1) Read The Questions First – Sometimes
Sometimes it’s appropriate to read the questions first, other times it’s not.
Short Poems, Songs and Units that don’t require very little reading: Questions first.
Poems and songs can often be interpreted in many ways and will always require multiple readings. The material is ambiguous, but the questions are not. Therefore allow the questions to guide your interpretation. Read one question, then look for the answer. Read another question, look for the answer. Each question frames your interpretation of the ambiguous material and informs the meaning you will attribute to it.
In the case of units that require interpretation of charts or diagrams, most of the reading is in the questions anyway. Posters too. You might spend a minute reading the text of a poster, only to discover that there’s only one question – and it asks about the image!
Continue reading Top 5 Ways To Save Time On GAMSAT Section 1
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. Continue reading Unit 52 – To Build A Genome
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 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
- Practice Paper Alpha: Unit: 8
- Practice Paper Zappa: Unit: 5
(If you are within 1-2 months of sitting the GAMSAT you should be gearing up to attempt these practice papers under test conditions. Practice Papers Alpha and Zappa are both available for download here)
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 compound. 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.
Continue reading Tutorial: Using Propositional Logic To Spot Logical Fallacies On The GAMSAT
Time: 6 minutes
Song 1: Help The Aged, by Pulp
Help the aged,
One time they were just like you,
Drinking, smoking cigs and sniffing glue.
Help the aged,
Don’t just put them in a home,
Can’t have much fun when they’re all on their own.
Give a hand, if you can,
Try and help them to unwind.
Give them hope and give them comfort
’cause they’re running out of time.
In the meantime we try.
Try to forget that nothing lasts forever.
No big deal so give us all a feel.
Funny how it all falls away.
When did you first realize?
It’s time you took an older lover baby.
Teach you stuff although he’s looking rough.
Funny how it all falls away.
Help the aged
’cause one day you’ll be older too –
You might need someone who can pull you through
And if you look very hard
Behind those lines upon their face
You may see where you are headed
And it’s such a lonely place.
Continue reading Unit 51: Comparing Songs About The Elderly