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    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
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    Yes, I have been in your exact situation before and still passed my exams. Just. Mostly.

    I was extremely depressed during my first year of uni. Things got worse and worse until I had a total breakdown over christmas. I came back and went on antidepressants etc. but it still took me a few months to crawl back to a state of normality. As you can imagine, during this time I was not attending lectures. The lectures I did attend I slept through because my sleep cycle was ruined. I didn't go through any of the lectures during term time because I felt too low to do anything at all. By this time in the year I had badly failed one January exam, scraped a pass in the other two, and knew next to no content for the year. After a month or two of pretty solid revision I ended up passing all of my summer exams except one (which I tactically failed to allow me to spend more time to revise other subjects). I barely scraped a pass in 3 others, but I did it. It is possible.

    I share all of this to show you that all is not lost and you can rally from this if you start putting the effort in now. And you will have to work hard to make up for the rest of the year.

    The most important thing is to treat this as a learning experience and not make the same mistakes next year. Attend your lectures! Turning up makes a huge difference. And maybe one of the things you'll learn is that retakes aren't the end of the world, which is a worthwhile lesson too. My one retake ruined my summer, but it sure as hell has motivated me to never have to do another one.

    With regards to revision tips, I can't think of much that hasn't been said a million times before. In the end there's no 'quick fix' way to revise - you have to put in the effort and get through the content, in whatever way works best for you. I will say two things that made a big difference for me though.

    Firstly, think carefully about where you want to revise. Most of my classmates went home for Easter, and plenty even went on holiday with their families. I chose to stay in uni and cram the days away in med school. This may not be your style, you may work better at home or somewhere else. But think about where you will work best, and be there. If you have a holiday planned, cancel it.

    Secondly, consider if you're going to fail, HOW you are going to fail. The year after I tactically failed an exam my uni changed the system so that was no longer possible (failing that exam would instead have failed me half the year). But consider if you are going to have to retake, what to prioritise to make retakes as painless as possible. It's better to solidly pass 3 modules, and utterly fail 3, then NEARLY pass 6, if you know what I mean. This may seem like a weird and defeatist attitude, but it worked well for me. Think about how your uni marks things though, as it will make a big difference to whether this technique could work for you.

    Good luck, work hard
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    (Original post by Ghotay)
    Yes, I have been in your exact situation before and still passed my exams. Just. Mostly.

    I was extremely depressed during my first year of uni. Things got worse and worse until I had a total breakdown over christmas. I came back and went on antidepressants etc. but it still took me a few months to crawl back to a state of normality. As you can imagine, during this time I was not attending lectures. The lectures I did attend I slept through because my sleep cycle was ruined. I didn't go through any of the lectures during term time because I felt too low to do anything at all. By this time in the year I had badly failed one January exam, scraped a pass in the other two, and knew next to no content for the year. After a month or two of pretty solid revision I ended up passing all of my summer exams except one (which I tactically failed to allow me to spend more time to revise other subjects). I barely scraped a pass in 3 others, but I did it. It is possible.

    I share all of this to show you that all is not lost and you can rally from this if you start putting the effort in now. And you will have to work hard to make up for the rest of the year.

    The most important thing is to treat this as a learning experience and not make the same mistakes next year. Attend your lectures! Turning up makes a huge difference. And maybe one of the things you'll learn is that retakes aren't the end of the world, which is a worthwhile lesson too. My one retake ruined my summer, but it sure as hell has motivated me to never have to do another one.

    With regards to revision tips, I can't think of much that hasn't been said a million times before. In the end there's no 'quick fix' way to revise - you have to put in the effort and get through the content, in whatever way works best for you. I will say two things that made a big difference for me though.

    Firstly, think carefully about where you want to revise. Most of my classmates went home for Easter, and plenty even went on holiday with their families. I chose to stay in uni and cram the days away in med school. This may not be your style, you may work better at home or somewhere else. But think about where you will work best, and be there. If you have a holiday planned, cancel it.

    Secondly, consider if you're going to fail, HOW you are going to fail. The year after I tactically failed an exam my uni changed the system so that was no longer possible (failing that exam would instead have failed me half the year). But consider if you are going to have to retake, what to prioritise to make retakes as painless as possible. It's better to solidly pass 3 modules, and utterly fail 3, then NEARLY pass 6, if you know what I mean. This may seem like a weird and defeatist attitude, but it worked well for me. Think about how your uni marks things though, as it will make a big difference to whether this technique could work for you.

    Good luck, work hard
    Thanks so much, honestly your story has given me a little more hope that it's possible for me to catch up. My medical school has one final MCQ exam at the end of the year so I guess my main tactic is to cover at least 70% of the content so I can make the 50% pass mark. Yeah, I'm definitely going to start attending lectures at least that will force me to get into the routine of learning again.
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    Your in 1st year - dont worry! For some of this feeling never goes away. Medicine is just too vast that you never get that feeling of "Oh I have covered everything". I feel similar to you at the end of 4th year. Now for me, theres no way i can cover 4 years worth of work for exams weeks away. For you it is possible to recap everything youve learnt over a few months.

    What keeps me going is knowing I have somehow passed everything to date (albeit some scrapes..) but all that matters is that I somehow get through the programme.
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    (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
    You've basically summarised my first two terms of med school. I feel like I'm in the exact same situation as you, I only crammed just enough during term time to scrape through supervisions. I don't have any useful tips for you, but you're not alone in your struggles. No choice now but to do what we can before exams.

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    (Original post by LizzyTheLion)
    Thanks so much, honestly your story has given me a little more hope that it's possible for me to catch up. My medical school has one final MCQ exam at the end of the year so I guess my main tactic is to cover at least 70% of the content so I can make the 50% pass mark. Yeah, I'm definitely going to start attending lectures at least that will force me to get into the routine of learning again.
    Just one big fat exam? Wow, that's brutal. My uni has a 50% pass mark overall, but you need to get at least 40% in each individual module to pass overall so only revising 70% would not work here. But if your uni doesn't have that it sounds like a good start
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    (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!
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    Record lectures on your phone?
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    You can do it! I learnt all the content of the year in the 6-8 weeks prior to my exam, which was similar to yours in terms of everything hinging on end of year exams. However, don't aim to learn 70%. How do you know which 70% will come up?! What is most of the exam comes from the 30%? Try to cover everything, at most leave out one topic which will take you a lot of time BUT you know comes up in the exam relatively little (e.g. for us it was embryology which was such a pain to learn in the first place that it was worth leaving, don't think I could have memorised that stuff in a life time!).

    My advice is:
    - Use past papers as much as they are available to you
    - Divide your work up by lecture
    - Take your potential revision time and then subtract a week
    - Divide your remaining potential revision time by the number of lectures you have to cover
    - Use that as a rough estimate of how much content you'll need to cover per day before you get to the exams and COVER THAT MUCH A DAY.
    - You'll finish covering everything the week before your exams, you can then use that week to do past questions and re-cover any major areas you find yourself weak on/that require last minute memorising

    Also, work with friends. They'll help you enormously. Even if it's just via facebook messages, having lots of revision chat and running through topics/questions with each other is extremely useful.

    First year is THE most stressful, or at least I found it the most stressful for revision and the sheer amount of content you have to learn. Just put your head down and get on with it. IMO recording lectures and stuff is a waste of time (although I should stress we all work differently...) because you'll have to sit through the lecture all over again. Given we used to have 5-6 lectures every single day, it's not humanly possible to re-live all those lectures. Just take the powerpoint slides or any material, grab the textbook and crack through. It's much quicker.
 
 
 
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