Medical Student Toolkit:
Welcome to the Medical Student Toolkit section of the website.
In this section we will be exploring the various revision resources we used as medical students. There will also be a range of hints and tips about various things medical school related.
Medical Student Revision Tips.
Medical Student Electives: Funding
Speciality Based Resources: Psychiatry, Sexual Health.
Clinical Years: Year 3 Note taking and OSCE tips.
OSCE Book Recommendations.
Medical Student Revision Tips.
Five top tips for exam revision:
1) Use your phone calendar or be old school and get a paper calendar. Calculate the days till the exam and plan your time and the amount of subject matter you can get through in that time.Being realistic about the time you have and what you can get done, can be daunting, but this helps to focus your mind.
2)Start early.Starting to revise early helps you to avoid the last minute stress of cramming. It also allows you to factor in time to relax and allow for illness( this sounds like doom and gloom but it happens). About 3 months before my final exams in third year I had to have an eye operation, it meant I missed some of placement. However because I had been revising much earlier, I was able to catch up and even managed to get a merit that year.
3) Be accountable. At times it can be hard to have a study group or a study partner. However if you have a friend with whom you make joint aims about revision targets, it can be motivating and help you focus your mind.
4) Start with subject matter that you don't like. When we were students, we were always striving to make our technique better, we did this through reading books on study techniques. One thing that was obvious, which we all know, but don't do is that you should start with the topic matter you find hard early on. It is not a pleasant experience, but you are more likely to get help understanding it if you have not be sucessful on your own earlier. The other thing is that the subject matter that you avoid is often the undoing of your good grades. As it always comes back to bite you in the exam.
5) To read or not to read the night before the exam. Through medical school we cycled through not reading the night before the exam and reading the night before the exam. Our conclusion is, light reading before the night of the exam can be a good thing. However try to plan what you are going to read in advance, so that it doesn't stress you out. In addition to this, make it simple things, nothing too complicated.
Medical Student Electives:
How to fund your Medical Elective?
Your medical elective is an exciting time for you to travel abroad and practice/ observe medicine in a different environment. However, for some it can be daunting because your bank account balance is not matching your dreams of exotic travel.
Here are five top tips to funding your Medical Elective:
1) The Royal Society of Medicine has been known to provide a variety of bursaries for medical students and doctors in training. A number of these bursaries require you to write a statement of some kind/agree to present when you return. Please find the link below: https://www.rsm.ac.uk/prizes-and-awards/travel-grants-and-bursaries/
2) Plan ahead and consider a part time job. If you know you want to go to the other side of the world, then start saving in advance. A part time job we would definitely recommend includes private tuition , as it is flexible and can work around your busy schedule , without being all consuming.
Supertip:Avoid getting into debt and using your overdraft – this can be really miserable returning from a great experience with debts to pay.
3) Various societies and Royal Colleges have bursaries for Electives covering specific specialities and topics. Therefore with a bit of planning, if you can be organised to do some kind of project abroad, they may sponsor it.Visit our Additional Resources page for a more extensive list.
4) You could consider splitting your elective in half. Do half of it In a London/ a localish hospital in a speciality your interested in. Then do the other half in an exotic country. You will be surprised how much fun you can have in a different hospital that is not the usual one you are based at for teaching. Equally you could decide to fly to somewhere in Europe , which may also be cheaper.
5) Depending on when your medical school lets you go on elective. Consider avoiding peak periods when booking your flights abroad.
This was a quick set of tips relating to Electives, if you would like us to do a more detailed article and share our own experiences of funding etc send us an email via the feedback section.
Speciality Based Resources:
Revision Resources on Psychiatry :
Have you heard about trickcylist? http://www.trickcyclists.co.uk/
This website is simply brilliant. As students and as Junior doctors we still love it. The OSCE section is really useful for practising for medical school exams. The scenarios are great and the mark schemes are generic and helpful and realistic of what you might expect to find in medical exams. They can be downloaded as pdf’s, which is really helpful for using them on the go. The site is aimed at those trying to obtain MRCPsych ( psychiatry trainees). In addition to OSCE help within the website they also have a section of notes which can be useful for MBBS revision / general revision for your Psychiatry rotations. Of course for Psychiatry trainees, there is also more MRCPsych specific information on the site.
Revision Resources on Sexual Health.
Sexual Health: https://shivtoolkit.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/welcome-to-shiv
Sexual health is not always covered well and it's importance can be underestimated as a medical student and as a doctor.
The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV has a really good toolkit which has been around since 2012. We clearly didn’t find it then. However in regards to what it provides in terms of resources – if gives you a useful model on how to take a Sexual Health History. In addition to this, it also provides some OSCE scenarios you can work through with your colleagues. The only unfortunate thing is though it provides some exam questions on sexual health related problems it doesn’t give you the answers.
Advice on Medical Revision Notemaking in Clinical Years: Year 3.
Traditionally in many medical schools, year 3 is the time when you experience ward life , whilst juggling your learning needs i.e getting to grips with learning about and managing medical conditions. People have various approaches to learning and it can seem like a very broad task, but it is important to be systematic in your approach. As a student, a brilliant Academic F1 opened my eyes to an approach which was simple but made things much easier to digest.
Notemaking on medical conditions structure:
For each medical condition you are required to learn about write the following headings down and read up on these specific aspects of the condition and make sure you have an understanding of each aspect. As a result of doing this, overall you will have a fairly well rounded summary of knowledge relating to each condition youi come across.
· Clinical presentation: – symptoms and signs
· Management: – medical and surgical
Useful OSCE Revision websites:
There was a really useful website which we discovered as students called Peer assisted learning. They have basic notes, which aid you through the thought processes and things you should be looking for on examination.Please find the link below : http://peerassisted.org/
Basic Medical Student OSCE equipment list :
Stethoscope – some people go all out with the Cardiology ones but to be honest a basic Littman will do - we suggest Littman because they are quality, durable and you can actually hear heartsounds with them. There is a difference that we have noted in clarity of when you use other brands( i.e those with a plastic diaphgram instead of a metal one. Small hint - get it engraved with your name and either mobile number or email address, so that if it does get lost people can tell you they have found it.
Tendon Hammer - You can get a telescopic tendon hammer which basically reduces to the size that it can fit into your ward bag or pocket.The other option is to get a full size one which you need to try not to forget on the ward. The reason we advise buying your own, is there is nothing worse than seeing a patient with neurological signs , but not being able to ilicit them because you cannot find a tendon hammer. It is also really useful when you are practising with your friends to own one, as practice helps you get better at iliciting tendon reflexes.
Opthalmoscope: This can be another difficult thing to be able to locate on a ward, or if you are practising with friends, it is difficult to practice if you don't have the equipment.There are different types that you can buy.You can buy ones which you can switch the head so that it can also be used as an Otoscope ( this is useful as you can also improve your ear examination skills). In addition to this, there are a variety of of mini ones and full size ones you can purchase. In regards to how much to spend that varies , you might buy a cheap one if you think you will never need it again after medical school( unlikely), or you can get a mid range one, which will last a few years and you can use further on in your training as a Doctor.
Useful OSCE Books:
Please note that books do not substitute practising with real people, patients or your friends. However they do give you some understanding of what you are looking for , why you are looking for it and conditions the signs are associated with. Our top two companions are listed below.
Clinical Skills Explained: From basics to OSCEs Paperback – 15 Feb 2012 by Dr Muhammed Akunjee (Author), Dr Nazmul Akunjee (Author), & 2 more. At the time that we used this book, not many students knew about this. However it is a brilliant book and it gave you a sense of why you do the things you do. A detailed book review will follow in the next few weeks.
Clinical Skills for OSCEs, fifth edition Paperback – 20 Apr 2015 by Neel Burton (Author) Newer editions of this book have come out since we bought our orginal copy, however this book was helpful because though it is not thick like many of the others( it can fit in your day to day bag). It is jammed packed with useful hints and tips and also covers some of the more unusual medicalexams. In addition to this, they have companion markschemes in a pdf which can also be used on the go.
Generic Book list for Clinical years : Coming Soon.......