(Original post by LizzyTheLion)
I am a first year medical school student and I am currently months behind at uni 😣. I realised around December that I was not working quickly enough through my lectures and I wasn't retaining any information because I always ended up copying information straight from the lecture slides. I think I became so overwhelmed by the content that I just stopped trying, procrastination on steroids! I was not going to lectures because I thought I was too behind to understand and I did enough cramming to survive my tutorials, but I wasn't developing any long term knowledge of the subjects. I spoke to a learning advisor at uni (because I failed my mid-sessional exams) and she basically told me I'm not doing enough work and if I don't start now I'm going to fail. I'm mostly over the anxiety that that would stop me from trying to revise now. I feel like I'm at a point where I don't know any of the key information I'm supposed to know and it's now really hard to catch up with current lectures because there are huge gaps in my knowledge... really huge! A this point I just want to be practical and catch up on as much as possible in the 2 months I have before my exam.
My main questions are:
Has anyone been in this situation before and still passed their end of year exams?
Any good revision tips that will help me get through content quicker?
Or any general advice that you think will help me is welcome
Hey! First things first, you're not alone! First year of medical school is so overwhelming that nearly everyone is playing catch up at some point. You'll come to realise that every year in medical school feels more or less like this, but you get better at coping with the stress!
I was in your situation in first year. I was in the same situation a few weeks ago just before my finals...I'd just returned from intercalation and my brain was literally frazzled. Weeks were passing me by and I wasn't retaining anything. And finals were looming. But, I gave myself a kick up the arse and worked hard and a few days ago I found out I passed my finals! So there is light at the end of the tunnel!
Revision tips - I don't think its worth you adopting a whole new revision strategy at this stage. Speaking from my own experience of trying to revamp my revision strategy at the last minute, I found that I wasted time trying to get used to the strategy when I could have just used my own original strategy to revise. Saying that, I am a very slow reviser. I need to understand fact before I can remember it. I can cram a few things but if I don't understand it, it doesn't stick. If you are able to adopt to a new strategy quickly, then go ahead!
I can't really advise much here besides to do what works for you but to do it quicker - which is what I did for my finals and it worked. Make a timetable with all the days that are left between now and your exams and stick to it. I made it so that I was revising a module (e.g. all things gastroenterology - anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, clinical, etc) a week. As you're in first year, you may be able to spread this out a bit because you haven't got four years of material to get through.
General advice - mostly relevant for the upcoming years
1. Buy a recording device. My mother bought me one in first year and it saved my bacon. I recorded every lecture and when I could. I then re-listened to the lectures that I'd zoned out in (I stupidly thought I could work night shifts AND attend lectures in the day but no amount of pro-plus kept me awake during lectures!). Obviously this is a lot of extra work and by no means am I suggesting you listen to every lecture you record, but its handy to have something recorded as back up.
2. Holidays. For some holidays (e.g. Easter break), I suggest staying at uni for maybe half of it, so you can concentrate on getting work done. I found that this worked well for me in the first 3 years where the bulk of the work was science dense
3. Be very organised from the outset. This helped a lot with revision because everything was organised into modules and I could literally plan to get through one folder of organised material over a few days. If you have everything that you need in one place, it saves time faffing around trying to find better notes.
Hope this helps somewhat, good luck!