Questions To Expect On GAMSAT Section 1
As you work through this strategy guide, it is a very good idea to test your skills using official problems that appeared on the real GAMSAT in the past. Typically, the questions to expect on GAMSAT Section 1 are dubious at best.
To help you with this step of your studies, we have classified all of the Questions to expect for GAMSAT Section 1 that you're going to expect exam.
Here is an example of a typical GAMSAT Section 1 questions to expect - which come in the form of an argument.
The expansion of the runways at the Bay City Airport will allow larger planes to use the airport. These new planes will create a large amount of noise, a nuisance for residents who live near the airport.
However, many of the residents in this neighbourhood work in construction, and the contract to expand the runways has been awarded to a local construction company. Thus, the expansion of the runways will lead to an increased quality of life for the residents of this neighbourhood.
Solving critical reasoning problems effectively and efficiently requires careful attention to the specific information presented in each problem, as well as awareness of how to reason through such a problem.
For every question, you should begin by understanding what you are given:
- What is this author actually arguing?
- What are the pieces of this argument?
- How do they fit together?
Think about these questions in relation to the argument above before you keep reading.
Kinds of Arguments
The more you understand the craft of the essay writer, the more you can help them close the circle in communication. Understanding the structure of argumentation is useful, and it's useful for us to discuss the types of arguments you will run into. Part of being a local in any city is to have an idea of what to expect. Although a few may defy easy categorisation, the passages and questions to expect in GAMSAT Section 1 will include arguments of fact, arguments of definition, arguments of evaluation and proposals.
Each of these types of argument have different general characteristics which we will discuss in this article.
Arguments of Fact Types of Questions on GAMSAT Section 1
Factual arguments seek to demonstrate whether something is or is not the case in the world. This type of argument typically seeks to settle a controversy or challenge established beliefs.
What is the true economic impact of an environmental regulation? Does music education really help build maths skill in children? How did Indus civilisation avoid the militarisation seen in other ancient agrarian civilisations? Disagreements about factual matters often aren't as easy to resolve as one would think. Facts and information need to be interpreted. Evidence may be confounding. It may be that there isn't that much evidence in the first place.
The writer in a factual arguments will often set the stage with a series of observations. This will be followed by the introduction of a hypothesis and counter-arguments. The type of evidence brought forward in a factual argument will typically be 'hard' evidence rather than constructs of logic or reason. Here are some questions to ask of the passage.
- What is the issue at stake?
- Is there a controversy? What are the different points of view?
- Where does the author stand? What is their hypothesis
- How do they refine, condition, or qualify their claim?
- How good is their evidence? Is the evidence warranted?
- Is the organisation of the argument effective?
An additional challenge with this type of GAMSAT passage is to organise the details while you are reading. As details pile on, it's okay to slow down rehearse information or step back and look at how information is organised. The workshops in the countryside used linseed oil and beeswax but the city workshops sometimes used shellac or oil varnish . . . You generally don't need to memorise everything, but you do need to keep the information mentally organised.
For practice of these reading skills, Charles Mann's 1491 and Brad DeLong's The Melting Away of North Atlantic Social Democracy are both good examples of arguments of fact from our collection of supplementary reading.
Arguments of Definition
Before we can think clearly about an issue, we have to understand exactly what the terms mean. An argument of definition attempts to clarify a definition of a controversial term or concept. Definition arguments try to establish whether someone or something belongs to a certain category. These are issues you can't solve with a dictionary. Is the snail darter an endangered species? Is there such a thing as a just war? What is human intelligence?
Some definitions are formal definitions. These definitions assign class membership by specific criteria. A bird is a warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrate distinguished by the possession of feathers, wings, and a beak. That's a formal definition.
In contrast, an operational definition helps us grasp something that can't be directly measured.
Operational definitions define in terms of procedures that reliably produce a differentiated outcome. Many definitions in the fields of medicine and psychology are operational definitions.
An operational definition identifies the thing by its measurable activity or what conditions create it. Lastly, definition by example seeks to assign a definition based on similarity to a list of other class members.
Arguments of definition types of questions to expect on GAMSAT Section 1 often begin with the claim of asserting that something is or is not a member of a class. Situation comedies do not qualify as art . . . If you're getting paid, then you're not a volunteer . . . Racism can exist in an organisation whose individual members are not racist.
To establish the basis for the claim, the argument usually will then formulate a general definition. Art is defined as . . . A volunteer is . . . Racism is . . . In the Toulmin framework, the general definition serves as grounds for the claim, and the substance of the argument is to show that the claim is warranted.
Some of the most challenging passages you may run into on the exam are arguments of definition from the domains of modern thought.
Arguments of Evaluation
An argument of evaluation makes a judgement about quality. The evidence in support of an argument of evaluation may be hard evidence, such as statistics or survey results, or it may be qualitative evidence that relies on subjective criteria.
An argument type of questions to expect on GAMSAT Sections 1 evaluation may not only be about making a judgement about quality. The focus of the argument may be to explore the criteria for judgement.
Here are some questions to ask of the passage while reading an argument of evaluation.
- What is the author's claim?
- Is there a controversy? What are the different points of view?
- What are the author's criteria of evaluation?
- What type of evidence does the author present?
An arguments of evaluation will often generate a types of questions on GAMSAT Section 1 involving 'reasoning beyond the text'. Almost every passage of this type is followed by a question asking you to apply the author's criteria of evaluation to something not mentioned in the passage.
Proposals Types of GAMSAT Section 1 Questions
A proposal is an argument calling for a change in policy or practice. Proposals aim to be persuasive, so they are focused on the audience and the future.
Proposals begin by first establishing that a problem exists. Whenever a passage starts out with a vivid picture showing a problem affecting people, start looking for the central claim of the argument, which will be the merit of the author's proposal.
George Orwell's famous essay, Politics and the English Language, demonstrates the basic form of this type of argument. Typical components of proposal arguments are as follows.
- Claim of the existence of problem or need that is not currently being addressed.
- Warranted evidence for the problem.
- A second claim proposing a solution - the set of actions to take in the future.
- Warranted evidence for the feasibility and effectiveness of the solution.
- Acknowledgement of counter-arguments and counter-proposals.
Because the author in this type of argument will be trying to make a strong claim of both the problem and the solution, proposal arguments are very generative for questions that call on you to make inferences towards the author's point of view that extend beyond the text.
Questions to expect in GAMSAT Section 1 regarding the scope the author's claims and the extent to which the claims are warranted by the evidence are also very common, as well as questions that ask you to determine the most effective evidence for a counter-argument from the answer choices.
When reading a proposal argument, it's a good idea to take the position of someone who will be difficult to persuade to encourage you to read these arguments critically.
1. All arguments questions to expect on GAMSAT Section 1 contain at least one premise. A premise is information used by the author to support some claim or conclusion. That information may be a fact or an opinion. In the above example, sentence 3 is a premise because it helps to support the author's conclusion.
2. Most questions to expect on GAMSAT Section 1 (though not all) arguments contain a conclusion, the primary claim the author is trying to prove or the outcome of a plan that someone is proposing. In the above example, sentence 4 is a conclusion.
3. Many questions to expect on GAMSAT Section 1 arguments (though not all) contain background information, which provides context to allow you to understand the basic situation.
The information is true but does not either support or go against the conclusion. In the above example, sentence 1 provides background.
4. Some questions to expect on GAMSAT Section 1 arguments contain a counterpoint or counter-premise—a piece of information that goes against the author's conclusion. In the above example, sentence 2 represents a counterpoint because it goes against the author's conclusion.
Collectively, these categories represent the building blocks of an argument and certainly one of the GAMSAT Section 1 questions to expect and look out for.
How do you know which sentences fall into which categories?
Try to articulate your own thought process for the argument above, then take a look
at the decision process of this fictional student:
The expansion of the runways at the Bay City Airport will allow larger planes to use the airport.
This is a fact. It could be a premise or it could just be background.
These new planes will create a large amount of noise, a nuisance for residents who live near the airport.
Now they're moving into claim territory. Something negative will come from this project. Why are they telling me this? I can't figure that out until I know the conclusion.
However, many of the residents in this neighbourhood work in construction, and the contract to expand the runways has been awarded to a local construction company.
The word “however” indicates a contrast between sentences 2 and 3. What's the contrast?
The noise is a negative consequence of the expansion, while winning a work contract is a positive consequence.Looks like I've got a premise and a counterpoint in these two sentences, but I don't know which one is which yet.
Thus, the expansion of the runways will lead to an increased quality of life for the residents of this neighbourhood.
The word “thus” usually indicates a conclusion. Yes, this does seem like a conclusion—this project will have a certain outcome (better quality of life in this neighbourhood),and I can now see how the previous two sentences fit into this conclusion.
Sentence 3 is a premise because it provides one way in which the quality of life might be better for these people (they might make more money), and sentence 2 is a counter-premise because it tells me a negative consequence.
Building Blocks GAMSAT Section 1
- Is part of the core of the argument; present in every argument.
- Supports the author's conclusion.
- Can be a fact or an opinion; can be a description, historical information, data, or a comparison of things.
- Is often signalled by words or phrases such as because of, since, due to, or as a result of.
- Is part of the core of an argument; present in most arguments.
- Represents the author's main opinion or claim; can be in the form of a prediction, a judgement of quality or merit, a statement of causality, or the outcome of a plan.
- Is supported by at least one premise.
- Is often signalled by words such as therefore, thus, so, or consequently (although harder arguments might use such a word elsewhere in the argument in an attempt to confuse you).
- Is not part of the core; not always present.
- Provides context to help understand the core; similar to premises but less important to the argument itself.
- Is almost always fact-based; can be in almost any form: historical information, data, descriptions of plans or ideas, definitions of words or concepts, and so on.
Counterpoint or Counter-premise
- Is not part of the core; only present occasionally.
- Opposes or goes against the author's conclusion in some way.
- Introduces multiple opportunities for traps: believing that the conclusion is the opposite of what it is, mistakenly thinking that a counterpoint is a premise (and vice versa), and so on.
- Is often signalled by a transition word such as although, though, however, yet, and but (recognise, though, that the counterpoint may come before such words).
Check out our GAMSAT section 1 practice questions article for more free help.