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Best revision strategy for finals? watch

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    I shouldn't be asking this as I'm a final year student and I've got my finals in February but I was wondering: how does/did everyone here prepare for finals?

    So far in 4 years of med school, my technique has been writing extensive notes that cover pretty much everything. For every topic I use multiple resources, usually start with uni lecs and tutorial handouts then supplement with a book then work out past papers questions. That way I know I'm covering everything the uni has given us and also make sure I haven't missed anything by looking up that topic in a book like K&C or OHCM.

    It worked pretty well for me, getting As in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year and a top decile score. But it was very time-consuming and draining. I spent more time compiling the notes than actually memorizing them. Although I probably retained a lot of the info by writing them.

    I've started *properly* revising 2 days ago post-SJT (finals are in 10 weeks from now) and I just realized there's no way in hell I'm going to be able to do the same thing this year. Last year I started revising for the 4th year exam (i.e. finals part 1) around the same time and I had to work really hard even though I only had to cover general medicine and surgery. This year I have to cover all specialties. It took me 4 days just to compile notes to cover my psychiatry objectives so I don't think I realistically can make notes for O&G, paeds, orthopaedics, ENT, ophth and learn them in 10 weeks.

    So I guess my question is, what other study techniques do people recommend here? Would I be better off to start learning things directly from books and to keep going over them until the exam? Are there other ways I can try? Or is the whole thing too much of a gamble and I should just stick to my old way?
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    How hard are the exams in 1st to 3rd/4th year in your opinion
    Are you doing gem or a100?

    I want to do medicine in the future and was just wondering about this stuff

    Hope you do well in your finals tho mate
    Good luck!


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    For me personally, I made flash cards for the "core" diseases in each speciality.

    I used only 4 resources Oxford Handbook of clinical medicine, clinical speciality and foundation programme and Complete Revision Notes for Medical and Surgical Finals.

    Anything not in those was probably not worth learning unless I knew it already.

    As for the clinical stations, we had some of the juniors running bedside teaching every week, we would essentially go on the wards and see patients they would recommend and then present them and they would viva us.

    I also had a small study group where we would split off in pairs and go into the hospital and run little mock stations where we would observe each other.

    I would also practice presenting differentials, Ix and Mx of various common diseases I knew were fairly likely to come up and try and prepare for common questions I would be asked.


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    (Original post by carcinoma)
    For me personally, I made flash cards for the "core" diseases in each speciality.

    I used only 4 resources Oxford Handbook of clinical medicine, clinical speciality and foundation programme and Complete Revision Notes for Medical and Surgical Finals.

    Anything not in those was probably not worth learning unless I knew it already.

    As for the clinical stations, we had some of the juniors running bedside teaching every week, we would essentially go on the wards and see patients they would recommend and then present them and they would viva us.

    I also had a small study group where we would split off in pairs and go into the hospital and run little mock stations where we would observe each other.

    I would also practice presenting differentials, Ix and Mx of various common diseases I knew were fairly likely to come up and try and prepare for common questions I would be asked.


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    Sorry, but I really can't help but be nosey. Would you be so kind as to let us know how well it worked? Thanks in advance
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    (Original post by Differential)
    Sorry, but I really can't help but be nosey. Would you be so kind as to let us know how well it worked? Thanks in advance
    Fairly well, finished in the first decile.


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    (Original post by carcinoma)
    Fairly well, finished in the first decile.


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    Can't say fairer than that!! Well done!
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    (Original post by carcinoma)
    For me personally, I made flash cards for the "core" diseases in each speciality.

    I used only 4 resources Oxford Handbook of clinical medicine, clinical speciality and foundation programme and Complete Revision Notes for Medical and Surgical Finals.

    Anything not in those was probably not worth learning unless I knew it already.

    As for the clinical stations, we had some of the juniors running bedside teaching every week, we would essentially go on the wards and see patients they would recommend and then present them and they would viva us.

    I also had a small study group where we would split off in pairs and go into the hospital and run little mock stations where we would observe each other.

    I would also practice presenting differentials, Ix and Mx of various common diseases I knew were fairly likely to come up and try and prepare for common questions I would be asked.


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    Sounds like a good alternative. Thanks for sharing.

    Personally I've decided after contemplation to do it the old way so for the past week or so I've been writing notes. It's actually not taking me as much time as I was anticipating. I reckon I will finish writing them over the Christmas holiday and then I'll leave the last 5 weeks for past papers and going over the notes as many times as I can. Might not get an A this year which would be a shame as it would mean I won't graduate with distinction after consistently doing well. Hey ho.
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    Please keep us updated on how it's going.

    I also follow your revision method, but found in 2nd year there was too much material to make my own notes for. Realising this a few months before the exams I resorted to reading and memorising a topic FROM ONE SOURCE then "scribbling" down the key points I could remember, before going back to the text to see if I had missed anything. I too felt like it was a bit of a gamble trying a new revision technique, but it worked well. I got an A in every module doing this.
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    (Original post by carcinoma)
    For me personally, I made flash cards for the "core" diseases in each speciality.

    I used only 4 resources Oxford Handbook of clinical medicine, clinical speciality and foundation programme and Complete Revision Notes for Medical and Surgical Finals.

    Anything not in those was probably not worth learning unless I knew it already.

    As for the clinical stations, we had some of the juniors running bedside teaching every week, we would essentially go on the wards and see patients they would recommend and then present them and they would viva us.

    I also had a small study group where we would split off in pairs and go into the hospital and run little mock stations where we would observe each other.

    I would also practice presenting differentials, Ix and Mx of various common diseases I knew were fairly likely to come up and try and prepare for common questions I would be asked.


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    I cannot stress enough at how important study groups are. Being an examiner for a well known medical school the best candidates are the ones who have studied in groups of 2/3. you learn from each other's failings and it makes the entire process more interesting and less cumbersome.

    Heck I'm studying now for my PACES exam in a group and trust me together with self directed study, I would be way behind on my revision schedule if it wasn't for the friends I am practicing with.




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    In 1st year, I used the one method that had never failed me in the past. Go over the lecture slides, read up from textbooks on more difficult subjects and then see what I can remember. Rinse and repeat. The only problem with this method was that it gets very, very tedious after 30+ lectures, and by the time finals came along, it is almost impossible to keep up with everything.

    This year, I'm trying something entirely different. I'll go over a lecture, make sure I understand the topic (i.e. textbooks, interwebz, etc.) and then make my own flashcards using Anki. Every day I go over them and add more as I go along. So far it's been a lot less stressful than previous years, and I feel that I am better prepared for exams, but we'll see.
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    (Original post by iceman_jondoe)
    I cannot stress enough at how important study groups are. Being an examiner for a well known medical school the best candidates are the ones who have studied in groups of 2/3. you learn from each other's failings and it makes the entire process more interesting and less cumbersome.

    Heck I'm studying now for my PACES exam in a group and trust me together with self directed study, I would be way behind on my revision schedule if it wasn't for the friends I am practicing with.




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    Group study doesn't work for everyone, and you need to find the right group for a start! I can get frustrated in group study sessions as information is often not covered as fast as I would like and it can feel like you spend a lot of time focussing on minor details - I prefer to study alone but have group breaks interspersed through the day. This means I can cover what I want to cover but still get the social interaction and social support. Often the areas I struggle with is different from my friends, and while this can be useful in terms of being able to teach each other stuff I often find that the bits I need to look at get forgotten about as the rest of the group is comfortable with these areas - which is immensely frustrating.

    The exception to this is OSCE revision - I find it easier to practice to examination on real people (not just going through steps in my head) and with examination and procedures you generally need someone watching you to give you feedback on how to improve.

    I used a mix of books and lectures (my written finals were 4th year), but being in clinical years means I tend to turn to books and guidelines more and more for knowledge. Rather than sitting and going through every single medical condition I will focus on making sure I know the common stuff well, and know enough about the rare stuff to get by - if I thought I knew enough about GORD for example, I wouldn't bother going back and making more notes but would move on the next topic in my list. Question banks can help you find the holes in your knowledge you need to patch up. I did quite a lot of on-the-go learning last year - watching/listening to podcasts while on the way to social events, picking up the oxford guide while waiting for tutorials or hanging round in theatre and using internet question banks on my phone.

    Revising for finals also includes the all important revision breaks, and trying to maintain some of that social stuff you normally do - going to the gym, sports team training, climbing a mountain etc - this will give your mind a chance to relax and allow time for some of that informaiton to sink in. I go a bit mad with out the outdoors and exercise so it was important that I could still go hillwalking and camping even though it was weeks to go - others couldn't understand how I was so relaxed, when it wasn't that I was relaxed it was that I realised I needed these breaks to be able to do the study.

    Something we all noticed around finals was how different everyone's study technique is - there isn't one single way that is better than the others. Some people become nocturnal, others are religious early risers, some become the library crew while others become confined to their rooms, some continue to go on nights out up to days before whilst others ignore social events for the 6 months in the run up... And despite all these different approaches only a few % fail written finals each year at my med school.
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    (Original post by um12)
    Please keep us updated on how it's going.

    I also follow your revision method, but found in 2nd year there was too much material to make my own notes for. Realising this a few months before the exams I resorted to reading and memorising a topic FROM ONE SOURCE then "scribbling" down the key points I could remember, before going back to the text to see if I had missed anything. I too felt like it was a bit of a gamble trying a new revision technique, but it worked well. I got an A in every module doing this.
    So yeah like I said I stuck to my old method and started making notes, been about 2 weeks. It's been time-consuming as I'm using multiple resources for each specialty (uni handouts and lectures presentation slides as well as textbooks) but I managed to get a fair bit done nonetheless. So far I finished ophth, psych, paeds (phew!), and orthopaedics and have O&G and ENT left. By "finished" I mean literally just made notes from different lectures and books without learning them, so if I was to be examined on them now I would probably just barely pass. However the advantage is that while they are comprehensive and cover everything they are easy-to-read and succinct with a lot of tables, bullet points....etc which makes them easier to memorize and recollect especially if you have a photographic memory like myself.

    Also our exam has been pushed back 6 days from the original date which means I'll have the last 10 days before it off which is great.

    Plan is to finish making notes for O&G, ENT, and common OSCE stations during the rest of the xmas holiday and then leave the last 6 weeks just for past papers and to go over the notes as many times as I can, hopefully twice.
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    Hey you mind sharing your notes if you still have them? Would mean a lot!
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    (Original post by Drsting)
    Hey you mind sharing your notes if you still have them? Would mean a lot!

    Good luck getting a reply from 2014. But I used the Alasdair Scott notes on http://www.icsmsu.com/exec/notebank/year-6/ and can't recommend them highly enough. You'll have to supplement them with notes on specialties from elsewhere.
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    (Original post by Dr_Bodkin_Adams)
    Good luck getting a reply from 2014. But I used the Alasdair Scott notes on http://www.icsmsu.com/exec/notebank/year-6/ and can't recommend them highly enough. You'll have to supplement them with notes on specialties from elsewhere.
    thanks alot!
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    I also make my own extensive notes. I feel it's for my own satisfaction more than anything really.

    Once I make the notes, I have proof that I've done it. It's not really necessary. If I read the book for the same amount of time I'd still have it in my head.

    What makes notes great is that if you need to go over them again, it'll be quicker than the first time+ you can constantly edit them with more info.

    In 1st,2nd and 3rd year I wrote them all by hand.

    In 4th and 5th year I converted to ms word. First I was typing them out and it was taking absolutely ages.

    Then I just started copying and pasting the info and editing it's formatting to my liking eg. Bullet pointed or tables.

    It was so much quicker! Plus it meant I had to read it all properly before editing. Managed to redo all my 3rd year notes during 4th and 5th year too. It was painful but 100% worth it.

    Now I have all my notes on my phone and it's really easy to access them on the wards etc.

    I want to sort out my 1st and 2nd year notes for mrcp really. Might take a while though

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk
 
 
 
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