Computation for GAMSAT questions involves the ITR or Item response theory. Students should take note of this before taking the examination. Since the exam is standardized, the usual way of scoring is not utilized. The scores are concluded based on the mathematical relationship between the ability of the students to answer and the degree of difficulty. This is necessary to compute the scores fairly. This is different to the methods used to score the usual examinations found in Universities and Schools. This has been implemented to establish balance and fairness considering students comes from different educational institutions. Students should use the ITR to their advantage. This is very important in order to have a very high score in the GAMSAT examination.
The item response theory involves qualitative assessment of each question. This means the degree of difficulty would be considered based on the student’s response. The percentage of correct and incorrect answers in each question would be used as basis in ranking students. If the question is too hard, meaning more than 70% of the examiners have got it wrong, the question would be reviewed to determine if it is not appropriate for the undergraduate level. Some questions which is above the skill level and knowledge of the students are placed to serve as a buffer but is not really counted in the overall score. Once all the questions have been reviewed, the total number of points would be adjusted. The raw score attained by the student would be graded based on a scale. Every year, the scale would change depending on the response of the students. A bell curve is used to evaluate the raw scores. The highest score would be considered as 99%. If majority of the students would attain a low score, the passing grade would be lowered.
Students can take advantage of the ITR or item response theory in different ways. The principle of the ITR is to provide a fair playing field among students coming from different universities and academic institutions.
The item response theory used in GAMSAT encourages students to learn all the basic and fundamental ideas, facts and principles necessary in medical school. Instead of studying in depth every topic included, the student should know a little bit of everything. This is very important considering the questions are reviewed based on the degree of difficulty. If the student encounters a question that is way above the skill and knowledge level expected from a undergraduate student, he should move on to other easier questions to conserve time and effort. The student can go back later to answer the hard questions once all the easy items have been finished. This would increase the chances of getting a high ranking considering all the easy questions are counted while the hard questions may be included.
In case students run out of time, all the GAMSAT questions should be answered. This would be very helpful since the wrong answers would not be deducted from the total score. But guessing is not recommended. Instead of randomly picking an answer, the student should check which letter has the most answers. The letter with the least answer should be used repeatedly until all the answers have been filled. The student has a 25% chance of getting the right answer. This is better instead of leaving the item blank.
The ITR or item response theory used for checking the GAMSAT questions is a very critical factor which should not be ignored. The rules established through ITR should be used by the students to their advantage. This would help the students formulate an effective strategy that would help them attain favorable results.