5 min read

GAMSAT Chemistry For Section 3

Published on
April 15, 2024

The Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) is a pivotal milestone for aspiring medical students. Chemistry, in particular, plays a significant role in this assessment. This article delves into the intricacies of GAMSAT chemistry, offering both an overview and detailed insights to help you prepare effectively.

What To Expect From GAMSAT Chemistry?

According to ACER, chemistry questions constitute approximately 40% of the Section 3 GAMSAT exam. While learning the relevant information, it is important to understand the major GAMSAT chemistry topics to maximise your chances of success. 

Section 3 focuses on the ability to problem solve within the space of biological and physical sciences. Consequently, the candidate should approach Section 3 with the mindset that 44 questions assess reasoning skills that go hand in hand with chemistry-related topics.

What does the GAMSAT Chemsitry test you on?

 GAMSAT chemistry questions are focused less on what you know, and more on how you apply your knowledge in a broad range of contexts. 

ACER will not ask for the electron configuration of a given element as is often done in high school and university. Instead, they may ask you to determine a particular electron configuration amongst unfamiliar information or graphs. Thus, one must utilise critical thinking and deductive skills, as well as a basic understanding of electron configuration, in order to solve the problem. In this article, we will provide an overview of the pertinent chemistry topics that would be useful in creating targeted GAMSAT chemistry notes for exam preparation.

What are the Common GAMSAT Chemistry Topics?

While ACER does not release an explicit list of the Section 3 chemistry syllabus, Fraser’s GAMSAT chemistry team have spent over 10 years monitoring the GAMSAT questions that have been used across both ACER exams and practice materials.

For those of you that wish there was a GAMSAT chemistry syllabus, here is a list of the major GAMSAT chemistry topics a strong Section 3 GAMSAT candidate should focus their exam preparation:

  1. Naming and IUPAC
  2. Biochemistry
  3. Gases, Liquids and Solids
  4. Thermodynamics and Kinetics 
  5. Stoichiometry and Basic Arithmetic 
  6. Acids and Bases 
  7. Equilibrium and Redox Reactions 
  8. Common Classes of Chemical Reactions 
  9. Analytical Chemistry and Spectrometry 
  10.  Isomerism and Equivalent Structures 

How to Study for GAMSAT Chemistry?

Preparing for the GAMSAT chemistry section requires a strategic approach that goes beyond traditional study methods. This section offers a comprehensive guide on how to tailor your study sessions to maximize understanding and retention, ensuring you're well-equipped to tackle the complexities of the GAMSAT chemistry questions.

Understanding the Importance of Guiding Principles

Dive deep into the GAMSAT chemistry topics, ensuring you understand the foundational principles and can apply them in various contexts.

Utilizing a Question Log

Track your progress, mistakes, and areas of improvement using a dedicated Section 3 Question log. This objective method helps in refining your study strategy over time.

Addressing Incorrect Answers

Every mistake is a learning opportunity. Analyse your errors, understand the gaps in your knowledge or reasoning, and adjust your study approach accordingly.

Focusing on Cognitive Skills Development

Beyond memorization, hone your analytical and critical thinking skills. Engage in exercises that challenge your understanding and application of chemistry concepts.

Recognizing Recurring Problem Types

ACER often revisits certain question patterns. Familiarizing yourself with these can give you an edge during the exam.

Seeking Additional Resources 

Broaden your preparation horizon. For instance, Fraser’s GAMSAT offers access to its ever growing Free LMS which includes Section Specific atlas, video tutorials and Online Question Banks make use of all such relevant resources that are available..

What are the Most Important Cognitive Skills for GAMSAT Chemistry?

In order to successfully answer GAMSAT chemistry questions, it is critical to developing an ability to integrate new information into an existing framework of knowledge. For instance, you may be asked to apply a common principle, such as buffer pH calculations, to the real-world context of a patient with chronic respiratory disease. In this context, the GAMSAT requires you to incorporate an understanding of acid-base chemistry into a novel scenario with previously unbeknown variables. 

Key cognitive skills in successfully answering GAMSAT chemistry questions necessitates:

  • The break down of complicated questions into relevant ‘chunks’ of information. 
  • Next, you should try to connect these fundamental pieces of information in a meaningful way to arrive at the correct answer. These connections may be drawn from key concepts in biology, physics, or even maths.

In the above scenario, knowledge of acid-base chemistry, as well as some physiology could be required to successfully answer the question. You may be wondering why it is necessary that you have this skill; the answer lies in the demands of medicine. As a clinician, you will constantly face similar problems requiring knowledge across various areas. Accurate diagnosis and the linking of effective management requires an ability to combine knowledge across multiple disciplines such as microbiology, anatomy, physiology and pharmacology. In this respect, the GAMSAT is testing your ability to reason like a doctor.

Crafting Effective GAMSAT Chemistry Notes: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating study notes for the GAMSAT chemistry section can be a daunting task, given the breadth and depth of the subject matter. This guide provides a structured approach to note-taking, ensuring you capture the essential concepts and can easily review and apply them as you prepare for the exam.

1: Understand the Core Concepts

 Begin your preparation by ensuring you have a solid grasp of core chemistry topics. This foundational knowledge should be equivalent to what is taught at a 1st-year university level.

2: Create a Checklist

To streamline your study sessions, draft a checklist of essential topics derived from the GAMSAT chemistry syllabus. This checklist will not only help you stay organized but also allow you to quickly identify crucial keywords and formulas that can serve as handy references.

3: Focus on Key Concepts 

While it's tempting to dive deep into every topic, it's vital to resist the urge to create exhaustive and intricate notes. Instead, prioritize understanding and applying key concepts. For instance, rather than delving deep into the intricacies of stoichiometric analysis or Gibbs free energy formulas, it's more beneficial to grasp their broader relevance and application.

4: Go Beyond Rote Learning

GAMSAT preparation requires more than just memorization. Remember that simply recalling formulas, equations, and theories isn't enough. The real challenge lies in comprehending and then applying these basic scientific concepts in new and unfamiliar scenarios.

5: Understand Overarching Principles 

To tackle the diverse range of questions in the GAMSAT, equip yourself with a sound understanding of the overarching principles of GAMSAT chemistry topics. This foundational knowledge will serve as a robust base, enabling you to approach various question styles with confidence.

6: Adopt a Practical Approach 

The vastness of the chemistry syllabus can be overwhelming. To make it more manageable, break it down into digestible sections or chunks. This method not only simplifies complex topics but also enhances retention. Fraser’s GAMSAT champions this practical approach by deconstructing the syllabus, making it more accessible to students.

7: Utilize Available Tools

In today's digital age, there are numerous tools available to aid your preparation. One such valuable asset is Fraser’s Chemistry Checklist. Available for free, this tool is designed to help you focus and monitor your GAMSAT preparation, ensuring you stay on track.

Where to from here?

If you are interested in further improving your GAMSAT Section 3 chemistry

check out these free resources!

GAMSAT Chemistry Checklist

Best Approach to GAMSAT Chemistry

GAMSAT Section 3 Question Log

GAMSAT Practice Questions 

Check out other articles in this series!

What is GAMSAT Section 1?

What is GAMSAT Section 2?

What is GAMSAT Section 3?

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

What is the GAMSAT?

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