How does transitioning GAMSAT from in-person to online delivery affect my chances of getting entry into medical school in 2021?
After assessing the alternatives available to us during the COVID-19 pandemic, ACER and the GAMSAT Consortium concluded that moving GAMSAT online using remote proctoring gives candidates the best possible chance of being eligible for 2021 intakes. Every effort is being made by both organisations to ensure that the move from in-person to online testing is as seamless as possible, and we are working hard to put preparations in place to make this happen.

These preparations include but are not limited to:

  • The adaptation of the in-person test for online delivery in a way that is fair, valid and reliable
  • The establishment and testing of an appropriate online proctoring system
  • Substantial revision of internal processes and deadlines to accommodate the requirements of online delivery, including timely delivery of results so that candidates can apply to 2021 intakes
  • Continued communication with candidates as confirmed information becomes available.

Please be assured that the success and wellbeing of candidates is at the heart of everything we are doing, and please bear with us if communication is slower than usual, as we adapt our processes to a remote working environment.

Can a fair comparison be made between the May online test and previous GAMSAT tests?
Scores are scaled by ACER to make them directly comparable from test to test. ACER psychometricians will apply Item Response Theory methods to scale and equate the May 2020 GAMSAT Online test on to the existing GAMSAT scale.

These methods reflect international best practice for scaling and equating high-stakes admissions tests. This is the same process we follow each year to allow for differences across tests and testing cohorts.

Although Sections I and III of the online test contain fewer questions than past pen-and-paper tests, sitting times for these online test sections have been reduced accordingly to ensure that time allowances are comparable across tests and that all candidates receive a similar test experience. The number of tasks and time allowance for Section II is unchanged. During equating and analysis, additional quality assurance analyses will be applied to monitor and account for any performance differences arising from the differing test lengths, as well as from the differing testing modes (i.e. online versus pen and paper). While a longer test will generally provide more precision in candidates’ scores, the shorter online test will still enable reliable ranking of candidates. The equating process described earlier will ensure those ranks are comparable to those obtained on past tests.

During the test itself, the major practical difference for candidates will be the requirement – for each question – to select an answer by clicking one of four ‘radio’ buttons next to the options (rather than using a pencil to fill in either A, B, C or D on an answer sheet); and, in Section II, typing written responses rather than writing them by hand.

ACER reminds candidates that, when being scored, Section II written responses are judged on the quality of the ideas presented and how well they are communicated. Script length is not of itself a measure of a high score and likewise the number of typos is not a measure of a low score.

Candidates will not be provided with any additional information on scores or the scoring process. All information remains the property of ACER and no right of inspection will be deemed to be vested in a candidate.

How will you ensure that candidates are not able to cheat?
Your sitting will be conducted by remote proctoring under secure test conditions that will be enforced at all times. Remote proctoring involves sitting the test under live supervision using your computer’s webcam in a suitable location with internet connectivity.

Before starting your exam you will be connected to a live proctor who will take you through an extensive checking and security process including, but not limited to, ensuring a workspace that is free of prohibited materials, such as reference texts or mobile devices. The online live proctor and AI programs that support them will monitor your activities at all times throughout the test. For more information, see the GAMSAT Information Booklet or watch a test-taker video created by ProctorU.

What are the technical requirements?
Please ensure you use a desktop computer or laptop to undertake the GAMSAT Online test. Other devices such as iPads, tablets or mobile phones are not suitable. All candidates are required to have a camera connected to their computer.

It is advised that you sit the test using a personal device connected to your home network. A desktop device with a webcam will usually be a superior option to a laptop. If you decide to use a laptop, a 15” screen or larger is recommended for best results. However, a screen size of 13” or less will still be acceptable. Please ensure that your screen resolution is set to a minimum of 1280x1024.

For further information please see the ProctorU system recommendations.

It is vital that all candidates follow the procedures for testing their computer prior to booking their test session. Go to the test it out page on the ProctorU website to complete the equipment test using the computer you plan to sit the test with, at the location from which you will be undertaking the test. If any of your equipment does not pass the automatic test, you can find help by connecting to a live technician (part 2 of the Technical Readiness step) by entering your details into the form at the bottom of the screen.

Please also see the ProctorU support page or page 10 of the GAMSAT Information Booklet.

What do I do if I can’t access a good computer, reliable internet access or other tools needed to sit an online test? Can ACER help?
COVID-19 presents an extraordinary set of challenges that are expected to worsen in coming months. After assessing the options available to us, ACER and the GAMSAT Consortium settled upon online remote proctored delivery as providing the best opportunity for most candidates to still sit the assessment in 2020 and apply for 2021 intakes.

ACER acknowledges that the online version of GAMSAT may not be suitable for all candidates. Given the current global situation, the GAMSAT Office is limited in the support it can provide to candidates who feel they do not have the technical set-up to sit the test. It is for this reason that we suggest candidates who feel it would not feasible to sit GAMSAT Online opt to defer or refund their registration before 9 April 2020.

Can I use a dual screen to sit the GAMSAT Online?
Dual screens or monitors are not permitted in the GAMSAT Online test. When completing the pre-test checks, the proctors will make sure you only have a single screen operating. If you are using a laptop then you are only permitted to use that laptop screen. If you are using a desktop computer with more than one screen connected, you should remove the second screen from your computer and workstation before your test session booking.

Can I use a wireless mouse and keyboard?
It is recommended that candidates using a laptop utilise the keyboard on their laptop and a wired mouse. For desktop systems, it is recommended that a wired keyboard and mouse be used. Candidates will be required to show the proctor their computer set-up prior to beginning their GAMSAT Online test.

While using a wireless keyboard or mouse is not explicitly forbidden, candidates are advised that ACER is aware these technologies can be manipulated to facilitate cheating in online exams. For this reason, people utilising this technology will undergo additional scrutiny after the test session – and risk the cancellation of test results if suspicious behaviour is observed.

Will I be able to use scrap/scratch paper?
Yes. Candidates are permitted two sheets of A4-sized (or similar sized) scrap/scratch paper per test session i.e. two sheets of paper for Sections I and II, two sheets of paper for Section III. You will be asked to show both sides of your paper to the proctor before each session. At the completion of each session, the online proctor will ask you to show your rough work to the webcam and then instruct you to dispose of the paper by ripping it up.

You will be monitored throughout by the online proctor.

Can I use a bilingual dictionary?
Candidates whose native language is not English may have a printed bilingual dictionary during the test session for use in Section I and Section II only. The pages must be unmarked and all notes removed. Electronic dictionaries are not permitted. Dictionaries containing definitions of English words into the nominated language are acceptable but there must not be definitions of English words in English. Any candidate taking up this option must show the dictionary to the proctor for inspection before the test session begins. The final decision on the suitability of dictionaries will be made on the test day by the test proctors.

Are candidates able to move between questions without answering and return to these at a later point?
Yes, the test will have a question navigation bar across the top for candidates to use, so you will not have to work through the test section sequentially. We would suggest you mark unfinished question numbers down on your scrap paper so you know to come back to them. However, just like the pen and paper version, after a candidate has completed a section they will not be permitted to view or change any of their responses in that section.

Can I use a phone to show the proctor my screen or do I have to buy a mirror?
You must use a mirror – no mobile phones will be permitted in the test room during the GAMSAT Online test. The mirror does not have to be any particular size. You are not required to purchase anything expensive or large.

Are reasonable adjustments to the GAMSAT online test available for candidates with special needs?
Yes. Candidates who applied for reasonable adjustments for the March 2020 GAMSAT sitting will have their applications reviewed by ACER. ACER will attempt to provide previously approved accommodations to the best of its ability. Candidates will receive an update on their application prior to the May 2020 online sitting.

No new reasonable adjustment applications will be processed. For conditions that occurred after 6 March 2020, please contact the GAMSAT Office for advice.

Please note: any requests for reasonable adjustments must be accompanied by supporting documentation. The supporting documentation provided must be from a registered health practitioner and be no more than one year old.

Is there a limit to the number of candidates booked into each session?
Please note there is a limit on how many candidates can sit via remote proctoring in one day. Registrations work on a first come, first served basis and test session places are allocated on this basis. If your preferred date does not appear in the dropdown list, then this date is at capacity and there are no longer places available. Please select a different test date if you wish to proceed.

Can I register for the online sitting in May/June if I wasn’t enrolled for the March 2020 sitting?
No. The online sitting in May/June has been scheduled to accommodate only those the candidates who originally booked for the March 2020 session, which was disrupted by the COVID-19 situation. This rule has been set by all authorising parties, and is consistent for all candidates in the same/similar situation in order to ensure fairness to all past, current and future GAMSAT candidates.

Will there be a reduction in the registration fee?
No, and no additional payment is required to sit GAMSAT Online in May.

Candidates who decide not to sit GAMSAT Online are able to defer their current sitting or receive a refund of their registration fees. Deferral and refund applications must be made via the candidate registration portal (provide link) between 30 March and 9 April 2020.

Will the September in-person sitting go ahead or might that also move online?
It is too early to say at the moment. Once the March exam is completed the focus will move to September.

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