Where to Expect Schematic Diagrams in GAMSAT?
ACER advocates: you don’t need to have ‘much’ prior knowledge to solve any of the GAMSAT questions. Whatever information you need to solve the questions is already present in the passage (sometimes called the vignette) right inside the question unit. To make the questions tough and time-consuming, they often come with elaborate diagrams along with the apparent walls of texts in the passage. Both the humanities and science sections contain such questions. However, you’ll find various types of diagrams in the different units. Schematic diagrams in GAMSAT are mostly present in the GAMSAT Physics section, specifically the current electricity questions.
What are Schematic Diagrams?
You may not need to memorise any theories to answer GAMSAT Section 3 questions. But if you know how to analyse the schematic diagrams in GAMSAT quickly, you’ll feel confident in the exam. Schematic diagrams or schematic layouts show the various elements of an electrical circuit and their connectivity. In almost all the schematic diagrams you’ll find one or more cells, resistors or bulbs and lots of wires. Sometimes capacitors, grounding points, ammeters, voltmeters, potentiometers and diodes show up too. Several questions will follow the given diagram(s). If you know how to interpret it, you can get your fingers on quite a few easy scores.
5 Steps to Interpret Schematic Diagrams in GAMSAT
Identify the various symbols in the circuit
Usually all schematic diagrams in GAMSAT have the same symbol for similar circuit elements. The particular symbol in use may vary from one schematic to the other. The foregoing passage or the diagram will invariably have their descriptions. Even then, if you are acquainted with the frequently used symbols in the circuit diagrams, you’ll get more efficient in these questions. Some common elements and their symbols are listed below:
- Common Symbols for Resistors:
- Common Symbols for Cells/Batteries:
- Common Symbols for Wires/Junctions:
- Symbols for various Meters:
- Symbols for various Grounding points:
- Symbols for Diodes:
- Symbols for Switches:
- Common Symbols for Resistors:
Scrutinise the Schematic and the passage for keys & values
Locate the legend or labels on the diagram, if any. Otherwise read through the foregoing passage and see what values are given. Identify all the symbols and mark the corresponding values from the passage onto the diagram. Notice the unmarked symbols in the resulting diagram. These are the clues to answer the questions.
Determine the current and the voltage in various parts of the circuit
Current flow is very similar to the flow of water. Like water flowing steadily through a uniform pipe, current remains the same at any point in any undeviating branch of wire. Current changes only when the wires reach a symbol or a junction. If you can understand or memorise Kirchoff’s current and voltage laws you’ll know immediately when the current gets divided or remains the same. Another important set of laws are Ohm’s Laws. If you know them, it’ll become quite easy for you to solve for voltage, current or Power, if the others are given. Even if you don’t mug up the Kirchoff’s Laws, look in the passage for the formulas. So, understanding the laws and their applications are more important for now, thanks to ACER’s reassurance that you don’t need any prior knowledge to take GAMSAT.
Understand the question statement
Often the questions are chunks of texts, twisted and turned to confuse and distract you from the right track. For instance, they may require you to compare the brightness of the lamps in the circuit. You must understand that actually it’s got nothing to do with optics. It’s just a way of asking whether the currents flowing through the bulbs is high or low. If the current is more, obviously the lamp will be brighter. So read the question carefully, and determine exactly what values that you had found out previously, corresponds to the solution process.
Estimate and smart guess the answer
Calculators are not allowed in the GAMSAT. So you don’t have to crunch numbers like the big mean intel® processors of today. Even if there are quite a few calculation-based questions, usually you can rule out most of the options by simply looking at their degree, unit or any other key property. So watch out for such hidden clues in the options.
Remember that all these tricks to solve schematic diagrams in GAMSAT are useful only when you practice smart. As Thomas Edison’s mother might have told her son after a tiring day
—”Of course I’m proud that you invented the electric light bulb. Now turn it off and get to bed!”