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5 top tips: What to do if you are a medical student and your learning has been postponed

Updated: Jul 2, 2020

1.You are not on holiday.

It might be tempting to take a lax approach to your day to day activities, during this time because there is limited accountability. However there are a few things to bear in mind and these are as follows: this is not time that you will get back and in an ideal world you should be furthering your learning towards the end goal, which is to successfully complete your MBBS.

So what are we suggesting?

· Treat your Monday to Fridays like an office day – have a clear start and finish time with scheduled breaks.

· Remain accountable to a friend and try to get into a routine.

· Draw yourself up a timetable of the things that you would like to cover each week ie common conditions you would be expected to usually see on the ward for clinical students and for those of you who are meant to be in lectures, plan which lectures you would like to cover each week.


2.Be innovative in your learning:

By this, we mean seeking methods to learn medicine that you might not have previously used. Some of our favourites are outlined below:

Textbook: We all know that technology has overtaken the good old textbook. Some people like to gather information from online resources etc. However on this one occasion ,we would like to lay emphasis on the value of good old textbooks. The reason for this, is that a textbook will provide structure and you can quite easily divide up the textbook with clear aims on when you will complete it. Reading books is not a substitute for being on placement. However, it is an opportunity to build up on book knowledge so that once placement restarts, you can link the two.

Hint: brand new textbooks can be expensive, therefore in our day we often ordered used like new , paying particular attention to the ones ,which clearly stated they were clean and free from highlight , pencil marks etc.In the next few days to weeks we will be trawling through our treasure trove of textbooks and telling you what we like about them.

Videos: People underestimate the power of visual learning and if you are a visual learner this might just be the perfect option. For pre-clinical students a particularly interesting resource we used as students was the Acland Anatomy DVDS, the DVD set is organised by anatomical region and can be quite nice to draw along to. In addition to this, he has a really soothing type voice which is not monotonous. Previously there were samples of these videos which you could watch online before purchasing. Hint: this is a pricey set – some could be borrowed from the library previously. In addition to this, you could consider sharing a box set depending on your level of attachment about owning the whole thing.

Youtube:The video section would not be complete without mentioning Youtube, there is a plethora of resources there. In the coming weeks we will do a run down of some popular ones you might not have been aware of.


3.Build a virtual revision community with your colleagues.

As medics, we can sometimes find it difficult to work together. Particularly when we are in medical school. There seems to be a fear that by sharing knowledge someone else is getting ahead, but now more than ever is the time to be altruistic.The other advantage of groups is that they also help you to maintain accountability.

Remember we are living in generation technology, therefore take advantage of it. Given the advice on social distancing and staying home when possible. For now it might not be the best idea to meet up in person. However you could schedule a regular call either once a week or a few times a week, where you take it in turns to teach each other on a topic one of you has a really good understanding of. Furthermore, it is also worth building in about 10-15 mins for social chit chat at the beginning of the call, so that you don’t feel so socially isolated.

The ways to set up virtual meetings could include:

· Skype meetings – this is really good but I think there are limits to how many people you can have per call.

· Zoom: is known to be really good because you can share you screen with a few people, as well as having multiple people on the call.

· More recently we have heard of Google conference calls.

There are probably more, the gist of what we are trying to say, is that you can use technology to help maintain revision study groups.

Hint: see our article on creating effective study groups at medical school.


4. Check your University emails regularly.

This sounds quite obvious but given all that is going on. It could be tempting to forget to check. Missing important emails giving updates about alternative assessments can be quite stressful as you find yourself always playing catch up.

Ways to combat this:

· If you manage to set up a revision group have one person responsible each day for being the email checker and updating everyone on Watsapp in a daily summary type thing.

· Put the important dates that your Universities mention in a diary on your phone with an alert. As lectures are not happening anymore, you won’t get that verbal reminder which might make you less likely to forget.


5. Be safe and stay healthy.

There are talks of students going in to volunteer and students doing different things to try and help in the current crisis. In process of helping and giving it is important to look after yourself.

Usual simple things apply:

· Eat healthy food – seems obvious but there is more to good nourishment that constant take away.

· If you are working in the hospital take stock, if you are getting overwhelmed talk to someone. If you feel out of your depth ask for help.

· Taking care of your mental health and well being is really crucial during this time especially because anxiety levels are high and you may inadvertently have friends or family affected. Remember there are sources of online help like Moody Gym just to name one.

· Exercise – take walks, stay fresh.

· Remember, it might not be now , but eventually the frontline will need you.

As always we are here to help.

Why not drop us a message on twitter-

Visit our youtube channel for more videos -

Alternatively you could visit our podcast series -

All the best, stay motivated and stay safe.

From the MR Revision Team.

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