How much scientific knowledge is needed to pass GAMSAT?

If you’re coming from a non-scientific background you might be a little wary of GAMSAT section 3  : ” Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences”. In this article we’re going to look at what specialised knowledge you’ll need to pass section 3 well. At the ACER website it also says: ” Most candidates are concerned with the third section because it assumes a certain level of knowledge (equivalent to first year university level chemistry and biology, and A-level/Leaving Certificate/Year 12 physics”.

Foundation knowledge

When GAMSAT was first brought in there was less emphasis on having a science background as it was assumed that your analytical skills would be enough to ensure results in MED school. Over the years that’s changed and now many people who sit the exam and prepare the exam agree that a certain amount of knowledge would be a great foundation for you to have. These are some of the topics that it is assumed that you should know about:

Biology

  • Structure and function of the heart and lungs
  • The make-up and functioning of cells
  • Basic genetic theory

Chemistry 

  • Organic chemistry
  • Atomic structure and bonds
  • Thermodynamics
  • Moles
  • Acids and bases

Physics

  • Kinematics
  • Optics
  • Structure and functioning of circuits and related equations

As a good starting point for doing well in section 3 these listed topics at the very least should be thoroughly learnt. If you’re already coming from a good scientific background most of these concepts wouldn’t be new to you. In that case making sure that you’re current in your knowledge and application should be part of your preparation. However if you’re coming in as an arts and humanities student for example you might find that a lot of this is over your head. If you go into the exam with zero prep you definitely won’t do well in that case!

Start your prep by firstly getting a brief overview of what each of the above topics covers, you can visit khan academy website and read as much possible. In later articles we’ll start to look at some resources and prep you can do to improve your scientific knowledge to take on section 3.

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