Importance of Graphs and Data Tables in GAMSAT Biology Questions

One of the most frequent questions that come to our mind after going through a couple of GAMSAT practice booklets by ACER is— “Why do the Biology questions in Section III contain graphs and data tables with such frequency?” Many GAMSAT candidates often get confused or scared at this approach as they find it difficult to collate the data given in graphs and tables with the subsequent multiple choice questions (MCQs). But ACER has intentionally made this approach due to some important reasons. Let us try to look at their line of thinking.

Suppose you are suffering from high fever with abdominal cramps, a common health disorder experienced by all of us. The first and foremost thing that you will do is consult a local physician about your illness. In all likelihood, the doctor will advise you to go for some pathological tests like a blood test and stool or urine test. The report that you receive from the pathologist is not in plain text but in a tabular format. The doctor must understand this format clearly to understand your physiological condition and diagnose the patient, i.e. you, properly. Therefore, it can be understood that in order to become a doctor you need to have the ability and practice of drawing conclusions from data tables.

Similarly, when a patient is suffering from cardiac disorders, i.e. heart diseases, he is advised by the cardiologist to undergo an ECG (electrocardiogram) test. ECG records the cardiac cycle of the patient in a graphical form over a paper. The doctor has to understand the heart condition of the patient from the ECG report itself, i.e. the graphical representation of the electrocardiogram. If he fails to do that, then the diagnosis of the patient will become almost impossible for him. ACER, therefore, wants to check the reasoning ability of GAMSAT candidates, the would-be doctors, in every possible way. Candidates showing confidence in understanding graphical representations will have a definite edge over others.

Both graphical representations and data tables may look a bit confusing for many GAMSAT aspirants given that they have to collate data of all sorts and determine their relationship, which is not the case for plain text passages. But, to be honest, it is not that difficult at all. The key is in assembling the data for which you need a strong sense of reasoning and logic. A simple way to start is by trying to understand the various pathological and graphical test reports of your family members. Remember, practice makes you perfect.

Now that it is clear why ACER has designed GAMSAT Section III questions containing graphs and data tables, you have to keep in mind that as would-be health consultants, understanding the different formats of clinical reporting is imperative. Otherwise, the professional medical scenario is likely to present monstrous problems.

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May 29, 2017

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