Tuesday, August 28, 2012

2012-2013 Launch - Why we are running in December instead of January

So GAMSAT season is almost upon us and this year, GAMSAT Strategies will be running courses in December (see below) in both Brisbane and Melbourne as opposed to January.

A number of people have asked us why we are doing this so we thought we would outline the basic reasoning here so that everyone can understand where we are coming from.

How things used to be

Generally speaking, the GAMSAT 'season' as we have come to call it, began in earnest at the start of Semester 1 of the year that the candidate wished to sit the test. This meant that a candidate generally had about month or two prior to the test to try to prepare.

Last year, because we were still relatively new to the GAMSAT training scene, we kept with this trend and offered our courses in early January for fear of running too early. However, our firm view is that candidates need to start planning much earlier for the GAMSAT and as such, we have decided to run in December.

The benefits of running in December

The benefits of doing so are as follows:

  1. Avoid cramming
  2. It allows for time to develop adequate strategies and to adjust the candidates mental approach to the different dynamic of the test
  3. Learning to work under pressure is a skill learnt over time - especially when you are trying to implement our systems. There are three stages to this preparation: learn the content, learn to apply it using the system and finally, learn how to do it under pressure. When you start in February, generally we have seen that candidates leave out the last stage
  4. Sometimes we learn by watching: I had a Korean student (ESL student) who went from a 32  in Section II to a 50 in 5 months of tutoring. By his own reports, he under performed on the day but still a magnificent result. The key was the lead up time that we had. While it may not always be possible to start 5 months in advance, starting in December is a lot better than starting in February - 2 months is a long time. 
  5. Some things like learning organic chemistry or improving your general knowledge simply take time - we want candidates to give themselves a fair chance so we feel that we need to set the agenda on this front.
  6. If you wish to see a performance psychologist, it's hard to make a change in 1 month - lead up time is crucial to get prepared for the burden of the test and to adjust your mental approach accordingly
Negatives of running in December

Most of the negatives are simply commercial concerns for us:

  1. Some people go away on Christmas trips so may not be able to attend
  2. People may perceive that studying in December is 'ruining' their holiday. My attitude is that you have to treat yourself like an elite athlete - they often boast about training on Christmas day and if you are serious, you should probably at least start in December - you can have Christmas day off! :)
  3. Most commercial organisations slow down in December so it makes it harder for us to get things done - delays in printing etc all need to be planned for to avoid unexpected problems
  4. A shorter marketing period

Our hope for the future

By running in December, our hope is that people will shift their mentality regarding preparation time for GAMSAT and such will achieve better results. 

Course details

Everything is on our website but I have attached the posters below - sorry that they are so big but otherwise you can't read them!