Saturday, March 15, 2008

Well done! Now go celebrate!

Today, thousands of hopefuls flocked to examination centres throughout Australia and sat through hours of painful questions in the torturous process that is the GAMSAT exam.
We were all thinking of you today.
Remember, most people walk out of the exam feeling like they have failed. It is MEANT to be hard, in order to separate the candidates from each other. Your marks will be mainly based on where you come in the pack.
Many of us who are now in medical school felt like they failed the exam but ended up with solid scores. A lot of people have to sit it more than once, and then got into great universities. It is character-building, really tough, and you should just be proud that you have given it your best shot.
If it helps, think of it as a rite of passage. Congratulations. :)


Brad said...

I'm all for character building, but having my life slowed down by 12 months if I fail is more heartbreaking than anything else!

Will May every come quick enough!?

The Girl said...

I felt the exact same way - the waiting is the worst part of the entire ordeal!

Just remember that there are a lot of people who walk into the GAMSAT cold, without having even read much about it, just to give it a go! Personally, I like to encourage this kind of applicant - that way, the bell-curve is your friend. :)

But seriously, you should be proud for having given it a serious go, and if worst comes to worst, some of my favourite people in med have had to sit it more than once. It sounds painful, but twelve months isn't a long time in the scheme of things. Plan to get in, but plan to buy yourself something really nice or do something really exciting to make up for it if you don't.

Take care!

Bongi said...

what are these exams? some sort of university entrance exam? some sort of iq test? how does it work?

The Girl said...

The GAMSAT is a three-part exam (sat over the space of a day) that Australians take if they want to apply for a place in a graduate medical degree (as well as some dentistry degrees).

It is like the Australian equivalent of the US MCAT.

The first section is reading comprehension, the second is essay writing and the third (and largest) is science.

It is a very difficult exam, and around 5 thousand Australians sit it each year.

You are given a grade in each section mostly based on how well you do compared to the other people who take the exam, so they make the questions exceptionally difficult to try to separate the contenders.

When you get your gamsat result (which comes down to a single two-digit number) you can decide which graduate course to apply for. The different universities decide what they want to use as criteria for entrance.

Some universities do not interview, use GPA as a "hurdle" (i.e. if you are over a certain GPA, you are automatically a contender for a place) and use the GAMSAT to separate their applicants.

Other universities use a combination of interview ranking, GPA and GAMSAT score, in differing percentages.

It is very convoluted and confusing and takes a decent amount of research to work out which university is the one that gives you the best chance of getting in. :)

I was lucky, in that I got a good GAMSAT score, was relatively sure that I interviewed well and had an acceptable (but not brilliant) GPA, so I ended up getting into the local university in my city, which would have been my first preference anyway. Other friends have had to move to the other side of the country because they got relatively weak gamsats but were able to interview well enough to get a place.

Interesting process, just glad it is all over and done with for me - now I just have to be concerned with intern places and specialty training. ;)

Arps said...

just bumped across your blog while browsing thru...
interesting insight on the Australian Med entrance system..
In India, we just have a pure science paper which gets to decide the fate of 250,000 odd candiates---out of which just abt 3000 get in.. :(


Brad S said...

Thanks for the comment arps, that puts some things in perspective here in Australia. I think I might research a bit more into the Indian admission out of interest.

The Girl said...

Wow, arps, those are some rough statistics - the ones here in Australia are much kinder!