In GAMSAT about 270 minutes of the test rely mostly on reasoning abilities of the aspirant and therefore it is vital to improve one’s analytical skills in order to clear the test. As a student of science you might find Section III relatively familiar but you would probably break out in cold sweat when you have to decipher how to analyse poetry in GAMSAT. Do not worry for analysing poetry is no longer the toughest part of the paper with our expert tips to guide you.
Understanding and analysing poetry will help you overcome the occasional ambiguity that it poses to a student who does not have a literature background. At the same time you must realise that you do not have all the time in the world to read and understand the poem excerpt. However, keep in mind that in GAMSAT you are often asked what the author is trying to express and because in multiple choice questions two answers can be very similar, you need to understand the given excerpt thoroughly.
There are no shortcuts to doing this. Therefore, it is best to actually begin trying to analyse some poetry when you are preparing for GAMSAT. Practice will help you analyse different types of poetry and give you an idea about the most frequently used symbols and other tools in poetry so that your analysis on the day of the test becomes easier and faster.
The first thing to know, when analysing poetry, is to assess the content of the poem. The attitude and the presence or absence of the speaker, the tone and diction he/she uses to develop the imagery, and the tension built up in conflict as well as its final resolution will help you decipher the content of the poem and understand the context of the poem. Once you understand the content of the poem, you must pay attention to the imagery used. Does the imagery evoke a sensory experience and repeat it often? The presence of metaphors and allegory, as well as symbolism will help you understand if there is an underlying meaning that does not become apparent on the first reading of the poem. For this again, practice is essential. Only when you have practiced analysis of poetry will you know that certain symbols are repeatedly used in literature to mean particular emotions. For instance, a cold night might mean decay, aging and death and the rose might mean purity or chastity. You will find such common symbolism used throughout literature and knowing them makes analysis easier.
Try analysing the form of the poem. Knowing the different structures that poetry can be categorised into, such as the sonnet, the ode and the haiku will help you identify the form and look out for any deviations from it. Knowing the flow of the stanza and the rhyme scheme is also important because on the day of the test you will not have time to begin anew to answer questions based on these. Knowing the form of the poem given to you is also important because it often helps to identify emotions associated with the particular form and this will help you answer questions based on the general theme or structure of the poem.
The best way to answer questions based on a poem in GAMSAT is to have enough practice in analysing poetry. Only then can you attempt to have a critical view of the excerpt given and answer the questions effectively within limited time.
image source: bestclipartblog.com , encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com