What is it that you actually want?
This post is the first in a series that will detail the ideal approach to GAMSAT. While the ideas and approaches discussed in this series will make your GAMSAT preparation more efficient and ultimately successful, it is hoped that they may also enrich other aspects of your present and future life. The principles discussed in the series are amenable to application in virtually any other challenging endeavour.
If you find yourself here reading this post, you are likely preparing for GAMSAT. You may be preparing to the sit the GAMSAT for the first time, or you may be one of the majority of candidates who are re-sitting the exam.
In either case, it is important to consider and eliminate the internal obstructions which may impede your success. To do so, ask yourself the following questions:
What is it that you actually want?
If you haven’t asked yourself this question, you need to do this before progressing. What does the question even mean? The process of thinking about your real desires is paramount – it necessitates a recognition of whims versus ambitions. Whims will fall in the face of adversity while true desires will weather the storm. Actually, wanting something means you are willing to forgo the alternatives. The so-called opportunity cost of committing to an endeavour such as GAMSAT and a career in medicine will evidently involve many sacrifices. Less evident is the imposed growth that such processes enforce which represents a further challenge to accept and overcome. Awareness of your ambitions and why they are important to you will soften the blow of the necessary sacrifices you will invariably be making both now while you study, and in your future work.
As an aside, thinking about what you actually want is also important for you as an individual. The probability that you will get what you want (or more importantly, what is good for you) without active consideration is small. If you do not identify what you really want, and pursue it, others will find things for you to do and your life may not be all that it can be.
In order to get what you actually want, what would your life look like?
After considering what it is you actually want, you may have landed on a career in medicine which involves success in the GAMSAT etc. (if you didn’t, then pursue whatever else it is you actually want). Success requires a set of goals and an associated plan. Your plan at present will necessarily focus more on GAMSAT, and you will need to take responsibility in structuring your life so that you are maximising your potential. The actual task of planning your goals and GAMSAT studies will be discussed in the coming webinar associated with this post (it will be added to this article after the event).
Taking responsibility for your studies again prevents others from allocating your time (which will not assist you in your goals). But also keep it mind that planning your days/weeks/months requires negotiating with yourself – you cannot be your own tyrant.
Finally, what would your life be like if you habitually did the difficult things?
In the author’s experience, the candidates that perform well in the GAMSAT (and in many other areas of life) make doing difficult things a habit. In GAMSAT, this means sitting practice exams under timed conditions, receiving honest feedback, and continually asking questions in order to improve. The result of these processes (whether failure or success) is always productive. Consider that your overall aim at this point may be to score 70+ in GAMSAT and enter into medicine. The fastest way to this destination is via a routine commitment to difficult things. It does not matter where you start, or the number of failures you encounter along the way – it is the process that is most important.
The next blog post will focus on how to study for the GAMSAT. What does this mean? Rather than focusing simply on ‘what’ to study (the content), we will spend time considering the ‘how’. That is, detailing the things you should do in order to understand and retain your studies, and ultimately make the process of studying more fruitful, and – importantly – more enjoyable. Successful GAMSAT study!