Des O'Neill's material, Do You Rate it?

Discussion in 'GAMSAT' started by pancorjack, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. pancorjack

    pancorjack New Member

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    Hello,
    I'm new to this GAMSAT malarkey. There does seem to be huge array of mystery associated with this exam and the best way to prepare for it, its quite unlike my first degree (ecology). I was wondering what everyone's views were on the Des O'neill material as i was thinking of signing up for the whole course at £360. I have trawled through ~50% of all the threads on this entire forum about the GAMSAT in the last week (tiring!) and I gather that the consensus is that:

    1) Des's Science-Revision Home Course notes are very comprehensive, but on the downside sometimes give too much emphasis on general biology issues like photosynthesis that rarely come up in the GAMSAT.

    2) Des's essay marking is thorough but not everyone agrees that it is that good.

    Anyone got opinions on these first 2 points?

    I have not read a lot about the quality of questions that des sends you with the MCQ's and Exam Home study Course. Any opinion from people how closely these correlate to the real GAMSAT test questions?

    Overall I would like to say thankyou to everyone who has posted on this board already, the amount of information given has been overwhelming (in a good way!) and has helped allay my not inconsiderable fears about this ominous GAMSAT.

    Will Wagstaff
     
  2. Kim leanne

    Kim leanne New Member

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    i'm also thinking of doing the des course but your fears concern me. Anyone out there have answers?
     
  3. midnite-oil

    midnite-oil New Member

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    Personally, I thought the material was really comprehensive and don't think I could have achieved such a high mark without. (I have a way-past-its-sell-by-date maths degree.)

    The essay course was a really good way to force me to write essays under a time constraint. I aimed to do a set every 2 weeks. Des was always prompt with his feedback, and there are loads of 'sample' essays, some of which I found it hard to believe could be achieved in 30 mins, but they served a purpose as models. I gather a lot of weight is given to a logical organisation of the ideas and a strong conclusion. It certainly got easier to write the essays after the whole course. I scored an unbelievable 79 in this section. Mostly that was because I got lucky with the topics, which were very similar to ones I had written before.

    The science notes were a good revision aid. I learned the stuff first from an A level textbook, and then used Des's notes to review it and make it stick. The organic chemistry topics that come up are way beyond A level. The biology part was the weakest (lots of lists and anatomy that really aren't necessary).In a sense there's less biology to KNOW, and just some basic principles to apply to standard situations like circulation, or else data analysis. GAMSAT-setters love graphs and tables and complicated diagrams.

    The physics was useful, and there were lots of questions to work through.

    In fact the best part of the package was the revision course, with loads and loads and loads of good questions. At the end of the day, time managment and exam strategy can mean the difference between a mark or two, which could mean the difference between making cut-off and not.

    It's well worth the money, expecially if you are prepared to put the time in to go through it in detail. It's no magic quick-fix mind you. You still need to learn the science and get used to 1.5 min time constraints.

    There were also lots of section 1 practice questions somewhere in the package, I forget where. And again, Des's were the most GAMSAT-like of all the sources I found.

    (No I'm not on commission - just a satisfied customer!)

    I also tried Ozimed - weak questions, many expecting you to 'know' things that the real GAMSAT would give you in the intros to questions.

    GradMed - massively over-priced given the quality of lecturers and sample material they gave out. (I did the intensive, but I didn't learn much I hadn't already worked out.) The organic chem guy was very good. Others very nice, but not so on the ball re GAMSAT I felt.

    I only gave myself one go at the GAMSAT, so chucked myself in, hardly going out for months. Paid off though!
     
    #3 midnite-oil, Jul 24, 2006
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2006
  4. Kim leanne

    Kim leanne New Member

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    Thanks. Midnight oil is my new mentor! I so want to go to SGUL next year so am going to follow in your footsteps all the way!!!!;)
     
  5. midnite-oil

    midnite-oil New Member

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    Aw thanks.

    *blushes*
     
  6. pancorjack

    pancorjack New Member

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    thanks midnite oil!

    Thanks for your detailed reply midnite oil, looks like you went through the same kind of stuff i am going thru now with the gamsat, i am going all out to nail this thing first time. I have read some of your other posts on this board you are a bit of a legend! gives hope to all us mature students (i'm 28). Let us know what st. georges is like as i am considering it and nottingham for 2007 entry, although my heart leads me to peninsula as i am more of a beaches/cliffs/woods boy rather than a citydweller!
     
  7. midnite-oil

    midnite-oil New Member

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    You are too kind!

    Make sure you get good work experience as well for George's.

    Haven't yet located the beaches/cliffs/woods in Tooting - I'll have to save those for hols in Somerset at my perents'.

    Good luck!
     
  8. Kim leanne

    Kim leanne New Member

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    I have a lot of work experience so i should be fine. What work experience did you have midnight oil?
     
  9. midnite-oil

    midnite-oil New Member

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    In Sept I did 2 weeks work-shadowing. One week at GP surgery and one week in a hospital setting, to convince myself I was doing the right thing.

    I couldn't do any other work experience between then and GAMSAT, as I was looking after my 4 kids, hubby, house and studying every spare min.

    In Jan (literally straight after GAMSAT) I started working as a Support Worker for a Care Agency 2 days a week, looking after elderly and disabled people in their own homes. I squeezed in 4 months before interview.

    I had previously (when Maggie Thatcher was PM - so not SGUL's definition of 'recently'!!) worked as a fulltime volunteer for a charity, as a carer, and I did 1 project with children with learning disabilites and another with a MS sufferer - for a total of 12 months. But I got the distinct impression that this didn't count as it was so long ago.

    However, I believe they have recently quantitfied the w/e requirement, and mine would probably be a bare minimum. (Unless parenting counts!)

    I guess I got lucky on interview day!
     
  10. Bee*

    Bee* New Member

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    Im still not 100% sure whether they were worth it or not. I agree with your first point-I thought some of the biology was a bit broad and that some of the topics dont come up regularly.
    I found the essay marking quite good. I also like the comments that I received as it gave me things to improve on. If you havent done science before(or a certain section) then I think it can be difficult to learn from his notes. I had never done physics before and it was hard to work through the notes and I had to get a text book also.
     
  11. glastored

    glastored New Member

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    Hello Midnite-oil

    Interetsed to see what you have written above.
    Just wondered what A-Level text books you used please or if you recommend any other books that helped you?
    I am coming from a non-science background and have found Des' notes to be too much like revision notes rather than actually teaching me the material.

    thanks
    Stu
     
  12. Barry White

    Barry White New Member

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    Hello

    I'm a graduate medic at nottingham, 1st year, and bought Des' pack after sitting the GAMSAT. I was preparing to sit the Australian one as I thought I'd messed it up a treat but managed to squeeze in and so didn't need to use the notes after all. (The notes are the same for both the Australian and UK GAMSAT)

    If anyone's interested, I'm selling them on ebay. They were bought in 2006 and all the questions are filed seperately by completely unanswered. the only drawback would be with the essays as you can't send them off for des to mark them but all the accompanying advice about how to write well is enclosed.

    if you're interested then look em up

    My ebay ID is ib1519024258

    Good luck in the exam

    Steve Robson
     

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