10 Tips for GAMSAT Section 1 Questions: Prose

GAMSAT Section 1 questions are based on vignettes drawn from a variety of materials: prose, poetry, figures and images. While some of you may be daunted by the poetry vignettes, still others might find themselves in a tight spot with images and figures. It would be incorrect, however, to look at the prose vignettes slightly.The prose passages consist of extracts from fiction and non-fiction write-ups. These include extracts from novels, short stories, plays, essays, reviews, interviews, journals and periodicals and even website articles and blogs.

So these are what you must keep in mind while solving GAMSAT Section 1 questions:

1.    Dialogues

Note what the characters say, the tone in which they speak and the subject of conversation.

2.    Characterisations

Carefully note what the characters seem like. Remember that the passages are random, so you are not likely to know much about them. So, your inference must be as clear as possible, dependant only on the meagre information that you have at hand.

3.    Character actions

Take note of how the characters behave. You can glean this from their body language, gestures, the way they speak and the words they use, and of course from the situation in which you find them.

4.    Stage directions

This refers exclusively to drama extracts. Note the setting, that is, where you see the characters. This will help you get a better picture of the events that take place.

5.    Words/phrases used in the passage

This is an extremely important point to note. Whether it is a fiction or a non-fiction passage, the words the author uses are extremely critical to denote the message that s/he conveys. You have to understand the meaning of the word/phrase with reference to the context in which the author uses it.

6.    Tone/perspective of the narrator/author

The language the author uses and the style in which s/he writes reflect his/her overall sentiment. This is especially relevant in terms of non-fiction passages. If you read the passage carefully, you will see that the author might be detached, critical, analytical or humorous in tone.

7.    Relate to the background

The GAMSAT unit often comes with a background on the vignette(s). Look at it carefully and see if it says anything about the extract. If so, what? Relate the same with the passage and see if you can now answer the question.

8.    Don’t omit details

This is important in analysing GAMSAT Section 1 questions. The smallest details might be important, so make sure you are not missing out on apparently unimportant things like a word spoken, a movement or the colour of the sky. These are there for a reason, so take them into account.

9.    Learn to speed read

This is essential. Skim through the passage and gather necessary information. Go to the questions to see if you can answer them with what you have learned. If not, it is time to take in a minor details.

10.   Do not assume

This could be fatal, so never assume that a character will behave in a certain way because that’s how it usually is. People in stories can be unpredictable, so judge only from the context, not from your experience. The same goes for the author’s perspective. You believe racism is evil, but for all you know, the author might be rooting for it.

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