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    I'm a fourth year who has seen a drop in my results from pre-clinical to clinical Medicine.

    I think I'm studying in the wrong way or I'm just plateuting due to lack of talent/intellect. I seem to be very dedicated and serious but I do not seem to be getting limited return on my investment.

    How I study?
    • Read book be that ABC/lecture notes/At a glance series
    • Try to understand and focus on the chapters (I do not make notes)
    • Look and work through core clinical cases books (I do not use past papers or questions banks)
    • Take exam
    • Pass but not competitively


    Possible reasons why I may be revising in the wrong way for clinical written exams
    • I do not make notes as I can recall the information from the book shown by the praise I get in teaching sessions and by other students for my knowledge.I think notes cause me to get bogged down by details and to not understand the big picture, which is vital for clinical exams/practice
    • I do not look at guidelines or university lecture notes due to them not being holistic and too rote
    • I do not use past papers or question banks


    What am I doing wrong and how can I improve?
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    Books like at a glance etc. are OK for revision but have you thought about using a larger text for your studying? Plus bringing in information like Patient.co.uk (absolutely amazing resource for medical students) and OHCM. I think it's a combination of triangulation of information and the narrowing down of reading when it is coming up to exams that are important for clinical revision. Ward time important as well!

    The danger with these revision books is that generally they are OK but they can be a little sketchy in accuracy, maybe a little outdated in terms of appropriate management and gloss over things because they can't include everything. I assume the authors think that glossing over things is OK because you would have read about whatever in Kumar & Clark so it's just refreshing your memory; but if you're learning first hand from a book like that you might run the danger of thinking you have a good overview of a subject (which you do because you passed, so you're competent) but you may not have little snippets of information that are a bit more detailed that would gain you some additional marks to push up your % like you want to.

    People obviously all revise differently but have you tried making spider diagrams and that kind of thing to bring together differentials and presentations? That isn't 'notey' like re-writing a book, but might be useful. This might be just telling you how to suck eggs though.

    Guidelines are actually quite useful for some things that are universally explained terribly in every book (e.g. BTS asthma management, UC/crohns management which every book seems to say different things for - can't be wrong for quoting NICE). Question banks I've found this year are good not just for testing your knowledge but they do actually teach you new things and guide you in making new connections between things.

    At the end of the day you passed!

    Different people revise differently though so you might think that advice is all crap, but hope it helps a bit...
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    (Original post by KenGosgrove)
    I'm a fourth year who has seen a drop in my results from pre-clinical to clinical Medicine.

    I think I'm studying in the wrong way or I'm just plateuting due to lack of talent/intellect. I seem to be very dedicated and serious but I do not seem to be getting limited return on my investment.

    How I study?
    • Read book be that ABC/lecture notes/At a glance series
    • Try to understand and focus on the chapters (I do not make notes)
    • Look and work through core clinical cases books (I do not use past papers or questions banks)
    • Take exam
    • Pass but not competitively


    Possible reasons why I may be revising in the wrong way for clinical written exams
    • I do not make notes as I can recall the information from the book shown by the praise I get in teaching sessions and by other students for my knowledge.I think notes cause me to get bogged down by details and to not understand the big picture, which is vital for clinical exams/practice
    • I do not look at guidelines or university lecture notes due to them not being holistic and too rote
    • I do not use past papers or question banks


    What am I doing wrong and how can I improve?
    I think those last two in bold are likely to be significant issues. Guidelines and lecture notes may not be "holistic" (whatever that means) but the people writing them will often also be writing the exam. Don't use them as the entire basis for your revision but it's useful to be aware of them. Also, while the At a Glance etc books are reasonable, they are written as generic guides and some medical schools focus on certain areas more than others so you may not be focussing in quite the way they want you to.

    For MCQs in particular, past papers or online revision exercises are an absolute must IMO. I dramatically improved my scores by using these and trying to get my head around the way examiners like to think and phrase questions. Ask other students which online resources they find most useful. For essays/short answers, doing some questions is also valuable as you see what topics appear frequently and can practise model answers. You may want to write them out yourself (timed or untimed) or talk them through with friends.

    Others may think you should make more comprehensive notes but I never found that particularly helpful - like you I could remember a lot just from reading. But I do think you will benefit from a more exam-focussed approach rather than just trying to learn everything.
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    (Original post by Beska)
    Books like at a glance etc. are OK for revision but have you thought about using a larger text for your studying? Plus bringing in information like Patient.co.uk (absolutely amazing resource for medical students) and OHCM. I think it's a combination of triangulation of information and the narrowing down of reading when it is coming up to exams that are important for clinical revision. Ward time important as well!

    The danger with these revision books is that generally they are OK but they can be a little sketchy in accuracy, maybe a little outdated in terms of appropriate management and gloss over things because they can't include everything. I assume the authors think that glossing over things is OK because you would have read about whatever in Kumar & Clark so it's just refreshing your memory; but if you're learning first hand from a book like that you might run the danger of thinking you have a good overview of a subject (which you do because you passed, so you're competent) but you may not have little snippets of information that are a bit more detailed that would gain you some additional marks to push up your % like you want to.

    People obviously all revise differently but have you tried making spider diagrams and that kind of thing to bring together differentials and presentations? That isn't 'notey' like re-writing a book, but might be useful. This might be just telling you how to suck eggs though.

    Guidelines are actually quite useful for some things that are universally explained terribly in every book (e.g. BTS asthma management, UC/crohns management which every book seems to say different things for - can't be wrong for quoting NICE). Question banks I've found this year are good not just for testing your knowledge but they do actually teach you new things and guide you in making new connections between things.

    At the end of the day you passed!

    Different people revise differently though so you might think that advice is all crap, but hope it helps a bit...
    Thank you very much. I do use more detailed books like Impley, Apleys,Illustarted textbook of paeds but used the ABC stuff for things like Rheum,Ortho and Geris.I discoverered Patient.co.uk just before for osce's which was great and I agree it is a good resource. I do like the idea of having a little notepad for writing presentations and their differentials. On that same notepad I could write down guideline lead management. I'll be doing that next year!

    (Original post by Helenia)
    I think those last two in bold are likely to be significant issues. Guidelines and lecture notes may not be "holistic" (whatever that means) but the people writing them will often also be writing the exam. Don't use them as the entire basis for your revision but it's useful to be aware of them. Also, while the At a Glance etc books are reasonable, they are written as generic guides and some medical schools focus on certain areas more than others so you may not be focussing in quite the way they want you to.

    For MCQs in particular, past papers or online revision exercises are an absolute must IMO. I dramatically improved my scores by using these and trying to get my head around the way examiners like to think and phrase questions. Ask other students which online resources they find most useful. For essays/short answers, doing some questions is also valuable as you see what topics appear frequently and can practise model answers. You may want to write them out yourself (timed or untimed) or talk them through with friends.

    Others may think you should make more comprehensive notes but I never found that particularly helpful - like you I could remember a lot just from reading. But I do think you will benefit from a more exam-focussed approach rather than just trying to learn everything.
    You're right. Even I wrote the reasons why I didn't do as well as I would have hoped. I'll definitely use question banks next year. I'll also use the University lecture notes as they are the ones writing the exam. Guidelines will be used in the way I wrote in the response to Beska.
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    It sounds like your plan is quite sensible - those are similar resources to what I used to study throughout the year. However on top of this I looked through the relevant oxford handbook over the year and used this as my main revision source the 6 weeks or so before the exam - so OHCS for 4th year, with the OHCM emergency and rheum chapters. Question banks are also very, very useful. Not only for your state of mind as you watch your progress and also take a bit of a break from just reading, but you cover a very wide range of things in a way you may not have thought about them.

    In terms of guidelines, be aware of the major ones, so the resus council stuff, the NICE pathways for HTN, heart failure etc. and BTS asthma guidelines (for example). Alot of that can be found in the handbooks too!

    The other thing I found quite useful was when me and my mates would revise in the library, every now and again we'd take a break to grill each other a bit. That way you pick up on the more obscure things and specifics, and areas that others may have focussed on more than you have.
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    (Original post by Mushi_master)
    It sounds like your plan is quite sensible - those are similar resources to what I used to study throughout the year. However on top of this I looked through the relevant oxford handbook over the year and used this as my main revision source the 6 weeks or so before the exam - so OHCS for 4th year, with the OHCM emergency and rheum chapters. Question banks are also very, very useful. Not only for your state of mind as you watch your progress and also take a bit of a break from just reading, but you cover a very wide range of things in a way you may not have thought about them.

    In terms of guidelines, be aware of the major ones, so the resus council stuff, the NICE pathways for HTN, heart failure etc. and BTS asthma guidelines (for example). Alot of that can be found in the handbooks too!

    The other thing I found quite useful was when me and my mates would revise in the library, every now and again we'd take a break to grill each other a bit. That way you pick up on the more obscure things and specifics, and areas that others may have focussed on more than you have.
    Thanks Mushi and congrats on being top of the year! I'll defo take heed and hopefully I'll try this in final year and not a repeat fourth year...OSCEs permitting.
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    Yeah questionbanks are invaluable. Reading something and then being able to recognise 'classic' case vignettes questionbank style are two totally different things. I second the use of Oxford Handbooks.

    NICE guidance etc. is very good for management and I suppose it depends on medical school but we need to have a lot of it off pat. Lecture notes you can probably ignore but I personally would always make my own notes. Personal preference, perhaps, but I also think that having a 'global view' and so on is 100% great for actual doctoring (I agree with you there) but it's actually not that great for exam passing. You need a hyper micro detailed view of random facts - exam papers don't test you on how well you can put stuff together and look at the big picture. There are many facts that don't appear in textbooks which are crucial and recurrent differentiators in exam questions, which you would learn very quickly if you did some Qbanks. Hence why question banks are useful.
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    (Original post by KenGosgrove)
    I'm a fourth year who has seen a drop in my results from pre-clinical to clinical Medicine.
    .....
    I generally agree with points others have made about using guidelines and question banks - guidelines especially important as I know a lot of our questions are about what you do 1st or what the best option is, not just what a possible answer to the question is.

    Something thats worth trying, is each day take 1 patient you ve seen during that day and look up their symptoms, condition, management etc - helps cement things in your head.

    I can understand your reason for not wanting to write notes, however I tend to be find that for 1 topic I may look at multiple resources (patient.co.uk and NICE or SIGN guidelines and the original lecture notes being key) and therefore having something that encompasses all of these is useful. If you take an approach such as for each condition you have a epidemiology section with RFs etc, and a section on cardinal clinical features, a section on other less key clinical features, investigations, management etc with a set form to each note you take, you can produce some very useful fact sheets that are useful for referring to when revising - especially on the move or for impromptu revising when you just have a laptop/phone/usb stick with you and don't necessarily have internet. That said, I often will think of something and just go direct to the patient UK or NICE guideline page.

    Also other reasons for dropping down the class may include:
    Other students waking up and realising they probably should start working, not necessarily to do with your intellect or anything
    A change in style or focus of questions, for example our finals questions were more management focussed, and knowing the right order to do things
    You just had a bad day on the day of your written exam this year


    And always remember at the end of the day a pass is a pass, and life outside of medicine is as if not more important than medicine. No use working hard if you have no time for rest or play
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    Forgot to mention last night, but its worth looking out revision podcasts (I had a subscription to medical podcast website for this year) - our medical schools own ones are dead boring, but I have found others whcih are really helpful and are handy to have if you can download them and put them on various devices when you are travelling or away. During 4th year I was away a lot at weekends for various reasons, but even if I was away climbing or something I would in the evening do an hour or two of passive revision in front of podcast videos. Just a different source and different way of getting info into your head, though sometimes there can be inaccuracies, or the focus is different from what you need.
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    If I didn't do past papers I'd drop probably two grade points! They can be such a lifesaver. I generally spend the last 2-4 weeks leading up to an exam purely doing past papers and questions I find online.. not only does it get you into that way of thinking but it also tells me where the gaps in my knowledge are, and I go back and cover that topic again.
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    (Original post by TheRabbit)
    Forgot to mention last night, but its worth looking out revision podcasts (I had a subscription to medical podcast website for this year) - our medical schools own ones are dead boring, but I have found others whcih are really helpful and are handy to have if you can download them and put them on various devices when you are travelling or away. During 4th year I was away a lot at weekends for various reasons, but even if I was away climbing or something I would in the evening do an hour or two of passive revision in front of podcast videos. Just a different source and different way of getting info into your head, though sometimes there can be inaccuracies, or the focus is different from what you need.
    Any recommendations?
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    (Original post by lekky)
    Any recommendations?
    For podcasts? I used podmedics, because a friend in the year above had used it and I'd seen a few of the podmedics free podcasts - quite a lot of them are available on itunes I think and you can get a free trial. If you do want to sub its something like £40 a year, so I would watch a few to see if you find them useful before signing up to pay - the advantages of being a subscriber is that you can access all the podcasts, which are divided into each speciality and there are questions you can do associated with each video on the website (I wouldn't say they were really exam type questions, but questions which check you have paid attention to the video).

    I would have thought twice about paying that much (I thought twice when it was less than that!), but I reckon I got my moneys worth, though I guess everyone is different.

    Other sites come up if you google medical podcasts, so might be worth having a shop around.

    For light relief the short sharp scratch productions are pretty funny/wacky - they have done a series of ENT tutorials so far you can see on youtube.
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    Well I have just came back from elective.I thought it would be good to update you guys on my new approach.


    1) I now have a passtest subscription for a pretty good price I must say. Better late than never.

    2) I also have a few guideline websites bookmarked :

    http://www.guidelines.co.uk/resource/detail/id/8 and http://www.revise4finals.co.uk/cms/w.../60-guidelines

    3) I will also make sure that during my rotations i'll be reading the relevant Oxford Handbook as well as lecture materials.



    Seeing as I never did any of those three things in the past two years let's see how much of a difference that makes
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    Good luck with the new year!

 
 
 
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