GAMSAT is the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test, which is a computer-based exam designed, scored and developed by ACER (gamsat.acer.org) to assist in the admissions of students to graduate-entry programmes (medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, podiatry and veterinary science) open to graduates of any discipline. Candidates must have a bachelor's degree, or equivalent, completed prior to commencement of the degree. Participating programmes are located in Australia, Ireland and the UK with affiliated programmes in Poland, Cyprus, and Singapore (Duke-NUS).
GAMSAT had been delivered as a pen and paper exam since its inception in 1996; however, due to strict physical distancing protocols brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the March 2020 GAMSAT changed to become administered online and remotely proctored. In September 2020, GAMSAT remained in digital format but began to be held at selected test centres which has been established as the current and future standard: a computer-based, standardized examination. The timing and formatting of the real exam has changed 3 times in the past 2 years with the most recent update occurring during the March 2022 testing window. Other modifications introduced in 2022, for the first time: 1) students who live more that 3 hours from a test centre can apply to sit the GAMSAT at home with remote proctoring; 2) students could bring an erasable whiteboard (30 cm x 25 cm, or smaller) and marker to the test centre in lieu of the A4 sheets of scratch/scrap/note paper that the test centre provides; 3) the Section 1 subtest was extended with respect to the number of questions and the timing.
GAMSAT is offered twice a year, in March and September, in each of Australia, the UK, and Ireland, as well as selected international locations. The March 2023 GAMSAT was scheduled on March 18-22, 2023, while the September 2023 GAMSAT testing window was on September 8-12, 2023. One of ACER's GAMSAT changes that started in 2022, already briefly mentioned: The total testing time is 30 minutes longer as Section 1 has been extended to 62 questions in 100 minutes. Section 1 had 47 questions in 70 minutes in test centres in 2020 and 2021. The following is a summary of a typical GAMSAT exam day.
Summary of the new Digital-format GAMSAT Exam Day
|Arrival and Sitting of Exam||Bring only the acceptable ID documents and permitted items to the test centre as specified in ACER's GAMSAT Information Booklet||Security, identification, health protocols||45-60 minutes|
|Section 1: Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences||Key skills are reading speed and comprehension of information within socio-cultural contexts||62 MCQs*
(the test centre will provide you with 2 sheets of A4 scratch paper to be used for both Section 1 and 2; option: whiteboard)
|Section 2: Written Communication||Produce ideas in writing with clarity and soundness; essays are typed with no copy/paste function||2 essays typed on a computer||65 minutes|
|Lunch||Consider packing your own lunch to avoid queues with nervous chatter||-||60 minutes|
|Section 3: Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences||Analyse and solve problems: 40% Biology, 40% Chemistry (equally split between General and Organic); 20% Physics||75 MCQs*
(the test centre will provide you with 2 new sheets of A4 scratch paper to be used only for Section 3; option: whiteboard)
|Total Test Time||-||-||5 hours, 15 minutes|
|Total Appointment Time||Success requires stamina; stamina improves with practice.||-||7-9 hours**|
*MCQs: multiple-choice questions, 4 options per question with only 1 best answer. Note that the 'old' GAMSAT had a dedicated 'reading time' of 10 minutes for each of Section 1 and 3, and 5 minutes for Section 2. During that reading time, students were not permitted to write or mark their exam paper in any way. The new digital GAMSAT has added time for each of the 3 exam sections as a legacy to 'reading time'; however, in practice, you can use your exam time in any way that you see fit.
**It might be a good idea to allocate a whole day to sit the GAMSAT test to allow for any contingencies and/or technical issues that you might encounter. Before the 2020 sittings, the exam-day experience lasted more than 7 hours excluding added traffic and queues at the larger testing centres (i.e. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, London, Dublin). Safety measures and health protocols should be carefully anticipated when making travel arrangements and accommodations to and from the testing centre.
To help you prepare for the exam, Gold Standard has assembled comprehensive information on scores, topics covered, preparation advice, free sample questions and other study resources.