One of the great things about GAMSAT is that it allows students from any which backgrounds seek entry to a medical school. And that it’s totally in English, which is quite a major global lingua franca. Which brings us to those who are eligible to sit the GAMSAT, but speak a different tongue than English (i.e. students who has English-as-Second-Language (ESL)). If you belong to this category, you might find yourself struggling with speaking, reading and writing the language, and that can indeed cause a major impediment when it comes to your GAMSAT-cracking aspirations.
But fear not, it’s not undoable. You are studying to become a doctor, not a prolific author, so what you must become a pro at is communicative English. And that’s what we are trying to help with.
As an ESL student, there are 4 areas of the language you must focus on: Vocabulary, Grammar, Reading and Writing.
Keep note of the following: Homonyms and Synonyms.Homonyms are words that sound similar, for instance, aid and aide. Aid refers to assistance or help, while an aide is an assistant to an important person.Synonyms are words having similar meanings. For instance, smart and sharp are both synonyms of intelligent.
How to Better your Vocabulary
- Read a lot, and write your fair share too.
- Practice guessing meanings of unknown words from the given context.
- Use mnemonics or memory tricks.
- If you come across an unfamiliar word you cannot infer from the context, take the help of a dictionary.
- Play with words. Play Scrabble, Boggle, and solve crossword puzzles.
- Use vocabulary lists.
- Take vocabulary tests.
- Speak in English.
- Use flashcards or post-it notes.
As an ESL student, you need to focus on the following areas in grammar:
- Common Pronoun usage He/Him, She/Her, They/Them, We/Us, I/Me
How to improve your Grammar
- Speak in English
- Note which grammar points require maximum focus, and devote some days to each.
- Take help of online resources; there are ample grammar exercises.
- Identify the commonest mistakes.
- When you read English, follow the grammar closely.
- While forming a sentence, form it first in your native language and then translate it to English.
- Read a lot, and read aloud. This will commit words and sentence constructions to memory.
Reading and Writing
Since the GAMSAT paper- be it GAMSAT UK or GAMSAT Australia– is completely in English, and time is strictly limited, it is essential that you read and write with ease and alacrity. Here are some pointers that will help you deal with these hurdles.
- Speak in English.
- When you are reading English, closely follow the grammar of the text.
- If you find it difficult to form an idea into words, do so in your native language and then translate it to English.
- Read and practice writing GAMSAT essays.
- Time yourself when you are reading so that you improve your speed.
- Try to grasp the gist of the passage in your first reading.