Introduction to the blog

From studying Biomedical sciences, to gaining various experiences in the lab and as a carer. I’m carrying what I have learnt from my past and present to help me reach my goal in the future. That goal is to become a doctor.

This is my third try and I’m determined to get in with all my efforts. This blog will touch upon my personal life, with things I have dealt with, things that interest me…medically related of course and things I have achieved.

Why do I want to become a doctor?

There are so many reasons, the generic answer being I want to help treat people. But being a doctor is more than just treating people. It’s about problem solving, being aware of the recent studies and treatments, continuous learning about the human body and more. My mother and father were one of my reasons why I want to become a doctor. My father who suffers from Type 2 diabetes and my mother who suffers from catatonic schizophrenia, I didn’t have an easy childhood. My mother mainly suffered a lot due to her condition. So from an early age, I took on many responsibilities and still do as of today.

Many challenges I have faced balancing studies and also trying to take care of my parents, but I overcame these difficulties and want to remind myself of everything I went through and everything I achieved to get to where I am today. For example, completing my Biomedical Sciences degree, I still keep what I have studied closed to my heart…or in this case on my wall. The picture below shows my study strategy when trying to remember information on human anatomy and physiology.

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Hard work and dedication will pay off one day!

Preparing for entrance exams: GAMSAT

Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test otherwise known as GAMSAT is for graduate entry medicine. The following universities in the UK require you to take this exam, the cut off score varies. The following table was made with the information provided on http://www.gamsatpreparationcourses.co.uk/scores-results.php. Some universities require higher scores if those that have graduated with a 2:2 compared to those that have graduated with a 2:1.

University Minimum cut off score 2017
Overall Section I Section II Section III
Cardiff 57 55 55 55
Exeter 59
Keele 58-55 50 50 58-55
Liverpool 50 50 50 50
Nottingham 61 (2:1), 66 (2:2) 55 55 55
Plymouth 64 51 52 60
Plymouth (dentistry) 64 51 52 60
St Georges 62 50 50 50
Swansea 50 50

This test is roughly 6 hours and 55 minutes long not including the arriving time, lunch break and after exams. This is where you need to build up a lot of stamina to get through a lot.

Section I: Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences

  • This section is 100 minutes/ 1 hour and 40 minutes long with 10 minutes reading time.
  • In this part of GAMSAT you will get 75 multiple choice questions on humanities and social sciences.
  • Your job is to interpret poems, essays, prose, cartoons/ comic strips, tables and graphs and other diagrams.
  • It tests your understanding and interpreting ideas on variety of topics linked to social and cultural contexts

Section II: Written Communication

  • This is 60 minutes long with 5 minutes reading time.
  • This is the only section you need to actually do some writing where you need to produce two essay in the given time.
  • You are given quotes from different influential people and it is linked to a specific theme which you need to talk about.
  • Task A focuses on socio-cultural issues and needs to be written in a more analytical way.
  • Task B deals with personal issues and themes. This is where you can talk about your experiences…if relatable to the theme.

Section II: Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences

  • This test is the longest part of the exam that lasts 170 minutes long or 2 hours and 50 minutes with 10 minutes reading time.
  • This tests your scientific knowledge as well as maths.
  • You are embarked with 110 multiple choice questions where 40% of it contains questions in Biology and Chemistry and 20% focuses on Physics.
  • You will be given passages, tables and/ or graphs of data which you need to interpret.
  • No calculators are allowed.

First experience:

Revising for this exam wasn’t easy especially since I didn’t buy any textbook to help me through the exam prep. I had taken the exam in 2015 during my Biomedical degree, on arrival I was lined up outside the venue and I saw many candidates, which was nerve-wracking, I didn’t feel prepared, I felt that I screwed up on writing but really the science bit screwed me up the most. Finished with 15 minutes left. The results will last you for two years but I know I could do better so I will retake it for the last time since I can invest more time preparing.

In my case I scored 52 in the first section, 49 in the second and 43 in the last, averaging my score to a low 47. Knowing this I know what I need to focus on more and hopefully I’ll gained a higher score in each section..well that’s my goal anyway.

Tips:

  • It is worth investing in the Gold standard textbook, it truly helps, has tons of advice and practice questions for you to do. Also has a mock exam at the end for you to do as if you were doing the real thing.TheGoldStandardGAMSAT.png
  • Don’t JUST rely on textbook, there are plenty of resources out there to improve your score.
  • Use YouTube videos for science and maths studying. I have used youtube videos in the past to study for some of my exams during my degree. I covered so many topics in quite a short space of time. It really is useful in revision.
  • If you have not started revising now for the September exam do so now, increase that vocabulary, get better at essay writing, expand scientific knowledge and practice your skills in maths.
  • Improve reading style, technique and time for section I, the only way one can…by reading. More often the better.
  • Utilise reading time appropriately.
  • Find your weaknesses and turn them into your strengths. Focus on where you think you will lose marks more to boost that score up
  • Always read the questions properly, usually the diagrams given in the exam can be misleading. Look for what the question is actually asking you.
  • If you find writing essays hard then it might be worth listening to podcasts and opinion-based articles to develop your writing style.

Useful resources:

TED talks – https://www.ted.com/talks

Register for free GAMSAT practice test – https://www.gamsat-prep.com/index.php?main_page=create_account

Free preparation guide – http://e-gamsat.com/about.html

More tips – http://emergency-one.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/5-tips-for-gamsat-preparation.html

GRADMED with example essays for Section II – http://www.gamsat.co.uk/gamsat-test-sections

Revise GAMSAT – http://revisegamsat.com/

 

Side note: Thank you to those that took your time you read this, feel free to message me for more info about GAMSAT or if you have any advice then that’s helpful as well!