How To Prepare For GAMSAT Section 1 (Humanities & Social Science)

1-in-3 Applicants last year GAMSAT AD

The GAMSAT Section 1 is the ‘Reasoning in Humanities & Social Sciences’ section,  it consists of 75 multiple choice questions  based on vignettes drawn from a variety of materials: prose, poetry, magazines, blogs, figures and images. The section tests a candidates ability to understand and analyse written and graphically presented material. This section of the exam is very difficult to prepare for, however, there a number materials that can help with grasping the core concepts of the section and drastically improve your score.

ACER provides practice questions once you’ve registered, I recommend applying as early as possible so you can get access to these questions. The practice questions is the first resource I recommend using to prepare for Section 1. Attempt these practice questions timed with no prior studying. You want to identify what you struggle with. I personally struggled with timing and understanding poems. I took the time to focus my efforts on improving these areas during my preparation.  You can find alot of practice questions online, check out my earlier post on 800+ GAMSAT questions, you’ll find a list of companies offering free practice questions, use this to get familair with the GAMSAT section 1 and identify your weakness, be objective – look out for timing, difficult questions or anything you struggle with. 

Here is rough guideline on how to prepare for GAMSAT Section 1 :

  1. Identify – Attempt  the official practice questions  and other online questions to identify what you struggle with in section 1.
  2. Prioritise – Prioritise your weakness based on how much you struggle to grasp concepts. For example, I focussed more  on my flow of reading, i struggled to understand Old English.  
  3. Improve – Use books or courses to improve skills. I personally recommend you don’t buy every book under the sun, my recommended GAMSAT books can be found here.  I also recommend reading  vast material and change your thinking, I further explain below.
  4. Practice – Practice as many questions as possible using the skills learned from the books or courses. Keep practising  until you are fully comfortable with the GAMSAT section 1. You can attempt another past paper timed and see how well you have improved.

I believe if you follow this preparation strategy you will drastically improve your GAMSAT score, by identifying your weakness early and tailoring your preparation strategy to improve is by far the most efficient and effective way to prepare for the exam.

Regular reading and practice are the best way to prepare for this section. Here are my suggested readings for GAMSAT Section 1:

  • E-books in Old English – This includes classics, novels etc. You can download free ebooks to download on
  • Free Poems Start with easy poems, then increase difficulty. The key thing is that you want to be able to read between the lines. What is the poet’s emotion? What is the theme? what does a particular figure of speech mean? what is the tone of the poem? These are a few of the key things to bare in mind when reading poems. Trying reading more poetry and answer these questions. Remember there is no wrong answer, be able to back up what you think by referring to parts in the poem. I found this website that has the top 500 poems of all time, try working your way through the top 100 once you’ve had a bit of practice. 
  • Newspapers, Blogs and novelsI recommend general reading but change your thinking, try to bear in mind the thought process of the writer – what first impression are they conveying? what is their tone?  What does a particular metaphor mean? what is their opinion?  I recommend reading the opinion column in newspapers they are a really good resource.


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