Putting GAMSAT Cartoon Type Questions into Context


The old saying of “a picture paints a thousand words” really hits home when confronted with a cartoon type question. You must have come across such questions several times, especially if you took history lessons, a subject that relies heavily on political cartoons to understand a certain scenario from the past.

Certainly, you won’t use the same strategies you did in your year 12 exams when you take on a full-blown GAMSAT question, but you would feel a bit more confident if you knew some basic principles underlying GAMSAT cartoons.




The questions are certainly tricky, but they are not downright rocket science. None of the cartoons deal with anything too obscure or abstract, and the ones that appear are mainly those that deal with matters that have received fairly recent media attention. So, it would be a good idea to acquaint yourself with recent global events while you prepare for the test.

That solid foundation in being a learned and avid follower of what matters will not only help you understand and contextualise cartoons (and other section 1 texts), but also be a great springboard for your opinions for the section 2 essays. If you can roughly guess what subject the cartoon is referring to, then you’re halfway to the answer.


That Extra Mile

Not all the picture study questions in GAMSAT Section 1 deal with a single cartoon. Sometimes, a vignette might contain a couple of cartoons, along with a quote or a passage. Your interpretation of the cartoon should depend on not just the image, but the adjoining quote/passage as well. This is especially important as they not only bring clarity to an otherwise possibly obscure image, but are also awesome signposts for the cartoonist’s opinion and bias.

image Source: goodreads.com        video Source: youtube.com     image Source: mrs-claassen.co.za

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