A high enough science GPA, strong reasoning skills and a love for writing essays will usually result in a great GAMSAT score even if you study only using a telephone directory, a fishing rod and Simpson's Season 3. For most students, quality prep materials and a disciplined study schedule (average 3 to 6 hours per day for 3-6 months) are needed to get the score to be accepted to medical school.
As part of our continuing GAMSAT Study Tips, we'd like to add some light to an underrated aspect of this process: your personal notes.
It is the answer to the question: I know I studied that 2 months ago, how could I forget it? Or worse, being caught in the library by a friend who asks "what are you studying?" and then you flip back a couple of pages to find a title that tells you the topic. Yikes.
Of course the central dogma of GAMSAT prep is content review -> practice tests-> full-length exams. (We think one of them occurs on a ribosome; if you haven't reviewed bio yet, please ignore that comment.)
When starting your content review, if you read a chapter, it should result in a half page or less of notes. Ideally, you read the chapter like it’s the last time you will ever see it (even if it is 6 months before the real test). Every line you read is a decision: Do I know this already? Is this related to something else I read? Is this really relevant to the GAMSAT?
The notes you write are more like hieroglyphics than course notes. You are trying to write study tips or notes that trigger an idea. For example, you should never have notes with F = ma because presumably you know that already (or if you have a non-science background, once you read the chapter reviewing forces, Newton's 2nd Law will be branded in your neurons!). But you may have read a chapter or seen questions where Newton's Laws were applied in unfamiliar ways: this presents a need to take a brief note that triggers the concept.
What's the point? Studying is an active process. You can't sit in front of a book and demand: "Learn me now!" While you read you are continually asking questions, relating facts and taking very, very, very brief notes (for selfish reasons, we call them your Gold Notes!).
You read those notes 2-3 times per week and then every day in the weeks leading up to the exam. You never forget, not because you are some memory freak on 60 Minutes, but because you have seen the same content dozens, if not hundreds, of times. You were not spending most of your time studying. You spent most of your time consolidating.
You finished a full length exam? One-half to one page of Gold Notes should have been created. After all the ACER Practice Exams, you have about 5 pages of truly Gold Notes. What do you look at the night before the real exam? (ummm, rhetorical)
Because your notes are sometimes conceptual but always built on active studying, it means that you can even take notes from your Section 1 and 2 experiences so you grow in awareness for all 3 sections.
Our last GAMSAT study tip for today: Studying too much can sometimes be as serious a mistake as not studying enough. We feel that an early taste of ACER is important to inform you as to how to study actively. To help you to avoid the rumors and have confidence not to chase after Nernst but rather master the basic fluids concepts, equations, etc. Basic GAMSAT-think.
Oh yeah, Disclaimer: everyone is different and no animals were harmed during this post.