5 min read

How to Overcome Your Fear of Failure in the GAMSAT Exam?

Published on
March 29, 2024

‘Am I smart enough for GAMSAT?’ is a question most of you ask yourself either with curiosity or doubt throughout your GAMSAT preparation, and often, up until the very moment of your GAMSAT exam.

GAMSAT is an important prerequisite for postgraduate medicine, hence it is justified that you are stressed about making your GAMSAT sitting count to be considered for a medical offer. However, putting a great deal of pressure on yourself can only prove detrimental to your mental well-being. 

In addition to this, GAMSAT has held a reputation for being a challenging psychometric assessment that often forces students to overthink, which leads to a poor performance on the GAMSAT test day

Overthinking, as you know, leads to persistent self-doubt and a feeling of inadequate preparation, which gives rise to the ‘fear of failure’ in GAMSAT we are so used to dealing with at Fraser’s.

In this article, our aim is to solidify study approaches that can help you overcome the dreaded fear of GAMSAT failure.

Do Not be Passive in your GAMSAT Preparation

When it comes to the GAMSAT, preparation is key, however, this is not restricted to undertaking diagnostic mock exams, or attempting practice questions alone. You need to study the subject matter intensively and familiarise yourself with the nature of GAMSAT questions, test timings, and the specific skill sets that are being assessed in each section.

This is precisely why your GAMSAT preparation should begin by studying the ACER info booklet in detail. As mundane as it sounds, the ACER guide covers all the vital information, ranging from the core subjects being tested to GAMSAT test dates across different countries. This is ACER’s attempt to ensure its future applicants have an in-depth understanding, be it in comprehending the GAMSAT complexity, or as elementary as registering to sit the exam. 

In fact, the ACER booklet has a subheading dedicated to highlight tips to prepare for the GAMSAT. This is a small excerpt from the ACER guide:

“There is little benefit to be gained from last-minute ‘cramming’. However, for non-science graduates some specific preparation covering relevant basic sciences to first year university level is highly recommended.”

Once you register to sit the GAMSAT, you gain access to ACER generated Practice Questions e-book which is included in the registration cost. Besides, you can always seek help from our experienced mentors and utilize the high-quality GAMSAT preparation materials on our website to ensure you are fully accustomed to the GAMSAT syllabus.

Don’t Overprepare for the GAMSAT

Preparing for the GAMSAT is like running a marathon rather than a sprint. You need to be patient and take notice of your mental standing while processing the plethora of the GAMSAT content. At the end of the day, there is no point in overloading yourself at once without actually realising the expectations across each subtest.

It is vital to utilise your time and resources realistically instead of aiming to be ‘ahead of your schedule’. Our mentors who are fully aware of the nitty gritties of doing the GAMSAT advocate students to be pragmatic in their GAMSAT study and devote around 15-20 hours in a week during preparation months instead of seeing it as a full-time commitment. 

In other words, having a social life is integral to your GAMSAT preparation as it prevents you from encountering mental burnout!

NOTE: Be mindful though, this is not the ideal study duration recommended for everyone. To find out the best schedule for you, individually, talk to one of our experienced mentors!

This is where we would like to reiterate the importance of an effective GAMSAT study timeline. Before you start preparing for the GAMSAT, develop a timeline for GAMSAT prep based on your daily commitments and university assignments. This will make you more disciplined in your GAMSAT study and ensure that you have ample time for leisure.

Focus the initial weeks of your GAMSAT prep to improve your theoretical understanding of the GAMSAT. Once you achieve this, attempt GAMSAT practice questions for a few weeks before transitioning into doing timed GAMSAT mock exams. Attempting timed mock exams is a great way to understand how your performance would rank on actual test day. 

In conclusion, taking appropriate breaks in your daily studies will give you a clearer picture of the right way to re-energise yourself during the 30-minute break on the GAMSAT test day. After all, the science component is widely known as a mentally draining section in the GAMSAT exam.

Balance is the Key to Succeed in the GAMSAT

Medical school admission process is highly competitive and there is no denying it. Most students perceive the admission process to be a ‘rat race’, which ends up putting a lot of pressure on them to be outstanding every step of the way. In addition, there is the requirement to have a good academic record (ATAR, GPA) and solid work experience to increase your odds of entry into medicine. 

Considering the difficulty of the med school admission process, it is essential to be calm, collected, and composed when tackling the GAMSAT or medical interviews rather than assuming it as an unattainable goal. 

Moreover, because GAMSAT is a mandatory requirement for the majority of postgraduate medical schools, it could be the case that you see your GAMSAT sitting as your ‘ONLY’ moment to shine. Although this mentality can be motivating, it generally adds a great deal of mental pressure. 

Therefore, one of the major aspects that can help you overcome the ‘fear of failing in the GAMSAT’ is to stop rushing to start your medical degree. Particularly, if you obtain a bad GAMSAT score in one sitting, it is certainly not the end of your medical dreams. So instead of having negative thoughts like, ‘My life is over!’ or ‘I’m never going to be a doctor’, start taking the right steps in your next GAMSAT prep.

Have a Plan B 

Saving the best for the last. Always have a backup plan. 

Typically, it takes more than one sitting for most students, even high-achievers to secure their ideal GAMSAT score. Considering the amount of time and effort that is put into one GAMSAT sitting, it could be difficult to reorientate yourself to study again. For this reason, we emphasise ‘having a backup plan’, which is not only focused on improving the GAMSAT score but looking into fresh alternatives like:

  1. Doing a masters or a honours degree to get a good GPA score
  2. Undertaking full-time employment to shape your portfolio
  3. Applying to medical schools that do not require the GAMSAT score at all. 

These aforementioned options are not meant to sway you away from a medical degree but give you possible solutions that can genuinely strengthen your chances of eventual success. 

Finally, if you truly believe that medicine is your calling, then by all means, give it your best shot. 

Having said that, if you failed the GAMSAT once and have second thoughts about resitting the exam, it is best to take some time off to reflect upon your GAMSAT experience. In addition to this, the healthcare profession has a vast spectrum of  opportunities so you can book a 30-minute free consultation with one of our mentors to understand other pathways to enter a healthcare degree.

We hope this article has been of interest to you and has provided tangible tips on tackling the ropes of GAMSAT. The GAMSAT difficulty is usually blown out of proportion, which is often the primary reason behind a student’s fear of failure in this exam style. In reality, you can get a good GAMSAT score if your preparation is proactive rather than reactive from the very beginning.

At Fraser’s, we advocate for self-directed learning through our newly devised Essentials course packages which makes your GAMSAT preparation fun, while ensuring that you are put in the best position for success. Get in touch with a mentor who can cater to your medicine goals and make you ready for the next GAMSAT sitting!