Writing a five-and-a-half-hour exam is quite a forbidding thought, even more so when that test is going to be in a different language from your mother tongue. Actually with the right amount of preparation an ESL student (English Second Language) should have no more, nor no less, fear than a native English speaker. We’re going to look at how you as an ESL test candidate can do just as well as any other student. Our three-part-guide will give you help for each section and also general guidelines that will improve your use of English up to acceptable GAMSAT standards.
Section 1 ESL Student Guidelines
As the level of English you‘ll find here is probably higher and in vaster quantities than the rest of the exam you need to hone your English speaking and understanding. It’s easy enough to just say “go off and read”, but unless you indulge in guided reading it’s not going to be of much benefit.
What do we mean by guided reading:
- Choose appropriate texts. This is broadly something you’ll need to do yourself. As an ESL student you’ll know your command of English. If your reading is weak, then start many months before the test by reading relatively simplistic texts, such as magazines, building up to more in depth newspapers and classical books as you improve. In a later article we’ll give you a recommended reading list to improve your English skills to GAMSAT standard.
- Read critically. As you come across new words and phrases take the time to learn what they mean. Here is where you can field test your new bilingual dictionary.
- Discuss what you’ve read with family members and people in your study group.
Try to find the same books in your native tongue. By reading them you’ll have a better grasp of the English text and also see where you might be missing the point altogether.
Read the next installment of this article to see how ESL students can deal with GAMSAT Section 2.