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What will the September 2024 GAMSAT Look Like?

Published on
May 28, 2024

Setting the Scene: The September GAMSAT

The September GAMSAT Exam is the lesser known of the two GAMSATs that occur each year. While the March GAMSAT is the infamous one in the pre-medical world across the globe, the September GAMSAT has considerably less candidates sitting the exam. Many view the September GAMSAT as a “trial run” to get them ready for the following March GAMSAT the next year, given GEMSAS Applications for medical schools close every May. While this mindset is understandable, this misses an opportunity to secure a higher GAMSAT score as the ACER data points to higher scores being more achievable in the September GAMSAT given the smaller data set.

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) has confirmed dates and logistics of the September 2024 (S24) GAMSAT - with Section 2 occurring from 24 to 25 August 2024, while Section 1 & Section 3 will occur from 13 - 15 September 2024. There have been intriguing changes to the GAMSAT over the years - in relation to scores, logistics & skills tested in each of the Sections - which have formed the basis of consistent trends that we can analyse to break down what to expect in the September 2024 GAMSAT.

The Logistics Of The September 2024 GAMSAT: A New GAMSAT Dynamic

The March 2024 GAMSAT shifted the logistics of the GAMSAT by splitting up Section 2 (essay writing) with Section 1 (comprehension) & Section 3 (sciences). Candidates now complete Section 2 at home via ProctorU 2 weeks before they go to the test centre, at either 8am or 2:30pm (local time), and complete Section 1 & Section 3 under exam conditions on a desktop computer.

The September 2024 GAMSAT will follow the same “split-up GAMSAT” across the following dates:

  • Section 2: Complete at home via Online Proctoring from 24 - 25 August 2024
    • 2 Typed Essays in 65 minutes
  • Section 1 & Section 3: Complete at test centre via desktop computer from 13 - 15 September 2024
    • Section 1 - 62 Multiple Choice Questions in 100 minutes
    • Section 3 - 75 Multiple Choice Questions in 150 minutes

Section 2 Proctored at Home

  • Every candidate gets to pick a 65 minute time slot to complete their Section 2 Exam via ProctorU between 24 - 25 August 2024
  • You will be given email instructions on the environment in which you have to complete the Section 2 Exam - you must ensure it is quiet, with no writing / posters on the wall and you have a computer with a camera and microphone to converse with the Proctor before beginning
  • If you encounter technical difficulties, you are able to talk with your Proctor. If this is not possible (internet cut outs), you will have to email ACER and they will sort out a potential alternative for you.
  • You are allowed to bring a 30cm x 25cm erasable whiteboard, or 2 sheets of A4 Paper to use during the exam

Section 1 & Section 3 at a Testing Centre

  • Every candidate has the option of picking a day between 13 - 15 September 2024, and a time slot of either 8am - 1:50pm; or 2:30pm - 8:20pm
  • You need to arrive at the test centre at either 8am or 2:30pm
  • From there, it takes about 1 hour for everyone to sit down and set up for Section 1
  • Section 1 runs for 100 minutes, and you are allowed to bring a 30cm x 25cm erasable whiteboard, or you are provided with 2 sheets of A4 Paper
  • You then have a 20 minute break at the end of Section 1 - you are not allowed to leave the testing centre but you can leave the room
  • You then return for 150 minutes of Section 3, where you are again allowed to bring a 30cm x 25cm erasable whiteboard, or you are provided with 2 sheets of A4 Paper
  • After Section 3, you pack up your belonging and leave the testing centre

What to expect for the September 2024 GAMSAT?

The GAMSAT is a psychometric exam. Unlike university exams which are typically predicated on knowledge and content memorisation, the GAMSAT tests the aptitude of candidates by uncovering psychometric trends in their mindset when they respond to stimuli. In each Section, there are a variety of psychometric skills - such as Logical Reasoning, Thematic Analysis & Mathematical Reasoning - that are tested to build a holistic profile of the psyche and aptitude of each candidate. This composition of the GAMSAT has remained consistent since 2017, and will not change. There have been, however, intriguing trends in each of the Sections that provide us with an understanding of what to expect for the S24 GAMSAT.

Analysing GAMSAT Section 1: The Inference Trend

Pertaining to Section 1, as the GAMSAT occurs over multiple days, every candidate gets a different balance of questions in their 62 questions. Some may get more questions about journal articles, some may get more poems, others may get more questions about diagrams and so on. This has been a recurring trend for the past 3 years of GAMSATs, and will continue to remain for the S24 GAMSAT. As a result, this means that each candidate must ensure that their GAMSAT Section 1 skills are sound across the board - making sure that they have no glaring weaknesses across text types.

Key Trends found in Section 1

When it comes to the psychometric skills tested within Section 1 questions, there have been two key trends noted in GAMSATs of recent times.

  1. Comparative Analysis Increase: First of all, there has been an increase in the quantity of comparative analysis questions where candidates are required to compare the meanings, structure & context of multiple texts to arrive at an answer.
  2. Logical & Deductive Reasoning Emphasis: Second, there has been an increase in logical reasoning & deductive reasoning questions - requiring individuals to assess the evidence and infer the closest answer based on the evidence provided.

Both these trends are projected to continue for the M24 GAMSAT - meaning that individuals preparing for Section 1 should pay close attention to their comparative analysis & logical reasoning skills.

Analysing GAMSAT Section 2: Maintaining the Status Quo

On the other hand, Section 2 has undergone minimal change over the years. Each GAMSAT, candidates are provided with a Task A Prompt Set in Section 2, which has historically related to socio-political issues, and a Task B Prompt Set, which has been concerned more with the intangibilities of the human condition.

Focus on content rather than task characterisation

In recent GAMSATs, including March 2024, there has been an increasing blurring of the “dichotomy” between Task A & Task B Prompts - with potential Task B Prompts appearing as Task A Prompts, and vice versa.

This means that for all candidates, the characterisation of each Task as A or B should not heavily influence their approach, but rather each candidate should focus on the content of the Prompt Set, and compose an effective piece of writing from there.

Keep in mind that as the GAMSAT occurs over numerous days, each candidate will get 2 Prompts from the Section 2 “pool of Prompts” ACER has allocated for the M24 GAMSAT.

In terms of main themes & sub-themes embedded within the Prompt Sets, a constant pattern has endured in the last five years of the GAMSAT.

  1. Approximately 90% of Prompt Sets contain relatively broad and general humanities themes that are able to be accessed and responded to. These include themes such as happiness, technology, love and government.
  2. There are, however, 10% of Prompt Sets over the years that have contained more complex and niche themes which require more nuance and time to respond to. Some of the more recent themes like this have been wilderness, optimism, animal companionship and compromise.

As such, we can project that the Prompt Sets for the September 2024 GAMSAT will contain mostly general and typical themes, with about 1-2 atypical and niche themes that some candidates will get.

Analysing GAMSAT Section 3: Maths & Blurring Scientific Disciplines

Section 3 of the GAMSAT has undergone significant change over the GAMSATs.

Shift from Knowledge Testing to Psychometric Focus Testing

Pre-2017, Section 3 was heavily based upon prior scientific knowledge and would favour candidates who adopted a memorisation approach.

Since 2017, however, Section 3 has joined Section 1 & Section 2 in being psychometrically-focused and testing the aptitude and skills of candidates behind each question. This psychometric focus in the natural sciences will continue into the September 2024 GAMSAT.

Maths Playing a Crucial Role

When it comes to the content within Section 3, there has been an increase in the number of questions which require a heavy dose of mathematical reasoning to reach the answer. This “maths-heavy” Section 3 exam has been a constant in the last three GAMSAT, and it is very likely that the September 2024 GAMSAT will be similar.

We have also noticed that increasingly, stems and questions in Section 3 are less defined by whether they derive from biology, chemistry or physics, but rather are more focused on the underlying psychometric skill, such as graphical analysis or pathways understanding, to lead to the answer.

This means that for candidates looking to hone their Section 3 skills, the focus should be on the foundational skills as outlined in ACER’s GAMSAT Information Booklet, rather than simply targeting physics or chemistry.

September 2024 GAMSAT Score Distribution: A Continuation Of The Norm

A final key point to address is the projected GAMSAT Scores Distribution of the September 2024 GAMSAT. Below are two pivotal graphs. The first one provided by ACER details the Score Distribution from the most recent March GAMSAT. The second graph has been constructed by the Data Team at Fraser’s to plot the trend of GAMSATs over time.

What GAMSAT Score Should I be Aiming For?

What we learn from the first graph is that for the March 2024 GAMSAT, a GAMSAT score of 70 overall (considered a benchmark of a great GAMSAT score) would equate to being in the top 90th percentile of scorers. When we compare this to the trend of the previous five March GAMSATs, especially those from 2020 onwards, a similar trend appears.

Scoring in the top 10% of scorers equates to a GAMSAT Overall Score of 70. This trend is likely to continue for the September 2024 GAMSAT - meaning that candidates seeking a competitive score should aim to be in the top 10% of scorers.

What Should Your Next Steps Be To Prepare For The September 2024 GAMSAT?

Based on analysing past GAMSATs, we have learned that:

  • The logistics of the September 2024 GAMSAT are the same as the March 2024 GAMSAT
  • Section 1 of the S24 GAMSAT will continue to stress comparative & logical reasoning skills
  • Section 2 of the S24 GAMSAT will remain the same
  • Section 3 of the S24 GAMSAT will continue to be “maths-heavy” and increasingly less focused on the individual sciences of biology, chemistry and physics
  • An extremely competitive GAMSAT score of 70 overall in the September 2024 GAMSAT will equate to the top 10% of scorers

Using this knowledge, your first step in preparing for the September 2024 GAMSAT should be to read through the ACER GAMSAT Information Booklet of 2024 to familiarise yourself with the exam conditions & timings.

Comprehend Section Dynamics & Focus on Understanding the Theory behind Questions

After this, it is important to understand the dynamics of each Section and gather relevant, up-to-date and online resources to help you learn & practice skills in each Section. Be careful not to just hoard thousands of questions - with the GAMSAT emphasising psychometric skills, it is more important to hone your reasoning skills by understanding the theory behind questions first.

Our Fraser’s Free LMS is a great way to begin comprehending the psychometrics of the GAMSAT as we provide a variety of resources ranging from videos, questions, theory & walkthroughs to help you understand the theory behind questions.

Develop a Study Plan

As a final step after you have gathered GAMSAT resources, map out a study plan for the week ahead. Try not to force a study schedule for the next few months, as unforeseen circumstances, time with family & work can hinder these plans. It is rather more appropriate at this stage to stick to a weekly schedule with weekly goals, and then reassess and set new goals at the end of each week. It is crucial here to ensure these goals are skills-focused, rather than merely time-focused, given the psychometric nature of the GAMSAT. For example, set yourself a weekly goal of learning how to decipher the context and implicit meanings within poems, rather than just wanting to study five hours of Section 1.

Set weekly goals, tick them off and continue building your psychometric profile to dominate the S24 GAMSAT.

Best of luck in your prep - go smash the GAMSAT!