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Black GAMSAT Friday…

I saw this date approaching…I, surely not…but of course. Like a crazed vengeful zombie, there it was, that email from ACER, sitting in your inbox, with the date stamp Friday the 13th.

Only the Australia Council for Educational Research (aka ACER, aka creator of GAMSAT, aka the bane of a med-student wanna-be’s life) would be so cruel as to release GAMSAT results on Black Friday!


So here I have 5 tips for those who were LUCKY, and 5 tips for those who were UNLUCKY.

First up,


  1. Cry, scream, punch something (just not someone). It’s been a long, arduous process, you worked so hard and it’s really tough to have that end in disappointment. Then pull yourself together, reassess your life, dig deep and make the decision whether to give it another red hot go, this time with a whole lot more experience under your belt.
  2. Think about what you gained from the process. Now you know what it’s like to do 6 hours of exam in one day, and you know how you reacted under pressure, and whether you need to work on your timing, or question order strategy. Find out how to NOT be another GAMSAT crash test dummy.
  3. Where did you struggle? If you had trouble with all the graphs, or couldn’t do the maths quick enough, you’re not alone. Maybe it’s time to get back to basics when it comes to graphing, and if you have the right approach, you really can get over your fear of maths.
  4. What did you do right? Perhaps you nailed the essay section (because you read this post!) but need to work on your organic chemistry. Check out Organic Chemistry for GAMSAT. Where to start?
  5. If you’re feeling down and out- try not to be too hard on yourself. The GAMSAT is HARD. And super competitive. You did an amazing effort just to make the commitment to sign up for this gawd-awful test and sit through it! Check out our Top 10 tips for GAMSAT to see if there’s anything that might help you, should you decide to give it another shot!


  1. Be super proud!
  2. Call your loved ones and thank them for putting up with you for the last year while you either a) slept with your text book, b) complained at how sadistic the GAMSAT is and how none of it is relevant to getting into med anyway, c) were a human jitterbug for the last 6+ weeks while you waited for the results to come out!
  3.  Have a well deserved party night off! Whether that’s a night out on the town, a romantic dinner for two, or a movie night with popcorn and chocolate. You’ve earned it!
  4. Call a friend who wasn’t so lucky. They probably worked just as hard as you, but it just didn’t come together on the day. We shouldn’t have to remind you not to #GAMSATGLOAT. Send them this article about Why they should embrace winter for GAMSAT study.
  5. If you were a cbsquared student, please get in touch and share the good news! Then you’ll need to start thinking about your interview process and decide what your uni preferences are. Good luck, and well done!

Well done to everyone, and remember to please get in touch if you need any ideas or advice for any stage of your GAMSAT journey.

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Molecular orbitals don’t have to send you into orbit!

One of the first topics that I’ve found students really being to freak at is hybridisation and orbitals. We tackle it early on in the Chemistry course, because an understanding of hybridisation and orbitals makes a lot of more tricky chemistry that we cover later, a lot easier.

Hybridisation is important as it explains the polarity of molecules, and gives a good understanding of why some molecules are more reactive than others and how certain reactions take place. It can also explain things like stereoselective reactions, and why some molecules are coloured or undergo resonance stabilisation as a result of conjugation.

Students can find this topic tricky to get their head around because it is hard to visualise. Molecules don’t look like balls on sticks and bonds don’t form in neat little lines…they form from overlapping electron clouds, or shells, flowing around the bonded nuclei.

What they actually look like is based on quantum mechanical, three dimensional, wave function probabilistic distributions of electrons in space. Hang on whaaa? Don’t worry-read on.

The following video by Hank Green from crash course provides lots of images so that you can actually see what happens in hybridisation, and you will also start to understand the meaning of “quantum mechanical, three dimensional, wave function probabilistic distributions of electrons in space”. No really, you will! Why not give it a try?

My advice is to pay particular attention to the section about s and p orbitals, how the periodic table is like a “map of orbitals” and hybridisation.

We’ll cover these concepts in more detail in lectures and tutorials in the cbsquared Chemistry for GAMSAT online and attendance courses.


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