In our previous article, we started to talk about how ESL students can make it in GAMSAT. Agreed, while section 2 in GAMSAT for ESL students is going to be most difficult, the other sections need some command over the language as well, especially in section 1 and other text-based vignettes.
GAMSAT keeps things fair
Naturally, GAMSAT for ESL students is a bit tougher, and you’re going to have to prepare that little bit harder for the test. However, ACER has declared that they do not want the test to discriminate against anybody and make it as universally fair as possible. That’s why they explicitly state that in section 2, “every effort is made to minimise factors which might disadvantage candidates from non-English-speaking backgrounds.”
A little bit of extra help
ACER tries to make GAMSAT for ESL students as easy as possible. As English is your second language you’ll be allowed to bring a bilingual dictionary to the exam. Naturally this can’t be annotated or have notes in it (and they will check), but a good dictionary really can make a difference if you’re struggling. Your dictionary needs to be chosen carefully, go through old test papers and practice tests to find the level of language that you will come up against. As a measure of how good your dictionary is,make sure that the commonly occurring words are found in it. That way you’ll have a warm, fuzzy feeling that in the real test your dictionary will be able to properly help you.
Section 3 Guidelines
There are a lot more questions in section 3 but theoretically the language will present less difficulties. Is maths a universal language? Find out for yourself (and the associated science and biology terms) by comparing past GAMSAT papers with your own mother tongue. Hopefully terms and theorems will have similar wording, if not make sure that you know the differences before you sit the test. Knowing explicitly the words that will be required to answer Section 3 will, if nothing else, save you a lot of dictionary time when you’re attempting the questions.
Specific preparation you can do as an ESL
You’ll have come across the standard ways that other students have to use to study for GAMSAT. Depending upon the level of English at your command you might have to tailor your study to include exercises that will also improve the command of the standard of English needed for the test.
You’ve also got to critically compare the levels of your writing and reading. With two of the sections relying on specific reading and comprehension skills and one reliant on your written communication, if one of these skills is below par it needs to be brought up to scratch. There are a number of ways that you can approach this. Remember that while both Sections 1 and 3 are based on MCQs the language used will be very different. Section 1 is arguably more dependant on a higher command of English as you will be subjected to many quotes, cartoons and bodies of writing from a disparate background. However as Section 3 is more grounded in the sciences you’ll be encountering almost a universal language, however if you’re from a non-science background you might have difficulties all the same.
In our next article, we will move on to the tips and tricks you must employ to deal with section 2.