Comparing the GAMSAT and MCAT
“Two paths to Graduate Medicine, but which is right for me?”
The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) are the two entrance tests for a post-graduation course in medical schools in North American universities and Australian universities, respectively. Both tests are now also valid for an application to the Duke-NUS MD programme. Though both exams test you on your reasoning skills, GAMSAT is an aptitude test—it basically tests you on your logical and critical reasoning ability even for science sections. MCAT is more a test of your knowledge. So, if you are deciding on which test you should sit for, here are a few considerations that will help you to make a decision. Let’s first have a look at the details of both the exams.
- There are 3 sections in total:
- Section I: Reasoning in the Humanities and Social Sciences (75 Q – 100 min)
- Section II: Written communication (2 Q – 60 min)
- Section III: Reasoning in the Physical and Biological Sciences (110 Q – 170 min)
These three sections cover humanities, sciences and essay writing. For science section, they test you on 12th grade (A-level) physics, year 1 biology and chemistry.
- Scoring: Each section has a scaled score from 0 to 100.
Overall score is calculated from the individual scores.
Overall Score = (1 x Section I + 1 x Section II + 2 x Section III) / 4
- This test doesn’t expect you to have extensive knowledge about the subjects, but rather your ability to reason with the given information. How much information can you infer, interpret and apply within the short span of time given for each question?
- However, for the science section, some basic scientific knowledge is required. Out of the three sections, section III has more weightage so it’s good to put more effort on this section.
- GAMSAT is a paper-and-pencil based test.
- There are 4 sections in total:
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems (59Q – 95min)
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems (59Q – 95min)
- Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behaviour (59Q – 95min)
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (59Q – 95min)
These 4 sections cover introductory level year 1 biology and biochemistry, physics, general and organic chemistry concepts, tests biological concepts that relate to mental process and behaviour, and humanities and social science.
- Scoring: Each section has a score which ranges from 118–132 with an overall score ranging from 472–528, 500 being an average score.
- MCAT expects you to have good background knowledge of all your subjects. It asks you to solve problems by integrating concepts from multiple disciplines as well as using basic research methods and statistical skills in the same way that scientists do. So, for MCAT one should have a great base of basic fundamentals laid nicely which will help one to deal correctly with the questions posed.
- MCAT is a computer-based test.
After looking at the two exams in detail, let’s compare them to get an overall view that will help us to give the verdict: which one is easier?
|Application||North American Universities|
Duke NUS, Singapore
Duke NUS, Singapore
|Approach||Knowledge, Reasoning and Scientific Skills required. (Computer-based)||Logical Reasoning skills required with basics of science. (Paper-Pencil)|
|Sections||4 sections||3 sections|
|Duration||Exam time: 6hr 15 min Seating time: 7hr 30 min||Exam time: 5hr 30 min Seating time: Whole day|
|Scores||Overall (out of 528) Average: 500 Good: 508 – 516 Best: 518 and higher||Overall (out of 100) Average: 56 – 58 Good: 61 – 63 Best: 73 and higher|
|Time taken for results||1 month||1.5 to 2 months|
|Number of sessions||Multiple times a year|
(22 dates for 2017 (SG))
|Once a year (SG)|
Twice a year (Other Countries)
|Registration Cost||USD$410-465 for 2017|
(Including USD$100 International Fee)
|AUD$690 for 2017|
(Including AUD$200 Overseas Test Levy)
|Books and Material||Plenty of material available. Books from Kaplan, Princeton Review, Exam Krackers, Berkeley Review, etc.||Limited material available. Sample papers from Acer, Books from Medprep and Ozimed. Can use MCAT material as well.|
All in all, if you see the above comparison between MCAT and GAMSAT, I would pick GAMSAT to be the easier one if you want to opt for an Australian university. Although, it depends on the person, and their strengths and weaknesses. Both exams require considerable amounts of hard work and effort to score high. The best thing to do is to take a free practice test for both of the exams and see how you do on each one and then decide on which one you plan to sit for. That’s all for now! Hope you found this article useful. We look forward to seeing you at ICON+! Our expert instructors can give you all the assistance you need to successfully prepare for both MCAT andGAMSAT.