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Are Des O'Neills questions too Hard?



 
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Corrin Baker
Regular


Joined: 27 Aug 2009
Posts: 11
Location: Adelaide

PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 7:57 pm    Post subject: Are Des O'Neills questions too Hard? Reply with quote

Here is advice from someone who has tutored students in Chemistry for the GAMSAT for the last four years, and has seen both successful and unsuccessful candiates.

(I would first like to declare my involvement in the Chemistry Bridging Course, Adelaide, advertised on this forum, which you can find more information about in the Marketplace section.)

All of the students I taught owned copies of Des O'Neills books, and many had attended the three day Science Revision course.

I think these MCQ Books are great, they have a great range of questions covering all areas of the test.

However, you really need to have some sort of background to be able to tackle these questions, they are designed to really practice using the science knowledge you already have, in the style of the MCQ's used in the GAMSAT.

Many people make the comment that the GAMSAT Science questions simply test problem solving skills and do not require any science background. However with only a few minutes to answer each question, it becomes merely a guessing game without a solid science background of the concepts being tested.

I am currently completing a PhD in Chemistry (organic&inorganic) and this combined with years of teaching at the University means I have come to see that the capacity of students with minimal science background is limited.

Many of my students have also attended Des O'Neills three day Science Revision Course, and stated it was way over their heads, and that they would have really liked to have had Chemistry Tutoring beforehand to receive maximum benefit.

I would welcome feedback on this opinion/advice, either post a reply or feel free to contact me by email or via my website, (google "Corri Baker GAMSAT").
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arya
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Joined: 06 Feb 2011
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Totally agree. Not specifically on whether the material in a prep course is too hard, but moreover that the concepts dealt with in Section III require *at least* 3 months of solid, conventional study.

The GAMSAT (and therefore prep material) takes these concepts to whole other level. I've also found that most of the prep material, official and unofficial, do not actually include all of the information/facts you need to solve the problem using reason alone. Much of key elements to a solution seems to be intentionally omitted, perhaps to give advantage to those candidates with a science background over those who don't.
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nursetodoctor
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Joined: 12 Jan 2011
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2011 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would have to agree with both of you - I guess there are so many of us wanting to study medicine, that they have to limit the competition somehow. It just annoys me that overseas doctors with sub-standard practices are able to practice here, when we have a lot of potential in Australia. Please do not misinterpret this as a racial comment as we still have Aussie-born doctors here with skills that leave a lot to be desired Confused
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elefant
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Joined: 20 Nov 2010
Posts: 9
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that understanding the science quite deeply is essential for section 3 particularly because so little time can be spent on each question. Understanding how to read strange graphs and charts and feeling comfortable manipulating equations is very important.

Re prep courses, I think no one course does everything well. I think Medprep has the most clearly explained science course material by far. Their questions are OK. I find Des O'Niel's questions for physics and chemistry good but not for biology. Prepgenie's questions seem to vary in quality from question to question and can be frustrating to use for this reason. Gold standrd online questions seem more mcat-like to me and I don't like doing questions online. Can't comment on other prep courses.
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redmonkey
Regular


Joined: 05 Nov 2010
Posts: 21
Location: Brisbane

PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nursetodoctor wrote:
Would have to agree with both of you - I guess there are so many of us wanting to study medicine, that they have to limit the competition somehow. It just annoys me that overseas doctors with sub-standard practices are able to practice here, when we have a lot of potential in Australia. Please do not misinterpret this as a racial comment as we still have Aussie-born doctors here with skills that leave a lot to be desired Confused


Just because there are sub-standard foreign doctors out there, it doesn't mean they have to lower the entry barrier for locals. You wouldn't want to lower the standard for the locally trained as well do you?
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nursetodoctor
Rookie


Joined: 12 Jan 2011
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you refer to my initial comment, I did agree with previous comments that the GAMSAT is aimed at those with a scientific background, as it should be. Thus I do not believe the standards should be lowered for foreign or local doctors, as we need to draw the line at some point. In the past I have worked with some doctors and students with sub-standard practices and have heard the horror stories (think Patel in Bunderberg), and just wondered how they are able to get through the GAMSAT or UMAT.
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redmonkey
Regular


Joined: 05 Nov 2010
Posts: 21
Location: Brisbane

PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gamsat is an aptitude test. That's clearly stated in the title.
It's not meant to be a test of science knowledge like university degree. It's testing whether a person has the capacity to learn science/medicine.

The level quality of doctors out there has nothing to do with gamsat. It's the medical schools that turn students into doctors. I can get 100 in gamsat but if my attitude is reckless, I won't be a good doctor.

It's misplacing to blame sub-standard practices on gamsat.
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nursetodoctor
Rookie


Joined: 12 Jan 2011
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you have misinterpreted the point I am trying to get across (ahh the perils of blogging, Smile ). GAMSAT is a means to control the number of candidates that get through to medicine, I totally get that. I am just wandering how these sub-standard doctors get to practice here, as it is no secret that the GAMSAT is challenging. I guess they are super intelligent, but lack good practice.
You are right - it is an aptitude test, however, it still is a test of scientific knowledge as not any average lay person could answer a lot of those science questions and those candidates with a science background are definately more advantaged than us without. Believe it or not, knowledge of physics and science is paramount in understanding the human body and pathophysiology.
But no, just to be clear, I am not sprouting that GAMSAT produces sub-standard doctors. I guess I am just resentful at those doctors out there that put the practice to shame, knowing the multitude of of candidates that fail the GAMSAT, have the potential to be amazing practitioners.
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redmonkey
Regular


Joined: 05 Nov 2010
Posts: 21
Location: Brisbane

PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think there's a contradictory argument being made here.

Since Gamsat only tests a low level of scientific knowledge and scientific knowledge is important in medicine, then surely those that didn't pass doesn't have enough science to be a practitioner.

Now how would those who fail gamsat, i.e, does not have enough science for medicine, have the potential to be amazing practitioners?

Generally, substandard doctors exist because they don't care about their career, not because of what they don't know.

As for foreign doctors, most of them already have earned their degree overseas, it's the medical board who let them practice here. That has nothing to do with gamsat.
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MrBuu
Rookie


Joined: 25 Mar 2012
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents on Des O'Neil's material. I wouldn't say the science section is too hard for the most part. The biology and chem sections were right on the money, and pretty similar to the actual questions you get in GAMSAT.

The physics in the Des papers may be a little too hard. Like the real GAMSAT, they aren't conceptually hard; just very complicated applications of basic principles. In the Des papers, they may have been a bit over the top, which probably isn't as useful as it could have been- better to be closer to the reality and get people used to that, than be so hard many people can't follow them.
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