GAMSAT Guide/Logic and Literature
The major problem with this section is that it's rather hard to decide how to revise for it. It encompasses a whole variety of areas but a lot of it centres around being able to read through a text (rapidly!) and answering questions on it. Areas that have been looked at are:
- Logic tests - the usual puzzle which involves logical reasoning and working out how things work. The problem itself is not too complex but requires you to read diagrams and extract information from them. I found a lot of these questions similar to solving a Sudoko - the thinking isn't really lateral but you do have to be tenacious and not get distracted to squeeze the answer out.
- Text comprehension - You are given a random piece of text and are given 3 to 6 questions to answer on it - the answers are often quite vague. They may ask you what an author is expressing in a given sentence with two answers seeming quite similar so it may be a good idea to boost your descriptive adjectives knowledge. A GAMSAT ambiguous question may ask you whether the author is being facile, facetious, ironic or sarcastic in a given sentence. Not so easy, is it?
- Artistic/social appreciation - These questions involve getting beyond the facts and understanding the meaning of piece of work which can be a cartoon, a painting or a poem. For example, you may be given a satirical cartoon (maybe something by Steve Bell) and asked to discern the author's intent and what/who s/he is attacking.
These three areas are often combined - for example, in 2006, there was a text critically appraising a painting and the questions focussed on what both the text and the painting were expressing. The Logic Tests aren't as prevalent as some would like and, from my experience, in the 2006 exam, there was very little of the standard logical tests that were featured in the past GAMSAT exams.
I feel that reading columnist or editorials provide good material. Read them and ask yourself what points are being made by the author. What examples are they using to back up their argumentation? Note various figures of speech and be sure to know the following:
I would also suggest getting hold of a poetry anthology - try to get something that spans both the modern and classical eras - and read your way through it noticing the way in which poetry works and think about what the poet is trying to tell us. This article on poetry analysis is very good and an excellent place to start to learn more about poetry. For a briefer overview of Poetry, try this.
Finally, a general curiosity about the written word will help your performance in this section. If you can't afford to buy newspapers every day, you should remember that a lot of newspapers publish their content online and you can read them for free. If you find a word you don't know (or are unsure of the exact meaning) then look it up - you never know when it can come in useful! Expand your vocabulary by learning new words - one excellent way of doing that is learning one new word a day. Here's a list of words of the day.
In this section you will be presented with either a passage of text, a saying, cartoon or a diagram, and then have to answer questions about this source material. The source material types commonly include:
- Non-fiction text
- Fiction text
Most questions will be text based so you should obviously devote more time to preparing for these questions.