GAMSAT Section 1 Preparation Guide [Updated 2022]

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GAMSAT Section 1 Preparation Guide [Updated 2022]

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GAMSAT Section 1 Preparation 

The GAMSAT as we all know it is a massive exam separated into three sections that are designed to test your knowledge on multiple topics.

When many aspiring GAMSAT medical students are preparing for this test, they focus heavily on section 2 and 3, whilst neglecting revising and preparing for GAMSAT section 1 simply because so many prospective medical students think that it's the easiest section. However, Section 1 GAMSAT is far more important than most students think.

Far too many students tackle the GAMSAT without adequate preparation for GAMSAT Section 1

Understanding how to prepare for section 1 is really important. It’s not about cramming facts in your head. Instead, you need to understand how to read and interpret difficult passages and stimuli and get the most information out of them as possible. 

There is no doubting that the GAMSAT is indeed a difficult exam, but Section 1 can be the most mysterious and difficult section of the exam to prepare for. How do you prepare for a section that may give you a passage/stimuli on topics that range all the way from history to philosophy? I mean, it's not like you can memorise any content to improve on Section 1. 

In this A-Z GAMSAT Section 1 preparation guide, we will hopefully cover everything you need to know about passing and acing GAMSAT section 1. I thought it important to put this disclaimer out there that there is no one universal GAMSAT Section 1 strategy that will work for every person.

In fact, there are several different strategies that you can use to succeed on Section 1 of GAMSAT, and the key is finding which is most effective for you.

What is GAMSAT Section 1?

GAMSAT Section 1 is designed to assess your reasoning and comprehension skills relating to humanities and social sciences through 75 multiple-choice questions. 

GAMSAT Section 1 is built to challenge your critical analysis and reasoning skills. Unlike the other three GAMSAT sections of the test, Section 1 requires no outside knowledge or prior memorisation of subject material, making it a much more difficult section to prepare for.

GAMSAT test takers must be able to read a passage on any subject, quickly synthesize and interpret the key information, and answer the corresponding questions. Yeah, well that's easier said than done!

Many GAMSAT test-takers make the mistake of thinking that Section 1 is nothing more than a glorified reading comprehension quiz by reading a few passages and making sense of it.

While it does require a lot of those same skills, it’s more multifaceted than any other interpretation test you’ve taken before.


The GAMSAT Section 1 preparation stimuli passages are challenging to understand and cover topics that are characteristically ambiguous or up for analysis and interpretation.

The issue with the GAMSAT Section 1 preparation is that it’s often the reverse of what pre-med students are used to, considering that you’ve most likely spent your life focusing on cold-hard facts and byzantine formulas that are not up for debate, whilst your preparation for GAMSAT Section 1 is focused more on ambiguity and interpretation.

You'll get questions on poetry, social science/humanities, cartoons and imagery. Section 1 will include both personal and imaginative texts, and can even extend to expository, persuasive, analytical and argumentative based writing.  It fair to say that each GAMSAT Section 1 stimuli is focused around socio-cultural and interpersonal ideas of society, covering a variety of history and present day issues.

Each GAMSAT Section 1 preparation stimulus/passage has approximately 2 – 6 questions (sometimes 2-5), requiring you to use a plethora of reasoning skills to accomplish the 100-minute GAMSAT exam. With the additional 10-minute reading time, you'll be left with around  1 minute and 30 seconds per question in GAMSAT Section 1.  

Problems With GAMSAT Section 1

The difficulty in preparing for GAMSAT Section 1 is that there is no available text book or defined GAMSAT section 1 syllabus for you to easily refer to. There is also a huge lack of preparatory GAMSAT Section 1 revision material that is updated on a consistent basis.  

Other issues include the fact that the questions you'll get in GAMSAT Section 1 focuses on a single idea. You might see questions related to the main passage point, individual phrases, literary elements, and more. Of course, it wouldn’t be the GAMSAT if the questions were cut and dry (after all it's a Goliath of a test).

Some of the section 1 questions may have a very narrow scale while other questions might refer to over-arching theme related to the text/image/cartoon/poem as a whole. Many questions also point to things not found within the text or focus on phrases with multiple meanings.  You might also come across questions that force you to identify the relationship between two seemingly different ideas/opinions. Or, you might be asked to infer something that’s not explicitly stated within the text (it's TOUGH!!!).

The idea behind these GAMSAT Section 1 questions is to force you into examining the fundamental point of views made within the Section 1 passage. You’ll have to understand unspecified assumptions, identify any evidence related to the argument, and more.

You might even have to use evidence in the text to undermine the argument!

It all depends on the contents of the Section 1 stimuli/passage. Either way, these questions are going to force you to analyse the content efficiently and with more competence.

You can’t skim over the work or read while distracted. To be successful in Section 1 of the GAMSAT, you must be able to understand what the stimuli is trying to say. 

Without a solid GAMSAT Section 1 preparation plan or practice revision material you'd be hard-pressed to conquer Section 1 with enough confidence and assurance.

The first GAMSAT Section 1 Problem

The first major problem with Section 1 GAMSAT: TIMING. Firstly, reading the section 1 passages and trying to figure out the answer.

You'll get students that are going back and forth trying to get the answers right and end up running out of time, so they just have to pick an answer and move on. It feels like everything takes so long and they end up having to answer a whole bunch of questions at the end without having the time to read the stimulus because they ran out of time.

So, timing in Section 1 comes down to two things: The first thing is how quickly you're able read in general. Think about it for a minute. Are you a slow reader or a fast reader? How do you determine if you are either a slow or faster ready? Circumstances around how fast you can read, depends on the type of pressure it is, for example in an exam.

You don’t necessarily have the time to read at your own pace, like you do when you’re reading a leisurely book whilst on holiday. Other factors may include, if English isn’t your first language and you’re trying to interpret 18th century poetry. So make sure you've put enough practice into reading fast. 

If you want to test your speed in reading try this website:

The second GAMSAT Section 1 problem

The second thing is: how quickly can you understand what you’ve just read? Most GAMSAT students will often go back and reread the section/stimuli/passage.

You then go back to the question to try and figure out what’s going on and you still don’t understand. So you going back and forth and to understand it.

We find students really struggling with this as they're trying to understand the GAMSAT Section 1 passages, coupled with trying to interpret and make sense of the stimuli.

The third GAMSAT Section 1 problem

You'll find so many forums telling you to read books/newspapers/magazines etc for all different places. Reading widely doesn’t work. No wait - that's a lie. Reading everything that you pick up is what doesn't work. If you’re doing it, stop.

Anyone who tells you to do it, doesn’t know what they’re talking about and don’t listen to them because essentially, what they’re saying is, ‘I don’t know what works, just read widely and hopefully, one of the things you’ll read is going to be helpful, which is a waste of time. You need to use your time efficiently and more productively.

You could easily spend months reading all sorts of different things, watching ted talks, reading newspapers, reading different plays and books - and the biggest issue is that you might not benefit from it come GAMSAT exam day for section 1. We're not saying you shouldn't read at all... what we're saying is that you need to be efficient in your reading and not take the scatter-gun approach and read everything.

The key lesson here is HOW you study for Section 1. It has to be very specific, targeted and systematic so that you’re being effective with what you're reading and how you're revising.

Here is a list of GAMSAT Section 1 reading links and lists that we recommend. Granted some of the GAMSAT Section 1 advice and tips that we present in this monolithic guide will outline reading as a strategy but be careful that you don't misunderstand reading with  - read anything and everything.

The fourth GAMSAT Section 1 problem

Lastly, the fourth common problem that people have with Section 1 is vocabulary. At CrackGAMSAT we hear this a lot and the challenge that you’re gonna face is that there are thousands of words in the English language.

The chances of having any of the words you've just learnt come up in the GAMSAT Section 1 is slim. Again, it's about using your GAMSAT section 1 preparation and revision time wisely. You do not need to learn every word there is. Concentrate on learning words that are in use today. This is the best way to build up your vocabulary.

We will touch upon this again later in the article when I touch upon GAMSAT section 1 preparation advice.

How To Prepare for GAMSAT Section 1

The GAMSAT section 1 (Humanities & Social Science) is unique in the sense that it really is an unorthodox area of the GAMSAT to prepare for. However, there are a few things you can do during preparation to increase their chances of passing and scoring in the top percentile.

The key to passing section 1 is practice, practice, practise and more practice. This, coupled with  developing a ‘GAMSAT Section 1 mindset’ and making sure you read a range of material will put you in good stead for the Section I exam. 

One mistake most students do is try reading everything and anything with no clear strategy on what to look out for. This is obviously a huge  waste of time and will result in you probably not doing that great. 

To do great you need to be able to understand the context of the passages presented to you and make sure you understand a wide range of vocabulary. 

Understanding the context of the passages in Section I

What is the subject of conversation?

The context of the author?

What is the author’s tone? - is it negative, positive or neutral? are they in a bad or good mood? 

What first impression is the writer creating? 

What is the writer’s final opinion? 

What setting has the writer has created?

What perspective is the author addressing in the subject? - observe the language the author uses and the style in which s/he writes reflect his/her overall sentiment.

What words or phrase does the author use? and why?

What is the personality of the characters used? Look into the characters actions or dialogues in the passage.

What is the setting?

The more you practice the better you’ll get at this.

One of the major difficulty in the GAMSAT section 1 is timing, you need to be able to attempt 75 questions in 100 mins with 10 mins reading time. Therefore it is very important to develop a skillset where you the ability to read the passages within an accepted amount of time whereby you're not rushing to answer the questions.

Start timing yourself when reading, work on the following:

  • Identifying keywords or topic of discussion by skimming through content.
  • Speed reading - gather necessary additional information at a quicker pace.
  • Understand commonly used metaphors or figures of speech.
  • Avoid omitting details - practice summarising every sentence or paragraph in your head.

With enough practice, you can improve both elements and increase your overall score. Take the time to develop the GAMSAT section 1 mindset and you will see a huge difference in how your overall score.

One of the biggest pain points  and questions we get is how to deal with the poetry questions. We have created an article on some techniques you can apply when it comes to the poetry preparation for GAMSAT Section 1 answering poetry questions in section 1.

You'll also be exposed to some useful poetry strategies and techniques in this ultimately GAMSAT Section 1 preparation guide.

GAMSAT Section 1 Questions

  • Main idea questions
  • Inference questions
  • Analysis of evidence questions
  • Implication questions
  • Tone questions
  • New information questions
  • Least, Not, Except questions
  • Roman numeral questions

GAMSAT Section 1 Idea Questions

These test your comprehension of the theme of the article. Questions may ask you for the main idea, central idea, purpose, a possible title for the passage, and so on. You may be asked to determine which statement best expresses the authors arguments or conclusions.

GAMSAT Section 1 Inference questions

These require you to understand the logic of the authors argument and then to decide what can be reasonably inferred from the article/image/cartoon/diagram and what cannot be reasonably inferred.

Inference questions are by far the most common question on the GAMSAT Section 1, as well as the most commonly missed question type. Inference questions require you to take passage information and infer or interpret tone or underlying meanings.

These questions tend to be difficult for GAMSAT students as the answer is not explicitly stated and requires deductive skills. Correct answer choices for these question types will often be consistent with the main idea of the passage.

The key to these questions is to avoid strong or extreme answer choices, as well as answer choices with information that was not present in the GAMSAT Section 1 passage.

GAMSAT Section 1 Analysis of evidence questions

These ask you to identify the evidence the author uses to support his argument. You may be required to analyse relationships between given and implied information. 

You may be asked not only to understand the way the author uses different pieces of information but also to evaluate whether the author has built sound arguments.

GAMSAT Section 1 Implication questions

You may be asked to make judgements about what would follow if the author is correct in his argument or what a particular discovery might lead to.


You may be given new information and then asked how this affects the authors original argument.

GAMSAT Section 1 tone questions 

You may be asked to judge the attitude of the author towards his subject. This will also include understanding the tone of an image/cartoon.

GAMSAT Section 1 New Information Questions

New information questions are typically the lengthy questions that some (if not all) GAMSAT students hate to see. These questions present additional information outside of the GAMSAT Section 1 passage and ask the GAMSAT test-taker to make inferences on how to apply that information.

This variant of the inference question, while less difficult, can use similar strategies as discussed above. The key to these questions is to not get bogged down in reading the information presented since timing is key on GAMSAT Section 1.

GAMSAT Section 1 Except, Least, or Not questions

Except, least, or not are modifiers that have been used to trick test takers since the invention of standardised testing. The GAMSAT is no different in that it poses a lengthy question and answer set in hopes that the student will forget the modifier by the end of the question.

The best way to combat this mistake is to write the modifier in large, bold letters on your scratch paper. This will serve as a reminder as you work through the question.

GAMSAT Section 1 Roman Numeral questions

This question type is ubiquitous throughout the other sections of the GAMSAT. Roman Numeral questions are difficult because they increase the number of answer choices available.

A common approach to this question type is to look for the roman numerals that are most and least common throughout the alphabetical answer choices (A-D). If either of these roman numerals can be eliminated, it should give you a better indication of what the correct answer is. 

The key to these questions is to focus on the grouped alphabetical answer choices rather than the validity of the individual roman numeral answers. Another strategy to these questions is to look for answers that directly contradict each other.

If two roman numeral answers are in direct opposition, they cannot both be correct and should give you at least 1-2 answers to eliminate.

If you want to read more on the different types of questions you'll face in GAMSAT Section 1, then I recommend you reading our article on the 8 different types of GAMSAT questions you'll get on Section 1 of the GAMSAT.

This will touch upon a few more types of GAMSAT Section 1 questions that you'll likely come up against as well and repeating some of the ones we've already gone through in this GAMSAT Section 1 preparation A-Z guide.

GAMSAT Section 1 preparation

GAMSAT Section 1 Question Distractors

You've now seen that there are 8 types of GAMSAT question you'll get on GAMSAT Section 1 (pasted above). I wanted to elaborate more on the distractors that you'll encounter in section 1.

GAMSAT Section 1 critical reasoning is all about distractions, so it is crucial to understand how distractors work.


Distractors are commonly referred to as trap-answer choices, and their elimination is never automatic.

Consider this question: 

Two farmers, who never left their farms their whole lives, were looking at their dogs and observed that all their border collies were black and white. The border collies were the only things that the farmers ever saw as a mix of black and white. Farmer Gil luckily but correctly observed that if something is a border collie then it must be black and white. Farmer Geva then remarked that if something is not black and white, then it is not a border collie.

The argument is flawed primarily because Farmer Geva:

A. fails to realize that there are other dog breeds apart from border collies

B. fails to realize that being black and white is a necessary but insufficient condition to be called a border collie

C. lacks sufficient information on which to base the condition for being a border collie

D. only observes one type of phenomenon – border collies and their colour

E. demonstrates only limited knowledge about the world outside

Fairly easily, we can eliminate answers A, D and E.

Answer A is incorrect because it assumes too much – that Farmer Geva is unaware of other breeds. Even if this were true, would this make the argument stronger? Not really, as the argument only needs to deal with one dog breed.

Alternatively, choice D criticises the argument for considering only one phenomenon. However, this is not a flaw as the argument only deals with one type.

Finally, answer E can also be easily rejected. It mirrors what the premises already state – that they had never left their farms and knew no other dog types except border collies; therefore, this answer choice does not illustrate the flaw.

The toss-up will be between B and C: both answer choices relate to the scope we defined.

At this point we must pause and compare the two answer choices more carefully: The two statements seem similar, but there are differences.


According to answer B, going on the information of Farmer Gil that all border collies are black and white, Farmer Geva supposes that this is enough for a border collie to be called as such, wrongly assuming that only colour delineates what a border collie is, whereas there may be other conditions which make border collies what they are.

Answer C, on the other hand, suggests that Farmer Geva lacks sufficient information to be able to define what a border collie is. Clearly this is not the case – the premises state that Farmer Gil correctly points out that all border collies are black and white and also, as one of the conditions for being a border collie (i.e. being black and white) is a premise, then such factual data is considered correct.

Once we isolate this difference, it becomes easier to judge which answer choice is best: Answer C makes a claim that contradicts the premises, whereas answer B correctly indicates a flaw in Farmer Geva’s reasoning. The correct answer choice is B.

Take home lesson

Remember that GAMSAT questions often yield to the scheme of 3 + 1 + 1 or 3 + 1. Three relatively easy eliminations, a distractor and a correct answer choice. Find the three quickly, and then pause for a microscopic look at the last two.

Types of GAMSAT Section 1 Passages


Passages in GAMSAT Section 1 are excerpted from modern day books, journals, and magazines. Passages from the social sciences and humanities disciplines might present interpretations, implications, or applications of historical accounts, theories, observations, or trends of human society as a whole, specific population groups, or specific countries.

Of these two types of passages you'll get in the GAMSAT Section 1 (social sciences and humanities), social sciences passages tend to be more factual and scientific in tone. 

For example, a social sciences passage might discuss how basic psychological and sociological assumptions help historians determine patterns of civilizations that existed before from ancient artefacts. 

GAMSAT Section 1 Humanities passages often focus on the relationships between ideas and are more likely to be written in a conversational or opinionated style. You should keep in mind the tone and word choice of the author in addition to the passage assertions themselves.


The humanities passages might describe the ways art or media reflects historical or social change or how the philosophy of ethics and morals has adapted to prevailing technological changes due to social media.

Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills passages come from a variety of humanities and social sciences disciplines.

GAMSAT Section 1 Humanities

Passages in the humanities are drawn from a variety of disciplines, including:

  1. Architecture
  2. Art
  3. Dance
  4. Ethics
  5. Literature
  6. Music
  7. Philosophy
  8. Popular Culture
  9. Religion
  10. Theatre

GAMSAT Section 1 Social Sciences

Social sciences passages are also drawn from a variety of disciplines, including:

  1. Anthropology
  2. Archaeology
  3. Economics
  4. Education
  5. Geography
  6. History
  7. Linguistics
  8. Political Science
  9. Population Health
  10. Psychology
  11. Sociology
  12. Medicine (passages focusing on medical ethics)

You'll also get passages focusing on cartoons and images. For this particular GAMSAT Section 1 passage, you need to understand the tone that the cartoon is trying to portray.


To do this you need to appreciate and understand the cartoonists mindset, his/her views on the topic portrayed and also the basic cartoon scenario theme that the cartoon/cartoonist is trying to exemplify. We'll talk more about this later in this article.

GAMSAT Section 1 Advice

Have you ever had a problem breaking down arguments in when it comes to the questions in GAMSAT Section 1? Many GAMSAT students find it very difficult to separate the premise from the conclusion. Lets have a look at the following:

Sun block advertisements, according to a recent study, often contain misleading information, exaggerating the effectiveness of the advertised products.

Skin doctors are worried that these advertisements could create a false sense of safety that would lead sun block consumers to spend prolonged periods of time in the sun.

Let’s begin with the obvious question: What is a premise generally, and in the argument specifically?

The premise is the information that is accepted as a given and that is used in order to draw a conclusion. Think of it as a truth that is used to form a conclusion.

In the above argument, the phrase “according to a recent study” indicates the introduction of a premise. Other similar phrases that could also be used are “a study has shown that…” and “according to a study.”

Here’s another argument to look at:

John’s car has wheels because all cars have wheels.

Sometimes, finding the premise may be a bit more difficult. In the sentence above, we can recognize that the first part is a conclusion, whereas the second part is a premise, since it gives the reason for the conclusions' validity. It would not make sense to flip the argument and say that all cars have wheels because John’s car has wheels.

Therefore, the validity of a conclusion must come from its premise, or proof. In this case, the fact (premise) that all cars have wheels allows for a conclusion to be drawn that John’s car must also have wheels.

Key takeaways:

  • Look for expressions that would suggest that the information presented is a scientific finding or other factual information.
  • Reason conjunctions usually link a conclusion with the premise it is based upon.
  • If you cannot find the premise right away, identify the conclusion, and you will surely recognize which sentences state the premises upon which the conclusion must be based. Ask yourself why the conclusion has been made. The answer to the why should point to the premise.

Improving GAMSAT Section 1 Preparation Assumptions

An essential skill to develop for your GAMSAT Section 1 preparation is finding the assumption or at least the missing links between the premise and the conclusion.

In order to do this, you need to read actively and identify the premises and conclusion(s). From there, you need identify any missing links or leaps in logic between the two.

These are usually subtle and difficult to spot. But with a lot of practice and critical thinking, it will start to come naturally.

Let’s take a look at an example (lets just assume it's an excerpt of a GAMSAT Section 1 passage):

A group of college students participated in a sleep study where half of them slept for a full eight hours and the other half were woken up two to three times during the night. The half that slept the full eight hours uninterrupted performed better, on average, on a logical reasoning exam the next day than the other half whose sleep was interrupted. Therefore, people have the best brain function when they sleep for a full eight hours, uninterrupted.

There are actually quite a few missing links here, let’s look at a few:

  • Sample of people: The people who were tested were all college students who, on average, are aged 18-22. However, the conclusion is about people in general, which is a leap on logic.
  • Leap in Logic: A higher score on a logical reasoning test doesn’t necessarily mean a higher brain function.
  • The word best: The study discussed in the argument only tested two different sleep scenarios. Just because one is better than the other, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best.

Being able to spot these missing links will help you with virtually every type of GAMSAT Section 1 question.

How does it help exactly?

  • The correct answer to strengthen or assumption questions is usually something that fills in the hole left by the missing link.
  • For flaw questions, it highlights the missing link.
  • It exploits that missing link.

Therefore, when reading a GAMSAT Section 1 reasoning passage, you need to:

  • Read actively and identify the premises and conclusion
  • Spot the missing links between the two
  • Use the missing links to identify the correct answer

GAMSAT Section 1 Preparation Tips

GAMSAT Section 1 is all about prose, poetry, picture study and data interpretation vignettes, and if you're a pure science student you might might find Section 1 difficult this is because there are many of you that may or may not have ever read the vignette(s) before.

Remember that all the vignettes in the GAMSAT paper are random, and there is no way of preparing beforehand for these particular humanities/cartoons passages and/or poetry blurbs.

GAMSAT Section 1 Reading Resources

Read up as much as possible in your spare time. Remember what I mentioned above earlier with the the problems of GAMSAT Section 1? Well if you were paying attention you'd know that reading will only benefit you if you're picking up the right material. It goes without saying that by reading you'll gain a better comprehension of the passages that will come in the GAMSAT Section 1 exam.

Besides, you can also build a better and stronger vocabulary if you read up a lot. I've pasted the GAMSAT Section 1 reading list here again just in case you missed it in the beginning of this article.

The first thing we tell our students is that reading is a skill many people take for granted, but the act of reading and properly comprehending a text is a complex and interactive process. It requires several different brain functions to work together and most often requires one to puzzle through multiple layers of context and meaning.

Because reading comprehension is so complicated, GAMSAT students often find themselves understanding the most basic interpretation of a text, but missing the emotional core or the “big picture.” Or they might just find their brains spinning with no clue at all as to what a text is attempting to convey.

All you need to know is presented in the GAMSAT Section 1 passages

GAMSAT Section 1 tips doesn’t require any prior knowledge of the humanities per-se, so do not concern yourself with the details of the subject.

You will get all the information you need from the vignettes themselves.

Work a little extra practising poetry vignettes

Poetry vignettes might seem especially difficult; so, practise them with extra care.

Remember that these vignettes can include anything from poems that date back a few centuries to song lyrics, so don’t leave out any kind of poetry comprehension vignettes you come across.

Practice is the key to GAMSAT, and this is all the more true for sections you are weak in.

Now, being a science student doesn’t necessarily mean that you are weak in the humanities; however, it is very likely that you have been out of touch with the nitty-gritty of the subject for some time.

So, focus a lot on section 1 when you solve the practice papers.

How to prepare for GAMSAT Section 1 

Preparing for GAMSAT Section 1 requires a certain level of intuition that many prospective GAMSAT students will ultimately find uncomfortable considering it's human nature to enjoy facts and formulas - something that doesn't require the spidey sense.

Unfortunately, Section 1 of GAMSAT is not something that you can cram for, but you must ultimately prepare for it over time. The good news is that with the right strategy and lots of practice you'll ace and conquer the Section 1 just as well as the other two sections of the GAMSAT.

GAMSAT Section 1 cartoon and poetry preparation strategy

Most GAMSAT students really have no idea why the GAMSAT tests students on poetry and cartoons. This is an absolute valid question and one that comes with an answer.

Examining students on poetry and cartoons presents an opportunity to test a prospective medical student’s ability to “read between the lines” and tackle literary imagery, metaphor, inference, tone, symbolism. 

Okay so how does that help a GAMSAT medical student?

Easy! Critical thinking and analysis is needed in whatever aspect of life - be it a university course or a job—from literature to technology.


If a medical student can grasp the abstractions presented in poetry and a cartoon, he/she is more likely to be able to navigate abstraction in other forms and other disciplines within the medical field. 

Poetry and cartoon analysis is a good predictor of how a medical student deals with ambiguity and interpretation—the landscape of medical education and the real world as you progress in your medical career.

GAMSAT Section 1 Poetry Preparation 

A poem is a form of writing that takes the nature of a song and a speech and it is almost rhythmical in most cases and usually metaphorical exhibiting different formal elements which include a stanzaic structure, rhyme and meter. A critical analysis of a poem therefore should break down a poem and study its parts to give the evaluation or opinion of the entire piece. 

For Section 1 poetry, when you're faced with a poetry passage, it's crucial to observe a poem's form, structure and language. Once you've identified the techniques that a poet has used for these, you should think about how they link to the meanings and effects of a poem.

GAMSAT Section 1 Preparation Poetry Tips and Advice

GAMSAT Section 1 Poetry Examples #1

GAMSAT Section 1 Poetry Form

Poetry Form:  Meaning

Interpretations: Some poems implement specific forms e.g. sonnets or narrative poems. Many don’t have an identifiable form.

Poetry Form:  Questions to Ask yourself

Interpretations: Can you spot a specific form? Why might the poet have chosen this? How does it link to the message of the poem or its ideas?

Poetry Form:  Considerations 

Interpretations: If the poem does not have a specific form you recognise, contemplate the influence of the structure.

GAMSAT Section 1 Poetry Examples #2

GAMSAT Section 1 Poetry Structure

Poetry Structure: Meaning

Interpretations: The way the poet has structured the poem on the page. For example the number of stanzas, lines per stanza, breaks in between lines and stanzas.

Poetry Structure:  Questions to Ask yourself

Interpretations: How might the way the poem appears on the page link to its meaning and effect?

Poetry Structure:  Considerations 

Interpretations: Think about big and small building blocks of a poem - the overall shape, number of stanzas, length of stanzas, length of lines, movement between lines and stanzas.

GAMSAT Section 1 Poetry Examples #3

GAMSAT Section 1 Poetry Rhythm 

Poetry Rhythm: Meaning

Interpretations: The poem may have a rhyme scheme and/or a noticeable rhythm in each line.

Poetry Rhythm:  Questions to Ask yourself

Interpretations: Can you spot a rhyme scheme? Is this systematic or speckled? Are there a consistent number of beats or stresses in each line? Does this diverge? How does this link to the mood of the poem?

Poetry Rhythm:  Considerations 

Interpretations: Don’t just count beats and rhyming words, think how these link to the disposition of the poem.

GAMSAT Section 1 Poetry Examples #4

GAMSAT Section 1 Poetry Language

Poetry Language: Meaning

Interpretations: The power of individual words or phrases and the overall effect of the language in a poem.

Poetry Language:  Questions to Ask yourself

Interpretations: When I read the poem and look away, what words, phrases or lines do I remember? Why are they powerful? How does the language of the poem support the overall effect and meaning?

Poetry Language:  Considerations 

Interpretations: Language is like the machine of a poem. What ignites it up is thinking about the power of the language. This can be a strategy for getting to the root of a poem.

GAMSAT Section 1 Poetry Examples #5

GAMSAT Section 1 Poetry Devices

Poetry Devices: Meaning

Interpretations: Ways in which a poet uses language in a specific way to create effect e.g. simile, metaphor, alliteration, personification.

Poetry Devices:  Questions to Ask yourself

Interpretations: Once I’ve felt the mood and message of a poem, can I spot the ways the poet has used language to support the meaning? How do specific techniques link to meaning?

Poetry Devices:  Considerations 

Interpretations: Identifying techniques is only the first step. A good examination has to think about how these link to meaning and effect.

If you want to ace the poetry section of GAMSAT Section 1, then I recommend you having a read of one of our articles that detail additional GAMSAT Section 1 poetry preparation tips which gives you even more tools to ace the GAMSAT Section 1 poetry part of the GAMSAT exam.


Like it or not, cartoons are an essential part of Section 1 of the GAMSAT. While on the surface cartoons may appear unassuming or easy they are encompassed in the GAMSAT just like poetry to test your ability to think outside the box.

For this reason many of the cartoons included in Section 1 of the GAMSAT will be political or satirical and will oblige you to have some acquaintance with visual techniques as well as current affairs or historical events.

Political cartoons use images and text to convey a message about a contemporary social or political phenomenon. The best way to get comfortable with these kinds of cartoons is to regularly read them. Good places to start are the New Yorker, the Guardian, and newspapers like the Sydney Morning Herald.

The more you practice, the quicker you’ll get at interpreting cartoons and the more comfortable you’ll become with this visual medium.

In addition to practice it is helpful to familiarise yourself with the common techniques utilised by cartoons. Cartoonists use six common persuasive techniques. These are exaggeration, labelling, symbolism, analogy, and irony.

Here is a brief explanation of each technique:

  • Exaggeration - Cartoonists will overdo physical characteristics of people or things in order to make a point.
  • Labelling - Objects or people are often labelled by cartoonists to make it clear exactly what they stand for. Pay attention to the intended tone, visual style, subject matter and audience of the cartoon.
  • Symbolism - Objects are used to stand for larger concepts or ideas. Symbols are quickly recognisable visual images that are imbued with broader significance
  • Analogy - Cartoonists will 'draw' a comparison between two unlike things.
  • Irony - The difference between the way things are and the way things should be.
  • Caricature - Most political cartoons involve caricature which is a deliberate distortion and unflattering emphasis on a person’s physical appearance. This helps give the cartoon its humour so that we laugh at the cartoon before we even look at what it is saying.

GAMSAT Section 1 Humanities and Social Science Preparation Advice

It goes without saying that you need to make sure you make your way through the GAMSAT humanities or social science passage. Some GAMSAT students focus on the most important ideas of the passage instead of focusing on small details, which can help evade answer options that are meant to trick you.

Time isn’t on your side when it comes to the GAMSAT and with enough practice you’ll be able to read the Section 1 passage quickly, potentially even to the point of skimming some sections so that you have more time to answer the questions. Then, for the questions asking about specific details, you can go back and search for the answer within the passage.

Other GAMSAT students prepare for Section 1 GAMSAT humanities and social science by reading through the question stems from first to last (not the answer choices), identifying any words or phrases that indicate important passage content. 

For Section 1 Humanities and Social Science, for faster efficiency it'll be beneficial to you to:

  • summarise the passage in one or two sentences.
  • reflect on the author’s opinion.
  • emphasize minor topics discussed by the author
  • become familiar with the author
  • not feel like you need to remember the details in the passage.

The following two tips will also help you feel more confident as you prepare the humanities and social science part of GAMSAT Section 1 preparation.

1. Expand Your Vocabulary

One of the problems you would have run into if you were following this article is that I recommended making sure you only read what is necessary and not go crazy and read everything.

One of the many things that GAMSAT test takers often run into is that they are unfamiliar with words that are used in the various reading passages of the exam. Difficult words are chosen purposefully, and you’ll find that many questions depend on your ability to understand what these words are, and how they relate to the passage in context. You don’t have to read the dictionary cover to cover, however, in order to improve and expand your vocabulary as well as your command of the English language.

Here is an article we wrote that focuses on an ultimate reading list for GAMSAT Section 1. I posted this above already when I was discussing the problems with GAMSAT Section 1, but I've pasted it here again just in case you missed it

2. Learn to Speed Read

Most of us have reading habits; however, without realising, many of these reading habits impede our ability to perform and prepare well on the GAMSAT Section 1 humanities and social science.

You might find yourself reading slowly to try to understand the passage in its entirety, which is detrimental you as you do not unfortunately have the luxury of time on your side. Doing this will not improve your GAMSAT section 1 scores, and will likely ensure that you get a poor score on this section of the GAMSAT. 

Learning to speed read is an invaluable skill that will help you to absorb the most important information in a short amount of time. I’ve already discussed a link on speed reading in this article when I was discussing the problems of GAMSAT section 1.

For sanity, I’ve pasted it again here: If you want to test your speed in reading try this website:

Obtaining this skill—which can be significantly improved upon in a relatively short amount of time—will eliminate time-wasting while you read, and train your brain to identify only the most valuable information that will surely be tested in the reading comprehension questions and help you prepare for GAMSAT Section 1 in a much more efficient way.

For more tips on speed reading check out our article on the truths behind the GAMSAT that you need to know before you take the GAMSAT exam.

Improve your GAMSAT Section 1 Preparation

It is worth outlining the GAMSAT questions you answered correctly and answered incorrectly.


Whether you choose our GAMSAT preparation courses and GAMSAT revision materials or utilise the official ACER practice papers, it’s worthwhile you create the below:

  • Thought I knew the answer, but got it wrong
  • Did not know the answer, and guessed incorrectly
  • Got it right at first, but changed my answer
  • Misread/misunderstood/missed essential information in the question or passage
  • I got the GAMSAT answer right but by guessing
  • I got the GAMSAT answer right but just wanted to make a note

This way you can record your weaker areas  and allows you understand what you’re getting wrong and why. Whenever you answer a question, have a look at the bullet points above and see which point is applicable. This is an excellent way of keeping accountability and making your GAMSAT Section 1 more transparent.

Start doing the Acer GAMSAT papers For Section 1

These are official GAMSAT practice questions provided by ACER, they are designed to give you an idea as to what to expect in each section. This practice papers are hardly updated, so you won’t be seeing any new content. However, it’s always best practice to do these ACER practice papers under timed condition so that you have an idea of your timing.

Practising under timed conditions is important so you can become comfortable working under the same conditions of the exam.

Join a GAMSAT study group for Section 1

Ever heard of the saying that a “problem shared is a problem halved”? Forming study groups is a very effective strategy for enhancing learning.

This is because groups share unique insights and learn from each other. You’ll be able to  bounce GAMSAT ideas off each other and discuss the GAMSAT Section 1 preparation issues that you'll be facing.

How To Improve On GAMSAT Section 1

  • Understand the links between ideas.
  • Determine the importance and relevance of arguments and ideas.
  • Recognise, build and appraise arguments presented in the GAMSAT stimuli section 1.
  • Identify inconsistencies and errors in reasoning.
  • Approach problems in the GAMSAT passage in a consistent and systematic way.
  • Reflect on the justification of their own assumptions, beliefs and values presented.

Lots of students want to know the secrets to making sure they improve on GAMSAT Section 1. For you to improve on GAMSAT Section 1, you need the ability to think clearly and rationally, understanding the logical connection between ideas presented in the GAMSAT Section 1 stimuli.

Critical thinking has been the subject of much debate and thought since the time of early Greek philosophers such as Plato and Socrates and has continued to be a subject of discussion into the modern age, for example the ability to recognise fake news.

Critical thinking might be described as the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking.

The reality is that for you to improve GAMSAT Section 1, you are required you to use your ability to reason. It is about being an active learner rather than a passive recipient of information and this is what will set you apart when it comes to improving your skills on GAMSAT Section 1.

GAMSAT critical thinkers rigorously question ideas and assumptions rather than accepting them at face value. These are the students that will always seek to determine whether the ideas, arguments and findings represent the entire picture and are open to finding that they do not.

Critical thinkers will identify, analyse and solve problems systematically rather than by intuition or instinct.

Improving your GAMSAT Section 1 Preparation

Ultimately when it comes to improving on GAMSAT section 1, you need to start thinking about things in certain ways so as to arrive at the best possible solution in the circumstances that the thinker is aware of. In everyday language, it is a way of thinking about whatever is presently occupying your mind so that you come to the best possible conclusion.

The skills that you'll need in order to be able to ace and improve on GAMSAT section 1 are varied and include observation, analysis, interpretation, reflection, evaluation, inference, explanation, problem solving, and decision making.

Specifically you need to be able to:

  • Think about a topic or issue in an objective and critical way.
  • Identify the different arguments there are in relation to a particular issue.
  • Evaluate a point of view to determine how strong or valid it is.
  • Recognise any weaknesses or negative points that there are in the evidence or argument.
  • Notice what implications there might be behind a statement or argument.
  • Elicit structured reasoning and support for an argument that is presented to you.

Critical thinking is aimed at achieving the best possible outcomes in any situation. In order to achieve this it must involve gathering and evaluating information from as many different sources possible.

Improving GAMSAT section 1 requires a clear, often uncomfortable, assessment of your personal strengths, weaknesses and preferences and their possible impact on decisions you may make.

Implementing the decisions made arising from critical thinking must take into account an assessment of possible outcomes and ways of avoiding potentially negative outcomes, or at least lessening their impact.

GAMSAT Section 1 Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension is the understanding of what a particular text means and the ideas the author is attempting to convey, both textual and sub-textual.

In order to read any text, your brain must process not only the literal words of the piece, but also their relationship with one another, the context behind the words, how subtle language and vocabulary usage can impact emotion and meaning behind the text, and how the text comes together as a larger, coherent whole.

For instance, let's look at the first line from Jane Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice:

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."

Now, a completely literal interpretation of the text, just based on word-meaning, would have us believe that 'all rich men want wives.' But the context, word choice, and phrasing of the text actually belie that interpretation.

By using the phrases "universally acknowledged" and "must be in want of" (emphasis ours), the text is conveying a subtle sarcasm to the words.

Instead of it being an actual truth that 'rich men want wives,' this one sentence instantly tells us that we're reading about a society preoccupied with marriage, while also implying that the opening statement is something people in that society may believe, but that isn't necessarily true.

In just a few short words, Austen conveys several ideas to the reader about one of the main themes of the story, the setting, and what the culture and people are like. And she does so all the while seeming to contradict the literal words of the piece.

Without practice in reading comprehension, nuances like these can become lost. And so it can happen that someone may find themselves reading, but not truly comprehending the full meaning of a text.

As you can see, reading comprehension involves many processes happening in your brain at once, and thus it can be easy for some aspects of a text to get lost in the muddle.

But the good news for anyone who struggles is that reading comprehension for GAMSAT Section 1 is a skill just like any other. It must be learned through practice, focus, and diligence, but it absolutely CAN be learned.

Why GAMSAT Section 1 Reading Comprehension Is Important 

Proper reading comprehension can be difficult and even more so when it comes to revising for GAMSAT section 1, so why bother?

Even though learning how to properly read and comprehend texts is a complicated process, it is a necessary skill to master, both for work and for acing GAMSAT. 

You will need to know how to read and interpret all kinds of different texts—both on the basic, literal level and on a more in-depth level—throughout your schooling, in college, and in the working world (as well as in your recreation time!).

If we think about "reading" just as a literal or surface understanding of a piece and "reading comprehension" as the complete understanding, a person can only get by in the world on pure "reading" for so long. 

Reading comprehension is essential for many significant aspects of your medical career, such as:

  • Reading, understanding, and analysing reports in hospital
  • Reading and understanding texts a colleague
  • Understanding and engaging with current medical events presented in written form
  • Properly understanding and responding to any and all other workplace correspondence, such as essays, reports, memos, and analyses

Click here to learn more on more tips for GAMSAT Section 1 reading comprehension.

GAMSAT Section 1 Preparation Materials

If you're looking for a great one-stop shop for all your GAMSAT preparation needs, then look no further. At CrackGAMSAT we offer the most comprehensive and up-to-date GAMSAT preparation revision courses for all your GAMSAT needs and all three GAMSAT sections.

For more information have a look at our GAMSAT preparation courses for more information.

If you're looking for the best GAMSAT preparation materials and resources then I recommend you check out the article on the Best GAMSAT preparation materials.

GAMSAT Section 1 Reading

If you're looking for GAMSAT Section 1 preparation books or reading materials, I suggest you check out our other article on what we recommend you should be reading for GAMSAT Section 1, along with helpful tips and advice.


Physicians face challenges to apply, analyse, and communicate scientific and medical information. The ability to communicate and analyse is a softer skill that is difficult to develop compared to the effort it takes to memorise something like the Krebs’s cycle. This vital skill set has become emphasised by the ACER.

GAMSAT Section 1 is the section that most premedical students struggle with and requires the most time to build skills. Identifying question types on your GAMSAT exam will allow you to establish patterns of performance and exam trends.

Hopefully this GAMSAT Section 1 preparation guide has been useful in helping you develop a strategy in acing the GAMSAT, coupled with how well to approach the GAMSAT Section 1 exam.

If you're looking for a comprehensive guide on the other two GAMSAT sections then check out:

Comprehensive GAMSAT Section 2 Preparation Guide

Comprehensive GAMSAT Section 3 Preparation Guide 

Thanks for getting to the end and we hope you found this article on GAMSAT Section 1 preparation A-Z guide helpful. Also, if you haven't already done so, we've created free GAMSAT preparation resources and GAMSAT preparation practice questions to provide you with even more free help.

About the author 


90% of your GAMSAT problems can be solved by CrackGAMSAT. Solving the other 10% just requires good procrastination skills and a huge amount of coffee :)

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