Learning How to Learn for GAMSAT

So you’ve decided to give the GAMSAT a go. You’ve downloaded your ACER practice test and some science materials, but the more you delve into it, the more you realise just how much you’ll need to prepare for the GAMSAT.

You begin to feel overwhelmed. You’re not really sure where to start, or if you’re even up for the challenge anymore. You’ve got limited science and maths background after all, and there just seems like so much to learn!

Surely there is some other tool that could help, some strategic approach to learning? Some way to “jump start” your brain into the problem solving gear that you’ll need for GAMSAT?

I often hear these questions from students with feelings of despair and overwhelm. So I was glad this week to have stumbled across a really useful tool that I want to share with my students and other GAMSAT candidates.

It’s a free course entitled “Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects” available via Coursera. (It really is free, just click “enrol” and choose to complete the course without a certificate)

It’s being offered by The University of California San Diego, and was created by Barbara Oakley. In the TEDx video below, Barbara explains how she “fell off the maths bandwagon” and flunked her way through primary and high school maths and science. But at the age of 26, she decided to “change her brain” and is now a Professor of Engineering.

I saw it on bigthink.com, one of my favourite websites (it’s a knowledge forum of sorts, and would make a great inspiration resource for Section II of the GAMSAT, you should check it out!).

This free (it really is free, just click “enrol” and choose to complete the course without a certificate) “Learning How to Learn” course would be a great addition to your GAMSAT study approach. But please keep in mind that you’ll need a whole lot more than this and strategy (currently offered as the main part of a lot of GAMSAT prep courses that have popped up over the last few years).

I personally would be wary of spending a lot of time and money on a solely “strategic” approach, especially if you have limited science and maths background. Unfortunately there is no “silver bullet” to GAMSAT and those with limited background in science and maths will need to dedicate a reasonable amount of time getting familiar with the language of science and the basic functions of algebra and logarithms, as well as a lot of practice with problem solving to be able to do well in Biology, Physics and Chemistry aspects of GAMSAT section III.

The good news is, with a good plan and a positive attitude there’s no reason why you can’t give the GAMSAT as good a go as anyone else!

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