4 Handy GAMSAT Section 3 Science Reasoning Skills

In recent years, GAMSAT Section 3 has progressively required less knowledge and more reasoning skills. I’ve helped many students to overcome the GAMSAT and I hope the tips below will help you beat this section too.

1. Graphs and Tables = Trends!

If you see graphs or tables, think “trends”! When you see a table or graph, quickly scribble or mentally note what you see e.g. are the numbers increasing or decreasing in value down the column? Is there an inverse or direct relationship between the dependent and independent variables?

Many times you’ll probably find that the trends in the values are far more important than the values themselves to figure out the answers.

2. Estimate

When you encounter a question that requires a calculation, use the fact that there are only four possible answers to your advantage. Rather than attempting to calculate an answer using exact numbers, estimate instead. For example, round to the nearest 10.

Because there’s only 4 possible answers, estimating close enough to the correct value is sufficient and saves you valuable time that you can then use on other questions.

A fantastic free mental maths online course I recommend is Leah4Sci’s MCAT Math Without a Calculator playlist on YouTube. (MCAT is similar to GAMSAT but is used in the US).

When you need to approximate a value based on a graph, but to do so would require more data, extrapolate the graph line. However, rather than using your eyes to judge, physically sketch the extention of the line and use this to estimate. This is less likely to lead to error.

3. Data Bridge

Some questions will require you to use a ‘data bridge’. This is when you need to determine the value of one thing (for the sake of explanation, we’ll call this variable A), based on another thing (let’s call this variable B). However, they haven’t provided a graph or table that compares A and B side by side.

Instead, they may have provided multiple tables and graphs. Try and identify a common variable that both A and B are compared to.

Next, find the B value you were given in the question among the graphs or tables. Identify the corresponding value of the variable in common. Make note of this common variable value and find it in a graph or table where it is compared to A. Identify the corresponding A value to the common variable value you made note of earlier. This is the answer. You have now completed building a ‘data bridge’!

4. Yes Yes No No Questions

These are questions whereby the answer choices either read:

A) Yes, explanation 1
B) Yes, explanation 2
C) No, explanation 1
D) No, explanation 2

Or a similar pattern; it won’t always be “yes” and “no”. You might see two “increases” and two “decreases” instead, for example.

To be more efficient answering these questions, initially ignore the first part of the answers (“yes” or “no”) and instead determine which of the explanations is correct. Eliminate the two options with incorrect explanations. Then, of the two options left, determine which is correct based on the first part of the answers.

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You’ve got this! Good luck.

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