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The talk I wish I’d had in early first term. Also known as. The 10 things I hate about you. The schedule for today. Basic Information on Exams & The Ten Things My exam experience. What may be relevant to you. Point 1: Exam format. Point 1: Exam Background. Formative:

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the schedule for today
The schedule for today
  • Basic Information on Exams & The Ten Things
  • My exam experience. What may be relevant to you.
point 1 exam background
Point 1: Exam Background
  • Formative:
  • Consisted of just one exam last year
  • About 50% of our year failed it!
  • Good way to monitor your progress, but no sweat if it doesn’t go well as it doesn’t count!
  • CMS:
  • Generally the scores are very good in this exam as you have 3 weeks of Easter holidays to revise
  • 2 people have failed this exam first time since the course began.
  • One last year had been unwell for 4 weeks beforehand and barely made it to the exam room.
  • Epidemiology and Society & Health
  • It takes a maximum of a week to learn Sociology
  • Hint: I didn’t see many graduates attending the sociology lectures
  • Leave this until the Easter break.
  • I am not aware of a single person who had a resit in this.
point 1 exam background1
Point 1: Exam Background

Clinical Communication:

  • No one failed, 10 minute inteview with a patient
  • You get plenty of practice at this throughout the year


  • 6/66 in our year failed, all passed resits
  • Most (apart from me) very close to passing
  • One person spent too much time doing light opera and simply didn’t learn enough
  • Will explain the approach to this later in the presentation

Regulatory Systems:

  • Similar numbers of retakers, all passed the resit

Support Systems:

  • Again, similar numbers of retakers, all passed the resit.
point 1 from the recent ge review
Point 1: From the recent GE review

The message: Everyone passed last year. That should definitely make you feel more confident!

point 2 focp foundations of clinical practice pbl problem based learning
Point 2: FOCP: Foundations of Clinical Practice & PBL: Problem Based Learning
  • No need to worry about these.
  • FOCP: you meet twice a term. You are assigned a patient in groups of two and go and have tea with them for a couple of hours once a term.
  • FOCP: you need to write a 1500 word essay in second term. We had to do ours on the patient experience. Not hard, you can do it in a weekend (unless you seriously struggle with essays).
  • PBL: problem based learning. You work through clinical cases. Not demanding.
point 3 how much revision time
Point 3: How much revision time
  • 15th December to 2nd January Christmas Break
  • 23rd March to 15th April Easter Break
  • Revision period: starts 1st June with last exam on June 26t
  • Important point: our year social reps organized a boat party on the day the exams finished. Ideally organise it the day after exams, as everyone is pretty tired.
  • Remember the next points are suggestions rather than commandments!
point 4 anatomy
Point 4: Anatomy
  • The afternoon clinical lectures might not contain much relating to the learning objectives, which are almost entirely what you are examined on. Some will be relevant (esp. Mary Roddie’s) but some will not match up to the learning objectives.
  • I was told this in first term by the year above and wondered ‘how could a lecture not be directly relevant to our syllabus?’
  • Lectures are more relevant to learning objectives in first term (anatomy of thorax and abdomen)
  • Then begins to become more clinical and not directly related to the syllabus

The lesson: Be discerning: check the learning objectives and compare it to the lectures!

point 5 icsm notebank
Point 5: ICSM Notebank
  • An online notebank which would have saved me a lot of time, mainly on writing out the anatomy learning objectives.
  • Good quality notes.
  • Password protected. Contact Academic Officer Ken Wu:
  • The link:
point 6 useful teaching resources for anatomy
Point 6: Useful teaching resources for Anatomy
  • The best text is Moore & Dalley’s ‘Clinically Oriented Anatomy’. It has very useful ‘blue boxes’ which answers a lot of the clinical related anatomy learning objectives directly. If I’d known about this at the start of the year it would have saved me a lot of time.
  • The best images to visualize things are in Gray’s Anatomy for Students. Why is this important? See next slide.
  • Best concise reference book for the month before exams: Instant Anatomy Second Edition by Whitaker & Borley.

The lesson: Read the blue boxes in Moore & Dalley. For quick reference use ‘Instant Anatomy.’

point 6 anatomy
Point 6: Anatomy
  • ‘A picture paints a thousand words’
  • What worked for me: to be really sure you knew a particular bit of anatomy was if you could draw it out. When I found out I had a retake, one of my friends told me to draw everything out.
  • It worked. I doubled my score to high distinction level in my retake.
point 6 anatomy1
Point 6: Anatomy
  • Example to the right: you need to be able to draw this out schematically, including anterior-posterior and superior-inferior relations etc. This is the kind of Anatomy question you will get in the exam.

NOTE: this seemed impossible to me at first!

P.S. think clinical: e.g. what structure might an duodenal ulcer erode into?

point 6 why draw
Point 6: Why draw?
  • Exam Q: ‘What is immediately superior to the omental foramen?’
  • Superior: Liver
  • Anterior: lesser omentum
  • Posterior: IVC
  • Inferior: duodenum

The lesson: For my retake, I learnt to draw out the previous three diagrams.

point 6 why draw1
Point 6: Why draw?
  • Q: What cranial nerve does NOT run in the lateral wall of the cavernous sinus?

A: easy question if you can draw it out

(you don’t do head & neck anatomy until final term, but it’s a good illustration of the point).

point 7 question banks
Point 7: Question Banks
  • Grad Med Society: they provide the questions during summer term nearer your exams. Contact education officer AazimSiddiqui (pictured below left).
  • Michigan Online Anatomy Quiz:

  • Blackboard: has online self tests.
point 8 do something to unwind you need a break
Point 8: Do Something To Unwind. You need a break.

In the interests of anonymity, a montage of highly entertaining photos were removed from this slide for the notebank.

point 9 request the weighting of marks for each exam
Point 9: Request the weighting of marks for each exam
  • E.g. Support Systems
  • You can then revise tactically
  • Using the lecture notes alone is suitable for physiology
point 10
Point 10

Results: Available about 10 days after the last exam (June 26th is Support Systems)

one hour after i got my re sit results
One hour after I got my re-sit results
  • Every time I did poorly in an exam, there was something wrong with my preparation. It wasn’t that I didn’t work hard enough.
  • I want you to avoid the basic mistakes I made so you can have a summer holiday!
what did i do wrong
What did I do wrong?
  • Regulatory Systems: Got the dates mixed up and thought it was Systems first. Had to learn one third of the course in 24 hours. Not fun. SO CHECK AND RECHECK THE DATES OF YOUR EXAMS.
  • Anatomy mistakes:
  • Decided to go through Gray’s Anatomy rather than Learning Objectives. Missed out a lot of important basic knowledge (‘freebies’).
  • Sat staring at images rather than drawing them out.
  • Missed out key learning objectives (the limbs).
  • Didn’t know about the ‘Blue Boxes’ in Moore & Dalley book.