All 5 entries tagged Revision
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March 18, 2021
I am now in the midst of week 5 of my ‘Revision Block’ and, you’ve guessed it, it has been full of revision. The days are starting to blur into one if I’m honest, but it is the final push to the finish line of medical school so I am actually feeling very motivated to work as hard as I possibly can. Our 8-week revision block is actually a long time to be constantly revising, so to keep things fresh, I like to mix and match in order to keep things fresh and stop myself feeling too fatigued. One of my favourite revision techniques involved a whiteboard: I find it a great way of summarising notes of a topic and drawing out diagrams, it also gets me on my feet so is a little bit more involved than sitting at my desk reading.
Aside from studying alone, I have also been getting together with my clinical partner. We take it in turns to “teach” a topic to one another, which is a fantastic way of helping us both fill gaps in our knowledge. We also invent patient cases and discuss together how we would approach them together. I honestly feel so lucky to have such a close relationship with my clinical partner, it makes the looming spectre of exams far less nerve wracking not having to go through revision alone. We’ve got through all of medical school together from first year anatomy, placements, and now is the last push!
Speaking of partners, my actual (non-clinical) partner has become my own personal simulated patient. He must have had more examinations than a ward full of hospital patients by now. It’s quite entertaining to see him start to pick up some medical knowledge simply by being exposed to it over and over. Whether it’s medical podcasts in the car or practising my abdominal examinations, it has been impossible for him to avoid it. In all seriousness, having someone to practice the examinations on has been really helpful in the build-up to practical exams.
The university is also hosting a variety of voluntary sessions that I have been making the most of. This week, for example, I am attending a practical skills workshop on obstetric palpation (feeling baby in a pregnant mother’s womb) and also a session on taking sexual health swabs. These sessions are overseen by clinical teaching staff who give us pointers on perfecting our technique and building on our knowledge. I find these sessions really useful because, whilst revision is self-directed, it is comforting to have the Medical School as constant source of support and guidance throughout this final push. 4 weeks to go – bring it on!
February 24, 2021
I had my Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA) last Monday and I would be lying if I said I didn’t find it tricky! It was a weird experience sitting the exam at home, made more difficult by the lack of the adrenaline of the exam hall to really get you into exam mode. However, I sat it and it’s done – results pending. No-matter the outcome, I’m simply happy to move on and get stuck into revision for real.
Last week was my final official week of medical-school placements as my surgical block came to end. Whilst it was a milestone moment I felt it was all rather anticlimactic as I have spent much of the last fortnight revising for my two prescribing exams instead of at the hospital. However, we did have a mock-OSCE on Wednesday which was arranged by the block lead and some of the doctors involved in teaching the block. Just to remind you of what an OSCE is, is a clinical-style exam where you do activities and have a discussion with the examiner. This was just a practice but actually it was really useful for getting back into the swing of doing timed OSCEs and also for gauging where we are in relation to the level expected of us for finals. It feels strange to say, but I quite….enjoyed the exam! It involved various stations including one station where we had to do a suture whilst being observed. We were given marks for each station and then the highest scoring candidate gets a certificate. I’m proud (and very, very surprised) to say that I got the highest mark! I have to say that I probably struggle with confidence generally, but receiving this good news gave me a little boost and definitely makes me slightly more confident going into finals revision. Added to this is the fact that the surgical block has re-ignited my passion for medicine in general. I do think that in my surgery block I have seen the best of what medicine can do for people – seeing people at their worst moments, their moments of pain and tragedy, but also seeing how medicine can improve people’s lives.
What will I be doing now placements have ended? The next 8 weeks are a revision block called Advanced Clinical Cases (ACC), which is largely self-directed in nature. This means that the medical school and hospitals are putting on activities (such as examination practice), but it is totally up to us what we decide to go to depending on our own learning needs. I’ve booked in a couple of ward sessions to practice my examinations and history taking and also a couple of procedure practice sessions (so practicing taking blood on mannikins) – as these procedural skills do come up in finals. Warwick uses the ‘spiral’ curriculum method, which basically means that essential topics are visited several times throughout the course. The topics we learned in Phase I and Phase II come up again in finals, just in more depth. This means that we go over the basics several times and become really confident at managing common conditions such as heart attacks, lung infections and diabetes, because we’ve learned the principles of these conditions throughout the course. The next 8 weeks are sure to be tiring, but I’m excited to learn and improve. Bring it on!
June 12, 2019
Exams are finally over, and with that last sound of the buzzer marking the end of the OSCE station, I could feel the biggest grin stretching across my face. I have made it past the exam period!!
It has not been easy, and I can safely say this was the most stressful and exhausting two weeks of my entire life (and that includes my dissertation!). We had our first exam on Monday 3rd June. The SAQ. This had been the paper I was most worried about as it relied on us knowing the knowledge well enough to write it down. I had practised short answer questions over and over again. The exam was ok! There were some questions in which I did not know the answer to but I tried to logic it out and come to the best conclusion I could offer.
I was pretty happy afterwards, a couple of us went to the Duck on campus to have some food as a treat and just to have a break before hitting the books again. I walked back up to the MTC with Dan and we spotted a Heron walking around in the Tocil lake, apparently, they are meant to signify that a change is coming in your life and you need to embrace it. I hope that is a message of good change.
Day 2 and we hit the first MCQ paper. This. Was. Ridiculously. Hard. I was trying my best to apply my knowledge but I just felt deflated coming out of the room. Thankfully, I had an email saying I needed to pick up a parcel from the post room. It turns out my best friend from my old uni had sent me an exam survival package including hot chocolate, sweets and a book. It was the best pick me up I could have asked for. I tried to go back to the MTC to do some work but I was just frustrated at myself from the day’s events and I could not take anything in so I decided to go home and just fall into bed watching random videos on YouTube about asthma and ECG’s until I fell asleep.
Day 3, the final written! I was in such a good mood when I woke up. Today was the last day I was going to have to sit at a desk for a while, and I could not wait. I was still a bit apprehensive as I was worried about what was coming up based on the exam the day before. However, this exam was so much better, I could piece together the puzzle for most questions and others, I just had a good stab at.
Coming out of that exam was a huge breath of fresh air, I was ridiculously happy it was all over. The sun was shining and all of us headed to the Duck after to celebrate the end of writtens. It was a fantastic afternoon and I went to bed with a massive grin on my face. I had stopped worrying about how it had gone and instead I was just basking in the fact the exams were over.
Thursday arrived and this signalled the beginning of 6 days of “Hello my name is Abbie, I am a first year Warwick Medical Student”. The OSCE’s had arrived. We practised the exams on each other constantly, so much so I can probably do the Cranial Nerve exams backwards. This, however, did not stop me forgetting to ask the patients name and date of birth at the beginning of each station (facepalm). I am not sure how the OSCE’s went, it could go either way, the same with the writtens. I am just ridiculously happy it’s all over; I have not stopped smiling. I am looking forward to getting up tomorrow and doing what I want, when I want, or I could even not get up at all! (Though, that won’t happen, I am not someone to spend all day in one spot, I can barely last an hour in a lecture!).
The next two weeks will be about relaxing and enjoying any scrap of sun that comes my way. We have summer ball on Friday which I am really looking forward to and I am popping home to get a bit of respite from uni. The results are on the 24th so I guess I will find out how I did then, just keep your fingers crossed for me guys!
June 04, 2019
So here we are, the last push before exams. I am slowly starting to get bored of revision, it has basically been a nine to five job these past couple of weeks and all I want to do now is to sit this paper and have a break. It’s been going ok revision wise though and I am really enjoying having a group around me whom I can rely on and have a giggle with when I am frustrated.
We have also recently had another open day. It was lovely to meet some of the prospective newbies and chat to them. In hindsight, it has probably given us some perspective over where we are now. I remember being so frustrated about not hearing anything or just wanting to be in the place I am today. A couple of people recognised me from my own blog so that was a bit of a proud moment and nice to know that I am helping people along the way. Jordan and I did our open day presentation and it was nice to get a few laughs and remind myself about the positive side of Med school and not just the doom and gloom about the upcoming examinations.
I packed up my little revision corner the other day and it felt real to think we are finally here. My hobbit hole in the MTC is looking bare and I plan to only revise a little bit after each exam, I can’t wait to not have to open those blue folders again. I didn’t realise how much stuff I had accumulated over these past 13 weeks! It should be interesting trying to get it all home on my bike!
In a turn of comedy, I have given myself repetitive strain injury from all the writing I have done! This does now mean I have to constantly ice my hand up and hope for the best when it comes to next week’s SAQ’s! I have pain killers but the remedy is not something I can do as I revise by writing and scribbling my way. It hurts but there’s not much I can do apart from plastering frozen hot water bottles to my arm the whole day through.
The second years have been lovely this past year with helping us prepare, I could not be any more grateful to them so a massive thank you to everyone! Especially my medic family and student seminar team, you guys are amazing and I am so grateful for everything.
I am reaaalllyyy looking forward to getting these done. I have booked my ticket to the summer ball and I am so ready to just let my hair down and celebrate the end of exams. I am so proud of my entire year group and how hard we have all worked. No one could have done anything more than we did, we have all worked ridiculously hard and put everything we have into these examinations so I really hope we all do well.
Good luck guys! I believe in you, we have got this!!!!!
April 30, 2019
I feel like it was three seconds ago I was writing my last blog. Exam fever really has set in now and I am trying my best not to get too wound up but it is hard! However, I have discovered a new outlet. Warwick have just opened a new sports centre which has an incredible climbing wall. A lot of people here enjoy climbing so I thought I would give it a go. It was fantastic. I was out of the MTC and had two hours where all I thought about was where my feet and hands were going to go. I am having to learn the ropes (literally) as I need to learn how to tie the knots to climb but the auto-belays are just as good, and I am enjoying pushing myself up the walls and letting off a bit of steam. However, the new sports hub means that the wall has moved from 30 seconds outside my door to a 10-minute bike ride. I guess it just means I can have a few extra biscuits!
Outside of medicine and climbing, I didn’t get the internship. I was slightly disappointed, but you win some and lose some, I guess! I have found another opportunity that I managed to apply to over the weekend thanks to one of my neuro tutors who wrote a reference for me over the weekend! Thank you Dawn! I am excited about it but I am not going to pin my hopes up as I know its competitive, but I guess so is medicine in general! I am also still waiting for the results of my application to become a resident tutor but I won’t find out till June so it is going to be a long wait.
Revision has been the majority of every single one of my days but thankfully, I have an amazing group of friends around me to get through it all. This weekend we have been laughing together about insignificant things such as the inability to work for 20 minutes without talking to each other. We have our own spots, make each other cups of tea (Sam has re-named me his tea wife) and share resources around including yesterday when I was slightly on the manic side and I decided my new technique to remember the basal ganglia pathway was so good, it needed to be shared with everyone. I was basically wandering around the MTC repeating this mnemonic over and over again to everyone I saw which was a surprising amount for the weekends! I am not mad. Yet. We ended up heading to the dirty duck after a hard day studying to have a bit of light relief in the form of burgers and a couple of drinks.
One of the second years Ollie has also been giving me small glimpses of next year. We both are interested in Neurosurgery and Ollie is getting to watch a lot of neurosurgery, so I get updates about “open craniotomies” and “optical canal meningiomas” whilst I am sitting here doing Anki, growing slowly mad. It is nice though, as it makes these exams seem a little less like an impossible mountain to climb and more of a marathon. Hard but not impossible. I can’t wait to be full time in hospital and being able to go down to the Neurosurgery ward to experience these surgeries for myself and hopefully experience some Neuroradiology which is also growing as an interest of mine. Henry Marsh is also in Stratford this Friday, so I am hoping to go and see him as he has been such a big influence in my medical career.
One of my friends from my undergraduate days also recently got an offer to study here next year and I am not sure who was more excited, her or me! It will be nice to have a fellow UCLan grad here and even more importantly, a fellow Neuro! It’s becoming real now that we will soon be taking this exam and hopefully passing into second year, I can’t wait to see patients. I just need to get through these next few weeks! Someone send coffee ... A lot of it .... Please.