What is GAMSAT?
The Graduate Medical School Admission Test (GAMSAT) is a test administrated by ACER and used by Australian, United Kingdom and Irish universities to select candidates applying to study medicine and dentistry, and other disciplines - for admission into their graduate entry programs.
GAMSAT is divided into three sections designed to assess performance in the areas of:
I Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences
II Written Communication
III Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences
The GAMSAT test is offered twice a year, in March and September, however in 2020 this was moved to 28 May due to the pandemic. The GAMSAT September 2020 sitting will be held on 9 September in Australian test centres located in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
Standard registrations for GAMSAT usually close around February 1 for March sitting and around July 22 for September sitting. Late registrations are offered for a fee and usually close around one week after registrations close. For more on key dates see our information on this page or visit GEMSAS website.
The following table shows the Structure and Content of the GAMSAT Test by Section, number of questions, reading time, writing time, total time and disciplines.
When you receive your GAMSAT results, they will show an Overall GAMSAT Score and a score for each of the three test sections. According to GEMSAS Admissions Guide, all medical schools in the Consortium (except the University of Melbourne, The University of Queensland and the University of Notre Dame Australia Sydney and Fremantle) rank applicants using the Overall GAMSAT Score - with required minimum Section Scores normally around 50. Whereas the universities in the exceptions group above, take an average of the three sections of the GAMSAT, rather than the Overall GAMSAT Score.
The GAMSAT results are valid for two years, i.e. if you sat the May test (usually March) in 2020 you can use the results obtained to apply for a graduate entry course commencing in 2021 and/or 2022. If you sit the September test in 2020 you may use the results obtained to apply for a graduate entry course commencing in 2022 and/or 2023.
Note that GAMSAT is usually available in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, Townsville, and Sydney. GAMSAT sittings are also available in major cities in New Zealand, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Find out more about testing centres.
The process of applying for admission to the graduate-entry programs is separate from the process of registering to sit GAMSAT. GEMSAS will process applications for admission to graduate-entry medicine at the GAMSAT Consortium Medical Schools and for the University of Melbourne Dentistry and Optometry programs.
How to improve your GAMSAT score by 23 percentile points.
Students enrol in GAMSAT preparation courses to learn the knowledge required to perform in GAMSAT, and to develop their ability to apply that knowledge in the context of complex application of critical thinking.
METC Institute GAMSAT preparation courses enable the development of intuitive understanding of the concepts required to excel in all sections of GAMSAT and additionally, emphasise critical-thinking and a focus on application of knowledge.
On average, students who completed a METC Institute GAMSAT course and sat GAMSAT demonstrated the following improvements:
Section 1: Score improvement of 21 percentile points
Section 2: Score improvement of 24 percentile points
Section 3: Score improvement of 22 percentile points
This means that students who commenced a METC Institute preparation course with a 55 were on average able to improve to a 60, and those with a 60 were able to improve to 65+.
What is the purpose of GAMSAT?
The Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) is developed by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) in conjunction with the Consortium of Graduate Medical Schools to assist in the selection of students to participate in the graduate-entry programs in Australia, Ireland and the UK. It is designed to assess the capacity to undertake high-level intellectual studies in the medical and health professional programs.
The purpose of GAMSAT is to assess the ability to understand and analyse material, to think critically about issues and, in the case of the Written Communication section, to organise and express thoughts in a logical and effective way. GAMSAT questions are based on material drawn from a variety of sources. They typically require candidates to read and think about a passage of writing, to interpret graphical displays of information, to use mathematical relationships and to apply reasoning skills to tables of data.
Since problem-based learning techniques are central to modern medical curricula, GAMSAT is constructed with a major focus on the assessment of problem-solving ability across a wide range of subject areas.
GAMSAT mean average & weighted score averages
Candidates will receive a Section Score for each of the three sections, together with an Overall GAMSAT Score, where the overall score will be a weighted average of the three section scores. Please keep in mind, the section score breakdown is important because different universities place different emphasis on the weighting of Section III.
For example, The University of Queensland, The University of Sydney, and the University of Melbourne take the Mean Average of the individual scores across the three sections. All other universities in the GEMSAS Consortium use the Traditional GAMSAT Section Weighting System, which weights Section III twice as much as Section I and Section II.
The following table shows the GAMSAT Mean Average and Traditional Weighted Average (SI, II, III) calculation methods:
Most common weighted GPA calculation
Each institution may vary in the way that they consider GPA score and the general rule is that the last three years of academic study are used for the calculation. The GPA can be calculated in different ways for different institutions with either non-weighted or weighted averages. The most common Weighted Average GPA Method is shown below:
- Final Year results....= GPA will be weighted by a factor of 3 (most recent)
- Final-1 Year results = GPA will be weighted by a factor of 2 (2nd most recent)
- Final-2 Year results = GPA will be weighted by a factor of 1 (3rd most recent)
The ‘weighted average’ is calculated by dividing the sum of the weighted products by 6. This will factor the weightings across the three years of study to give an overall GPA. This is the traditional method of Weighted GPA Calculation as indicated by GEMSAS where an emphasis is placed on the latter years of study. However, take note there are several institutions that calculate GPA differently and more information can be found in the GEMSAS guides.
The following table shows the most common GPA calculation method outlined by GEMSAS in their guide - 'How to calculate your GPA'. For more information visit the GEMSAS website.
How to best prepare for GAMSAT - articles, courses and competitions
Section II of GAMSAT can be a challenging section for those who are unprepared. The section requires the candidate to write two complete essays in 60 minutes. Instead of the luxury of simply colouring in the circles on an MCQ sheet, Section II presents candidates with the challenge of synthesising a novel response in the shape of a formal essay.
Typically, there will be an independent variable (the X-axis, usually time or some intervention) and the dependent variables (the Y-axis). When assessing a graph, take the time to understand the variables and to hypothesise what the relationship may be prior to looking at the body of the graph.
Are you ready to sit the upcoming GAMSAT Exam? Don't worry if you're not, as you can start METC Institute's GAMSAT Essentials Free Course with full-length Trial Exam now to assess your capabilities, then plan where to direct future study activities when you're finished.
The vast majority of candidates we engage with have little idea about how to ideally approach the GAMSAT exam, so diving straight into humanities or physical science course theory may not help you to advance section scores.
By doing this course, students will start to understand their GAMSAT preparation problem, their strengths and weaknesses, and what potential solutions might be. Students will learn the essentials for a good vs bad course and how to get the most value from their study and preparation activities.
Welcome to the GAMSAT blog article series – ‘How to prepare for GAMSAT: the ideal approach and preparation’ by Dr Mat Hinksman, Associate Director of Education and Senior Lecturer at METC Institute.
This 3-part article series explains how the ACER GAMSAT exam is different to a university exam, how to best approach GAMSAT study preparation with applied practice for a deeper level of understanding of concepts, and how it’s necessary to integrate vertically interdisciplinary concepts for problem-solving in Section III science exercises.
The methods and approaches outlined in the article series are aimed to guide students towards the ideal preparation for developing theoretical intuition and a successful GAMSAT outcome.
Do you need more preparation for the next GAMSAT Exam? If yes, you are not alone, and the good news is we are giving away two of our most popular preparation programs annually.
The GAMSAT Gold Preparation Program will get you moving in the right direction to learn the ideal study techniques for GAMSAT success.
In line with METC Institute’s mission to provide comprehensive high-quality and affordable education products for future medical professionals, we are giving away two GAMSAT Gold Preparation Packages annually to ensure more people have the opportunity to access premium GAMSAT vocational schooling, and can achieve successful admission into medicine.
Types of university places
To secure a place in a post-graduate university medical school requires multiple elements combining together in a student's favour. There is the GPA from their undergraduate degree (all universities except University of Sydney), the GAMSAT score (all universities), a portfolio is required in a small number of universities, and select universities add bonus points for prior medical professional work and supporting references.
Then some consideration must be given to the types and number of places available in each university. The types of places offered by medical schools are outlined below, that include Commonwealth Supported Places, Bonded Medical Places, Medical Rural Bonded Scholarships and Full Fee Places. Later down the page we outline the number of places in Australian medical schools.
- Commonwealth Supported Places – CSPs are subsidised by the federal government and are available to domestic students in all undergraduate and some postgraduate courses at public universities, as well as in select courses at private universities and higher education providers. Students who receive a CSP do not pay the full cost of their course. Instead they pay a smaller contribution, called the ‘student contribution’), with the government paying the difference. Some medical students occupying CSPs are participating in the Bonded Medical Places Scheme (BMPS) or have received scholarships through the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme (MRBSS).
- Bonded Medical Places - BMPs are a type of commonwealth supported place and students who accept a BMP offer are required by the Australian government to commit to working in a workforce shortage area for a period of time, after gaining fellowship. The time period is equal to the length of the medical degree. However, up to half the return of service obligation can be met while completing prevocational training and vocational training.
- Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Scheme – MRBSS places are another type of CSPs, recipients of the MRBSS scholarship are required to work for six continuous years in a rural or remote area of Australia. MRBSS doctors start their six-year commitment to work in rural Australia after completing their vocational training.
- Full Fee Places - FFPs refer to non-CSPs where the student pays up front for their medical degree. Some universities offer FFP to domestic and international students and segment these into undergraduate and postgraduate places. For example, in 2020, Bond University offered 130 places into the Medical Program with 80% of total places for undergraduate applicants and 20% of total places to postgraduate applicants.
All applicants for Commonwealth Supported Places and other domestic places at graduate entry schools, must be citizens/permanent residents of Australia and citizens of New Zealand - and must have a current score on the GAMSAT Test.
How to best prepare for GAMSAT - Key Dates, Free Materials
SEPTEMBER EXAM (2020)
Mid May – Applications open*
Mid July – Standard registrations close*
9 September - GAMSAT test held*
Mid November – Results released (applications in 2022-23)*
MARCH EXAM (2021)
Early Nov. (2020) – Applications open*
Early Feb. – Standard registrations close*
21 March - GAMSAT test held*
Late May – Results released (applications 2022-23)*
*subject to final confirmation on ACER GAMSAT website.
Need some extra assistance preparing for GAMSAT or improving your score? The METC Institute team has put together a group of free resources to assist.
These resources include webinars (How to Perform in GAMSAT Series - S1, SII, SIII), ACER and GEMSAS Guides, Material Formula Sheets, Historical GAMSAT Research from a 10-year perspective and more.
When you have reviewed these, the next step is to consider starting our GAMSAT Essentials Free Course with full-length trial exam. Find out more below.
Students who complete a METC Medicine Interview Course are better prepared and have the confidence to succeed in their Medical School admissions interview.
Interview courses enable students to build an understanding of the nature of the scenarios they will face in their interview.
They will also learn about the ideal response style, and also the scoring criteria used in medical admissions interviews.
The Medical School Admissions interview represents the final hurdle to students prior to entering post-graduate medical programs. Structures of the admissions interview include semi-structured, and multiple-mini interview (MMI).
About GEMSAS Consortium
GEMSAS is the graduate entry medical school admission system where students can apply to member schools in the system. The GEMSAS website advises there are nineteen medical schools in Australia offering graduate-entry and of these, ten medical schools are members of the GAMSAT consortium.
This Consortium offers an on-line application and matching system for domestic applicants to Australian graduate-entry medical schools. The following universities are members of the GAMSAT Consortium and their medical courses are participants in GEMSAS.
- GAMSAT Consortium Medical Schools (10)
- Australian National University
- Deakin University
- Griffith University
- Macquarie University
- The University of Melbourne
- The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle
- The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney
- The University of Queensland
- The University of Western Australia
- University of Wollongong
For domestic applications with GEMSAS, they are made on-line through the ApplyGEMSAS.edu.au website and there are three components to their application process: 1. GAMSAT, 2. The application, 3. Documentation. GEMSAS highlight for applicants that many schools have minimum scores for individual GAMSAT sections and overall GAMSAT results, as well as minimum GPAs.
In the GEMSAS system, applicants are selected for interview based on one or more of the following criteria:
• performance in GAMSAT;
• performance in a qualifying/key degree (as indicated by GPA);
• performance in a portfolio, special application or supplementary form or personal statement (where required);
• performance in the CASPer test (where required).
For international students, GEMSAS advises applicants must apply directly to the university of their choice and international students may sit either the GAMSAT or MCAT tests. Read More
Combined averages - GAMSAT scores and GPAs
The combined averages method utilises GAMSAT elements 1+2, where 1 is the GPA Score Average and 2 is the GAMSAT Score Average to yield a combined score - this calculation goes like this; ( ((GPA/7) + (GAMSAT/100)) ). The combined score outcome is vital for students to assess their competitiveness, or potential to achieve an offer and secure a place in an Australian medical school. For example:
- Your score = ((6.5/7) x 100) + GAMSAT score = 162.85 (combined average)
- Your friend’s score = ((6/7) x 100) + GAMSAT score = 155.71 (combined average)
Often it is these combined scores that are used to rank candidates for interview. In general, to be competitive you should be aiming for a combined score above 155. If you Google search online, you may be able to find GAMSAT medical school offers comparative analysis data (2015-18), that outlines the combined averages method and indicates that medical school offers are in the combined averages score range of 1.5s to 1.6s.
Additionally and straight off the bat, it's critical to note a student's GPA will have a significant impact on their GAMSAT score requirement to be competitive and the amount of preparation work required. If a student has a GPA of 5.5 vs someone who has 6.8, they need to outperform them significantly in the GAMSAT test.
Now, whether schools utilise the combined averages score formula as we have listed is up for debate (they may use another variant that corrects for the weight of the GPA, or they may not - no one knows what they use), however this simple formula seems to work.
Read more in our FAQ below – ‘My GPA is too low, or I don’t know if my GPA will be competitive’.
Example - UQ domestic places, selection criteria and application
The University of Queensland has approximately 280 domestic places available for commencement each year. Half of these places are reserved for the MD (Provisional Entry for School Leavers) undergraduate students to commence, and half for post-graduate students to commence MD each year.
All places offered to domestic students by UQ are Commonwealth Supported Places. However, there are three different categories of offers which are made to both the Provisional Entry and Direct Entry cohorts.
• 28.5% of the places are Bonded Medical Places
• 71.5% of places are non-bonded Commonwealth Supported Places
• 28% of places are for the Rural Background Scheme (RBS) - (an ‘overlapping’ quota).
UQ Selection Criteria:
• Completed key degree (Bachelors, Honours, Masters or PhD) with minimum GPA of 5.00/7.0
• The key degree study must have been completed within the last 10 years
• A minimum score of 50 in each of the 3 sections of the GAMSAT exam is compulsory
• A multiple Mini Interview (MMI) - Interview short-listing will be based upon GAMSAT score (An applicant’s GPA can be used for further differentiation if required.)
Final Offers for the program are be based upon the following weighting: MMI score (50%), unweighted average GAMSAT score (25%) and GPA (25%)
Applicants are permitted to lodge an application during their final year of study in their current key degree but are required to finalise their current key degree program with a minimum final GPA of 5.00/7.0 before 31 December of the relevant year to keep any offer which they may have received. Read more
METC Institute – High Achiever Program and guaranteed entry
The METC Institute offers students Guaranteed Entry into medicine after the completion of the GAMSAT High Achiever Program. After recognising the strong desire of many students to enter post-graduate medicine programs, the METC developed the HA program. Consequently, the program offers the most committed students their outright best opportunity to enter medicine.
The primary aim of the GAMSAT High Achiever Program is to provide students with the knowledge and skills required to gain successful entry into medicine. This is achieved through completion of various courses offered by METC Institute, but additionally, through completion of exclusive courses, mentoring and personal tutoring offered by our academic faculty.
The High Achiever Program may be commenced at any time throughout the year upon qualification and selection. Students are given the opportunity to complete all aspects of the program over a maximum of 24 months from enrolment, with the overall aim of achieving entrance into medicine at an Australian Medical School.
The total program workload is equivalent to 95.5 credit points and will require approximately 850-1250 hours of work, depending on the student's background and experience. The program is a full-time endeavour although previous students who have successfully completed it have done so in combination with full-time work or university commitments.
Drawing from confidence in the program and past performance of students, the METC offers High Achievers a guarantee of entry into medicine. Students who complete all aspects of the High Achiever Program but fail to gain a valid entry score into post-graduate medicine, will be enrolled in the Platinum Program (total course fees $3,688) at no cost the following year. Read More
The Australian medical school market
The annual data collection on the Australian medical school market is provided by the Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand Inc (MDANZI). There are 21 Australian medical schools in total who provide data on enrolments and graduates as of their census dates. This data indicates there was 17,471 enrolled places for domestic and international students in Australian university medical schools in 2019 collectively over a 6-year period.
For those interested in a historical perspective on medical education and university medical schools, information is published by the Australian Government Department of Health. In 2009, there were 14,521 medical students studying in Australian universities (in Table 2.1). Of these, 5,306 (36.5%) were undertaking a six-year course, 3,926 (27.0%) were undertaking a five-year course and 5,289 (36.4%) were undertaking a four-year course. This perspective indicates there has been modest growth (20.3%) in medical school places over the last decade (+2,950).
Other research by MDANZI outlined - 3,822 students commenced studying medicine at an Australian medical school in 2018 - 31 fewer than in 2017 (a 0.01% decrease). Medical student numbers are expected to remain stable in the coming years, with predictions that commencements for 2019 will be down slightly at 3,799. Read More
Free GAMSAT Webinars to get you started
METC Institute = comprehensive GAMSAT preparation.
The METC Institute provides industry-leading GAMSAT preparation courses to Australian, and international students. METC Institute GAMSAT courses emphasise thorough knowledge and understanding of humanities, essay writing, and the sciences along with strategies and practice applying this knowledge.
Much like post-graduate Medicine, courses are delivered via multiple media. Depending on your program of choice, courses comprise interactive online modules and exams, live and recorded lectures, and personal tuition. Students can choose between stand-alone courses, or packages and programs which aggregate multiple courses.
Why choose METC Institute for pre-medical preparation education?
Excellence in Medical Education
Our mission is to improve the quality of health care in Australia through the provision of comprehensive, high-quality and affordable educational products for current and future medical professionals.
Education by Doctors for Future Doctors
Our products and materials are carefully prepared and reviewed by expert specialist medical practitioners who in addition to their clinical duties working in hospitals and general practices, are passionate about advancing medical education and nurturing the next generation of Australian doctors.
Personalised Self-Paced Learning
Students enrolled in METC Institute courses and programs can practice at their own pace, first filling in the knowledge gaps in their understanding, and then accelerating their learning as they get better from METC’s guided ideal study habits.
‘A great day. Very very useful, learnt heaps of really really constructive things and I now feel much more prepared for my interviews. There is still definitely lots of work to do, but now I know exactly what I should be practicing. Matt was great, really approachable and helpful.’
GAMSAT Live Interview Course
‘Very helpful to do both interviewing and being the interviewer. Well thought out course with great resources and very nice location :)’
GAMSAT Live Interview Course
‘Amazing practice interviews which helped a lot with understanding how to address practice scenarios and questions in the real interview.’
GAMSAT Live Interview Course
‘I just wish to say thank you to the speakers at the Melbourne course this year, they provided me with invaluable feedback and information which helped me get offered a place for medicine in 2018.’
GAMSAT Live Interview Course
Kane Harvey (Deakin University MBBS student)
‘10/10 for money well spent. The combination of the online learning package with the practical component was a great help for me in my actual interview. I was able to practice with peers and receive constructive that I blended into my preparation. I went into my interview with confidence and received my 1st preference. Professional and knowledgeable, would highly recommend. Thank you Mat Hinksman and the METC Institute team.’
GAMSAT Live Interview Course
Douglas Brazil (University of Notre Dame MD student)