In your preparation for the GAMSAT Section 2 exam, a sound knowledge of historical as well as contemporary ideas is key to helping you respond to a wide variety of themes. The best essays will present unique examples to support their arguments whilst providing an astute insight into the issue. Ideally, you’d watch, listen and read across a broad range of media sources in Australia and internationally to develop your understanding of why and how alternative perspectives could present themselves.
I will continue updating this list as I encounter them. Here are some great resources you can access for FREE to build up your memory bank of examples and analysis to use in your GAMSAT essays.
1. The Yearly with Charlie Pickering – comedic episodes that present contemporary issues in an easy to digest manner
2. Q&A on ABC – fantastic commentary on socio-political issues that are pertinent and important to Australians
3. David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet on Netflix discusses the impact that we have had on our planet and what we need to do to make amends in vivid cinematography.
Watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64R2MYUt394&ab_channel=Netflix
4. Insight Current Affairs SBS TV – one of my favourite shows, covers a range of socio-cultural topics from an Australian perspective with a panel of guests and audience. You will need to make a login and password, and advertisements are present throughout episodes, Nonetheless, highly recommended for Part B with its wide coverage of topics from ‘The dental gap’ to ‘Unplanned’ and ‘How to Exercise’.
5. Media Watch – critically analyses the media and highlights news that have been misrepresented or manipulated. You can also watch Media Bites for a more concise analysis if you are time-poor!
6. The New York Times Visual Investigation – powerful and comprehensive journalism which details significant events in our world, e.g. How Trump supports took the US Capitol, How a US drone strike killed the wrong person. Watch this whilst you’re relaxing and consider WHY, HOW this might happen and the flow-on impacts this might have on our world.
1. Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman – discusses his highly influential economic philosophy on the need for competitive capitalism to achieve economic and political freedom, whilst ensuring businesses have a social responsibility
Is capitalism humane? – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27Tf8RN3uiM&ab_channel=FreeToChooseNetwork
Friedman Fundamentals (Capitalism): What Drives Economic Progress – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOP967HImSY&ab_channel=PolicyEd
1. TED Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on the danger of a single story. A fantastic speaker and novelist, she warns how a single story create stereotypes, which are problematic not because they are untrue but because they are incomplete. ‘It makes one story become the only story’. Consider this in relation to GAMSAT themes such as stories, stereotypes, power, history, literature.
Reading one news article a day (on the tram, during breakfast) is one of the simplest thing you could to keep up to date with current affairs. Read articles that are opinionated and persuasive, noting down any phrases that are unique or interesting. Focus on reading comprehension, information retention as well as vocabulary – helpful also for Section 1.
1. Sydney Morning Herald/ The Age/ the Guardian opinion pieces – left(ish)-wing newspaper with differing perspectives on current affairs, science, politics and history. Updated daily and with multiple authors, e.g. Australia day saw a multitude of articles titled ‘Simple solution to solve Australia Day controversy’ to ‘On Australia Day in the lucky country, let’s focus on achievements’.
As these websites typically have a paywall, use your university’s VPN for access.
2. The New York Times Sunday Review – longer, complex and well-researched articles with a focus on American politics with a sprinkling of international affairs. Has a paywall and a limit of 5 articles per month.
- 23 Things they don’t tell you about Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang – digestible and provocative content that offers rebuttals of aspects of neo-liberal capitalism, ranging from topics including how there is no such thing as a free market (Thing 1) or how the US does not have the highest living standard in the world (Thing 10)
- Download text here: http://digamo.free.fr/23things.pdf
- No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies by Naomi Klein – critical analysis of the negative effects of brand-oriented corporate activity, writing about the misdeeds of Nike, The Gap, McDonald’s, Shell and Microsoft.
- ‘The Minefield’ by ABC – ethics podcast that invites listeners to negotiate ethical dilemmas and complicated stories of modern life. Listen to this whilst you are at the gym or on the train. I’m not a podcast person but some of you might be! Great way to learn how to critically think about current affairs and ethical dilemmas that we face in our world today. Some topics include:
- Significance of Australia’s federal election
- Reconnecting democratic politics to everyday life
- Ethical dilemmas of crowd-funding platforms