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New to this, and very stressed out



 
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Isthmus
Rookie


Joined: 12 Jan 2012
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:32 pm    Post subject: New to this, and very stressed out Reply with quote

Hi

Im relatively new to this, but im incredibly stressed out about the GAMSAT

I dont have a science background and am finding the studying for chemistry, physics and biology very hard.

The thing that is most stressful to me is how much time ive had to prepare. Ive only just finished a post graduate degree in psychology around the start of december, took 2 weeks for myself, and have been trying to study for this ever since.

One of the most stressful aspects for me is just how slow i seem to be going. Ive recently purchased the Des Oniell booklets and been working my way through them, but its taking me so long to work out the extended processes and patterns the exist when questions go beyond the formulas. I seem to be coasting along at a snail pace rather than learning.

I suppose what is bothering me is that i see people write about how hard it is, and it feels like im trying to do the impossible in under 3 months, well now just over 9 weeks (the gamsat for me will be March 21st i think).

Is the GAMSAT as bad as they say? Or can it be repeated, allowing me to use this years as a trial/testing experience and then be able to focus in a much more relaxed state on studying for it next year (2013)?
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Hoop0054
Regular


Joined: 13 Dec 2011
Posts: 16
Location: Adelaide Australia

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey isthmus, cool name BTW!

Don't stress, I was a nurse before I sat the GAMSAT and my science background was terrible. I went back to resit the first semester of year 12 physics and chem at a mature age high school the year before the exam. I then locked myself in a beach shack for 3 weeks to prepare with the first year uni texts for chem, org chem, and bio and year 12 physics.

I sat in 2005 and got 66 on my first attempt. I've just finished my internship at Flinders.

In answer to your question, yeah it's hard, but it's not insurmountable! 20% of the candidates have to pass it, you might as well be one of them.

I'll be up front about my conflict of interest, my wife and I run a course on reasoning skills for the GAMSAT....that said, check out my blog if your keen
emergency-one.blogspot dot com

It's a free service attached to our business and it's full of useful tips and pointers on how to make the most of your prep and more importantly, how to not melt down before or during the exam!

I'll post the book list I used below. It's been our most popular post so far. All of the books are readily available from the uni library or you can probably pick them up quite cheaply second hand on Amazon.

All the best with your preparations and try not to stress Smile
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Hoop0054
Regular


Joined: 13 Dec 2011
Posts: 16
Location: Adelaide Australia

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Science:
Chemistry and Chemical Raectivity: 5th edn, Kotz and Treichel (well written)
Introduction to Organic Chemistry; 2nd edn, Brown (nothing was going to make me love organic chemistry, but this book helped me to not hate it entirely!)
Biology, 5th edn, Campbell, Reece and Mitchell (I love this book and it's currently serving as my mouse pad!)
Physics Key Ideas: 3rd edn, Essentials Education (this was my actual physics book for year 12, it's alittle clunky but solid)
My year 11 maths book (can't remember it's name but it was as useless at that time as it was in high school....but I did a lot of practice questions to hone my mathematical skills)
Mensa Logic Brain Teasers

Humanities:
Defying Hitler: Sebastian Haffner (an illuminating account and cautionary tale of being a regular person in pre-NAZI Germany, great book)
Kidnapped: Robert Louis Stevenson (one of my favourite books as a child)
Treasure Island: Robert Louis Stevenson (another fabourite)
Tao Te Ching: Lao Tzu (a little less reader friendly, only read part of it)
Oliver Twist: Charles Dickens (I've tried on multiple times to read Dickens and always struggled with the style of writing; when I finally comitted to reading this I LOVED it! Great for honing your language manipulation skills)
The Story of My Life: Helen Keller (an amazing book and all round amazing woman)
English Passengers: Matthew Kneale (won the 2000 Whitbread Book of the Year, my all time favourite book, I've read it 3 or 4 times now!)
Angela's Ashes: Frank McCourt (before it was a sequel and a movie and a t-shirt and a breakfast cereal....thanks Oprah....it was just an all round top read....another of my favourites!)
The New Testament (I was tempted to put Jesus as the author....but that might offend some people Smile I'm not religious, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to be learnt from some of the wisest people the world has ever seen)
The Annalects: Confucius (what a legend, top read)
The complete works of Gary Larson (if you get his humour you basically a shoe in for the humanities)

Movies
Lorenzo's Oil
Patch Adams
Good Will Hunting??
Shawshank Redemption
There were more but I can't recall off the top of my head

Music
Vivaldi
Pachelbel
An assortment of other classical music that I found inherently easy to listen to, I think the main album was entitled 'The Best Classical Music of All Time Ever' or somthing similarly silly, but the music was great
I would also highly recommend the BrainWaves app from the iTunes store. It uses binaural tones to induce certain states of mental activity. It's not entirely mumbo jumbo, there is actually some degree of scientific, peer reviewed evidence behind its efficacy, though I won't proport myself to be an expert in the field!

All told this reading list is worth about $500 from any online book seller or, to quote Good Will Hunting, about $5 in late fees from your public library. It took me 3 1/2 weeks of solid reading for 10+ hours a day to get through this lot and take notes. Best time I ever spent and it achieved what I set out to achieve.

As a side note, remember there is a rate of memory attrition to anything you learn. Let's assign it an arbitrary value of 5% per day. Cramming every day for a solid month before test day is better than a year of studying 1 hour per day. 5 years down the line I remember officially none of what I studied, but I could re-learn it all in a month if needed. Of course studying an hour each day is a good habit and worth while to do, but bear in mind that the GAMSAT is an 8 hour (ish) Battle Royale. You need to go into that thing like a finely tuned athlete ready to smash the competition. Maybe study for an hour a day for the 11 months before February, but in February/March, you train like your life depends on it!!
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Lovebite
Grizzled


Joined: 01 Apr 2008
Posts: 259
Location: Perth, WA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi.....

I think Hoops has some great points, but I have some concerns with the booklist.

The science book list looks like a really good selection, but the rest of the list, i.e. the humanities texts, the movies and the music are of incredibly limited value to the time sensitive non science student.

Don't get me wrong, the humanities books would be a great read for anyone wanting a well rounded appreciation of some of the bigger issues in life, but none of this is even close to essential reading.

If your reading and comprehension is limited, I'd suggest reading articles in time magazine or similar, in a time pressured situation and getting a loved one to quiz you. I'd also suggest working through the ACER practice papers, as the Secion 1 material in those is relatively good.
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cat2devnull
Regular


Joined: 23 Jul 2010
Posts: 23
Location: Adelaide

PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to agree with Lovebite...
As a time poor student you need to make every minute count. I would recommend that you use a study guide like MedPrep or similar so you get exactly what is required don't waste time on anything that isn't required.

I found that I had a lot of time to listen on my iPod on the way to work, while watering the garden, cooking dinner, etc so if you find yourself in the same boat then take a listen to;
TED Talks
Skeptics Guide to the Universe
QuackCast
Ockham's Razor
The Science Show

All of these are available on iTunes for free (and direct from the creator) and they are full of interesting information to expand your thinking for section I and II.
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Hoop0054
Regular


Joined: 13 Dec 2011
Posts: 16
Location: Adelaide Australia

PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Certainly both valid remarks. It took me just over 3 weeks of full time study to get through that lot. I didn't read every chapter of the science books as much of it was unnecessary. As for the fiction I read a lot of it because it was a great way to relax at the end of a long days study.

As for being a time poor student, I can assure you that you'll never be as time poor as when you're a medical student.

I once sat in on a reproductive medicine clinic with a brilliant mentor. He was speaking to a woman in her mid 20s who was trying to conceive. She was being told about ovulation induction with FSH and quite matter of factly told the doctor that she was didn't have the time to come in for all of the appointments because she was too busy. The doctor then replied very gently and earnestly, then do you really have time for children?

Good quality preparation for the GAMSAT may be time consuming, but then again so is failing an attempt (not to mention expensive). Food for thought.

Good luck all
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Lovebite
Grizzled


Joined: 01 Apr 2008
Posts: 259
Location: Perth, WA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd argue that I was probably busier when preparing for GAMSAT than I was in first year med (Clinical years are an entirely different prospect).

The tough part of GAMSAT prep is that for most of us, it has to happen in tandem with or regular lives.... work, and kids primarily. Once you get into medicine, you restructure your life to support your studies, and in doing that, I found that I had far more time.

I think that is one of the beautiful (yet often overlooked) aspects of GAMSAT, in that it demands so much of you, above and beyond your everyday life, and it is a great litmus test for the trials and pressures of Medical school.

I worked full time, and studied full time during GAMSAT, knowing that if I couldn't maintain that tempo for 3 months, I'd be unlikely to survive Medicine...... now I work part time, and study full time (and then some), so the workload isn't too different.

I think GAMSAT prep, like medicine, is a game of prioritisation. You have to decide what things are important to learn RIGHT NOW, what things CAN WAIT, and what things you can just look up if you need it. You have to be really clever to assign the time you have to the really vital stuff, and maximise your possibilities around that.

Good luck!
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Hoop0054
Regular


Joined: 13 Dec 2011
Posts: 16
Location: Adelaide Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Lovebite

I actually totally agree, I think prioritizing work load is the key. The concept you're describing is actually a well known concept in ecconomics called the Peretto principle, namely that 20% of your input will account for 80% of your output.

Oddly though, I found my science years really difficult and my clinical years really easy (mind you my background was nursing, so my science was pretty poor and my clinical skills were pretty good).

I took 4 weeks off of my regular life for the very reason that it's difficult to study and be everything else that you normally are on a daily basis. It also needs to be said that my first son was born on the first day of class.....so the first year was tough for a whole lot of reasons Smile anyway, how far through your studies are you?
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Lovebite
Grizzled


Joined: 01 Apr 2008
Posts: 259
Location: Perth, WA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow..... having your first at the start of Med would have been a rather rude awakening. I guess the best part is that you never had a chance to get settles 'pre-children' and as such all of your study practices would have been geared from the start with children in mind.

I'm just about to start 4th year..... and I worked out the other day that I only have 9 months left as a student! I should be excited, but I rather enjoy the freedom of being a student Wink, and realistically, graduating Medical school is just another hurdle in a very very long race.

Regarding clinical vs pre clinical years, I think the hours are FAR greater in clinical years.... hence the increased time management pressures. I guess part of that comes down to how long you want to stay on the wards, and how much you go to (tutorials wise). Unlike yourself, I don't have a health background, so I start early, and finish late a lot of the time..... hoping to soak up as much as I can.
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Hoop0054
Regular


Joined: 13 Dec 2011
Posts: 16
Location: Adelaide Australia

PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haha yeah having our first was a bit of a shock. He was born 1 floor down from the medical school. I remember thinking...."if he's born soon I'll still be able to make it to class"....I can only attribute it to sleep deprivation Smile As it were, I had to run up stairs, tell them I wasn't going to be there because we were having a baby and then run back down stairs! It was madness!

Congrats on the studies. I've just finished internship. I must say it was fairly harsh, but I survived and in the end, good terms outranked bad terms 3:2. I figure it's all luck of the draw.

Oddly, almost all the 'surgical' interns ended up changing their mind for medicine (particularly emergency) and a few who were hell bent on medicine opted for surgery. I guess internship is a greater definer of people. All the best and enjoy the journey!
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Lovebite
Grizzled


Joined: 01 Apr 2008
Posts: 259
Location: Perth, WA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice way to get yourself known from day one, huh?
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mendy
Rookie


Joined: 12 Aug 2013
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that you are little panic about the preparation. One thing which is very important in this regard that a calm mind is more important to study because it is hard to study with a rush mind. Also stop getting yourself anxious about the study.
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