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medica
Rookie


Joined: 16 Jul 2009
Posts: 5
Location: brisbane

PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:06 pm    Post subject: gamsat preparation Reply with quote

hello everyone, I recently finished Bsc (hons) and am planning to sit gamsat in 2010. I do not have much worry about the science section however am abit worried (english is my second language) about the essay section. Can someone tell me about what sort of questions they ask in the essay section? how do I prepare for it?
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prepgenie
Grizzled


Joined: 08 Dec 2008
Posts: 113

PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:13 pm    Post subject: Answering the essays Reply with quote

The Written Communication section is a test of the ability to produce and develop ideas in writing. It involves two thirty-minute writing tasks. Each task offers a number of ideas relating to a common theme. The theme will be general rather than specific in nature. The first task deals with socio-cultural issues while the second deals with more personal and social issues. In selecting topics for writing tasks every effort is made to minimise factors which might disadvantage candidates from non-English-speaking backgrounds (GAMSAT information booklet 2009).
WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA FOR ASSESSMENT IN SECTION II?
Written Communication is assessed based on two criteria. These criteria address the quality of thinking about a topic and the control of language demonstrated in its development. The assessment focuses on the way in which ideas are integrated into a thoughtful response. Control of language (grammatical structure and expression) is an integral component of a good piece of writing. However, it is only assessed insofar as it contributes to the overall effectiveness of the response to the task and not in isolation. Candidates are not assessed on the ‘correctness’ of the ideas or attitudes they display.
CRITERIA FOR ASSESSMENT OF WRITTEN COMMUNICATION
Test raters consider the following issues:
THOUGHT AND CONTENT (the quality of what is said)
• What is made of and developed from the task
• The kind of thought and feeling offered in response to the task

ORGANISATION AND EXPRESSION (the quality of the structure developed and the language used)
• The shape and form of the piece
• The effectiveness and fluency of the language

HOW TO PLAN AN ESSAY FOR GAMSAT?
While planning an essay, the writer will have to ask himself/herself the following questions:
1) What is the objective of the essay?
The correct answer to this will determine the relevance of the essay. An improper understanding or lack of knowledge regarding the objective or subject in discussion will result in an irrelevant essay.
2) What is the desired response?
Based on the objective of the essay, it is possible to determine the desired response. The essay writer will either decide to write for or against the topic. Or he/she might decide to take a passive stand on the topic.
3) What is the tone of the essay?
The key words in an essay question will determine the tone of the essay. Remember that if there are words such as ‘argumentative’ and ‘assert’, they do not refer to a vitriolic comment on the ideas given. Rather they refer to a critical and concise substantiation of the writer’s views on the common theme.
4) What’s the role of the ideas in the essay?
The ideas in the question help in exploring various avenues or branches that could arise from the common theme. They help the writer to weigh different views, theories and pieces of evidence that consolidate his/her view-point.
5) How to organise or format the essay?
The writer will organise his/her essay using the ideas given. Defining the ideas will help in arriving at the bigger picture. The ‘5 W’s and 1 H’ method will help in defining the ideas. The writer will have to ask himself/herself the questions ‘Who’, ‘What’, ‘When’, ‘Where’, ‘Why’ and ‘How’ so as to define the common theme of the ideas given. The writer uses the answers to organise his/her essay better. This will be further discussed in the next section.
6) How to plan for word count?
It is extremely essential to plan the word count of your essay. Since the time allowed for each essay is 30 minutes, you are expected to write about 300 words in which you will be expressing your ideas and coming to a specific conclusion. You would have to state your premise in about the first 50 words and draw the conclusion in the last 50. That leaves you with about 200 words in which you have to take your idea forward in a logical manner and sustain the same with the help of supporting examples/quotes/ etc.
Since you do not have too many words to express yourself it becomes all the more imperative to communicate your ideas in a forceful, logical and unambiguous manner.
Read More, Write More:
It is extremely essential that you develop a wide reading habit. You must be reading a variety of topics, preferably those kinds of texts that are argumentative, logical in nature. For the purpose of writing a good essay in GAMSAT it will not do you much good to read texts that contain reflective writing. Rather, focus on pieces that argue a certain point of view, such as those by Bertrand Russell or Bernard Shaw. You will also benefit greatly by reading the editorials of first-rate newspapers.
But avid reading is only half the job. The other and more important activity is to practice writing vigorously. Remember that practice makes you perfect. You must practise writing within a given time limit and have your writing evaluated by a competent person, preferably your teacher. If that is not possible, form a group with fellow GAMSAT aspirants and get your write-ups evaluated by each other. You should be writing more frequently (at least one essay everyday) if your grasp of the English language is weak or if English is not your first language. Even if you are confident about your language skills, you must remember that developing a piece of writing logically in a short duration does require practice (about a couple of essays in a week).
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medica
Rookie


Joined: 16 Jul 2009
Posts: 5
Location: brisbane

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Answering the essays Reply with quote

prepgenie wrote:
The Written Communication section is a test of the ability to produce and develop ideas in writing. It involves two thirty-minute writing tasks. Each task offers a number of ideas relating to a common theme. The theme will be general rather than specific in nature. The first task deals with socio-cultural issues while the second deals with more personal and social issues. In selecting topics for writing tasks every effort is made to minimise factors which might disadvantage candidates from non-English-speaking backgrounds (GAMSAT information booklet 2009).
WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA FOR ASSESSMENT IN SECTION II?
Written Communication is assessed based on two criteria. These criteria address the quality of thinking about a topic and the control of language demonstrated in its development. The assessment focuses on the way in which ideas are integrated into a thoughtful response. Control of language (grammatical structure and expression) is an integral component of a good piece of writing. However, it is only assessed insofar as it contributes to the overall effectiveness of the response to the task and not in isolation. Candidates are not assessed on the ‘correctness’ of the ideas or attitudes they display.
CRITERIA FOR ASSESSMENT OF WRITTEN COMMUNICATION
Test raters consider the following issues:
THOUGHT AND CONTENT (the quality of what is said)
• What is made of and developed from the task
• The kind of thought and feeling offered in response to the task

ORGANISATION AND EXPRESSION (the quality of the structure developed and the language used)
• The shape and form of the piece
• The effectiveness and fluency of the language

HOW TO PLAN AN ESSAY FOR GAMSAT?
While planning an essay, the writer will have to ask himself/herself the following questions:
1) What is the objective of the essay?
The correct answer to this will determine the relevance of the essay. An improper understanding or lack of knowledge regarding the objective or subject in discussion will result in an irrelevant essay.
2) What is the desired response?
Based on the objective of the essay, it is possible to determine the desired response. The essay writer will either decide to write for or against the topic. Or he/she might decide to take a passive stand on the topic.
3) What is the tone of the essay?
The key words in an essay question will determine the tone of the essay. Remember that if there are words such as ‘argumentative’ and ‘assert’, they do not refer to a vitriolic comment on the ideas given. Rather they refer to a critical and concise substantiation of the writer’s views on the common theme.
4) What’s the role of the ideas in the essay?
The ideas in the question help in exploring various avenues or branches that could arise from the common theme. They help the writer to weigh different views, theories and pieces of evidence that consolidate his/her view-point.
5) How to organise or format the essay?
The writer will organise his/her essay using the ideas given. Defining the ideas will help in arriving at the bigger picture. The ‘5 W’s and 1 H’ method will help in defining the ideas. The writer will have to ask himself/herself the questions ‘Who’, ‘What’, ‘When’, ‘Where’, ‘Why’ and ‘How’ so as to define the common theme of the ideas given. The writer uses the answers to organise his/her essay better. This will be further discussed in the next section.
6) How to plan for word count?
It is extremely essential to plan the word count of your essay. Since the time allowed for each essay is 30 minutes, you are expected to write about 300 words in which you will be expressing your ideas and coming to a specific conclusion. You would have to state your premise in about the first 50 words and draw the conclusion in the last 50. That leaves you with about 200 words in which you have to take your idea forward in a logical manner and sustain the same with the help of supporting examples/quotes/ etc.
Since you do not have too many words to express yourself it becomes all the more imperative to communicate your ideas in a forceful, logical and unambiguous manner.
Read More, Write More:
It is extremely essential that you develop a wide reading habit. You must be reading a variety of topics, preferably those kinds of texts that are argumentative, logical in nature. For the purpose of writing a good essay in GAMSAT it will not do you much good to read texts that contain reflective writing. Rather, focus on pieces that argue a certain point of view, such as those by Bertrand Russell or Bernard Shaw. You will also benefit greatly by reading the editorials of first-rate newspapers.
But avid reading is only half the job. The other and more important activity is to practice writing vigorously. Remember that practice makes you perfect. You must practise writing within a given time limit and have your writing evaluated by a competent person, preferably your teacher. If that is not possible, form a group with fellow GAMSAT aspirants and get your write-ups evaluated by each other. You should be writing more frequently (at least one essay everyday) if your grasp of the English language is weak or if English is not your first language. Even if you are confident about your language skills, you must remember that developing a piece of writing logically in a short duration does require practice (about a couple of essays in a week).



Thanks Prepgenie, the information you gave will definately help!!
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