These are your final exams and you need to start taking this seriously. Plan out your limited time in advance to make the most out of it.
We would all love to be prepared and ready months in advance, but let’s be honest with ourselves, by the time you start the final year and with everything else to do - the finals creep up on you a lot quicker than you think.
You need to give yourself ample time to get prepared, but giving yourself too much time may ease you into a false sense of security and you may not use your time as effectively. We would say the minimum time to give yourself to prepare would be 6 weeks and not to start preparing more than 12 weeks in advance.
Plan out your time effectively, make a calendar for your revision and plan your weeks leading up to the exam.
Early on look at how the exam is set up - How many stations there are, how long you have in them and what you would be expected to do.
Look at mark schemes provided by your Medical School, to see what they expect from you and how they will mark you.
The earlier you wake up, the more productive you feel the day has been.
Start your day off early and you will make the most out of the hours you have. We advise getting yourself into a routine ready for your exam day and try to make your revision days as much like the real thing as possible.
If you can, try to incorporate some exercise into your routine especially at the beginning of the day. This is more likely to make you feel more energetic for the revision at hand.
The most important thing about revising is your revision group - who will be in your Wolf Pack?
It’s important to have the right mix of people. Have people around you that you are comfortable with, but you also need people that are gunna be honest with you, brutally honest if they have to be.
We would say that three is the magic number when it comes to revising in groups. One person can be the ‘Doctor’, another can be the ‘Patient’ and there’s a spare third person to be the ‘examiner’ that can critique the examination and write down points to improve on (if you still use pencil and paper like cavemen), or use the handy ExamineMe tool in our brand new App to mark you.
Don’t just jump into the deep end and start examining patients in the hospital trying to pick up signs. You need to know the theory first, so master how to do the examination first.
Spend the first week learning about how to examine and the sequence to every examination. Use our videos and our step by step guides on how to perform the perfect examination. Use the information provided to learn what the different signs are and their relevance.
Using the videos as a guide, practice on each other so that you get your technique right and that the different parts of the exam blend with one another so that it appears slick. Sometimes filming yourself and watching it back can be more helpful than verbal feedback.
Get into the rhythm of explaining what you are doing and what you are examining to the patient. Get your default lines that you say in the exams down to a T.
Try to imitate the exam day as much as possible when revising. Aim to be perfect, not just passable. If you are going to be a doctor, you may as well be good at it.
You did everything in the Cardio Exam except sit them forward to hear Aortic Regurgitation. That was okay though yeah? No!! We are aiming for perfect here and you need to keep pushing yourself until there’s nothing to improve on.
I’m not saying wade in into your friends and tell them how they are all going to fail and they may as well give up on life because they forgot to check for finger clubbing. That may be taking it a tad bit far (tad bit). Be encouraging and sandwich your improvement point by things they have done well.
Ok, your friends are giving you consent to the exam even before you’ve asked and have their hands out like they are doing the Macarena! It may be time to go and do this on real patients.
You’ve put the hours in at home, been practicing like mad and know every every move to every exam that you can put dance music to it. It’s time to go examine real patients. You may do the Resp Exam in 5 minutes with your Wolf Pack, but it may take a little longer on Mrs Jones - the 82 year old COPD patient who keeps asking if you’re free later that evening. No Mrs Jones, I have revision to do!
Try to get some of the underpaid Junior Doctors, that you used to be cool with when they were in Med School, to show you around patients with signs. If they have got time, ask if you can present to them.
You’re perfect at differentiating AS from MR. If you don’t know the acronyms, you need to start revising. However, it’s the end of the exam and it’s time to present, but your mind's gone blank!
The way to differentiate a good candidate from a great candidate is by how they present, and this is not taught enough of in Medical School.
This is an art form and you need to keep practicing. First of all, know the routine of the exam well enough, that your mind can make post it notes for the signs you pick up in different places.
Take in a deep breath and give yourself a moment to formulate your presentation. Stand straight, hands behind your back or in front of you holding your stethoscope. And begin...
“I performed a Respiratory exam on Mrs Jones. She appeared comfortable at rest with no evidence of cyanosis. She was not connected to any oxygen or infusions. There were no peripheral stigmata of chronic respiratory disease. The positive findings were………., the important negative findings were……….. . Marrying the signs together, I believe Mrs Jones has ………… and I would do …………. to investigate.”
We will provide a video soon on how to present.
It’s vital to be within time. Use our ExamineMe tool in our App to help you monitor how long it takes you to complete an exam.
There is no more important tool in your Wolf Pack, than our ExamineMe function in our handy App . Not only does it help you time yourself and your friends in the group, it helps you track which parts of the exam you have missed and what to improve on next time.
It’s simple and easy to use function make it an effortless partner in your revision group and provides you with a tool that is specific to every exam.
Its breakdown of each exam to its core components helps you compartmentalise the different aspects of each exam, making it easier to remember and easier to perform in an exam like environment. Get it here.
All work and no play makes me go...go… . Crazy? Don’t mind if I do!
It can’t be all work and no play. you need to have treats and targets during your revision that keep you going or you will have burnout. Now be sensible, and don’t do anything that’s going to impact on you next day’s (or three day’s) revision.
Keep that big night out as your major treat for when everything is completed. Some ice-cream to come home to after the exam is never a bad idea either.
It's the final day before the exam. Should you go all out going through every medical book in the library, coz you never know. Or do you just chill out? It’s OK to have an ‘Off Day’.
You’ve been prepping for a while now, and you’re not going to pick up anything brilliantly new 24 hours before the big day. It’s important to try and de-stress and have a bit of ‘Me Time’ before the exam day. Go kick a ball, a bit of shopping - is there ice-cream in the freezer? Watch a movie in the evening, and have a quick peek through our Top Tips for the exam day itself. You don’t need luck, you’re gonna be awesome.