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My Review of Des O'Neill's GAMSAT Course for 2012

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Joined: 25 Mar 2012
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:15 pm    Post subject: My Review of Des O'Neill's GAMSAT Course for 2012 Reply with quote

Hi all,

Given that Des O'Neill's course is one of the more popular ones out there, thought I'd post my views on it and my experiences there, and how well it prepared me for GAMSAT.

And just to confirm, I have no affiliation with Des O'Neil or his program, save of course the fact that I attended the course this year.

As for my background, I'm a physics major, but I had also covered all the relevant chemistry for GAMSAT in my degree (although I had not done a lot of it for about a year). The 2012 GAMSAT was the first time I had sat the GAMSAT.

Anyway, most people use the Titanium Package from Des, which covers everything he offers. At about $1400 it isn't cheap, but it is very comprehensive. It contains the following:

* The Science MCQ Book- A large book containing hundreds of multiple choice questions, all with worked solutions. Very highly recommended. Also contains 4 practice exams similar in style to the real GAMSAT.

* The Science Revision Book- Contains more or less all the science you need to know for this course. Quite concise and comprehensive at the same time, and is a pretty good general science book as well. Has a few more science MCQ's. This is definitely worth it especially if you haven't covered some of the relevant science components before.

* The Humanities book- Basically the same as the science MCQ book but for section 1, and again quite similar in style. This one has 5 exams.

Those books are all worthwhile, and revising the MCQ's is a very effective preparation strategy. I learned quite a bit about the style of questions to expect from GAMSAT, and definitely used the skills I learned here in the actual GAMSAT.

Next up is the essay course- you get six essay tasks, which you do at home, email in, and get a mark back with some comments. This was naturally my weakest point, and the hardest to learn, although even here I think I picked up some useful skills. The essays are again similar to those done in the actual GAMSAT. Unless you are a very good essay writer and write them quickly on a regular basis, this course is recommended.

There are two attendance courses as well:

* The Science Revision Course- this is probably the least impressive aspect of the package. Basically, it's a single weekend in which you get exposed to all the science you need for the exam. There's a *lot* of material here and it is hard to absorb it all. People without a science background may have a hard time keeping up here (definitely revise with the science book before coming). Those with a science background might already know most of the material. Probably recommended only if you haven't done a lot of the science for a while, or need to brush up on some areas.

* The exam/multiple choice course- this is a lot better. The first day is a simulation of the GAMSAT exam itself, which is very similar to the real one. This actually removed some of the pressure in the real one, and gave me a good idea as to what level I was at and where I needed to focus on. The second day you learn a few techniques to help with the MCQ's- still useful, although a lot of it was just doing questions from the book. They do however give you a bit of a rundown on how the ACER marking system works (it is actually quite complicated, and your GAMSAT mark is not just a percentage mark), which can be useful in developing a preparation strategy. Still, definitely worthwhile, this one.

A few other general observations:

* The science section in the Des material is harder than that in the real GAMSAT. Biology and chem are about the same level, maybe slightly harder, but this is ok, and it made the actual material quite doable. I think the physics was too hard though- in both Des and GAMSAT, the physics is conceptually easy, but involves quite complicated applications. The Des material I think overdid it and made it hard to learn.

* The resources from this course are definitely impressive, and will keep you going for a while. This is good, as preparation for GAMSAT is essential and the ACER revision material only consists of 2.5 exams.

* Overall, this gets my seal of approval. I don't think I wasted my money here, and I think I would have done a lot worse at GAMSAT had I not done this course.

The overall decider will be my mark, of course, which I will post when they are released.
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