The GAMSAT section 1 (Humanities & Social Science) is quite difficult to prepare for, however, there are a few things candidates can do during preparation to increase their chances of passing and scoring in the top percentile. The key to passing section 1 is developing a ‘GAMSAT Section 1 mindset’. It involves changing the way you think and the flow of your reading.
The best way to prepare for section 1 is by reading a vast range of material. However, reading content after content with no clear strategy on what to look out for is a waste of time and will result in you probably not performing well. You need to practice and train yourself to change two things:
- Thought Process – Read between the lines
- Flow of Reading – Understand the vocabulary
I will focus on each element of the GAMSAT Section 1 Mindset in more detail:
Thought Process: You can’t simply read materials for enjoyment, only understanding the information the author is getting across is not enough. You need to read between the lines, question everything. You want to put yourself in the author’s mind. Ask yourself the following questions every time you read an article, blog, poem or novel:
- What is the subject of conversation?
- The context of the author?
- What is the author’s tone? – is it negative, positive or neutral? are they in a bad or good mood? Is it detached or euphoric?
- What first impression is the writer creating?
- what is the writer’s final opinion?
- What setting has the writer has created?
- What perspective is the author addressing the subject? – observe the language the author uses and the style in which s/he writes reflect his/her overall sentimen.
- What words or phrase does the author use? and why?
- what is the personality of the characters used? Look into the characters actions or dialogues used in the passage.
- What is the setting? (for Fiction or poems)
These are the key things you want to try to point out when reading, try to understand the author’s mindset and read between the lines. I recommend summarising articles, poems, and novels with the above questions. The more you practice the better you’ll get as this.
Flow of reading: Improving your flow of reading will help with understanding the vocabulary being used in the shortest time possible. One of the major difficulty in the GAMSAT section 1 is timing, you need to be able to attempt 75 questions in 100 mins with 10 mins reading time. So it is important to develop your flow of reading. Once you’ve had a bit of practice and have developed your train of thought. Start timing yourself when reading, work on the following:
- Identifying keywords or topic of discussion by skimming through content.
- Speed reading – Gather necessary additional information at a quicker pace. Try using spreeder.com to read articles.
- Understand commonly used metaphors or figures of speech.
- Avoid omitting details – practice summarising every sentence or paragraph in your head.
With enough practice, you can improve both elements and increase your overall score. Take the time to develop the GAMSAT section 1 mindset and you will see a huge difference in how your overall score.