Written communication

The Written communication component of the GSA involves two tasks - a reporting task and an argument task. Each task is assessed globally on:

  • Language and expression ( e.g. control of language conventions, clarity and effectiveness of expression)
  • Organisation and thought (e.g. effectiveness and purposefulness of organisation, depth of analysis of issues or information)

Critical thinking

In the GSA, students are asked to comprehend, analyse and evaluate statements and passages that present viewpoints of the kind they would come across in the real world. Materials used in the GSA tend to be generally accessible.

The material in GSA Critical Thinking can be categorised as follows:

  • Comprehension in order to identify explicit and implicit meaning
  • Analysis in order to identify elements such as definitions being applied, claims being made, points of view, key issues, lines of reasoning, evidence, conclusions, arguments, assumptions, logical flaws, logical implications; missing information, rhetorical devices, ambiguity, inappropriate analogies, etc
  • Evaluation in order to judge aspects such as the strength and credibility of evidence and validity of lines of reasoning, conclusion and arguments, etc

Problem solving

There is an enormous range of problem types and approaches. The GSA approach has been to focus on generally applicable and accessible everyday problems that vary in complexity.

The following aspects of Problem solving are addressed:

  • Identify, comprehend, restate a problem
  • Identify and analyse information relevant to a problem
  • Translate and represent features of a problem
  • Identify, synthesise and apply information relevant to a problem
  • Conceptualise/ generate/ identify problem solution
  • Evaluate solution strategies and their outcomes

Interpersonal understandings

Interpersonal understandings material in the GSA focuses on the ability of students to

  • Show insight into the feelings, motivation and behaviour of other people, and into issues related to helping or working with others.
  • Recognise how such insight may be applied in order to effectively help or work with others, including effective feedback, listening, communication, team work and leadership.


The Written communication test is one hour, with five minutes reading and thinking time.

Critical thinking, Problem solving and Interpersonal understandings questions are contained together in a two hour multiple choice test, with one minute checking time at the start of the test. There are no separate sections.