How I successfully prepared for the GAMSAT the 5th time

The GAMSAT is considered to be one of the toughest entrance tests in the German-speaking area. In order to give you a good overview of different learning strategies, Barbara Shawn has summarized her own experiences in a detailed report. Barbara did not manage the GAMSAT 4 times and still did not give up. How she finally made it the 5th time and what has tried everything during the waiting time, you can find out in her experience report:

By Barbara Shawn, participant in GAMSAT 2019

Hi Guys!

The way you are probably feeling right now, I have felt again and again over the past five years. Yes, you read that right, I was so insane and faced the challenges of the entrance test five times.

You are probably already wondering: Which books can I get myself, which innovations will there be in the entrance test, when do I start with which material, how do I do it in addition to the Matura, and so on.

I did my first attempt a week after my graduation trip – and was accordingly little prepared. Although I graduated from high school in mathematics and biology, chemistry and physics have unfortunately never been my favorite subjects and I did accordingly poorly in the test because in the “post-high school phase” I honestly simply had no desire to add such amounts of material again to learn.

But I had taken precautions: I had already been given a commitment for a voluntary social year, so I was scheduled for the coming year.

At this point, my first tip for you: It is difficult and you need a lot of motivation to study for the selection process and the Matura at the same time. There’s absolutely no shame in failing this test the first time around. In my opinion, it is important to have an alternative plan, because nothing is more disappointing when you get a negative result and suddenly you are left with nothing. Find out in good time what an alternative would be for you: Is a voluntary social year possible, maybe even in the medical field, as I did with me? Or maybe a paramedic training would be something for you? Many people also look for a different course of study as a “temporary solution” and are so satisfied with this choice that they don’t even try the entrance test!

In the course of my voluntary social year I created my own learning script and used it to prepare for my second attempt. Since there was no cognitive test part back then, this was a lot easier than it is today.

But it shouldn’t have been again – in mid-August the renewed cancellation came.

Since I knew from former classmates that they had passed the entrance test after a year of studying molecular biology, I also enrolled in this field of study – but it quickly became clear to me that I would not finish this degree. So I trained in other areas. From around May on I concentrated fully on the entrance test – but it shouldn’t be again. But I haven’t lost my courage and have completed training as an emergency paramedic in addition to my studies in order to build up a foothold in the event that I am never admitted to medical school.

I had a lot of fun with the training and then in May I started again to concentrate fully on the entrance test and put myself behind my books a lot more than on the third attempt – a serious mistake, as I found out in retrospect. Since I absolutely neglected my social life, didn’t take any more time for friends and free time and actually only studied, I came to the brink of burnout. It was only thanks to the help of my friend that I “scratched the curve” and caught myself again. It is hardly surprising that the fourth attempt did not work either.

Fifth attempt

After the fourth attempt, it was clear relatively quickly that I would have to do the next preparation and attempt 5thtime differently.


I looked for people in the entrance test groups on Facebook who would also like to take the entrance test and are motivated to learn in groups. Finally, we were a group of four people who had already tried the entrance test several times and didn’t want to give up.After the Christmas holidays we met for the first time and created a learning plan.We decided to take help from a professional GAMSAT tutor this time and worked out the material for the knowledge part together and explained it to each otherclick here to hire GAMSAT tutor now.

During the semester break, everyone started to understand and practice the new tasks for the cognitive part.

We met and then consistently twice a week from March onwards, practiced and learned together – and should I tell you something? Three of the four people in our group passed the entrance test!

In my opinion, what was the key difference?

I think the recipe for success was that we started learning together in good time. So, we never had the stress factor of time and by learning together (which often enough took place in the outdoor pool, in a cafe or simply at the library). We were always able to motivate each other when someone got frustrate. We all never gave up our hobbies, had time to go out or even time to simply do nothing for a day or even a weekend.


On the day of the recording, we met together beforehand and then drove to the Graz city hall together. So nobody had to wait alone, we were able to calm each other down beforehand, together we could go to the examination room and since you can look for places yourself in Graz, we sat down together at a table for four people. The certainty that your own friends were sitting next to you instead of your competitors had a very positive effect on the inner tension.

What do I want to tell you with my text?

Do not be discouraged! The test is damn tough and you have a lot of competitors, but if you carefully prepare for the test and also for the test day, you can do it, some sooner, others later. But it is never too late for the dream study!