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Step-by-Step Instructions for Completing the GAT



The first thing to note is that all instructions given on this website will also appear in writing on the GAT, so there’s no need to memorise them. Supervisors will also help if students have problems with the instructions, but not with the questions themselves. 

A copy of the front cover of the GAT, the assessment criteria and instructions for the writing tasks, a copy of the multiple-choice answer sheet and instructions for answering multiple-choice questions are available. Copies of previous GAT examinations are available from the GAT archive page.


Permitted materials

An English and/or bilingual printed dictionary may be taken into the GAT; however, a thesaurus or a combined thesaurus-dictionary is not permitted. Electronic dictionaries and calculators are not allowed. Pens, pencils and an eraser to complete answers to the GAT will be required. Students must use a blue or black pen for the two Writing Tasks and a pencil for their responses on the Multiple-Choice Answer Sheet.

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Time and tasks

The GAT will take place in a single three-hour session. There will be two writing tasks and 70 multiple-choice questions.

While students may complete the tasks in any order it is suggested they complete the writing tasks first, then the multiple-choice questions. Bear in mind that any part of the test may be revisited at any time because the answers won’t be collected until the end.

It is suggested that students divide the three hours into the following approximate time allocations.

Writing task 130 minutes
Writing task 230 minutes
Multiple-choice questions2 hours
Total 3 hours

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Writing tasks

Writing task 1 will present written and graphical information in colour. The task will be to write a piece that presents the main information in this material. Students should not present an argument. Remember the writing is being assessed, not the extra knowledge students may have about the material. Students’ writing will be judged on:

  • how well they organise and present their understanding of the material
  • how effectively they communicate the information
  • how clearly they express themselves.

Writing task 2 will present some statements on an issue. The task will be to develop a piece of writing presenting a point of view on the issue based on one or more of the statements. Students are free to include other knowledge or information they may have to support their view. In doing this task students should aim to present reasons and arguments to support their view and to rebut opposing ideas. Students must also aim to communicate clearly and effectively to the reader. Students’ writing will be judged on:

  • the extent to which they develop their point of view in a reasonable and convincing way
  • how effectively they express themselves

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Multiple-choice questions

The multiple-choice questions will cover mathematics, science, technology, humanities, the arts and social sciences. There will be 70 questions in this section, which will take about two hours to complete. Students should attempt every question. Marks will not be taken off for incorrect answers. Students must use a pencil on the answer sheet for multiple-choice questions. The instructions will show how to shade the boxes to indicate answers. The multiple-choice section will begin with some single questions, with the rest divided into groups of questions or units. Each unit will offer one or more pieces of information and a number of questions about that information.

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Tips on doing the GAT

  • Read all the information carefully.
  • Read each question carefully and try to pick out the key ideas and information.
  • For the multiple-choice questions, try to quickly reject choices that appear wrong, then read the question again and select the answer most likely to be right.
  • Attempt all questions and don’t spend too much time on any one question. Questions can also be revisited later.