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Make Daily Questions Part of Your Routine

Every GAMSAT guide, e-book and preparation course agrees – if you want to score highly on Section 1 – you need to continually practice GAMSAT-style questions. This site enables you to do exactly that.

There are now over 50 units of GAMSAT Section 1 style questions available here. Answers and explanations are posted in the comments.  Make doing a unit-a-day part of your study routine and reap the benefits on test day!

In addition to this, we now also have a GAMSAT Section 1 practice test for sale (100% new questions, not published here). This is downloadable in pdf format and includes detailed explanations of every answer on the exam.

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GAMSAT Advice From 1st Year GEM Students

I surveyed the University College Dublin Graduate-entry Medicine class of 2016 to gather some advice for anyone sitting the GAMSAT this year. Word for word, here’s what they had to say:

 

  • Look around on the forums for advice before planning how you are going to tackle the GAMSAT. Use newmediamedicine.com and pagingdr.net. The GAMSAT is tough but a good score is achievable. Use the previous experience of others to help you maximise your chances.
  • Start studying early. If you have any decent level of english the essay section will be fine.
  • Don’t waste your money on the preparation courses, there are plenty of free online resources and also get all the sample papers from acer off their website, well worth paying for.
  • Use Khan academy online videos, really helped me through.
  • You have to want it. If you want it badly enough then the study, the stress, the cost, the grinds and the time it takes up won’t matter. I sat the GAMSAT 4 times. The only difference in the last time I sat it, I just wanted it more than anything. I gave up everything for an entire summer and just focused on it. On a side note get the Guru Method books. I know 5 people including myself that used these books to prepare for the GAMSAT and they are all now in medicine. Once each person used them, they got in. I used mine on the 4th time I sat the exam and got more than enough to get in anywhere. All 5 individuals got over 60 too. I know they’re expensive but they are definitely worth it. Grinds in areas you are weak in will definitely help too. I got grinds in chemistry and it without doubt got me through the science section. I know I’ve rabbeted on a bit but main piece of advice is just want it more than anything.
  • Don’t stress! More…
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Unit 52 – To Build A Genome

Difficulty: Medium

Time: 4 minutes 30 seconds

The passage below has been adapted from an article by Clive Cookson and was originally published in the Financial Times, July 2012.

 

Craig Venter, king of the genome, has been uncharacteristically quiet for a couple of years since his laboratory created the world’s first synthetic life form, a microbe whose genes were made entirely from inanimate chemicals. Some critics downplayed Venter’s achievement in 2010 because he did not make a novel form of life. The project was a technical tour de force, a demonstration that scientists could move on from reading to writing genes, but it reproduced an existing microbe called Mycoplasma mycoides, with just a few “watermarking” additions to distinguish its DNA from the natural bacterium.

Now his teams are well on the way to making synthetic microbes distinctly different to anything in nature. “We have a design contest to come up with a genome designed completely in a computer,” Venter says. “Three different versions of the genome are being constructed now and we hope to know by the end of the summer whether any of these designs will work as a living cell.”

The designs are all attempts to find the “minimal genome”, the least DNA with the fewest genes capable of sustaining a free-living organism. The smallest microbial genome in nature belongs to Mycoplasma genitalium, with 525 genes encoded in 580,000 chemical “letters” of DNA. The question is how much DNA is truly essential for life and how much is unnecessary clutter resulting from undirected Darwinian evolution. More…

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Tutorial: Using Propositional Logic To Spot Logical Fallacies On The GAMSAT

This type of logical reasoning is tested on the GAMSAT every year in one form or another. It won’t always be confined to Section 1, and appears often in Section 3 – Biological and Physical Sciences.

The most common topics to feature propositional logic based questions are:
Section I: Argumentative passages and Data Analysis units
Section III: Hormones, Genetics, Electricity and circuit-related physics-esque questions.

For some examples see:

Acer Practice Paper 1: Section III, unit 20 and, to an extent, unit 28.
Acer Practice Paper 2: Section 1, Questions 22 – 26
GAMSAT Sample Questions Practice Paper: Unit: 8

(If you are within 1-2 months of sitting the GAMSAT you should be gearing up to attempt these practice papers under test conditions.)

 

What is Propositional Logic

Propositional logic is about determining the truthfulness of statements or ‘propositions’. Sentences considered through the lens of propositional logic are always concluded to be either true or false.

Statements are most commonly denoted by letters such as p, q or c. A statement for which the truth / falsity has not yet been established may be denoted by the letters X, Y or Z.

A statement may be simple or compund. An example of a simple statement is:
My dog’s name is Glen.

A compound statement is a number of simple statements connected by [the aptly named] ‘connectives’. An example of a compound statement is:
My dog’s name is Glen and he is a border collie.

 

Basic Connectives:

AND
A compound statement connected by AND is only true if both of its components are true, and false otherwise.

Eg. My dog’s name is Glen and the sky is yellow = false.

NOT
In order for a compound statement connected by NOT to be true, then the part of the statement that is modified by the NOT must be false.

Eg. Glen is NOT not my dog’s name.

OR
If a compound statement is connected by the word OR, then we can infer that at least one of the components is true. The statement is also true if both components are true.

Eg. Either this pie is made of apples OR my tongue is broken = True, the pie is made of apples, but your tongue also happens to be broken.

A common logical progression in argument might go:
Either p or q
Not q
Therefore, p.

IF __ THEN __
This connective connects two propositions such that the truth of the latter is dependant on the truth of the former.

Eg. If the sky is clear then we will be able to see the stars.

All the above can be interchanged and linked together to form complex propositions. We do this in casual conversation without realising it.

Eg. If Glen gets hit by a car or drinks hydrochloric acid then I will have to take him to the vet or have him put down.

Objectively breaking statements down into their constituent parts makes it easier to analyse their logic and uncover flaws.

 

Uncovering Logical Fallacies

Conversive Fallacy
This is the most common logical fallacy which arises from the proposition “If X then Y.” The mistake is to assume that since X is a prerequisite for Y, that Y is a prerequisite for X. This is rarely the case.

Eg. If it snows tonight there will be snow in the garden tomorrow. But if there is snow in the garden tomorrow, that doesn’t mean it has snowed – someone may have put the snow there….

This may also be referred to as a deductive fallacy.
(GSQ Unit Highlight: Comparing GAMSAT Songs)

 

Inductive Fallacy
An inductive fallacy occurrs when conclusions are drawn based on very limited information.

On your way to your first med school lecture, you see two Indian girls enter the classroom ahead of you. You then deduce that most of your classmates will be Indian.

Can you think of a way to write the above sentence in the language of propositional logic? If you can’t it’s probably because the deduction is highly illogical and disconnected from the premise.

In experiments based on The Scientific Method, the premise of seeing two Indian girls would be referred to as not being statistically significant.

 

Hidden Assumptons / Unspoken Premises

Is there more at work in the logic of this argument than is stated? Sometimes arguments are not completely stupid, but are simply based on unspoken premises.

It is bad to be unhappy. Doing homework makes me unhappy. Therefore I should avoid doing my homework.

In this simplistic example, I am making an unspoken assumption. The assumption is that there will be no consequences for not doing my homework. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be true, and if I do not do my homework now, I may find that I am punished later and made more unhappy as a result.

Some questions to ask yourself when dissecting these arguments:

  • Does this logic hold true for every similar scenario? (For different values of X & Y)
  • If not, are there any circumstances in which this logic may hold true? (For which values of X and Y might this statement be true)

 

Contingent Propositions
A contingent proposition arises when the validity of a statement depends on factual information from the external world – in this case any information which is not provided in the GAMSAT passage. Be careful with this one, as Section 1 is not a general knowledge test. If the information is not provided in the passage it does not exist.

 

Although the above list is far from exhaustive, most common logical fallacies are derivatives of the above, and it is crucial to be familiar with at least some of these in order to advance your critical reasoning skills.

I’m currently working on an E-book guide to GAMSAT Section 1 in which I will cover more of these in detail. More info coming soon.