10 Top Tips for GAMSAT Section 1

GAMSAT section 1 is ‘Reasoning in Humanities’. Students normally perceive section 1 to be the easiest part of the GAMSAT however practice is essential and this is a great section to pick up extra marks.

Go make a coffee and read this guide to gain top tips and achieve a high mark in GAMSAT section 1!

GAMSAT lightbulb cartoon

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, the GAMSAT format and timings have changed, below is the new breakdown of the timing and disciplines:

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GAMSAT Section 1

SectionNo. of QuestionsReading timeWriting timeTotal test time
Section 1: Reasoning in Humanities62 MCQs8 minutes92 minutes100 minutes

Here are ten top tips for developing your strategy to approach section 1 of the GAMSAT:

Top 10 tips for GAMSAT Section 1

  1. Practice! 
  2. Familiarise yourself with the different styles of section 1 questions
  3. Become familiar with the type of questions asked
  4. Time yourself 
  5. Increase your reading speed
  6. Make a note of unfamiliar words
  7. Study literary techniques and poetic devices
  8. Create a question log
  9. Read Shakespeare
  10. Read the passage!

1. Practice! 

The best way to become familiar with GAMSAT section 1 is to practice the questions. This will help you to get used to the format and MCQ style of answering questions.

This will also help you to identify particular question types that you are weaker at.

GAMSAT Practice Cartoon

You can find the official ACER questions here.

Download Free GAMSAT Notes

    2. Become familiar with the different styles of section 1 questions

    There are many different types of questions that can be asked in GAMSAT Section 1. Become familiar with each of these and prepare for them individually. Although there is overlap in the approach you need for some of them, there are more specific aspects required for certain questions such as poetry questions.

    • Poetry 
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Cartoons and illustrations
    • Charts and Diagrams     
    • Quotes, Comments and Proverbs

    3. Become familiar with the specific questions asked

    Within each style of question, there are specific questions that may be asked. Take some time to become familiar with these and develop an approach to answering them.

    For example, here are some of the common questions asked in poetry units:

    • Interpretation of the poem
    • Interpretation of a specific line
    • Recognition of a poetic technique
    • Interpretation of the poets feelings or perspective
    • Interpretation of a subjects feelings or perspective
    GAMSAT question type cartoon

    4. Time yourself when answering the questions

    You are given 100 minutes, which includes 8 minutes of reading time, to answer 63 MCQs in GAMSAT Section 1. Timing yourself whilst practising questions will give you an idea of whether your answering speed is sufficient. It’s important to pace yourself, not only to ensure you answer all questions but you also want to maximise your time. Therefore you may find you have more time and in that case you should slow down and allow yourself more time to fully interpret the passages.

    GAMSAT timing cartoon

    5. Increase your reading speed

    Students generally feel their reading speed is not quick enough. It can be hard to read large passages under time pressure and increasing your time dedicated to reading can help to increase your speed. Whether it’s a magazine, newspaper or a book, these will all help. Here are some suggestions;


    ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ by Paul Kalanithi

    ‘Complications’ by Atul Gawande

    ‘Do No Harm’ by Henry Marsh


    The Economist

    The New Yorker

    The Times

    Scientific journals/ abstracts:


    Reading these may also allow you to skim texts more and may help you to identify specific parts in which the answers are held. For example, abstracts follow a specific structure and becoming familiar with it will allow you to spend less time looking for answers within texts. The other advantage to reading more in your spare time is that it may inspire you with your writing pieces in section 2.

    GAMSAT Book cartoon

    6. Make a note of unfamiliar words

    Highlight and jot down any words you encounter whilst practising that are unfamiliar. It is worth taking the time to look them up in a dictionary and learning them to give you the ebay chance at comprehending a passage. Sometimes you might be asked to define a word and in this case, you should look into the context of which the word is used. Reading the sentence prior and after the word can help. But whilst you’re practising, use a dictionary.

    7. Study literary techniques and poetic devices

    You may be asked to interpret the use or effect of a specific poetic or literary device. The only way to tackle these questions is to be familiar with the specific device. Allow yourself time to become familiar with these.

    Here are some examples of poetic techniques that feature in GAMSAT section 1:

    • Alliteration – repetition of consonant sounds
    •  Anaphora – repetition of the same word or phrase at the beginning of each line
    • Assonance – repetition of vowel sounds
    • Consonance – repetition of consonant sounds at the end of words
    • Enjambment – the use of run-on lines
    • Onomatopoeia – a word that phonetically imitates the sound that it describes
    • Personification – attribution of a personal nature or human characteristic to something non-human
    • Rhyme – repetition of similar sounds in the final stressed syllables
    • Rhythm – the beat or movement of a line

    And here are some literary terms that you should familiarise yourself with:

    • Adage – A proverb or short statement expressing a general truth
    • Allegory – A story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning.
    • Archetype – A very typical example of a certain person or thing. E.g. mother, father, jealous lover, coward etc. 
    • Epiphany – A moment of sudden and great revelation or realisation.
    • Hyperbole – An exaggerated statement or claim, e.g. “He’s running faster than the wind.” 
    • Irony – The difference between the actual result and the expected result, or a clever use of words to express something other than the literal meaning of the words.
    • Metaphor – A figure of speech in which an object or idea is used symbolically to represent another in order to simplify or intensify the comparison. E.g. “Raining cats and dogs.” 
    • Paradox – A seemingly contradictory statement which nevertheless may be true, or a statement which seems true but is in fact contradictory.
    • Personification – Attributing human characteristics to inanimate objects or animals.
    • Protagonist – The leading character or participant in a real or literary event.
    • Satire – The use of humour to ridicule or criticise people or society.
    • Simile – A kind of metaphor which explicitly states the comparison by use of words such as “like” or “as”. E.g. “As brave as a lion.”
    • Symbolism – An object used to represent ideas or qualities.

    8. Create a question log

    As mentioned, there are common questions that come up in specific styles of questions. As these frequently appear, it is a good idea to make note of the questions you find difficult. Keep a log of these and make sure to practice these.

    GAMSAT question log cartoon

    9. Read Shakespeare

    Shakespearean passages may appear in GAMSAT section 1. The language and sentence structure is very different in these texts and therefore it’s a good idea to read some Shakespearean passages beforehand.

    You can find Shakespearean texts here.

    Shakespeare GAMSAT cartoon

    10. Read the passage carefully!

    No prior knowledge is required for GAMSAT Section 1 therefore all of the answers are provided within the passage or information presented! So make sure to read the passage fully and refer back to it for the answers.

    GAMSAT read passage carefully cartoon

    If you have any further questions about GAMSAT section 1, please leave a question below and we’ll get back to you! And click here to find out more about our tutoring options.

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      Frequently Asked Question

      →What is GAMSAT Section 1?

      GAMSAT Section 1 is a section of the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) that tests a candidate’s verbal reasoning and written communication skills.

      →How can I improve my section 1 GAMSAT?

      2. Familiarise yourself with the different styles of section 1 questions
      3.Become familiar with the type of questions asked
      4.Time yourself
      5.Increase your reading speed
      6.Make a note of unfamiliar words
      7.Study literary techniques and poetic devices
      8.Create a question log
      9.Read Shakespeare
      10.Read the passage!

      →What types of questions can I expect in GAMSAT Section 1?

      GAMSAT Section 1 typically includes multiple-choice questions that test a candidate’s ability to interpret and analyze written passages, as well as essay questions that require candidates to demonstrate their written communication skills.

      →What is a good score for Section 1 GAMSAT?

      For section 1 of the GAMSAT a good score is anything above 60. Where the average score is 57-61.

      →How can I improve my GAMSAT?

      Preparation for the GAMSAT is essential. Preparation will help you to achieve higher marks. It will also help to build your confidence and reduce your anxiety on the day.

      →How can I manage my time effectively during GAMSAT Section 1?

      Some tips for managing your time effectively during GAMSAT Section 1 include setting a reasonable pace for yourself, prioritizing questions based on their difficulty and point value, and practicing time-management strategies such as skimming passages and answering easier questions first.

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