- If you are resitting, do NOT panic. A lot more people than you may think resit a paper or two during their time in med-school. It can put a real downer on your holiday plans at first but once resits are done, you will still have at least one month of freedom!
Re-sits can be a stressful time because of the added pressure and sometimes the feeling of being isolated, however if you ever want to talk to someone about these problems our welfare officer, Sunila, is always available on email@example.com.
I can not stress to you the importance that if you have any issues that arise during this period, please speak to someone whether it be your personal tutor, Dr Mike Emerson (Head of Year 1 and 2 Welfare), our Welfare Officer or President.
It is obviously very important to work hard for your re-sits and these pages are here to help you and give some advice as to the best way to do this.
If you require any additional academic advice or resources, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Academic Officer for Years 1, 2 & GEP 2012-2013
YEAR 1: Please just read the ones relevant to you
If you plan ahead, there is sufficient time to revise everything.
MCD – Molecules, Cells and Disease
MCD will have been the very first knowledge based exam you will sit. Many people fail this exam because they either underestimate what these sort of exams entail or they haven’t quite got their revision techniques fined tuned yet. It’s therefore important to make sure you have learnt where you went wrong in this exam. See general advice for more specific information on revision technique.
MCD covers a lot of lectures. Often it will contain much information that you will have learnt at school. It is crucial that you have very good understanding of the first few lectures of each topic because each course really builds from lecture to lecture so if you do not understand the early lectures it’s unlikely that you will understand any of the later lectures. Remember to look at the practicals and tutorials! The topics are so different from one another as well quite typically so it’s important that every topic is covered so you can have a stab at any question.
The bulk of MCD and the areas that people traditionally find difficult are Metabolism, Immunology and Microbiology so make sure you have a good understanding of those topics.
LSS – Life Support Systems
As the biggest, you will probably spend your time on this. Familiarise yourself with the exam structure and know what is tested in each exam. Revising for the wrong paper does happen. Everything will have been covered in your course but may be displayed differently. Strategically you can do better in one paper than the other to even out your score, however we suggest you to try to get above the pass-mark for both. With regards to anatomy, go over the living dissection sessions too!One tip is to revise the relevant anatomy bits with the physiology bits so thorax anatomy with cardio and resp, abdominal anatomy with alimentary and urinary. Often the first couple of lectures in each topic is the most important for you to understand the rest. So as a basic guide:Cardio: Starling’s LawResp: Lung mechanics, obstructive vs restrictive diseaseAlimentary: Structural and cellular differences in each part of the gutUrinary: Ion and water concentrations
LCRS – Life Cycle and Regulatory Systems
LCRS can catch a lot of people out. They spend so much time revising LSS that LCRS becomes neglected. There is a lot of very specific knowledge you will have to learn for this exam, especially in HLC and Neuro so an ‘overview’ will often not do for example you must know the different areas of the brain and what their function is. However with Endo, once you learn one template of a hormone’s pathway, you can apply it to most hormones. Diagrams will summarise a lot of information for LCRS as many of topics are based on interaction of systems, for example: Lactation encompasses Endo and HLC.
PBL – Problem-Based Learning
This year the assessment has changed so we are unable to provide any additional information at the moment, but we would encourage you to contact your personal tutor (or if you’re still in contact, your PBL tutor) with regards to if you have ascertained a lower than expected marks
FOCP – Foundation of Clinical Practice
FOCP is an exam which can easily be left out of your busy revision timetable first time round because it can appear that you could pass this exam without any revision. That’s not true by any means. It is very important to be on top of the topics covered for this exam. Epidemiology and sociology have a lot of specific information in them (especially definitions and cases) which needs to be learnt whilst clinical communications is all about skills that you have picked up through the year in teaching which can be improved through practice.
YEAR 2: Please just read the ones relevant to you
MCD – Molecules, Cells and Disease
During Easter, MCD was most likely relegated to FOCP status. Try not to underestimate the smaller topics like Immuno or Diagnostics, they are separate themes for a reason. Look at the courseguide for more diagnostic notes not found in the lecture slides. Cancer is probably the biggest topic and caused the biggest frustration for many as the first 7 lectures didn’t turn up that much in May vexed many, however do not neglect these as they’ve got the same chance of creeping into the paper in August. Microbiology is very much learn the microorganism and what they might cause. Be careful of haematology giving slightly more clinically based questions, for some reason they want you to use your brain.
LCRS – Life Cycle and Regulatory Systems
Probably the worst part of 2nd year, it is the biggest topic ever. However breaking it down: (Look out for the overlaps!)
- Pharm: Make sure you have a drug table or method of learning drugs (I stand by the principle of learning the MOA and figuring out the effect and side effects from that), do not neglect lectures such as Adverse Drug Reaction, the majority of tutorials and practicals will be useful in bringing different drug groups together so use them as revision. (Cardio and Resp drugs or Anti-Parkinson Meds and Antiemetics.)
- Endo has its own set of drugs, so try to get a hold of those. Understand what causes the disease, what it causes and how to treat. Look out for cross-overs with Pharm and HLC, e.g. PCOS.
- HLC focusses a lot more on growing up and growing old. Do not neglect the more waffy lectures like anorexia or aging. They came up before and probably will again!
- Neuro is probably the second biggest, I’d suggest trying to use mindmaps or diagrams to link similar topics like the vestibular system and the eyes. Neuro is a topic where you should be able to understand the overall concept, it’s just the detail that needs to be learnt. Really helpful to link this to HNS anatomy as well. Don’t forget psychology as that is a major part of neuro in year 2. Don’t worry about getting bogged down with learning studies but understand the concepts of different aspects of psychology such as conditioning.
- Musculoskeletal – pay attention to ALL the lectures. A lot of the lectures are very short but do not try and skip some, there is a lot of repetition with endo(vit D) and anatomy(muscles/tendons) but that’s a sure hint that they will test it! Try and use a table to learn the different rheumatoid diseases.
- Anatomy of HNS – This will most likely be tested with neuro, if not then it will be on mastication or some form of mouth movement. If it’s neither of that then it will be nerves. Diagrams help a lot here. Don’t forget the blood supply as that is a major part of the CNS anatomy.
- Anatomy of Limbs – If diagrams don’t work with you, learn acroynms such as 2LOAF shows what the median nerve innervates in the hand (2 Lumbricals, Opponens pollicis, Abductor pollicis brevis, Flexor pollicis brevis). A suggestion would be to look at Netter’s Diagrams. As this last exam taught us, don’t overestimate your ability to remember the ‘easy’ anatomy
S&P – Science and the Patient
One of the weirdest exams. Was nothing like the practice questions/essays. Apparently those who read around the topic do better but I think if you understand what is going on, it gives you the same advantage. Make sure you understand the concepts.
- Water & Electrolytes is pretty straight forward, you just need to learn hypo and hyper-natraemia and pray a burns essays turns up.
- Nutrition is something that you can use your knowledge from daily life except for some specific dietary restrictions (e.g. Potassum and Phosphate restrictions for kidney patients)
- Cardio-Resp. The courseguide sent an email with a lot of answers to student questions. Look these up!
- Drugs – This module is one most people do well in as they have the background info from LCRS. There are some popular combinations of drugs, you need to learn them and also learn the common ones that you shouldn’t co-administer! Use also the student made presentations for guidance
- Infection is one that is heavily based on the tutorials. So do look over the 6 cases + 2 papers in the course guide. That’s not to say neglect the lectures, as the lectures give the basic understanding so you can apply it to the tutorials.
- The essay. The advice I would give is: 1. PRACTICE writing essays. 2. Make sure you can read what you write! 3. Mentally tick off the 5 S&P topics as you go along or try to. 3. Show off! Show off everything you know.
GEP YEAR 1: Coming soon
CMS/ICP – Cellular and Molecular Science + Introduction to Clinical Practice
AnatomyThe most important thing to bear in mind is that it was tough but you can do it. You just need to get the correct approach.Questions on anatomical relations are very difficult to answer if you don’t have a picture of it in your head, but straightforward if you can draw it out. Try to practice by covering up the image and then drawing it out and seeing what you get right and wrong.Radiology is something many people forget so you need to know your radiology of transverse sections of the abdomen & thorax. Brachial plexus & referred pain are also important parts to cover.If you feel overwhelmed, learn clinically releveant anatomy & surface anatomy: this is high yield as not only do they love questions on this, it’s actually useful for the clinical years.
Before starting on deciding what your strategy you will use to tackle these exams there are a few key questions to ask yourself:
- Do you feel you put in the necessary effort in last time? If not it’s probably just a case of for the next month going over the topics you didn’t cover before or looking in more depth at those topics.
- Do you feel you really put the time in? If you did then you need to think about what resources you were using. Were the notes you used detailed enough and cover all the topics?
- Did you use a complete set of notes? Often people will not even look at topics in their course because they believe to get over 50% you can miss going over certain topics. It is far better to have knowledge of all your course than to have partially covered topics in depth.
- Did the topics you thought went badly really go badly? Everyone remembers the questions that they couldn’t do. Also turning it on it’s head, did you do well in the topics you thought you were strong in?
Top TipsSome pointers, not all will apply but these are some suggestions:
- Don’t stress yourself out. Yes you may feel these are the most important things in your life at the moment but remember to look after yourself (eating, drinking and sleeping normally). This is probably something your parents will pick up on and nag you about, so why not just do it to stop them from nagging.
- Revision Schedule: have one and stick to it
- Repetition: Try to cover everything more than once, even if it’s you glancing over it the day before.
- Jog your Memory: In the mornings before a day’s revision, take 30 minutes to go over what you revised the day before
- Use Lists: Write down a list of important information or things you keep forgetting, and then read it before you go to bed. Keep all of these and go over them the day before the exam. (I write out lists of words I think I should know their definitions)
- Breaks – have them – you don’t want to burn out with revision because you kill yourself working 16 hours a day straight everyday.
- Questions: Use practice questions, self-tests or maybe even make your own.
- Style: Use your preferred learning technique or use a variety e.g. flashcards, diagrams, flow-charts, audio-tapes, quizzes, colour-coordinating, mind maps, or writing out notes etc.
- Answers: Make sure you circle or write down the answers to SBA/EMQ seperately so that you don’t accidentally miss a question out and therefore have the wrong answers down. If you don’t know it, guess. It’s not negatively marked.
- Handwriting: Make sure they can read it! It’s better to write slowly and legibly than lose marks. This was highlighted in the PBL exam feedback.
- Ask for help, if you’re struggling on a topic, ask someone to break it down for you. I swear half the stuff I know was taught to me by a friend. Don’t be afraid of emailing the course-leaders for help neither.
- Have confidence in your own ability