GAMSAT Section 2 Preparation Guide [Updated 2022]

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GAMSAT Section 2 Preparation Guide [Updated 2022]

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GAMSAT Section 2 Preparation

What is GAMSAT Section 2?

Section 2 GAMSAT requires candidates to write two essays (Task A and B), of an unspecified length, in 1 hour. This means you have 30 minutes to answer Task A and another 30 minutes to answer Task B. It sounds easier said than done but if you practice then you'll be more than able to complete two awesome essays within the 60 minutes allotted to complete this task. We all know how hard the GAMSAT exam can be.

In case you were interested, we have another article that will show our strategies for thinking of better GAMSAT Section 2 ideas when it comes to writing your essays for Task A and Task B. When it comes to GAMSAT - everyone thinks they've got the best way to approach GAMSAT section 2 tasks

A general theme is given for each of the essays you are requested to write, as well as 5 or 6 quotes addressing that theme. These quotes are actual quotes of notable figures – ranging from politicians to religious leaders or famous writers.

You are permitted to write in response to just one of the quotes, or a selection of them. The task does not permit you to entirely ignore the quotes given so make sure you reference and address at least one or two of the quotes provided.

Other than the time limit – and yes, you must write both essays within the 1-hour time frame – you’re not required to meet any other specifications.

As you are aware, the GAMSAT is basically designed to narrow down hopeful graduate applicants for medical school. GAMSAT Section 2 preparation is no different.

It does this rather ruthlessly but serves medical schools well, in reducing the applicants they must consider for a place.

The most discerning part of the GAMSAT exam is probably GAMSAT Section 2 preparation and the essay style questions you need to answer.

There are a few reasons why most GAMSAT students find writing an essay for section 2 difficult.

  1. Many graduates today, particularly those from a science background, have little experience in essay writing.
  2. Many graduates are not as well read as they would like to be and so lack confidence in writing about current issues with confidence.
  3. For the not so well read, trying to get the required level of knowledge over such a wide range of topics could take over a year of careful reading of selected books and articles. (see last section of this article)

Important Note 

GAMSAT candidates for their GAMSAT Section 2 preparation are required to write two thirty-minute essays for  the written communications section. Each writing task (Task A and Task B) is in response to a statement, quote, or idea relating to a common theme. The first task (Task A) usually deals with socio-cultural issues while the second (Task B) usually deals with issues that are more based more on one’s perspective and belief.

How is GAMSAT Section 2 Marked?

The marking criteria for section 2 is the GAMSAT is rather vaguely outlined by Acer. It states that the examiners will assess students on two main criteria's.

These are as follows:

  • The quality of your thinking around the topic
  • Use of language demonstrated in development of understanding.

For each criteria the GAMSAT Section 2 markers look at the following ( the below points are copied directly from the official Acer GAMSAT guide):

GAMSAT Section 2 Marking Criteria

Thought and Content (the quality of what is said)

  • what is made of and developed from the task
  • the kinds of thoughts and feelings offered in response to the task

Organization and Expression (the quality of the structure developed and the language used)

  • the shape and form of the piece
  • the effectiveness and fluency of the language

What You Will Get Marks for in GAMSAT Section 2

Quality of response

  • Depth of thought demonstrated in your response
  • Shown understanding of both explicit and implicit meaning in the quotes
  • Critical analysis of information and issues presented
  • Development of your own ideas & arguments
  • Validity of your statements and your awareness thereof


  • How easy it is for the reader to follow your line of reasoning
  • Purposefulness of organisation – each sentence has a reason for being there.


  • Use of paragraphs
  • Legibility, spelling, punctuation
  • Length of sentences, use of conjunctions.
  • Use of quotes

Clarity of expression

  • absence of ambiguity in statements
  • grammar and punctuation

What You Do Not Get Marks for in Section 2 of GAMSAT

Your attitudes

Your opinion is not important, it’s how you communicate it that counts.


The GAMSAT is not a test of knowledge, and section 2 is no exception. You won’t get extra marks for including lots relevant ‘facts’.

The intensity of Your Feelings For GAMSAT Section 2

Although task B is often referred to as the ’emotional’ essay, don’t fall into the trap of being overly dramatic. You don’t get points for simply feeling strongly about something.

Length of the Essay For GAMSAT Section 2

It should only be long enough to accomplish what you set out to say. If you can say something as clearly and effectively in less words then do it. It saves you time and it saves them time. Short sentences are easier to read.

Breadth of Ideas For GAMSAT Section 2

ACER asks for depth, not breadth. Don’t inundate them with ideas. Just show that you've thought about a small number of them deeply.

You don’t have enough time to talk about everything. Also beware of broad overarching generalisations, no matter how much empirical evidence you can cite to support your claims.

Why Does Section 2 Written Communication GAMSAT Exist?

Essay writing for Section 2 exists because of it's importance in allowing future doctors and physicians to practise and develop transferable skills that are valuable in the field of occupation you'll be going in - which is medicine.

These transferable skills include:

  • reading and note-making
  • critical thinking and analysis
  • organising ideas
  • arguing a case
  • and last but by no means least, communicating effectively with a reader.

Section 2 essay writing encourages you to develop a formal, disciplined approach to writing that communicates clearly and with authority (you are a physician and a person in a trusted position) and thus you imagine having to articulate bad news?

Written communication for the GAMSAT also gives you a focus for exploring and consolidating your thoughts and opinions and allows you to develop and organise your thinking about key concepts and issues throughout your medical career.

GAMSAT Section 2 Written Communication: Strategy 

Your GAMSAT Section 2 Essay is an Argument

This is obvious to seasoned essay writers, but actually a key point that never quite gets explained properly to the rest of us.

Any essay has to have a central point of view that its writer is seeking to convince the reader about.

Each point made in the essay will contribute to the formation of an often multi-faceted argument.

As an essay writer you can and should include arguments made by ‘the other side’ that you disagree with and then explain why you think they are invalid or at least why they fail to disprove your central argument.

The conclusion should tie the argument together and give a final parting shot for your side.

Writing the Section 2 Essay Plan

This is controversial, but it is something I was told at an early age and it has always served me well.

The steps to writing a plan are as follows:

  1. Decide on the overall thrust of your argument. (Hackers tip: If your knowledge in this area is really sketchy and you’re in a tight corner come back to this step once you have listed your points and can defend at least ONE viewpoint adequately)
  2. Use a whole sheet and place rough headings for
    Main argument,
    Counter arguments

  3. As quickly as you can, add points to each section in whichever order they come to your into head. If the conclusion is clear, get that down first. Personally, you should aim to put my main argument and counter arguments down first. 
  4. Number the points in the order you want them to appear in the essay. This is unlikely to be the order in which you’ve written them down. They should flow easily from one point to the next, making the essay easy to read and the argument easy to grasp. Remember, your examiner will probably not read every word but skim.  
  5. Write the essay. Twenty minutes of planning followed by 10 minutes of writing takes guts but is the an ideal formula. 

Keep your GAMSAT Task A and B Essays Simple

Keep your argument simple and easy to understand. Use lots of simple individual points for your argument rather than a convoluted or complex point that requires careful reading to digest. 

This is easy for most science graduates, but if you’ve spent your undergrad years writing sophisticated essays for politics or English literature, now is the time to dumb things down.

Ask yourself, will this essay score lots of points in quick succession, or will it be better appreciated by an academic with a keen interest in this area?

You definitely want the quick, successive point scoring style for your  GAMSAT section 2 essay.

Sound Like an Authority

  • Make your points concisely and confidently to sound like you know what you’re talking about.
  • Use correct grammar, spelling and style.
  • Use correct terminology including technical terms.
  • Quote statistics, surveys, and other forms of ‘evidence’ to back up your points wherever possible. (Although fabricated surveys showing X or Y to be true are not easily verifiable by your examiner, they can cause you to lose badly if you get found out. You simply don’t need to do this for GAMSAT – yes, you know who you are!)
  • Sound like you actually care a lot about the topic. Again this will lend credibility to your argument.
  • Use up to date examples from the mainstream media (i.e. broadsheet newspapers). In this day and age you are considered well read if you read a newspaper regularly. (If you think this is ridiculous, I agree.)

These are all techniques used by most modern day journalists, almost all of whom are not specialists (or even knowledgeable) in any area at all.

Plan your GAMSAT Section 2 Revision

If you have more than six months before you sit the GAMSAT, it is definitely worth having some sort of reading regime that will help you feel confident constructing arguments that are pitched at the correct level for the GAMSAT essay. 

Ideally you also want to read things that will make you sound well rounded and intelligent at your future interview and kill two birds with one reading regime.

You might have been told that there are no shortcuts to this but in fact there are:

Read a newspaper every day. If you want to follow my advice, this means a quick look through the guardian headlines each day (currently free online), skimming through any useful news and reading through the editorials and the opinion pieces a little more carefully.

Have a quick look through the reader comments below each article too for any useful points. I’ve found that over 90% of GAMSAT essay questions can be dealt with perfectly with just the material available on the Guardian comment is free section of the website. What could be easier?

For other sources of free, online, high quality writing on current affairs, try the following:

a) Arts and letters
b) The New Yorker
c) The Huffington Post
d) Spiked online -plenty of simple arguments to emulate

For more tips on your GAMSAT preparation, check out our free GAMSAT preparation advice.

GAMSAT Section 2 Marking Criteria

If you're looking some great reading materials to help you with your GAMSAT revision and preparation then make sure you check out our GAMSAT Section 1 Novels and Books that we recommend you read.

This will outline some of the reading materials that will aid you in your GAMSAT preparation.

How To Prepare for GAMSAT Section 2: Written Communication

The GAMSAT assessors will consider the thought and content (i.e. what is made of and developed from the task, and the kinds of thoughts and feelings offered in response to the task), and the organisation and expression (i.e. the shape and form of the piece, and the effectiveness and fluency of the language) of your writing.

When starting your GAMSAT Section 2 preparation, you should ask yourself whether you find it hard to express your ideas when writing an essay? It’s important to remember that most universities require you to pass all sections in order to be eligible to apply.

It is also important to remember that Section 2 of the GAMSAT is often a very effective way of boosting your overall GAMSAT score, as you have the power to ensure that you have a structured, reliable and effective approach to your essay writing and tackling of Task A and Task B, meaning that no matter what the topics are, you will perform great and with assurance.

A lot of the preparation for section 2 should revolve around simply writing a lot of essays.

It is vital that you get your friends, family, teachers, and anyone to read these essays, and of course be inviting of critique. 

There are three major ways in which I would recommend how you should prepare for GAMSAT section 2. These are as follow:

  • Newspapers: To appreciate current affairs, social issues, and how good (and bad) argumentative writing may appear – reading the news/newspapers is a good idea. To be painfully honest, I would try my best to stay away from anything that is aimed at the lowest common denominator: Think the Courier Mail, A Current Affair (TV), Today Tonight, the Herald Sun etc. Scouring the opinion columns can be helpful to get some ideas as to how you may approach the argumentative essay, and the news will generally help you stay relevant with your writing (and assist in using real-world/contemporary examples!). Be sure to read The Conversation, Al Jazeera, BBC etc. One of our other GAMSAT tutors has compiled this handy reading list which may be helpful.
  • Books: We can’t emphasise just how critical it is to just plainly read excellent writing. There is no better way to expand your vocabulary than to sit down with an excellent fictional novel, poem, or play, along with a dictionary – and then look up each word you are unfamiliar with.  It is best to focus on authors who have mastered the short-story modality, such as Oscar Wilde, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Chekhov, Noam Chomsky, and George Orwell. Reading will help you expand your thoughts and enhancing your own personal development. Prepare for GAMSAT Section 2 by reading our article on the novels to read for GAMSAT Section 2.
  • Essays: Writing a lot of essays is equally as important. You should be getting feedback on your essays – whether it is from tutors at CrackGAMSAT, or friends and family, it is of the utmost importance to be criticised and then learn from your mistakes. You need to possess a great deal of self-critique. After every essay you write, you must read it out loud to yourself, and listen if it makes sense. It goes without saying that to do really great in section 2 of GAMSAT you should write as many essays as possible. We've had students that make sure that they were writing at least 1 essay per day. She recommends using a GAMSAT Quote Generator during your writing Task A and B practice.

 “Take however long you need to write 2 essays. Eventually you’ll get faster, and that’s when you try to get it within the 1 hour time frame“. - Rebecca

It is also very important that you practice for Section 2 Task A and B and make sure you write essays on a variety of the different types of quotes/themes that you might get in section 2.

You should make sure you try argumentative, personal reflective essays, fictional creative essays, poetry, and any other medium that can work in the GAMSAT! This is ultimately the key to success when it comes to you efficiently revising for GAMSAT section 2 preparation.

Even though you need to write an argumentative essay, you are able to write in almost any style in the ‘reflective’ essay segment – this is meant to be a creative endeavour and demonstrate that you can identify, and express emotions.

A few of our students, who had never stepped outside of writing the standard reflective essays, have gone on to try writing poetry for this task… and found that it was most suited to their style of writing, and ultimately went on to do extremely well! 

Pro Tip

Just because you can write in any in almost any style in the reflective essay for section 2, do not go out your way to fix something that isn't broken. What I mean by that is do not try to be fancy or go out your way to be 'unique'. Just make sure you can demonstrate that you can express yourself. Ultimately, this is what will lead you to success for GAMSAT section 2. 

Suggested Reading For GAMSAT Section 2

The Meaning of Things by AC Grayling is a great book for generating ideas. It consists of
short essays that cover common themes in the GAMSAT.  
AC Grayling’s Essay Collection can be found at:

50 Big Ideas You Really Need to Know by Ben Dupre is a great guide to the most
important ideas in history. It covers some of the most influential ideas ever conceived in
politics, philosophy, religion, economics, science, and the arts.

Reading the newspaper is also important in keeping up to date with socio-cultural
issues. It is recommended that students read the comment section of the Sydney Morning
Herald or The Economist. A good recommendation is to read 3 articles per day (less than
15 minutes). For UK students, read articles at, and Irish students can
read The Irish Times. Make sure you also read also read The Guardian and the New York Times.

These events can provide examples for a range of different quotes. A simple YouTube or
Google search can be a good starting point.

TED Talks also provide many great ideas - 

The ACER booklets contain Section II questions. Only attempt the quotes from the two
shortened ACER papers. Leave the other two papers for a mock test in the last 1-2 weeks
before the GAMSAT.

Lastly, we've already put this but check out the best novels and books to read for GAMSAT Section 2.

Essays Topics For GAMSAT Section 2

You might be wondering what the essays topics are for GAMSAT Section 2? GAMSAT essay topics are usually abstractions taking the form of a famous quote, controversial statement or witty comment, opinion or idea.

Apart from the statement in the ACER handbook about the 2 tasks which say "Each task offers a number of ideas relating to a common theme." 

The theme will be general rather than specific in nature. The first task (Task A) deals with socio-cultural issues, while the second task (Task B) deals with more personal and social issues.

On the GAMSAT exam paper, the instructions for both tasks A and B are exactly the same - i.e. "Consider the following comments and develop a piece of writing in response to one or more of them." Your writing for section 2 will be judged on the quality of your response to the theme, how well you organise and present your point of view, and how effectively you express yourself.

The exam papers do not differentiate at all between the 2 tasks - the only difference is the nature of the topic (which obviously reflect socio-cultural and personal /social issues).

Pro Tip

Those who possess significant skills in prose should work to your strengths. A word of caution, though: personal essays can be difficult to control at times, and can attract the disapproval of the GAMSAT essay markers if they become ill-structured or overly sentimental. In this case, using the more objective style of argumentative-persuasive would be a better option.

GAMSAT Section 2 Essay Topics

Task A is an argumentative essay and deals with sociocultural issues. Common GAMSAT section 2 topics for Task A include war, freedom, crime, science, technology, poverty, wealth, and punishment. 

Common GAMSAT Section 2 Essay Topics For Task A

  • Technology
  • Freedom
  • War
  • Retribution
  • Science
  • Crime
  • Poverty
  • Affluence

Task B is a personal essay and focuses on social and personal issues.

Common GAMSAT Section 2 Essay Topics For Task B

  • Friendship
  • Love
  • Humour
  • Beauty
  • Adolescence
  • Growing older
  • Suffering
  • Acquiescence 

GAMSAT Section 2 Argumentative Essay Outline

An argumentative essay outline is an initial stage of writing articles, essays, and other types of papers. A detailed plan will help you not to miss any significant detail or data. Don’t waste time on the search for the argumentative essay structure in Google.

You will find all the necessary information below.

  • Introduction: Focus on explaining the matter, opposite opinions, and conclude the opening paragraph with the meaningful argumentative essay thesis statement. Apply the GAMSAT prompt statement to introduce the argumentative essay idea. Pay attention to the reading audience – decide on the aspects of the problem necessary to persuade the reader on the importance of your position. Prepare a clear, concise argumentative essay thesis sentence to answer the main questions. It appears in the closing sentences of any introduction to pop up later in conclusion. Include the background of the argumentative essay topic in the first sentences of the introductory part.
  • Argumentative essay body paragraphs: State the reasons people must agree with the author. Make sure to include the opposite position’s opinions. Read them aloud to make sure that your reasons sound really persuasive.
  • Reasons & support. Get ready with a minimum of 3 reasons to explain the importance of accepting the author's position – it would be a topic sentence.
    • Provide arguments, facts, statistics, jokes (if acceptable), and real-life examples to support the stated reasons. You can tell a story, which supports your point of view.
    • Apply “if…then” reasoning to relate the reasons back to the main position. Support your main claim.
  • Anticipate the opinion of rivals. Think about the objections the reading audience might have.
  • Conclusion. The final word in your argumentative essay should explain the audience what to think/do based on both personal opinion and opposing position on the subject. List the reasons for the readers to adopt the offered position. Provide the rest of the most effective ways out for the issue discussed in the argumentative essay paper.

GAMSAT Section 2 Essay Practice Questions

You have 5 minutes perusal and 60 minutes to write two essays: one Task A and Task B

Task A Section 2 Essay Prompts

Consider the following comments and develop a piece of writing in response to one or more of them. Your writing will be judged on the quality of what you have to say in response to the theme, how well you organise and present your point of view, and how effectively you express yourself.

You will not be judged on the views or attitude you express.

  • "Poverty is the failure of equity and charity."
  • "The world's poorest nations are those that have been torn apart by conflict."
  • "No one asks to be born into poverty but they can ask to be removed from it through hard work and dedication."
  • "Poverty can never be eradicated whilst humans have free will."
  • "Poverty is the mother of crime and the daughter of upheaval."

Task B Section 2 Question Prompts

Consider the following comments and develop a piece of writing in response to one or more of them. Your writing will be judged on the quality of what you have to say in response to the theme, how well you organize and present your point of view, and how effectively you express yourself. You will not be judged on the views or attitude you express.

"Home is more than a place of bricks and mortar. It is solace, security, love."
"Home is the place that, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."
"Home is where the heart is."
"Home is a word that belongs only to the loved."
"Home is for the idle, the ill and the unimaginative."

GAMSAT Section 2 Essay Structure

Writing an essay to tackle the prompts in GAMSAT Section 2 preparation means fashioning a coherent set of ideas into an argument. Because essays are essentially linear—they offer one idea at a time—they must present their ideas in the order that makes most sense to a reader. Successfully structuring an essay means attending to a reader's logic.

The focus of such an essay predicts its structure. It dictates the information readers need to know and the order in which they need to receive it. Thus your essay's structure is necessarily unique to the main claim you're making. Although there are guidelines for constructing certain classic essay types (e.g., comparative analysis), there are no set formula when it comes to GAMSAT Section 2 preparation.

A typical essay contains many different kinds of information, often located in specialised parts or sections. Introductions and conclusions have fixed places, but other in the middle of the essay don't.

Counterargument, for example, may appear within a paragraph, as a free-standing section, as part of the beginning, or before the ending. Background material (historical context or biographical information, a summary of relevant theory or criticism, the definition of a key term) often appears at the beginning of the essay, between the introduction and the first analytical section, but might also appear near the beginning of the specific section to which it's relevant.

It's helpful to think of the different essay sections as answering a series of questions your reader might ask when encountering your thesis. (Readers should have questions. If they don't, your thesis is most likely simply an observation of fact, not an arguable claim.)

Using PEEEL for GAMSAT Section 2 Preparation Essay Writing

You've probably heard of PEEEL. It was something my English teacher used to ram down our throats.

So what is PEEL? PEEL is an acronym for Point, Evidence, Explain and Link. They all are a part of the paragraph.

Consistent practice is the key to master the PEEL writing. If you understood the nature of the essay, you will find it very easy to learn. Planning and research are other key aspects of writing.

  1. Point: This is the most critical one, as it is the opening part of the paragraph. The initial sentence describes the point, which you are about to discuss in the whole paragraph. The opening sentence is the topic sentence. The first sentence should be clear your reader, to make them understand the whole paragraph. Don’t add contemptuous things. This may confuse your GAMSAT assessor and they may lose interest in your writing. The paragraph should relate to the topic. This paragraph is also a fundamental part of the essay. After writing analyse it, to have a clear idea of what you are going to convey the reader.
  2. Evidence: After giving the arguments and points, the next paragraph is to provide crucial evidence to support your arguments. The argument can be in any form including facts, analysis, events, statistics and data from any credible sites and journals or magazines. Here is a fun fact that you probably didn't know. For the GAMSAT Section 2 preparation writing, you can make things up (within reason of course). The GAMSAT assessor won't know if its real or not. They only care about how good you put your point across and if you state it with authority, this will make it more believable. It is not necessary for the GAMSAT assessor to believe and agree with your views, but rather the well you articulated those views. 
  3. Explanation: Explaining is the next segment. Make them understand all the crucial points and the evidence you gave. Interpret the evidence to give them a clear meaning. Your arguments and evidence may not support each other unless they are explained accurately. Justify it in a subtle way to improve your writing skills.
  4. Link: Linking means ending a point and starting with the new one. This is a tricky point as structuring and linking are critical. It should give a practical conclusion to the sentence. You can grasp the technique gradually.

Do I need to use PEEL for my Essay Writing in Section 2?

You absolutely not do need to use PEEL for your essays in section 2. PEEL is just a tool that you can utilise to help you create awesome essays within a defined structure. 

The reason why most GAMSAT preparation providers will suggest using PEEL is because the technique aids in help structure paragraphs in a way that presents a single clear and focused argument, which links back to the essay topic or thesis statement. 

It’s good practice to dedicate each paragraph to one aspect of your argument, and the PEEL structure simplifies this for you.

It allows you to create a paragraph that is easy and accessible for others to understand. Remember, when you’re writing something, it’s not just you who is reading it - you need to consider the reader and how they are going to be digesting this new information. 

PEEL Example

Here’s an example of what you might include in a PEEL structured paragraph: 

Topic: Should infants be given iPhones?

Thesis/argument: Infants should not be given iPhones.

Point: Infants should not be given iPhones, because studies show children under two can face developmental delays if they are exposed to too much screen time. 

Evidence/Example: A recent paediatric study showed that infants who are exposed to too much screen time may experience delays in speech development.

Explanation: The reason infants are facing these delays is because screen time is replacing other key developmental activities.

Link: The evidence suggests that infants who have a lot of screen time experience negative consequences in their speech development, and therefore they should not be exposed to iPhones at such a young age.

Once you’ve written your PEEL paragraph, do a checklist to ensure you have covered off all four elements of the PEEL structure.

PEEL Technique Pro Tip

Your point should be a clear introduction to the argument you are making in this paragraph;

your example or evidence should be strong and relevant (ask yourself, have you chosen the best example?);

your explanation should be demonstrate why your evidence is important and how it conveys meaning; and

your link should summarise the point you’ve just made and link back to the broader essay argument or topic.

Introduction to the GAMSAT Writing

GAMSAT Section 2 Test Structure

The GAMSAT Section 2 section is the second section of the GAMSAT .

We've mentioned this already but it consists of two separate essays to be written on two different prompts. You will have 30 minutes to complete each essay, for a section total of 60 minutes.

If you finish the first essay before the 30 minutes is over, you can move on to the second essay. However, you can not save your leftover time. You will still have only 30 minutes for the second essay.

The Writing Sample is designed to test your ability to analyze a topic in a non-technical field and to express your ideas clearly and consistently. This is not an application essay, and it is not a place to show off your science expertise. Therefore, don’t discuss why you want to go to medical school, and don’t throw in lots of scientific knowledge just to try to impress the reader. Your goal is to write a logical, analytical essay that directly addresses the prompt.

The Potential GAMSAT Section 2 Topics

The questions cover a wide range of subject matter, but the topics fall into predictable categories:

  • Government/Politics–Politicians–Elections
  • Wars/International Relations
  • The Nation/Citizenship/Democracy
  • Laws/Justice
  • Business Practices
  • Morality/Ethics
  • Science/Research
  • Education
  • Media/Advertising
  • Technology/Computers
  • History
  • Right to Privacy/Individual Rights

All of these topics are based on cultural or social issues that are, or should be, in the general experience of college students.

One of your goals in your GAMSAT essay is to present yourself as someone who has thought about important concerns in our society and who can write a well-structured and well-reasoned analysis of those issues.

You should develop a basic understanding of at least two examples in each of the above areas so that you can represent yourself in this way (or at least fake it!).

A few spelling, grammar, or syntax mistakes will probably not affect your grade. However, an essay with many mistakes will be difficult to understand, and your GAMSAT score will take a hit.

Length of Your GAMSAT Essay

Both your GAMSAT essays will be graded not on length, but on a thorough treatment of the prompt tasks. However, all other things being equal, a longer essay is likely to score higher than a shorter essay.

An essay that fully addresses all three tasks is typically around 500–700 words, about the equivalent of one and a half or two typed and double spaced pages (there are no page breaks or page limits on the test).

Do not, however, write just to fill up space; an essay that is long but disorganized, repetitive, or incoherent will not get a high score.

The simplest and clearest way to organize your essays for GAMSAT Section 2 is in three paragraphs, each paragraph focusing, in order, of getting your points across to the examiner. 

Many excellent writers find the GAMSAT essay structure confining, and feel that they can display their skills better by using the topic merely as a springboard to a discussion of other loftier, more interesting ideas.

This is the road to ruin. No matter how witty or articulate you are, if you fail to address the prompt and the three tasks exactly as they are posed, your score will suffer drastically. (In fact, a response that is significantly off-topic may be assigned a “grade” of X, which means “not scorable.”)

Use your creativity and insight within the boundaries of the topic as it is presented
to you.

The GAMSAT Prompts

The format of the GAMSAT Section 2 is entirely predictable. The instructions for each Writing Sample consist  of a prompt (a statement of policy or principle, which is to be the topic of the essay).

The prompt is a claim. That is, it’s a sentence that either proposes an apparent absolute truth (for example, “A politician who tells the truth can never be re-elected”) or states that one option is better than another (for example, “Politicians are more likely to succeed by lying than by telling the truth.”).

Whatever the exact wording or subject matter of the prompt, the most important thing to remember is:

The prompt appears to be a statement of fact, but in the context of the three tasks, it is never completely “true” or “false.”

Your natural inclination may be to agree or disagree with the prompt, and to attempt to prove your case that the prompt is either true or false. However, that is not your job! Your job is to see the validity in both sides, analyzing when and why the prompt would be true in some cases, and when and why it would be false in different circumstances.

How To Prepare For GAMSAT Section 2 and Respond To the Prompts

Familiarize yourself with the GAMSAT prompts. Looking at the past Acer GAMSAT papers prompts will be similar or identical to those on this practice paper.

Make sure you think about the core ideas involved in the different questions and categories. What important social, political, or ethical concern is involved in each prompt?

Generate a list of examples from current events and history. Since the topics of the prompts fall into definable categories, it is easy to prepare a set of examples that you can use for many different prompts within the same category or in similar categories.

Don’t stress if you are not an expert in politics, history, etc. With an hour or two a week of brainstorming and simple research (on the web, from encyclopedias,
and in newspapers and news magazines), you will be well prepared for any question you might get.

Make your examples strong and thoughtful. This is one of the main ways to make your essay shine.

The best examples are:

  • serious (they engage significant social, cultural, or moral concerns)
  • real (not hypothetical)
  • specific (times, places, people, detailed descriptions), and
  • relevant (to the prompt, of course).

Because the topics are so predictable, the GAMSAT examiners will see the same ideas over and over again.

Catch the human reader’s eye by using an example that he or she won’t have already seen a thousand times.

If the prompt asks whether a politician should be judged on the basis of personal morality. Try to intelligently discuss, say, Thomas Jefferson and Anthony Blinken, the
examiner will be much more likely to wake up and pay attention to what you have to say.

Make your examples as specific as possible. If you can go beneath the surface and give a few relevant details (for example: What specific events occurred in the Austrlian Indigenous Rights Movement? What was Gandhi really fighting for? What are some specific relevant provisions in the Australian constitution? etc), it gives great power to your argument.

Practice, practice, practice. The format GAMSAT Section 2 essay writing can seem strange and scary at first, but after you’ve written a dozen or so essays, and prepared ideas and examples that can apply to the different categories of prompts, it will all become familiar and comfortable.

GAMSAT Section 2 Writing Exercises

Consider this statement:

Education should focus on developing practical abilities rather than on ethical considerations.

Explain what you think the above statement means. Describe a specific situation in which education should focus on ethical considerations.

Discuss what you think determines when education should focus on developing practical abilities and when it should focus on ethical considerations.

Sample GAMSAT Section 2 Essay Student Response #1 

A favourite professor once declared that the purpose of going to college was to learn how to learn. His idea relates to the belief that the object of education should be to teach practical skills, not ethics. Many employers would agree with such an argument; they hire college graduates, not because of what they have learned, but because of the skills they have mastered in the art of learning.

In a typical classroom setting, students are taught a variety of subjects from basic math to biology to history. For at least twelve years, an individual learns about the world, both near and far away, but does this include only skills? One needs only to sit in on a government history class to see when ethics are included in education. The Australian way of life is explained throughout a child’s school life more that once—he or she learns the meaning and importance of the concept of freedom inherent in the Australian constitution. Yet, who would argue that freedom is a skill, when in fact, it is an ethical idea we value? It seems quite clear to me that when one learns about American History, one is being taught to value the Australian way of life.

However, one could argue that ethics implies morality, and that our schools are not responsible for teaching our students right from wrong. I would argue with such a simple concept—parents are responsible for the moral education of their own children. Ethical values must and should be taught at  home, but does this imply that education’s only purpose is to teach practical skills? Once again, it seems obvious to me that education has a variety of goals which includes both developing practical abilities and learning ethical values.

To expand on this idea, one must consider the nature of education as well as its purpose. Is education limited to the classroom, or is the classroom of life included in an individual’s education? Clearly, learning does not stop once we walk through the door of any school. As such, one could conclude that life is constantly educating us—our experience is teaching us new skills and new values every day.

In short, the idea that education’s only object is to develop practical skills is an unrealistic concept. Education occurs in both formal and informal settings; every day we are faced with more things to learn, and just as one cannot limit education and learning to 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, one cannot separate the learning of skills and ethics. Regardless of the source of education, the object is to teach us as much about life as we can possibly learn, skills and values included.

Examiners Comments

This is a thoughtful response to the prompt, and it is well written. But notice that after reading it, it’s hard to know what the author really thinks. No clear ideas or memorable examples stand out. Notice the short paragraphs, and the fact that the author keeps going back between practical skills as important and ethical values as important.

Occasionally, asking rhetorical questions can be a useful strategy in an GAMSAT essay, but the use of questions here contributes to larger problems: this essay is wishy-washy, unorganized, and too abstract. 

Throughout the essay, the author tries to argue both sides of the issue. This sounds indecisive. Remember to use the first paragraph (the Thesis) to support the truth in the prompt, and use the second paragraph for supporting the opposite of the prompt. The use of specific, concrete examples would help to make this abstract topic more manageable.

Sample GAMSAT Section 2 Essay Student Response #2 

Prompt: An understanding of the past is necessary for solving the problems of the present.

Directions:  Explain what you think the above statement means. Describe a specific situation in which solving a current problem might not require an understanding of the past. Discuss what you think determines whether or not the past should be considered in solving the problems of the present.

History is an integral part of the learning process. By studying events of the past, we can analyse the repercussions of certain behaviour and action patterns. It is a fundamental way to lay the groundwork and predict the outcomes of future events. History is governed by human behaviour. Although times have changed, and technology and knowledge has advanced, people are still driven by the same needs, desires, and insecurities of ages past.

One area in which the study of history is essential is in the conflict between disputing nations. During the Gulf War in 1991, America was at first unsure of its potential role. This country did not want to repeat the tragic losses of the Vietnam War, but at the same time could not let injustices occur before its very eyes. By studying previous military strategy, impetus, and conditions, the United States was able to enter the war without suffering a humiliating defeat.

Civil rights issues have also used historical experience to determine proper conduct. The civil rights movements go back to the 1960's, when black leaders were just beginning to assert and articulate their arguments, as well as achieve their goals. The recent BLM racial riots in Los Angeles, while violent, showed how people can learn from the past. There were definite and inspiring examples of concern crossing racial borders while before, the conflict was African-Americans against whites, we saw examples of multi-racial groups banding together to protect stores, homes, and families. Many of those people did not want to repeat the horrifying events of the past.

On the other hand, some problems exist today that are totally independent of any historical event. The current issue of AIDS prevention, treatment, and the search for its cure has generated a whole new set of rules and etiquette. Our world has never before had to deal with the devastating effects of the AIDS virus, nor with the quickly increasing numbers of infected people. Looking at the past could give us no knowledge on the workings of this disease, nor on its cure. It seems to have bypassed every known strategy used before in defeating a virus. In fact, looking to the past could even cause problems. It was the past, and even ongoing, sexual practices that allowed AIDS to spread so quickly. Instead of looking to the past for new information, we must reform our histories to stop this disease.

When, then, is the past crucial to our understanding of current events? It is important only, and especially, when it relates to the present situation. History can lay the groundwork course of action. But, of course, this is only true when the courses of action are similar. There must be some common threads tying the past and present together. With racial tension in mind, the commonalities stem from common catalysts for anger and feelings in injustice and equality.

Moreover, these events are mediated by human behaviour. Also, conflicts between nations arise because people disagree. In fact, people, and the involvement of people, may also be the common thread tying the past and the present together. But, with something like the AIDS virus, this crisis is not governed by any set of rules or behaviour. No previously established fundamental law of virus behaviour exists to dictate its action, for it proceeds with a total disregard and lack of emotion. It just keeps changing and slipping through our fingers, with no historical example to give us a guideline as to its future actions. History is crucial to understand. It can provide clues to our future, and help us solve certain problems. But, this can only be true if these problems, or similar ones, existed before and were governed by similar mechanisms.

Actual Student Mark: 82

Examiners Comments:

Demonstrates clarity.

In-depth analysis.

Recognises the complexity of the issue.

Thoroughly developed with relevant and specific historical examples.
Superior command of language.

Few errors in sentence structure, grammar, or mechanics.

The opening sentence announces the writer's central idea but, at the same time, raises some questions about the issue that the writer can consider.

Relevant, well-developed, specific examples that parallel each other.

The clearly stated proposition at the beginning prepares the reader for a series of related examples that serve as illustrations of the writer's themes and ideas.

The conclusion is consistent with the ideas expressed in the opening paragraph of the paper.

The final paragraph returns to the paper's main ideas and previous examples, which unifies the essay structurally and thematically.

Sample GAMSAT Section 2 Essay Student Response #3 

Prompt: No matter how oppressive a government, violent revolution is never justified.

Directions: Explain what you think the above statement means. Describe a specific situation in which violent revolution might be justified. Discuss what you think determines whether or not violent revolution is justified.

The familiar idiom, "He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword", is echoed in any statement that condemns violence. It is a very simple principle based on a very logical argument. Violence invites more of the same. If a government is overthrown by violent means, then a precedent has been set and there is nothing stopping others from doing the same again. Therefore, revolutionary governments topple almost as quickly as they rise or else they become as oppressive as that which they fought to replace. These cycles make no sense to a large number of people and thus, there are many who prescribe to a similar line of thought. Often, these people dream of changing the world around them only by example and quiet protest.

However, time and again, this seemingly laudable course of action is forgone in favour of the quick, simpler, more violent situations to problems. It cannot be argued that Lenin was not a thinking man, and yet it was he who invited the masses to take part in what he correctly foresaw as a "bloody revolution". His reasons were complex, and not without regret. Basically, Lenin saw no hope of change, not only in the near future of the Russian proletariat, but ever. The ruling minority was too firmly entrenched and counting on the fear instilled in the people to help maintain rule.

Worse than this, at the time Lenin could find no other way to appeal to the government via quiet protest, as this would fall upon deaf ears. Furthermore, Lenin needed a device to spur the masses to action. Faced with the long-term suffering and perhaps extinction of so many, he essentially forced a confrontation through violence. Although there are differing opinions as to the success of the Russian Revolution, there is no doubt in the minds of many oppressed peoples that quiet revolution can only go so far. Essentially, then, violence justifies itself in the minds of the masses when they become overburdened with layer upon layer of mistreatment.

Many have theorised that the confrontation between royalty and subjects brought about by Lenin would have happened eventually in any case. It is also argued that it could have happened in a more peaceful manner; faced with the possibility of massive genocide, could any ruling faction resist to the people's demands? The ideal, of course, is when rulers are quick to realise that oppression denies fundamental humanity to many. In practice, this is often not the case. If the rulers are human themselves, they are subject to greed and corruption. Thus, violent revolutions do occur. Whether or not they are justified (in terms of democratic thinking) depends on whether some form of oppression is lifted from the masses as a net result. Whether or not violent revolutions will be successful or not depends more on the quality of the new government installed. However, in terms of absolute right and wrong, one is forced to return to the initial premise and state that it only sets the stage for a renewal of violence.

Actual Student Mark: 85

Examiners Comments:

Concise thesis.

The writer explains the logic of the topic statement and begins to explore it in the first paragraph.

Clear and well-focused, with a thorough analysis of the central idea: "Violence invites more of the same."

Logical movement from one paragraph to the next.

Effective organisation.

Fluent prose.

Concrete details (e.g. the Russian Revolution) support the abstract discussion of the nature of violence in political struggles.

Only a few minor problems with language use or mechanics; the writer uses effective, appropriate words and phrases to convey ideas.

Effective transitions.

The last paragraph completes the reasoning process that began with the opening sentences.

The final sentence returns to the initial premise and reinforces the central idea.

How to Creatively Develop GAMSAT Section 2 Examples

Obtain a copy of a recent newspaper, news magazine, or web news report. Read through it and choose at least four articles that discuss different ongoing national or world events, or that analyze serious social or political issues.

Look through the list of official GAMSAT prompts and find at least two prompts relevant to each one of your chosen articles.

Supplemental GAMSAT Section 2 Prompts

Our understanding of human events is always influenced by personal bias.

Any radical social transformation has long-term negative effects.

Free GAMSAT Section 2 Preparation Resources and Material

GAMSAT Section 2 Quotes

One of the key steps in preparing for Section 2 of the GAMSAT exam is getting into the habit of writing GAMSAT essays regularly. If you're looking for more quotes or prompts to practice on then check out our GAMSAT section 2 preparation quotes and start taking advantage of our GAMSAT Quotes to get you started on your GAMSAT Essay Writing Preparation.

One of the key steps in preparing for Section 2 of the GAMSAT exam is getting into the habit of writing GAMSAT essays regularly. If you're looking for more quotes or prompts to practice on then check out our GAMSAT section 2 preparation quotes and start taking advantage of our GAMSAT Quotes to get you started on your GAMSAT Essay Writing Preparation.

The Best Way To Practice For GAMSAT Section 2

You and I both know the only way to do well for the essay Section 2 GAMSAT is to practice more. 

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell asserts that you need 10,000 hours of practice at anything to become an expert at it. Okay, so we know you're most probably not read this whole article and not really looking to be an expert essay writer but rather you'll just want to get some advice on how to improve your writing skills and make your section 2 essay writing more bearable, right? So instead of worrying about practicing 10,000 hours of essay writing, all you really need is some practical ways to improve by reading, writing, and learning to get feedback.

Feedback is really important when it comes to practicing your essay writing. You'll find out what you're doing wrong and what you could possibly improve on. 

The one thing that I will emphasis is that you need to get whatever you practice right. What do I mean? This: "practice makes permanent". As opposed to perfect. Practice is nothing more than a repetitive behaviour and if you are practising something wrong it'll become a habit and consequently makes it much more difficult for you to change.

So getting started right with how you practice reading, writing, and getting feedback will serve you better throughout your GAMSAT section 2 preparation essay writing.

If you were to leave with anything from this article then it is this:

The GAMSAT tests your ability to think critically, analytically and logically; develop a central idea (thesis); synthesise and integrate ideas; organise ideas clearly and cohesively; and write effectively, using standard written English.

GAMSAT Writing Help Final Tips

Do not write a personal reflection.

Do not take a stand—your job is to interpret, not to decide if a position is “right” or “wrong.”

Be sure to complete both tasks.

Use transitional words and phrases to show connections between ideas and to strengthen coherence. Try words and phrases such as: "the statement means", ‟ a good example of…" "one way to reconcile the two positions is to..." "on the other hand…" "too sum up…" and so on.

Be specific. You may use a hypothetical example, but real examples allow you to be more descriptive, so try to think of a real-world example to illustrate the opposing position. Using specific examples in the other sections will also strengthen your essay.

Plan and pre-write—sketch out an outline before you write. Section 2 GAMSAT test takers who plan tend to score higher than those who do not.

Use words and sentence patterns you are comfortable with. It is better to write simply than to “overreach” or to make an error in vocabulary or usage.

Finish the essay and then go back to edit and proofread—editing or proofing as you go wastes time.

Be sure to save time to proofread. A few grammar, mechanics or spelling errors won't affect your score much, but many errors will.

How To Be a Better Writer For GAMSAT Section 2

Here is a quote we often share with prospective GAMSAT students that want to do well in their essay writing. 

"Reading—the good and the bad—inspires you. It develops your palate for all the tricks that writers have invented over the years. You can learn from textbooks about the writing craft, but there’s no substitute for discovering for yourself how a writer pulls off a trick. Then that becomes part of your experience.

– Roz Morri"

GAMSAT Section 2 Preparations Conclusion

GAMSAT Section 2 assesses written communication, and will test your ability to develop two pieces of writing under time-pressure. 

Candidates are granted five minutes reading time before commencing the 60-minute exam comprised of two writing tasks (Task A and Task B).

Many candidates will use this reading time to strategically select the comment (or comments) that they plan to respond to, allowing themselves an opportunity to identify the common theme throughout the prompts, as well as developing ideas, plans, or discussion points for their essays.

Most individuals will spend approximately 20-25 minutes writing each task, with the remaining 5-10 minutes being used to edit and perfect their work.

Although there is a tendency for many candidates to dismiss section 2, with statements such as ‘it’ll be easy’ or, ‘it’s just an essay’, preparation is key.

Writing any kind of essay in 30 minutes is difficult, but when you need to write to a certain theme, and ensure that it is clear yet nuanced and current yet insightful, it is clear that the section may be a challenge.

Remember that every section is an opportunity to score marks, and should be treated as such when studying. For section 2, practice makes perfect.

You should avoid writing and regurgitating essay templates in favour of practising actual essay responses. Critique your own work and incorporate these criticisms into your next essays to ensure that you are using and applying your feedback. This should ensure that you are improving each and every time you write.

Last, you should endeavour to immerse yourself in the humanities. Many candidates struggle most with what to write, and a strong knowledge of current political events, philosophical ideas, economic theories, etc. can be invaluable in forming a nuanced idea that will impress a marker, and doing so quickly.

Engage with news, literature, documentaries, and more and you should be in good stead to form some powerful and engaging ideas, despite the time restriction.

Check out our GAMSAT section 2 preparation GAMSAT quote generator so that you can start practising on GAMSAT prompts.

Hopefully, this GAMSAT section 2 preparation A-Z guide has proved to be help you in your GAMSAT section 2 preparation journey.

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. 

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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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