GAMSAT 2011

Just one of the halls used for GAMSAT September 2010, taken just after the exam. An ocean of tables, an ocean of the competition

The September 2011 GAMSAT exam was yesterday. Poor buggers.

I’m glad I didn’t have to go and sit that again.

I sat the GAMSAT twice in 2010, the second time I’d already received offers from med schools but it was too late to get a refund so I thought ‘WTH I’ll do it for fun.” In retrospect I was probably mentally imbalanced.

The first time, I sat the Irish GAMSAT which is held in March each year and is still valid for UCAS applications for two years at UK medical schools also. [Swansea no longer accept Irish GAMSAT so better to confirm with the schools. Edited 22Jan13] . Venues are Dublin, Cork, Limerick but for an extra fee you can take the test in London, Melbourne, Singapore and Washington.

With the September GAMSAT, results go out in late November online by which time you’ll already have submitted your UCAS application (med school UK applicants) and used up your four precious choices of medical school. Sitting the Irish GAMSAT in March means firstly you’ll know your score before selecting the schools and secondly you can use it as a dry run for a second attempt in September – if needed. It’s not the cheapest strategy but if you want to get into med school – well I guess you’ll do anything.

It’s a great opportunity to talk to fellow applicants too. Graduate and matures are in the minority when applying to med school and it can become a reclusive experience so it was quite reassuring to chat to other grads and oldies in the queue and during breaks.

Last September, GAMSAT was held at the vast halls of the Royal Horticultural Society, London – in addition to several other venues. Seeing the massive queue of fellow applicants each clutching bottles of water, pencils and a calculator plus all those desks and chairs inside stretching away into the distance substantiates how many other people exist, besides you, who want to get into med/dental school – I remember thinking: “Can everybody stop applying to medical school please, you’re making it really hard to get in”

Many medical schools use the ‘UK Clinical Aptitude Test’ (UKCAT). The results are given to you right after the test so you can therefore gear your application to a particular medical school which emphasizes a strong UKCAT – (or not).

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