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Archive for June, 2012


Unit 48 – Geometric Analogies

Difficulty: Medium/hard

Time: 3 minutes

The passage below has been adapted from How To Solve It by George Polya.


Analogy is a sort of similarity. Similar objects agree with each other in some respect, analogous objects agree in certain relations of their respective parts.
A rectangular parallelogram is analogous to a rectangular parallelepiped. In fact, the relations between the sides of the parallelogram are similar to those between the faces of the parallelepiped:
Each side of the parallelogram is parallel to just one other side, and is perpendicular to the remaining sides. Each face of the parallelepiped is parallel to just one other face, and is perpendicular to the remaining faces. Let us agree to call a side a “bounding element” of the parallelogram and a face a “bounding element” of the parallelepiped. Then, we may contract the two foregoing statements into one that applies equally to both figures:
Each bounding element is parallel to just one other bounding element and is perpendicular to the remaining bounding elements.
Thus, we have expressed certain relations which are common to the two systems of objects we compared, sides of the rectangle and faces of the rectangular parallelepiped. The analogy of these systems consists in this community of relations.


Unit 47 – Real Life & Celebs

Difficulty: easy

Time: 7 minutes 30 seconds

The passage below is an adaptation of an article by journalist, Julian Norman, published in The Guardian in June 2012.


Seaweed. Marmite. No, egg whites. Or maybe grilled chicken. Actually, hang on, try a handful of unsalted nuts. No bread though. Bread is poison.

The craving ravings of pregnancy? The menu requirements of a capricious Islington four-year-old? No, it’s the food recommendations of the last month from Closer magazine, which urge us to step away from the carbs and into a happy bubble of seaweed-eating. A New You in which it’s possible to leave behind your sad, lonely bread habit and step into a revitalised Beach Body, achieved through the medium of wakame salads and yoga. I discovered this while on a bus one rainy Thursday afternoon. My inclination to get off and walk was minimal and some kind fellow-traveller had left a copy of the magazine behind. I opened it, and began flicking through. I had no idea who the featured celebrities were, so it was rather like reading someone’s banal telephone conversation. Almost all of the stories could be boiled down to 140 characters, so I began to tweet it with the hashtag #Closer. Kerry is a size 10–12 and so she had weight loss surgery. Now she’s “ecstatic with her new body” was a typical tweet. Taken together, they are a fabulous collection of absurdism.

There is a serious point in among the whimsy, though: stories are not actually about the celebrities. They can be categorised into roughly three groups: bodies, food and relationships. In bodies, we learn that the ideal size to be is an 8. Women who fall below that size are said to be “gaunt”, and are usually mourning the end of a relationship. A 10 is acceptable but usually prefaced with the word “curvy”. Women who are over that size will be dieting, and we will get a run-down of their meal plans, or indeed whether they’re eating at all. If they are over a size 12, then their “pals” are quoted, gleefully telling of how the woman in question cries every night over her size, or is disgusted with herself.

Bodies intersect neatly with food. Carbohydrates are generally considered a bad thing, and menu recommendations inevitably focus on grilled fish or chicken with vegetables or salad. Then there will be one food item which creeps in several times per issue, being hyped either by celebrities or by the magazine itself, the magic weight loss food which will attain you that desirable size 8 figure. It was seaweed in the first issue, Marmite in the next.


Unit 46 – Tomoe Nage

Difficulty: Medium

Time: 4 minutes 30 seconds

This one is quite similar in style and format to a question that came up on the March 2012 GAMSAT in Ireland. It was themed on fishing, and required students to interpret both text and illustrations.


The material below has been adapted from ‘Judo Masterclass Techniques: Tomoe Nage’ by Katsuhiko Kashiwazaki


The success of this throw depends on two crucial elements; an effective break of balance and an extremely deep entry. Here we see demonstrated the standard sleeve/lapel grip. The kuzushi (breaking of balance) for tomoe nage is markedly different to most other judo throws. As can be seen from the photograph, I pull slightly up with both hands, but also outwards, to ‘open’ my opponent. It is a movement that is maintained throughout the throw: even when I am on my back, my arms are pulling wide. At the same time, I am starting my first step. Of course, in competition the number of steps will most likely need to be reduced, but it is best to begin a tomoe-nage study using a two-step entry.


Tutorial: Understanding Irony on the GAMSAT

Trying out a new format today. It would be great to get your feedback if you find this helpful, or if you’d rather just be doing straight-up gamsat questions. You can get in touch on Twitter, in the comments below, by email, or by taking this survey (hint: do the survey!)


What is irony?

Irony can come in many forms depending on the medium of communication. The three most likely forms of irony you might encounter on GAMSAT Section 1 are Verbal, Situational and Dramatic irony.

Verbal Irony is the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal or actual meaning. For example, when somebody describes the Eurovision as “Amazing” when what they really mean is “hilariously bad”.

Some literary-types will say that sarcasm is a special type of verbal irony, others will say it isn’t. ACER take great care in constructing questions for GAMSAT Section 1 to ensure that their answers are not debateable. For this reason it is unlikely that a question will actively refer to both sarcasm and irony. That said, if a question specifically asks for an example of verbal irony, then there is a good chance the answer will be something sarcastic a character in the narrative said.

Situational irony arises due to a complete reversal of what was expected to happen. Dramatic irony is a subset of situational irony. It occurs as a result of the audience having more information than a character in a story. For example, a character may have a plan that will enable her make millions of pounds. The audience knows, however, that due to other events in the narrative unknown to herself, this plan will actually result in her losing all of her money and becoming poor. Before it even happens it is ironic, because the audience can forsee an ironic situation ahead. The audience understands the significance of the upcoming events, but the character does not.


Unit 45 – Stockholm Syndrome

Difficulty: Medium

Time: 4 minutes 30 seconds

The passage below has been adapted from Culture and Religion – Sharia Law, from the iMinds series.


At first glance two of the 1970’s most notorious bank robberies would seem to have nothing in common. They occurred eight months apart, for different motives, on opposite sides of the globe. But these two incidents would prove seminal to the development and understanding of a curious and once controversial psychological condition; Stockholm Syndrome.
On the 15th of April 1974, the Sunset District branch of the Hibernia Bank in San Francisco was robbed. Security footage showed a young, attractive urban guerrilla brandishing a machine gun and ordering people in the bank to lie face down on the ground.
Bizarrely, the armed robber was wealthy heiress Patty Hearst, who had been kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army just two months before. The image of the then nineteen year old Patty was known across the globe as the victim of a brutal kidnapping. On the night of February 4 three members of the Symbionese Liberation Army had burst into her home and dragged her away, dressed only in her nightgown.
For over fifty days Patty was kept captive in a padded closet where she was constantly verbally and sexually abused by members of the Symbionese Liberation Army. Despite police efforts to find her, the first clue to her whereabouts was the security footage of her aiding her kidnappers to rob the Hibernia bank. Living as an outlaw with her kidnapers, Patty was ultimately arrested on 18 September 1975, exactly two years to the day from her kidnapping. She was subsequently tried for her involvement in the bank robbery.
During her trial, Hearst’s defence team argued that Patty had not acted criminally from her own free will, but rather that she had been suffering from a newly identified psychological condition called the Stockholm Syndrome. The intense media coverage of this sensantional trial seared Stockholm Syndrome into the public consciousness, Patty Hearst had become its most contentious and undoubtedly most famous victim.