Applying for a medical-based degree isn’t as easy as you may think. While you may think it’s as easy as simply filling in your UCAS application and waiting for a response and possibly attending a university interview, it is not quite as straightforward as that.
Medical schools and universities have since seen the introduction of an admissions test or aptitude tests for students who are applying for medical-based degrees, which is where the GAMSAT comes in.
What is the GAMSAT?
The GAMSAT is the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test. Previously, it was known as the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test before British and Irish universities adopted it.
The exam is a reason-based test rather than a knowledge-based test. The GAMSAT is used to select students applying for dentistry, medicine, optometry, pharmacy, veterinary science, and podiatry courses in Australian, British and Irish universities.
The test is for students that are applying for Graduate Entry programmes. Despite this, you may still need a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. Although the test is only offered in Australia, Great Britain and Ireland, the test can be taken in six different countries, including Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
The test does not necessarily follow a preset running order or synopsis. However, there are always three sections, with the test itself running from 08:00 until 16:00. The sections are:
|1||Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences||75 (multiple-choice)||100 minutes||Understanding and interpreting ideas in social and cultural contexts. You will have written passages, visual images and data to extrapolate from.|
|2||Written Communication||2 (essay)||60 minutes||Assess your ability to develop and produce ideas in written-form. The first question is analytical and focusing on socio-cultural issues. The second question is more personal.|
|3||Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences||110 (multiple-choice)||170 minutes||Three different sections and questions:
It is not always sat in person. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become common for the test to be made available via a digital format and a written format.
How is the GAMSAT scored?
Each of the three GAMSAT sections is scored from 0-100. These are scaled scores, not percentages, allowing universities and medical schools to evaluate your total score and how you performed in each setting.
Each university will have a cut-off score that they will accept. This is the minimum score they will accept based on the number of applicants.
What are the cut-off scores for each university?
Not all universities make this information available. Some universities are happy to reveal what they will accept, while others prefer to keep the information close to their chests.
Some have made the information available, which is shown below:
|St. George’s, University of London||56||61||60||59||59|
|St. George’s (Nicosia)||55||55||55||55||55|
|University of Cardiff||58||58||58||57||57|
|University of Exeter||63||62||60||60||60|
|University of Liverpool||N/A||55||55||55||55|
|University of Nottingham||56||61||59||58||55|
|University of Plymouth||65||65||66||64||63|
|University of Plymouth (Dentistry)||50||50||50||50||49|
|University of Swansea||63||63||62||59||50|
This information could potentially change how 2023 and 2024 applicants are assessed. The accepted scores may also depend on other factors, such as how many people apply, previous years' scorings and where other institutes may be cutting off their scores.
Which universities require the GAMSAT?
The universities in the UK that do require the GAMSAT to be studied as part of their admissions policy are:
- Cardiff University
- St. George’s, University of London
- Swansea University
- Ulster University
- University of East Anglia
- University of Exeter
- University of Liverpool
- University of Nottingham
- University of Plymouth
- University of St. Andrews
- University of Sunderland
- University of Worcester
Some universities require the GAMSAT for all medical courses. For example, the University of St. Andrews, the University of Exeter and the University of Plymouth require the GAMSAT to be studied under the Scottish Entry Medicine Programme, regardless of what course you are applying for.
How much does the GAMSAT cost?
The cost of the GAMSAT changes every year and depends on where you are studying. How many students are sitting the exam that year may also factor into the cost of the exam.
For the most part, however, the cost of the GAMSAT is £271. Those who register late will have to pay a fee of £65. Those looking to study in Ireland will pay €344, while those in Australia will pay $518.
When do I get my GAMSAT results?
It can vary quite heavily as and when you will receive your GAMSAT results. This may depend on when the company has finished marking all of the tests they have received over the year.
GAMSAT results are generally sent out to students within two months of having sat the test. Your results will also be passed onto UCAS, who will then send them to any of the medical schools you apply to. You should still hold onto your GAMSAT results, just in case.
Can I re-sit the GAMSAT?
You can re-take the GAMSAT as many times as you like. Your initial scores are valid for two years. You will also have two potential settings each year to sit the exam, leaving you with the four opportunities to take the exam.
Another important thing to remember is that you control what goes to the university. If you sit the exam four times and want to select which score goes over to the university you are applying to, then you will have the chance to do so. The university you are applying to also does not know how many times you have sat the exam.
How should I prepare for the GAMSAT?
The best way to prepare for the GAMSAT is by treating it as you would revision for any other exam. Make sure you look at past papers and look on the internet to see how previous students who have sat the GAMSAT have faired. You can even find useful resources or ask questions on forums like the /r/GAMSAT subreddit.
Keeping up-to-date with recent medical developments is important too. Subscribe to medical journals, set up Google Alerts and generally try and see what is happening in the medical world right now.
What will I need for the test?
You won’t need much. You will need to make sure you have a pen with you, of course, but you will need to treat this as you would any other exam.
You will need:
- A pen.
- Your admission ticket.
- Your ID.
You may not be allowed to bring things like a calculator. You will need to check with the exam board beforehand.
Do I need to have the GAMSAT to study Medicine?
The GAMSAT is not a requirement to study medicine courses or any other medical degree. However, some universities will require you to have the qualification before you study with them.
Most jobs do not require you to have the GAMSAT either. This is, typically, because your degree alone will be enough. The GAMSAT is, however, a useful thing to have on your student CV when it comes to applying for jobs further down the line.