creative is not easy. It's not for everyone. Chaos would conspire. Creativity is power. Power corrupts the mind. Corruption is fatal. But just for a minute, let's indulge and pretend we possessed the power of creation. What to do? What should I create? I would not create equality amongst equality amongst race or world peace or a cure for aids. That’s not out of the hexagon enough for me. It's not that I do not support world peace or todays real issues, but someone with a smaller capacity for creation can do that. A child. A dying war veteran. I’m going to create something unfathomable. It's my duty, my unspoken agreement to create something for more unimaginable. Good or evil? Black or white? The answers to these questions are never easy.
  • Who knows. Let drugs and hallucinogens do their work there. Because I can’t create anything of such a nature. I’m skin and bone. Not god. Not even a demi-god. I’m not burdened by the gift of creation. But god knows someone is. What a frustration to wait for the day they realize, what a terror to see what follows.

Task B Example Essay Correction and Feedback

  • This essay is challenging and different. The written expression in this essay, whilst simple, is powerful. It can be read as a form of dramatic monologue and the writer has carefully selected each word and sentence length to ensure that the essay is read in a dramatic tone. It resembles speeches by accomplished orators: simple and moving. The purpose of many essays is to convince the reader. It is much easier to convince someone if they can understand it; even easier to convince someone if they are moved by it.
  • The structure of this essay is almost similar to a free verse poem in that there is no real structure; however, there is cohesion between paragraphs. The writer’s ideas on the issue are easy to follow.
  • This essay is considered a high standard mainly because of the content and the original perspective on the theme. The writer reflects upon what creativity is, but in a way that is not often executed by students under strict exam conditions.
  • Each paragraph of the essay covers a different twist on what creativity means. It challenges the reader to consider the writer’s opinions and stands out from other essays. Also note that although this essay is a high standard response, the length of the response is much shorter than the other examples. This is a good demonstration of how quality is more important than quantity.
  • As with every essay, however, there are aspects that could be improved.
  • There are simple errors throughout: these detract from the writer’s otherwise powerful and strong sense of voice.
  • One other important way in which this essay could improve would be to have a stronger central idea. The essay clearly focussed on creativity, and different interpretations of it. However, unifying the essay behind one perspective, such as the danger of creativity, could make this response more effective.

Make sure to also sign up to our GAMSAT ® Free Trial to watch a recording of our GAMSAT ® Essay Writing Workshop! Check out the 10 minute excerpt below:

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How to prepare for GAMSAT ® Section 1

An overview of what to expect in Section 1 of the GAMSAT ® Exam, how to prepare.

How to prepare for GAMSAT ® Section 2

An overview of what to expect in Section 2 of the GAMSAT ® Exam, how to prepare and how to perfect your essay technique.

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How to write a gamsat essay.

Section II of GAMSAT can be a challenging section for those who are unprepared. The section requires the candidate to write two complete essays in 60 minutes. Instead of the luxury of simply picking answers from MCQ options, Section II presents candidates with the challenge of synthesising a novel response in the shape of a formal essay. More challenging is that the candidate does not know what the topic will be, and the fact that there are two essays that need to be typed.

Writing strong GAMSAT essays requires sophisticated skills in two domains: essay structure and composition, and content. The importance of these two proficiencies is emphasised officially by ACER. Assessment focuses on the way in which ideas are integrated into a thoughtful response to the task.

Control of language (grammatical structure and expression) is an integral component of a good piece of writing. However, it is only assessed insofar as it contributes to the overall effectiveness of the response to the task and not in isolation. Candidates are not assessed on the ‘correctness’ of the ideas or attitudes they display. It is therefore important to consider the structure and content components of essay-writing before reviewing the essays.

Structure refers to everything outside of the content or ideas expressed in the essay. This includes the style of essay (e.g., argumentative versus expository), paragraph structures, transitions, phrasing, and vocabulary. The aim of the candidate is to build this structure during their preparation, and to practice refining it so that it becomes second nature. This structure may be referred to as the candidate’s essay template and is reproduced for every essay written. The purpose of the essay template is to streamline the process of delivering the content under exam conditions. Getting this right will mean the candidate wastes zero time thinking about how to express themselves and will also make the essay a joy to read for the examiner.

Content refers to the ideas that the candidate produces in response to the stimulus topic. This requires existing knowledge, and supplementation of that knowledge to develop sophistication. In responding to most topics, the candidate cannot hope to know enough about the topic to score well without doing some elementary research for each. It is therefore recommended that candidates research a pre-determined list of topics prior to their exam. Once the candidate possesses this knowledge, and their essay template is refined, the task in the actual exam is to combine the two in response to the exam topic.

The best way to develop your essay template and knowledge of content is to write many essays under exam conditions. Once each essay exercise is complete, it is important to seek formal feedback and then to refine the essay. This method provides the following benefits:

  • Candidates gain experience writing essays under timed conditions
  • Candidates gain experience using their essay template in the context of an exam
  • Candidates gain exposure to many different essay topics, and the examination will test their existing knowledge of what is known, highlighting areas of deficiency
  • Candidates can refine their essay based on objective feedback with the process of improving both their approach and knowledge of the essay topic
  • Candidates who write 50+ essays can virtually secure themselves a 70+ in Section II if they do the work

Writing these essays can be self-directed or guided through a formal GAMSAT program , like those offered by the Institute of Medical Education. You can also try our GAMSAT Essay Writing Quote Generator   to help improve your writing, which provides 68 essay themes with example arguments against each prompt. Contact the Institute of Medical Education today — our qualified team of university-trained academics can appraise and provide essay feedback, helping you develop a well-rounded piece of writing. 

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Gamsat section 2: written communication, discover our gamsat preparation courses today, hesitant about gamsat.

Section 2 of the GAMSAT is one-of-a-kind and stands in stark contrast to its counterparts!

Unlike GAMSAT Section 1 and Section 3 , the written communication section requires you to create a response to a quote set rather than answer specific questions. In the previous article in this series, we discussed the nature and purpose of Section 1 , stating that in order to achieve a high score in Section 1 of the GAMSAT, it is important to understand its purpose.

Specifically, the article mentioned that Section 1 tests a candidate’s ability to listen and comprehend a patient’s perspective. In this article about Section 2 preparation , we will continue to develop this analogy, commenting on the purpose of Section 2, and what this means for GAMSAT Section 2 essay preparation. 

What is GAMSAT Section 2?

The Written Communication segment assesses an individual's capacity to create and elaborate on ideas through writing. This segment comprises two 30-minute writing assignments. Each task presents four statements centered around a shared topic.

How is section 2 essay marked?

ACER in its booklets says that the Section 2 essays will be evaluated on the basis of:

  •   Thought and Content (the quality of what is said) 
  •  What is made of and developed from the task 
  • The kinds of thoughts offered in response to the task 
  • Organisation and Expression (the quality of the structure developed and language used) 
  • The shape and form of the piece 
  • The effectiveness and fluency of the language

What To Expect From GAMSAT Section 2?

As of the 2023 GAMSAT, Section 2 comprises two distinct writing tasks: Task A and Task B. Each of these tasks presents you with a set of four short quotes that revolve around a shared theme. Interestingly, the authors of these quotes are not disclosed, leaving you to grapple with the essence of the quotes without the influence of the author's reputation or background.

When considering how to distribute your time effectively, a frequently offered suggestion is as follows:

  • Allocate 5 minutes for planning
  • Dedicate 25 minutes for writing
  • Reserve 5 minutes for reviewing

This time allocation is designed to align with the 65-minute total duration for Section 2. The remaining 5 minutes serve as a buffer, giving you some wiggle room should any of these tasks take longer than expected.

Planning is a critical element for achieving a high score, and while we generally recommend dedicating 5 minutes to it, this isn't a one-size-fits-all rule. If you find Task A more challenging than Task B, or vice versa, you might consider using some of your buffer time to extend your planning or writing phase for that particular task.

However, be cautious; time in this section is highly limited. Writing an essay in approximately 25 minutes is a significant challenge for most GAMSAT candidates and requires a focused, efficient approach.

What Is The Purpose Of GAMSAT Section 2?

In the previous article in this series, we mentioned that the medical journey begins at the patient’s bedside, where you listen to the story of their lifestyle and disease to draw critical diagnostic conclusions about their circumstances. We further mentioned that this is the skillset emulated, and tested by Section 1 of the GAMSAT exam .

Communication in Medical Practice:

Moving on to Section 2 - once you have listened to the patient’s concerns, the next step is communication. In the medical field, communication is everything! 

Often the situation that the patients find themselves in is complex and multifactorial - it is the medical staff’s job to empathise, and explain the technicalities of the illness, as well as the treatment, to the patient. This is a difficult task as doctors often have to reach a precarious compromise between the interests of various specialists, as well as respecting the patient’s lifestyle priorities.

GAMSAT Section 2 Essay Perspective:

This is exactly what Section 2 Task A and Task B are attempting to re-create. GAMSAT essays for Section 2 are written in response to Section 2 quote sets . These quotes represent various perspectives on a given theme. This will be the case in your future medical practice, where you must aim to consider all the opinions presented by the quote set, and reconcile them within the time limit, with as much clarity as possible. And this will be the case in your future medical practice, the choice of style and formatting, is left largely up to you. Having said this, however, here is a brief guide to Section 2 preparation .

How to Prepare for GAMSAT Section 2

Establishing a strong foundation.

Begin your GAMSAT Section 2 preparation by diving headfirst into essay practice. The sooner you start, the more strategic advantage you'll gain. 

Instead of sticking to what you already know, broaden your intellectual horizons by exploring a diverse range of subjects. This will not only enrich your perspective but also ignite a creative spark that will prove invaluable for generating unique and compelling essay ideas.

Enhancing the Writing Process and Feedback Loop

Once you've laid a strong foundation, the next step is to optimize your writing process. Create a systematic approach that ensures each essay is well-structured and coherently developed. 

But don't stop there—actively seek out feedback from those around you, be it peers, family, or even professionals in the field. Take constructive criticism to heart; it's an invaluable tool for refining your skills and producing essays that not only meet but exceed the GAMSAT Section 2 requirements.

To give you a practical sense of what high-scoring essays look like, we've gathered a collection of sample essays with scores ranging from 50 to 80+ .

Practical Simulation for Exam Success

As the exam date approaches, practice under timed conditions to replicate real testing scenarios. This is a pivotal element for achieving success and should not be overlooked.

For those looking for a more structured approach to preparing for Section 2, including tips on theme identification, research, and writing style, check out our comprehensive resource: GAMSAT Section 2 Study | Where & How to Begin .

What Are The Common GAMSAT Section 2 Themes?

ACER has explicitly stated that both Task A and Task B in GAMSAT Section 2 revolve around overarching themes. According to Fraser’s GAMSAT analysis, Task A mainly zeroes in on socio-cultural issues, often navigating the 'inter-personal' realm—this includes laws, religions, economics, and social narratives. Conversely, Task B skews more towards the 'intra-personal,' emphasizing individual aspects like emotions, cognitive states, and the lived experience.

Balancing Quotes and Themes

Many GAMSAT candidates tunnel-vision on the individual quotes, neglecting the overarching theme, or vice versa. Striking a balance between these two aspects is crucial, as GAMSAT Section 2 marking rewards essays that describe the complexity expressed by the individual quotes, within the context of the overall theme.

Recommended Steps for Preparation

A good first step in your Section 2 preparation is to have a look at Fraser’s GAMSAT Section 2: Frequently Asked Questions . This article focuses on clearing the air of confusion for a lot of students who are sitting the GAMSAT and additionally, comprises a range of useful tips to approach the GAMSAT Section 2 Essay. We also strongly recommend you to take a look at our Section 2 quote generator as a resource for GAMSAT Section 2 practice questions - that is, attempt to interpret the quote sets prior to clicking to reveal the theme.

Following your interpretation, set the timer and write a GAMSAT essay style guide for GAMSAT Section 2 . Make sure to review your work with your fellow exam candidates after you have completed the piece - the review process is the most important step in improving your essay!

Choosing the Right Writing Style for GAMSAT Section 2

Ultimately, it is up to the candidate as to how to format their GAMSAT Section 2 essay . It is important to bear in mind that the marking criteria and purpose of a GAMSAT Section 2 essay remain consistent regardless of the style of writing a candidate chooses to pursue. Returning once more to our medical analogue - as a medical student, you would not try to communicate with a patient through the medium of a poem, or a creative story.

This is why we advocate for an argumentative/analytical/expository style of writing, which is the safest and most reliable method of Section 2 communication. 

An argumentative essay consists of contention, two to three body paragraphs (each with individual arguments) and a conclusion that directs the reader to the ultimate implication of your written work. This isn’t to say that writing an argumentative-style essay is gospel and thus gives you a high GAMSAT score . Instead, this format is for everyone to have experience writing. Ultimately, it is important to explore and write about ideas that you understand, in a communication style with which you have confidence.

The Dangers of Misaligned Style and Content

It is very obvious to a GAMSAT essay marker when a student attempts to discuss a theme they do not fully comprehend or replicate a prescribed style they have not mastered. This category of GAMSAT students is heavily penalised. 

Nevertheless, it is not impossible to achieve top marks with written pieces exploring unorthodox formats. If you have extensive experience in the creative writing field, try experimenting with monologues, narratives or even poetry (ensuring that you complement it with a thorough discussion of your point or argument – not to be confused with an analysis of the poem you wrote ) .

If any of these styles permit a clear, and sophisticated discussion of themes and perspectives, then Section 2 essay marking will reward you with a high GAMSAT score . 

Importance of Projecting Positive Values in your Essay

Regardless of which writing style you employ, you should endeavour to explore positive values (such as fairness, equality or hopefulness) of the future, especially if you’re discussing the bleaker aspects of humanity. Essentially, having polarity within your argument conveys a worldly perspective and in some ways adds depth and character to your essay.

To this end, Matt Keyter, a lead GAMSAT humanities tutor at Fraser’s advises that “Being bleak about the human species and misanthropic about the future doesn’t bode well in any essay rhetoric.” After all, the GAMSAT essay markers are selecting the next generation of doctors, so consider which values you wish to convey to your audience!

In order for candidates to get a better understanding of the style, and substance of GAMSAT Section 2, Fraser’s GAMSAT has put together a set of GAMSAT Section 2 example essays , demonstrating the standard of writing to achieve a range of Section 2 scores. 

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Where To From Here? 

If you are interested in further improving section 2, check out these free resources, how to structure a section 2 essay.

Perfecting a Section 2 Essay Introduction

Section 2 Essay - Style Guide

Section 2 FAQ

Check out the next articles in this series!

GAMSAT Section 1 Vocabulary Tool

GAMSAT Section 3 Question Log

For general GAMSAT news and updates, check out the articles below!

What is the GAMSAT?

How Hard is the GAMSAT?

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GAMSAT Section 2 Strategies

GAMSAT Section 2 Strategies

GAMSAT Section 2 Strategies - Find Out Now!

From: Kim Re: GAMSAT Section 2 Strategies

gamsat section 2 strategies

1. Practice

Writing is a skill that is developed over time. With practice, your brain becomes more accustomed to formulating and articulating arguments under time pressure such that your writing skills improve. Do not leave section 2 until the week before!

2. Read widely

Given the multitude of possible themes for section 2, it is important that you build your knowledge base. Read about a variety of topics ranging from politics to global warming to fiction novels to ensure that you have a large bank of ideas to fall back on.

3. Plan your essay

Before you start writing, decide upon a thesis for your essay and plan the content of your paragraphs. This will prevent you from any nervous waffling that could confuse your reader and lower your GAMSAT score.

Click below for some very helpful, Free GAMSAT Essay Tips!

GAMSAT Section 2 Essay Tips – Click Here To Access Now!

4. Use a title

Better yet, utilise a captivating title. Let the reader know that you’ve correctly identified the theme and that your essay will be more interesting than the thousands that they’ve read before yours.

5. Structure

A popular structure is introduction, argument, counterargument, synthesis and conclusion. However, any logical structure is fine provided that it assists the reader in understanding your essay. There is no gold standard. Simply choose one that works for you.

If you’re looking to learn Section 2 GAMSAT Essay Topics , then click below now

Free Access To Our GAMSAT Section 2 Essay Topics – Click Here!

6. Evidence

The best arguments are always backed by evidence. Each paragraph should have at least one example that demonstrates why a particular idea is correct. However, don’t waste your time memorising statistics. The fact that WWI started in 1914 rather than 1915 will not dramatically impact your essay.

7. Be succinct

One hour, two essays: there’s no time to waste. If you’ve made your argument and supported it with evidence, move on.

Correct usage of grammar, punctuation and spelling is essential. Extensive errors are distracting for the reader and your GAMSAT score will suffer accordingly.

9. Write clearly

Ensure that your handwriting is legible. If it can’t be read, it can’t be marked. In any case, it’s good practice for when you get to write your own scripts!

Do you need GAMSAT Section 2 Help? Click below now!

GAMSAT Section 2 Help! Click Here To Access Now 

Some Commonly Asked GAMSAT Questions

What do I bring to the GAMSAT

Basically, the only items permitted into the GAMSAT exam are:

  • Printed GAMSAT admission ticket
  • Acceptable current and photo-bearing identification document
  • Pencils (medium soft No.2 or HV recommended)
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Pens (blue or black ink)
  • A clear bottle of drinking water (no labels attached)
  • Those who are sitting the exam may also wear an analogue wristwatch but may not use any alarm or stopwatch feature as these must be switched off. Digital watched and smart are prohibited.

There will be clocks provided in the test room. All other items are prohibited and will be considered an act of misconduct.

These include:

  • Calculators
  • Stopwatches
  • Audio or recording devices of any kind
  • Digital watches
  • Smart watches
  • Pencil cases
  • Coloured pens/pencils
  • Highlighters

Personal items such as mobile phone, snacks etc will only be able to be accessed from your bag in your lunch break. Candidates are encouraged to wear layers to adjust to temperature in the exam.

If you have a disability or a medical condition that might adhere to you sitting the test, you will need to apply for a Reasonable Adjustment through your online account.  Check out the ACER website for guidelines if you need to bring a bilingual dictionary.

How Difficult Is The GAMSAT ?

Those who have sat the exam previously would agree that yes, the exam can be quite difficult, however, there isn’t really an answer to the question as it will range from person to person! It will depend on your strengths and weaknesses and above all, how much you have prepared for the exam. For those whose strong points are not in writing, structuring an essay may be the most difficult and acquiring enough scientific knowledge for Section I might be more challenging for those who do not have a background in science.

The GAMSAT can be hard for others to stay awake for the 5 and half hour test. This is spread out over the whole day so it generally can take up to 9 hours all up. If you’ve never sat such a long test, this part may seem difficult to you.

For most, the actual STUDYING component for the GAMSAT is the most difficult part about getting into medical school and not the actual exam itself! If you would like an idea of how difficult the exam is, doing practice papers can give you a general idea.

Why Is The GAMSAT So Hard ?

There is no correct answer to this question. Different people will find aspects of the GAMSAT more difficult than others and some may find the whole experience more challenging.  For example, in Section I, there is a lot of reading, which may be the most stressful for those who are slow readers. Candidates are required to write two essays within an hour, which can seem somewhat difficult for those whose writing is not their strong points!

Graphs, diagrams, tables, text passages and a variety of other information is in Section III. Another way that the GAMSAT could be considered hard is that fact that the test is 5 and half hours. The GAMSAT can be hard for others to stay awake for the 5 and half hour test.

This is spread out over the whole day so it generally can take up to 9 hours all up. If you’ve never sat such a long test, this part may seem difficult to you.

Please note: all emotions, fear, doubt excitement, anxiety, determination are normal. To overcome these obstacles, there is really one thing that will help the most: practice!

How Does The GAMSAT Work ?

The Graduate Medical School Admissions Test or the GAMSAT is prerequisite test run by ACER for the admission into dental and medical schools.It is designed to evaluate students abilities and skills through the use of concepts in basic science and general skills in problem solving, critical thinking and writing.The test is offered twice a year in March and September in Australia, UK, Ireland and selected international locations.

Those sitting the GAMSAT are encouraged to begin studying a few months prior to the exam and to practice as many tests as possible!

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How to master section ii of the gamsat.

GAMSAT – Some tips from GEMS

You may be interested in checking out the 2023-2024 GAMSAT Section 1 Preparation: Learn Skills and Strategies, 1200 Practice Questions with Helpful Solutions

As mentioned in one of our previous posts, Chloe and I are studying graduate entry medicine (GEM) here in UCD . We did not enter medicine via the traditional leaving cert route therefore we often get asked for our tips on how to get into GEM so we decided to put together a little information on GEM entry and also some (hopefully!) helpful tips.

image (1)

There are two entry requirements for European students to apply for graduate Entry Medicine (GEM) in Ireland. You must have a minimum 2:1 honours bachelor degree (NFQ Level 8) from a third level institute (this can be in any field) and you also must sit the GAMSAT exam.

The GAMSAT exam takes place twice a year, once in Ireland (in March), and once in the UK (in September). If you sit the exam in the UK you can use your score to apply for GEM in Ireland, and vice-versa. Many applicants will sit the exam more than once so don’t worry if you are not happy with your initial score. Your GAMSAT score is valid for two years.

So what’s involved in the exam?

The exam itself consists of three parts. The first section concerns reasoning in humanities and social sciences. This section will have passages from English Comprehensions, plays and poems. These will often have 4 or 5 questions attached, which are of a multiple choice format, with four alternative answers. There are also visual stimuli such as short cartoons and thought provoking images. There are also transcripts from consultations between doctors and patients. There are 75 questions in this section and you have 100 minutes to complete it, as well as 10 minutes reading time at the start where you are not permitted to write.

The second section is the essay section where you have 1 hour to write two essays, with 5 minutes reading time. For each essay you will be given 6 quotes which cover a general idea and you must respond to one or more of them. The first essay is argumentative while the second is more personal.

The third section is the science section which covers Biology, Chemistry and Physics. There are 110 multiple choice questions (MCQ). Physics makes up 20% of this section, while Biology and Chemistry account for 40% each. Both Biology and Chemistry correspond to 1 st year university level, while the Physics questions are of Leaving Certificate Standard. You will have 170 minutes to complete this section and there is 10 minutes reading time at the start.

The exam itself is long and tough so we thought we’d help you out and share some tips for studying and sitting the exam. Our classmates are from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds and we’ve included some of their tips too.


First Tip: You need to study for this exam! Unlike the HPAT exam used for Undergraduate entry, factual recall is required, especially for sections 2 and 3.

Second Tip: Do practice exams! Timing is everything in this exam and if you are not prepared you will miss out on some questions. Also check your answers at the end and try to work out where you went wrong. Similar questions to those in the practice tests will come up on the exam. The GAMSAT Gold channel on YouTube is a great free resource that works through the answers for the Acer practice question books.

If you only pay attention to two tips in this post make sure it’s these two!!

The main way that we would advise to study for section 1 is to do as many practice questions as possible to get used to the style of prose and the type of questions.

It’s also a good idea to learn the meaning of some literary terms such as simile, metaphor, allegory and hyperbole, so you are not caught out by them on the day.

Section 2 is a great place to pick up marks. You will need to practice your timing for these essays as they are each worth the same amount of marks so having a great argumentative essay is no good if you only leave yourself 15 minutes to do your second essay!

Know how to structure argumentative and personal essays. There are some great free online resources and templates to help you with this. The GAMSAT website also gives a guide on what they are looking for in these essays.

Become familiar with quotes and how to interpret them. There is a very broad range of topics that can come up and there is no real way to predict what will come up on this years paper. The first paper tends to be somewhat related to current affairs so it’s a good idea to watch the news and read papers in the weeks before the exam.

What our classmates say!

  • Don’t underestimate these essays and forget to study for them. You can up your score if you do well in them.
  • TEDtalks are a great resource for topics for essays and you can find loads of these online. They are also an interesting and enjoyable way to study!
  • Get “The Meaning of Things” by AC Grayling. It covers lots of different essay topics and also has lots of quotes that are useful to learn and reproduce in your essays.
  • Set your browser homepage to The Irish Times, or RTE, or BBC or whatever news source you prefer so that you can find useful articles. You can also follow their pages on Facebook or Twitter so you are getting updates on a regular basis.

Section 3 is the one that people worry most about, particularly if they are not coming from a science background but it is important that you don’t focus all your time and energy on it and forget about the other two sections. Section 3 is worth 50% of the exam so it is important but if you don’t do exceptionally well you can still bring up your score with sections 1 and 2.

Some people spend a lot of money on resources but can find lots of free information online. You can also get some great books second hand, such as physics or chemistry for dummies.

I found the ChemGuy videos really useful and these are on youtube. They aren’t in order though but you can make a small donation ($5 or $10) to his website and he will email you the ordered list of videos. These cover both organic and inorganic chemistry.

  • Don’t stress out too much if you don’t have a science background. It is possible to study for this section and do really well.
  • You don’t need to spend a lot of money on resources, look around in second hand shops and online for books like “Physics for Dummies”.
  • Look for GAMSAT pages on facebook. They will sometimes run webinars on the different sections and go through and explain some of the questions. This is particularly helpful for physics and chemistry if you’re not sure why a particular answer is the correct one

They also had some general tips on studying, and for the exam itself.

  • If you are sitting the exam while in your final year, don’t focus all your attention on it. A great GAMSAT is no use to you if you don’t get a 2.1. You can repeat the GAMSAT but you can’t repeat your degree.
  • If you have to do GAMSAT in final year try and do it in the UK September rather than March in Ireland. You will be less stressed and will have more time to study for your final exams at the end of the college year.

(That said, many people in our class sat GAMSAT in March of final year and did really well in both their degree and GAMSAT. When and where you opt to sit the exam is a personal choice but maybe bear this in mind when you are making your decision!)

  • Don’t worry if you are not happy with your first score. You can sit the GAMSAT more than once and only your best score is counted.
  • No more than with any other exam, make sure you look after yourself in the run up to it. Eat well and get plenty of sleep as the day of the exam is long and you won’t want to burn out halfway through.
  • If you are sitting the exam somewhere you are unfamiliar with get there the night before and plan how you will get to the venue the next morning. You will be stressed enough on the morning without having to worry about being late or getting lost.
  • Feed yourself!! We’ve mentioned it once or twice already but it bears repeating – the exam (and the day itself) is long and tough. Bring a good lunch with you and sneak snacks into the exam! I ate about three packs of polos. Caffeine tablets are also great as you will find your energy waning.
  • It is a good tip to live by ‘GAMSAT time’ if you can for the week beforehand i.e. Try to get up at the time you’ll have to on the day of the exam and only to eat when you’re going to get a break. It’s a long day and the last thing you want is to be a zombie because of a wake-up time that you’re not accustomed to, or having your stomach rumbling and distracting you because you’re used to eating elevenses or a mid-afternoon snack.
  • Don’t talk to anyone!! Listening to how other people answered their essays or how they interpreted certain questions is not going to help you out at all so steer clear during the breaks.
  • Don’t waste time on questions you don’t know the answer to. Pick any answer and move on.
  • The exam is graded on a bell curve and some questions carry more weight than others. So a question that very few people get right will be worth more marks than one that a lot of people get right.
  • Don’t feel like you have to start at question one and work your way through. From practice tests I found that I did best on the questions based on excerpts from novels so I did these questions first. In the science section I answered all the biology questions as they were the ones I was most confident on and the ones that I knew would take me the least time.
  • Utilise your reading time. You’re not allowed to write anything but that doesn’t mean you can’t have the answers ready to mark down once you are permitted to pick up your pencil. I used the time to flick through the booklet and mark the corners of pages with questions I found I did best on in practice tests. This only took a minute or two and then I had time to read through a couple of the comprehensions so when reading time was finished I had about 6 answers ready to mark down straight away.
  • The physics section is quite small so if you can’t wrap your head around the questions don’t worry too much. Have a look at them and try to work them out but if it’s not making sense just mark an answer and move on.

Hopefully some of these tips will be useful! Best of Luck!!

More information on the GAMSAT exam itself can be found at http://www.gamsat-ie.org .

Further information on GEM programme at UCD can be found at http://www.ucd.ie/medicine/studywithus/undergraduatecourses/graduateentrymedicine/

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Emma Kate's.png

  • Apr 2, 2020
  • 12 min read

5 Tips for writing a great GAMSAT essay

gamsat essay tips

For me the pivotal moment in my GAMSAT game came when I visited my best friend who was in second year medicine at Deakin down in Geelong at his mid semester test part on a Monday night. We went to Beav's bar for a few beverages and I met so many of his awesome med school friends. One of them knew I had been struggling with the GAMSAT and asked me how I was going and what my approach was for next time. She told me she had come from a nursing background and she wasn't too great with section 3 either. What she told me next changed everything for me.

She said she focused on her strengths to get into medical school - she concentrated on her essays!

This literally blew my mind as I'd never heard anybody say this before (mind you not a lot of people were open about their GAMSAT experience back then either) I had always been told to focus on weaknesses and turn them into a strengths, a tactic that hadn't worked for 5 years already.

So I decided to give this new advice a try and see if it worked for me - and it did! I got high enough section 2 scores to pull up my crappy section 3 score enough to finally get an interview and eventually into medical school at my top preference school Deakin!

Here are a few essay tips I used to improve my score in the last two out of seven years of sitting the GAMSAT (the last two years I got scores high enough to land interviews)

This advice is still valid for anybody trying to improve their essay even if they are not their strength for the GAMSAT!

1. Understand what section 2 is actually for - be yourself

Section 2 is the only time to show who you are, what you are about, the characteristics that will make you a good doctor and some of your personality!


The examiners are reading these essay trying to decide from what you have written "will this candidate make a good medical students and doctor?"

So what do you need to show them to prove you will be a good doctor?

Good communication skills

If at any point in your essay your examiner has to GUESS what you mean or what you are thinking with ANY of your statements - you've lost huge marks

A doctor can not communicate with their patients or peers by letting them GUESS what they mean or fill in any blanks - that could be a life threatening miscommunication!

You need to be EXPLICITLY CLEAR with every single point you put on your page.

Don't ever put a single idea or sentence on that page if it isn't fully explained or has an example to back it up.

This can be a hard habit to change. When we read our essay back to ourselves we often read it under the same context in our heads that we just wrote it in. So we automatically fill in any blanks we have left and glaze over the fact that there are parts missing to link our thoughts up or make it clear to anybody reading it from outside our own heads.

To begin fixing this issue find a friend who will read your essays for you, swap essays and mark each others HARSHLY (but kindly). You would rather your friend mark harshly now then your examiner on test day. Alternatively rather than a friend find someone on paging doctor that you can rip to shreds and not worry about your friendship lasting through the ordeal - you'd rather them be brutal about your writing to help you to improve rather than sugar coat it and then the examiner giving you a low mark because your feelings were spared instead of your writing improving - trust me!

This way you can read each others and highlight and sentences or phrases that are not FULLY EXPLAINED and brainstorm ways to help them better and more clear. Helping each other improve your unexplained parts helps you both improve your writing and communication in the process.

Doing this with someone else not only helps you see the parts in your own essay you previously missed, but you now also gain a lot of ideas and view points from your friend that you might not have considered before. Letting you enter the exam with double the ammunition you had alone.

I did this with my friend Athol, we spent months swapping out essay and thoroughly going over them together and re-writting them together until they were undeniably better. Both or us agree our writing has never been the same since. Our thinking and verbal communication has greatly improved since as well.

It can be hard looking at your own essays and admitting to yourself "I didn't do well enough in this part and I should take the time to reflect on this and then fix it" it takes time we feel we don't have, training and humility for many of us to be able to do that. Many of us start this process wanting to argue that we are right and its obvious what we mean - but the faster you accept that you need to improve the faster you can actually improve and reach that better score!

Try reading your essays as if you were a younger person or just someone with absolutely no experience what so ever in the topic you are writing in - or better yet as if you were a very angry frustrated person who has the exact opposite of all of your view points - your going to have to explain your view points thoroughly and gently (more on this in the next section). You will need to be respectful and understanding of differing levels of experience or knowledge in the area and even of a very strong differing opinion.

It is good to bring up multiple view points to show that you have a good understanding that your view point, although might be what you strongly believe, isn't the only view point out there.

This is an important trait for doctors to have in practice with patients of all different walks of life. Bringing us to our next point.

No strong discrimination or bias toward other peoples views

A common piece of advice going around for GAMSAT essay and medical school interviews is "it doesnt matter what your opinion is, only that you stick to it and aren't swayed, because doctors need to stick to their diagnosis etc". This is utter crap. Throw this thought out of your head immediately if its somehow gotten stuck in there, its only doing you damage.

Doctors need to be adaptive. every single patient is going to be unique and require a different approach. Each patient will come from a different background, different life experiences, different health literacy and you have to be prepared to work with that.

In Australia (and most western countries) we dont have a paternalistic way of practicing medicine. that is to say the doctor doesnt always have the last say, the patient does.

This is why communication is so freaking important.

If you have a patient just diagnosed with cancer and you want to suggest to them to have a surgery to help save their lives but they want to try a more holistic approach they saw somebody doing on social media with a naturopath - at the end of the day ITS THE PATIENTS DECISION!

All we can do as physicians in a situation like this:1 support the patients decision and work with it the best we can, and 2 make sure they are making a fully informed decision. Your communication in this instance needs to be at its absolute best because a patients life is on the line. If you dont take the time to be on the patients level, acknowledge their views, be understanding and supportive while giving them the vital information - they simply will to listen to you.

If you are overly direct and blunt with them and refuse to see their side of view or just argue with them - they will not trust you, they will not feel validated or part of their own treatment plan and you could scare them off and when they come back it might be too late.

Similarly you never know why your reader might be for your exam, they could have a PhD in the topic you are talking about so if you say something wrong and you are not budging on this idea, they're going to roast you. You might say soemthing really absolute like "everybody love television" and yorue reader is the 1% of people that hate television with a passion and you just excluded them from your writing. How do you think they're going to mark you... probably to the top marks despite how well you've written it because you are being close minded and doctors can not afford to be close minded.

So - you can have a point of view but don't ever act like its your way or the high way, be open to the fact that other views exists and are equally as valid. Don't put other idea's down or make other beliefs out to be stupid. Dont be overly bias towards your own way of thinking and neglect other peoples views. Don't ever be discriminatory!!! - this is how you're going to act as a doctor so start acting this way in your essays - your essays are one of the tools you're using to show ACER you're fit to even apply for medical school in the first place!

2. Know your audience - tired grumpy over it

Like with any well written essay - you need to have you reader in mind at all times.

You need to have the GAMSAT essay marker in your mind.

Your essay could be the first essay your examiner reads that day or the 100th. yours could be he last one on the pile of essays they've been slaving over all day, they've been squinting and hard to read words (not this year as they'll be typed), wondering what a miswritten sentence was meant to say, reading the same ideas in 50 of the last essays over and over, they're running late for a date with their partner who will probably yell at them for it and they are disinterested and rushing to read through your essay so it better be good.

Unfortunately with anything run by humans - we are human. we get tired, we get emotional, we get over it. So when writing your essay remember this is what your essay is likely to be up against.

How to spell it out and make it easier for your examiner to give you the top marks you need:

Write neatly and clearly

(more important for handwritten essays in past years and potentially future years)

If they cant read your handwriting they won't stop to spend the time to figure it out they're on a deadline and have enough crappy essays to get through - so if that sentence was your main point, you just lost your reader.

If your sentences don't make sense, the reader won't stop to think "I wonder if the student possibly meant to say this..." and connect your missing dots. they will just continue to skim over it and not really have a clue what you are saying or what you mean. How are they going to mark your communication then?

Make sure you have written neatly and get your points across clearly.

You don't know if your reader is a man or a woman, young or old, from a medical background, an engineer, an English teacher, and athlete, a scientist. We don't know if they have been abused, raped, had a loved one killed, come from another country, were an immigrant, been given a terminal diagnosis yesterday, spilled coffee on their shirt this morning, be a Trump supporter, broke up with their partner recently, their cat is missing etc. You don't know what your reader has or is going through and their personal context will always be a bias to how they read your essay.

So, again, do not write in a discriminatory or arrogant tone because your reader might not be in the frame of mind to agree with your views under the circumstances. It is safer and more effective to get your points across calmly, smoothly, with understanding of other views in mind, with kindness. As it would in most situations with a patient in the hospital needing your advice.

3. Build your structure

Most of us did high school English and learnt the generalised structure of an essay. This works well in a GAMSAT essay situation for most of us.

These essays are marked fairly with the understanding that the topics were not pre-prepared and under the 30minute time limit. They are not expecting exemplary works of literature here. The old year 12 English structure is therefore perfect in this case - quick, easy, reliable.

You can of course switch it up freely but for the most part this structure can not do you wrong:

ESSAY A - argumentative

Always put a title that orients your reader to your essay, even if it is only one word. if you can think of a fun phrase to add thats awesome, just make sure its relevant to your essay - I usually title mine at the end in case my essay take an unexpected turn midway through

Clearly outline to the reader what you essay is going to be exploring - the end sentence of your intro can literally say "this essay will therefore be looking at the..." the reader need to be spoon fed for you to get your top marks. do not make it hard to follow along. make this essay easy to read, interesting and keep the reader on your side throughout.

Paragraph one and maybe two (and any other paragraphs you might have time to write depending on how fast you can write and the topic given)

I like to start with a side of the situation/argument that isn't necessarily my belief or the point I want to get across.

I do this with my patients as well. When I need to explain something to someone I like to ask what they know, what their belief are and where they are coming from before I start. this was I have fully explore all of their concerns by the end of our discussion and taken all of their important views into consideration and avoided and bias.

It is the same for your essay. showing that you know that there are multiple views, opinions and sides to every story shows that you are not going to be a bias doctor.

I like to explore other options and view points thoroughly to begin with so that I can address all of these points with my retort in delivering my view point in the cling paragraph(s)

Every paragraph should be backed up with a specific example from your life, something in the media or statistics - make this your aim.

This makes sure the reader knows EXACTLY what you mean and isn't left guessing.

This is where I put my view point. I line it up with everything that was mentioned before to address all of the previous ideas alongside my point. I do no argue or say that the previous view points were wrong I just highlight why in my case they are not for me and explain this thoroughly.

Again needs to have an example to back it up from your life experience, something in the media or statistics!


The part of your essay you bring all of your thoughts to a close - dont bring up new ideas but also dont just repeat what youve already said. If possible end on an emotional note either positivity for the future or with the urge that something is left unjust and something needs to be done to rectify it. Taking the reader on an emotional rollercoaster often means they have kept on your side throughout your piece and likely to agree with your views by the end of your writing.

You want to bring all of your points to a neat close and potentially provide the closing solution to the problems suggested.

ESSAY B - reflective

Pretty much the same but trying to be more reflective and add as much personal experience as you can into every paragraph - you are showing the examiner the parts of you life, the experiences that are going to make you the best doctor! USE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW THEM WHAT YOU'VE GOT and how your experiences have shaped you into the future doctor you're going to be!

Don't be afraid to be yourself in these essays - in my top scoring essay about negative views cast in the media effecting society, I quoted the black eyed peas song "where is the love". Because for me theres a soundtrack to everything in life and music helps me express things. Use your strengths and find how you best express yourself.

4. Build your vocabulary and ideas

To build your vocabulary and ideas for your essay you need to delve into as much reading as you possibly can - there is a previous blog posted about resources for this that you can check out for more details!

My favourite advice is just reading - anything that interests you - even if its the twilight series, its still improving your reading time and comprehension skills for sections one and two and building your vocabulary and writing style for section 2!

My other favourite advice is getting on Ted Talks - google the top 10 most watched Ted Talks - such a phenomenal list of short videos with absolutely BRILLIANT ideas for your essays and life! Ted Talks are great for when your brain couldn't possible read another word, they quick and punchy, they're interesting and fun, and the way they build their speeches also applies to your essay structure in most cases!

5. Practice

Nobody mastered anything without a hell of a a lot of practice.

Even for people naturally gifted at essay writing, can still see massive improvements if they continue to practice!

Below I have attached for your a list of topics the GAMSAT is renown for. I want you to watch a Ted Talk on each topic, or a podcast, or read an essay you googled or an article in the paper relating to that topic what ever - learn something new about that topic you didn't know before - then write an essay on every single one!

After writing your essays and learning something new I want you to get a book or folder dedicated to this task - write your favourite quotes from other authors or your own essays in this book and read them regularly - this way they will be in the forefront of your ming for test day should these essays pop up and yore ready to go!

The 73 essay titles below are for extra practice - if you can do an essay for each title - even if most of your essays are terrible - you will improve your writing and knowledge for the real exam exponentially and have so much background information ready to write down on test day and wow the examiners with all you know and have thought deeply about.

Start this list with your friends and I promise the more you do the better your score will become!


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