Tips for doing well in GAMSAT Essays
As one of the three sections of the GAMSAT exam the argumentative and personal essays can make a big difference in the success or failure of your med school application. Even if you think you’re quite a good essay writer then squeezing out two quality essays in an hour is still quite an achievement. We’ve written this article to give you some tips on doing well in the essays.
Tip One: Be informed
With the argumentative essay you will be demonstrating a keen intellect and knowledge of the world. If you’ve got nothing to say and no idea about current affairs you’re not going to produce a good essay. There’s no excuse not to get to know what’s happening on the news. The Internet is filled with many news aggregators, portals for official news channels and then of course hard copy newspapers are still a great source of news.
Tip Two: Learn useful quotes and facts
When presenting your argument you can’t just write any old nonsense, you’ll be needing to back up your opinions with facts and even figures. That means that in your preparation in the weeks prior to GAMSAT you’ll not only be learning about current affairs but also looking for useful information to use in your essay. If for example you’re writing on “How modern society lacks morals”, if you’re able to add in a real fact such as “25 percent of people are agnostics” your essay will look so much more credible. As a clincher if you’ve than remembered a quote that you’re able to bring in it really makes you look worldly,informed and professional. You of course don’t know what to expect topic wise,but it just takes a little bit of imagination to structure your opinion around these quotes Ian’s facts you’ve memorised.
Tip Three: Basic essay structure
Whether you’re a couple of years or even a decade or two out of formal schooling your essay writing skills might be rusty. Remember you’re supposed to be showing a fine mind, that means that your essay must back up your ideas in logical ways. If you’ve never been a great essay writer or are massively out of practice we suggest just keeping things simple. A clear introduction, a body that develops your argument and works in those facts and opinions you need to include followed by a great summing up with your conclusion, should keep your thoughts nice and tidy and organised.
In follow up articles we’ll go more into depth on how to develop your arguments further and give you advice on how best to approach essays that need a personal perspective.
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Corrected Writing Task B: Sample Essay 2
by jeanne_gsgamsat » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:58 pm
Quotation: "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt
Self empowerment can be an extremely useful tool if one has the capacity to use it. The mind is believed by some to be the most powerful organ in the body, we cannot live without it and it defines the way we live and behave. Many inspirational stories stem from self empowerment and beating the odds. Some end with riches from poverty, and happiness from depression. The ability to tell oneself that they are not a lesser person when being told they are is a useful trait. But the way we think and view the world may not be entirely our own liability. The people we surround ourselves with bear a huge responsibility on how we think and behave. Sometimes we cannot choose who influences us. We are born into a family that have a great bearing on our view of the world, especially as young fragile minded children.
There were 4 children growing up in my house. My mother remarried an older man who was later diagnosed with aspergers. He was the bane of our existence and made our childhood a hard place to be. Among many other traits, he persisted in telling my young impressionable sister, starting as early as only 7 years of age, how overweight she was. This would be repeated everyday until she left home. This bore a great toll on her confidence and for the next 11 years until today, she has suffered from a terrible debilitating eating disorder. The phenomena of the mind truly believing what it is told in the young impressionable stages of life is still studied by scientists and psychologists today. It is very well known that while the mind is weak, or still developing, it has the capacity to transform in amazing ways. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.
Next door to our childhood house, an aboriginal family of 6 children lived. We all played together in the street and attended the same primary school. These children were all subjected to the wrath of mental abuse from both parents. One child commit suicide, another lived with us for a few months. To speak with someone who has gone through this torment would give you the impression that it is all to easy to be made to feel inferior. After years of being told you are worthless, it sinks deep inside the crevices of the brain, never to be found. It seems all to easy as an adult to 'get over it', or 'build a bridge' to minor language offenses such as a co worker telling you how better they are than you. But for a child's mind, it does not have the capacity to see differently.
Instances of childhood demoralisation and mental abuse happen all too often in our society. Many children go through life feeling forgotten and worthless. Some may pull together later in life and have a healthy and happy future, but this isnt the case for most. Many children who have lived a life of oppression and degradation do not grow up to be mentally stable adults. They continue to believe they are inferior to others for the rest of their life. To be told as a mentally stable adult that you are inferior to others, it may be easy to push aside and not give consent to those who bully you. But for a young, easily persuaded child, the opposite effect occurs. I beleive this as i have seen it, this is how i grew up.
Score: 51 - 57
The narratives are very touching. It is clearly told from the heart, and the insights are very authentic, thus, inspirational. More importantly, the candidate is able to connect her personal experiences with valid generalisations addressing the theme on inferiority.
Suggestions for further improvement:
A good combination of skills for the Section II test would be a balance of efficient time management and a highly perceptive content. Practise your timing as much as you can. Continue using examples that you are very familiar about, so that your discussions project genuine understanding of the issues and sincerity of viewpoints. Even with argumentative essays, personal experiences can be used. Your strong point is your ability to end your essay with logical conclusions. You can still turn “logical” into “powerful” with constant practise!
You may also want to practise by hand to get a good gauge of your actual speed during the exam.
Just a few more tips on sentence style and grammar:
* The mind is believed by some to be the most powerful organ in the body, we cannot live without it and it defines the way we live and behave.
- The use of a colon in these sentences could provide emphasis and a more dramatic effect. It is one way of extending a thought or concept. Also, use a comma before a conjunction like “and” when the succeeding line is a complete sentence.
The mind is believed by some to be the most powerful organ in the body: we cannot live without it, and it defines the way we live and behave.
* The ability to tell oneself that they are not a lesser person when being told they are is a useful trait.
- Make sure that the pronoun is always consistent with its referent. In this sentence, you started out with oneself, a singular pronoun. Thus, this sentence should be corrected as such:
The ability to tell oneself that one is not a lesser person is a useful trait.
* My mother remarried an older man who was later diagnosed with aspergers.
- Asperger’s is always spelled with a capital letter.
* This bore a great toll on her confidence and for the next 11 years until today, she has suffered from a terrible debilitating eating disorder.
- “Until” means “just before”. On the other hand, “up to” connotes that something is still going on. By using “until today” in the sentence, you are implying that your sister has already overcome her inferiority. Otherwise, you could restate this as, “This bore a great toll on her confidence and for the next 11 years (up to this day)s. . .”
* Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.
- This should be, “Sometimes for the better; sometimes for the worse.”
* One child commit suicide, another lived with us for a few months.
- Since you are referring to a past event, use a consistent verb tense: “One child committed suicide, another lived with us for a few months.”
Last edited by jeanne_gsgamsat on Fri Aug 26, 2011 1:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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