The GAMSAT essay is the sole area in the exam that allows the examiner to test your soft skills, and hence the sole medium via which you can communicate those skills. The ability to think on your feet and form coherent and strong opinions are two of them, so make sure you back up your claims decidedly enough.
You met a visitor from a distant planet in your backyard, refused the gift of a barrelful of wonderfully exotic wine out of sheer politeness, and bid him/her/it goodbye with a heavy heart. And then when you went to recount the momentous event to your buddy, voila! he advises tranquillisers!
And all because you refused the beautiful gifts you could otherwise have produced as proof, and partied all night. Sad fact as it is, in this world everyone wants proof. Nothing is taken at face value, and your GAMSAT essay examiners aren’t any different. Which is exactly what illustrations do in your essay. They provide a real, solid background against which the reader can validate your arguments, thus lending them credibility.
Where Do They Fit in?
Ideally, there should be about one example per argument in the GAMSAT essay. So, these should fit in right after you place the argument, or even before, whatever feels most appropriate to you.
For instance (see the ‘for instance’ part? This is where I am inserting an example. But you know that.), I am writing about the importance of illustrations in the GAMSAT essay, and I say that they are, indeed, crucial to the entire write-up. But how do I make you see my point and believe in it? Well, I bring up an instance of someone I know, who didn’t use examples in his essay and scored pretty low in the section.
Where and When
So, basically, this is the idea: you put in an example when you present an argument. Use an illustration positively: my friend used examples in his GAMSAT essay and fared with flying colours, or negatively: my friend didn’t use illustrations and scored pretty low.
It’s also a great idea to begin the essay with an example. The theme and tone of your essay is set off nicely with something like this. Take, for instance, that you are writing about debauched politicians. You simply begin the essay by narrating an anecdote you remember about some such figure. And the reader can immediately guess where you are going with this, without you even having to mention the topic.
Even the conclusion is a great place for an illustration. Ending the essay with an anecdote does volumes for you. It can sum up the ideas you have propagated throughout, and potentially leave scope for more thought. Say your essay is all about the needlessness of luxury. You end the essay with: “So, the princess couldn’t sleep with a pea under her bed, but I wonder if she could tell between a tiger and a cat?”
How Much Per GAMSAT Essay?
Now, like everything else, moderation is the key. Remember that an example is there to support your argument, not the other way round. Too many examples for one argument merely become repetitive; the reader already knows you are right from the very first one.
Like I said earlier, ideally one example per argument is sufficient. Overdoing it would be useless and repetitive, and not pacing illustrations preceding or following your arguments would make the latter fall flat. Don’t litter your essay with so many examples that the reader has to make their way through.
What can Serve as Examples?
Literally anything works, and works well. Historical events are great, usually most people are aware of the major events and find it easy to relate. If you are not that big on the past, recent events are great as well. The media is filled with social, political and cultural news; all you have to do is to stay updated, and never fear running out of examples. Personal anecdotes are superb as well; such experience give a real feel to tee say, and lets the examiner know that you have understood the topic well to be able to relate to it. Hearsay events, stories, quotations- you name it, everything serves as illustrations. Just make sure you have chosen the relevant one.
Stay Updated. Stay Informed.
This is definitely a must-do. You are aspiring to be a med professional, and no one is likely to trust one who remains sadly uniformed about what is going on around him or her. Read up a lot: short stories, novels, blogs, what have you. Comb through the newspapers, magazines, periodicals and journals like your life depends on it. These are veritable treasuries of information, and great sources of illustrations for every possible topic. Besides, they also help a whole lot in developing a style in writing and learning to arrange your thoughts coherently.