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What is GAT? How I got a study score of 50 in the writing section?

Hi, I'm Nicoleand I scored a 50 study score in the writing and written communication sectionof the GAT in 2023, and 49 in 2022. I'm currently a first year medical studentin Monash University.


 Whatis the GAT?

The GeneralAchievement Test, or the GAT, is undertaken by all students who are enrolled ina VCE 3/4 unit. It seeks to evaluate your overall knowledge and abilitiesin three subjects: English, mathematics, and humanities.


One of thequestions that struck me when I first learnt about the GAT was how this wouldaffect my final results. VCAA states:"While the GAT is important, it does not directly count towards astudent's final VCE results. GAT results are used to check that VCE externalassessments and school-based assessments have been accurately and fairlyassessed." Regardless, I thought I'd give it my best.


Did I studyfor the GAT?

If what youmean by studying is spending countless hours completing the past GAT papers orwriting essays, no. Definitely not. I think that it is pointless to"study" for the GAT in a way - because the content is random anyways.


How I preparedfor the GAT


The best way to prepare for the GAT in my opinionis just to get very familiar with the structure of the GAT and plan your timewisely. In terms of planning, this is how I structured the GAT:


Section A

Section B


50 multiple choice questions on maths

50 multiple choice questions on reading

1 short writing task (2 parts)

25 multiple choice questions on maths, science and technology

25 multiple choice questions on arts and humanities

Extended writing task


15 minutes reading + 2 hours writing

15 minutes reading + 90 minutes writing

Practice exam

Managing time: 1minute/question and adjust depending on strengths and weaknesses.

Reading time

During reading time,I went over the writing segments and looked over the prompts. I planned theessay in my head. Some of my classmates decided to do the MCQ, but I preferredjust focusing on the essay and spend that time to think of ideas.

Order of GAT:

Personally, I didthe MCQ before the essay. I thought that if I completed the MCQ section quicklyand accurately that I would have time left over from the MCQ, which I would usein writing the essay.

Here are some tipsfor the multiple-choice section

  • Circle correct answer on your own sheet. I finished      all questions on the booklet before transferring them onto the answer      sheet.
  • Careful of qualifierssome text
    • Eg. Most likely, fewest
  • Be precise while reading graphs and diagramssome text
    • Bring ruler
  • Search up words you don’t know in dictionary
  • Eliminate wrong choices and take an educated guess
  • It is probably      very straightforward, therefore if it is taking you a long time, you      might be missing a quicker way to answer the questions.


GAT section A (2hwriting time)

This contains of:

  • 1 writing task      with 2 parts
  • Part 1: short       answer type (10 minutes)
  • Part 2: more       detailed response (20 minutes)
  • Assessed on the effectiveness of writing for the      audience and purpose appropriate to the task; ideas, structure, and      cohesion. Mechanical aspects eg spelling, grammar and punctuation.some text
    • Audience: inclusive language, appeals, etc
    • Ideas: engagement about the topic
    • Structure and       cohesion: flow, intro, body paragraph, conclusion
  • 100 MCQ      questions: 50 numeracy MCQ and 50 reading MCQ

Tips for GAT sectionA writing task:

  • Synthesise the information and present it in an      organic way
  • The way they give information to you is quite spread      out, organise it before writing.
  • You can break and categorise the information into      chunks and order it following your own logic.
  • Always choose creative      writing if you can. The key is perspective. Always put yourself in      the shoes of a person and adapt to fit its persona.


For example,for the 2022 GAT, this was the prompt (if you haven't looked through it, I'drecommend you have a quick look before reading my analysis)

This topic was already mundane enough. Instead  of constructing a monotonous response, I thought of how to make it more  interesting. In the end, I decided to adapt the format of a scooter manual  from the manufacturer, and structured my essay as if it were a letter to new  e-scooter owner found in the box of the product. Therefore, my introduction  sounded something like:  


Dear Valued Customer,


Congratulations on your purchase of our latest e-scooter! We are  thrilled to welcome you to our community of eco-friendly riders. Your new  e-scooter is not just a means of transportation; it's a gateway to a more  convenient, enjoyable, and sustainable way of getting around.

Before you take your first ride, it's important to familiarise yourself  with the basics of safe riding. Whether you're a beginner or just need a  refresher, this guide will help you ride with confidence and safety.


Again, I wanted to write a creative essay. I  asked myself: "who would want the community to know about the rules for  riding e-scooters?", "where can I find a poster about the  rules?" I thought that you would probably find something like this in a  police station, or in a poster written from the police, since there are legal  issues involved. I even formatted my essay with a title: "E-Scooter  Riding Guidelines: A Message from [your local] Police Department" and  wrote the essay from that perspective, seamlessly integrating the information  from the infographic and article in my response. Note that you don't have to  write your essay in any particular order, and you can dissect the poster into  smaller parts and slot information in where you think is logical.  For example, you could take "wear a  helmet" from the article and pair it with the "94% of those injured  by e-scooters are riders not wearing a helmet" to emphasise your point.

GAT section B (1.5h writing time)

  • This consists of:

25 multiple choicequestions on maths, science and technology and 25 multiple choice questions onarts and humanities

Extended writingtask


Tips for GATsection B writing task:

  • For the list of topics, use      one of them as the main backbone, and the other points to support, refute      your arguments
  • You don’t get more points if      you manage to use more quotes, just pick one that you are most      comfortable with as your main topic, and if the others relate, use them,      but if they don’t, don’t try to link them together or feel pressurized to      use them all.        
  • You have to pick a side, and      not stay neutral, even though you have to rebut. You should be 80%      agreeing/disagreeing with the prompt, something like “you agree, but in      some instances, you might not agree” etc
  • Introduction:         some text
    • Use a hook to hook the reader’s attention    some text
      • Rhetorical question
      • Incorporate a persona (pretend that you are a        certain person at a certain place)
      • Quote
      • Imagine you are a…
      • Flashback
      • Describing a scene
      • Create a symbol/motif
    • Contention is preferred to be at the end of the       introduction
  • Good flow:some text
    • Example paragraphs:
    • P1: some change is good
    • P2: some change is bad
    • P3: whether or not change is good or not is for us       to decide
  • Summary:some text
    • Summarising contention
    • What the audience should be doing/next course of       actions
    • If you       created a motif/symbol in the introduction, link it to the conclusion


Other tips:

  • Read the news so that you can      bring up any relevant examples to support your argument.
  • Inspirational quotes come in      handy because they can captivate the reader's attention and set a      motivational tone. They also help to illustrate your points with      succinct, impactful words from well-known figures, adding depth and      resonance to your writing. 



Alwaysremember, the examiners will look for points that are unique and original andwill not make them bored after reading so many essays. In conclusion,remember that the GAT is an opportunity to showcase your skills and knowledge,but it does not directly count towards a your finalVCE result. Approach it with a calm and positive mindset, knowing that your besteffort is what truly counts. Take it easy, trust in your preparation, and usethis experience to learn and grow. You've got this!


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