Getting Stuck Into Revision
So the blog’s taken a bit of a back seat recently (not intentionally though) which is rather inexcusably lazy since I am off timetable and so nothing interesting has really been happening but it’s been over a week since posting, so here goes. Many medicine university courses have a part of the curriculum which involves researching and writing an essay on a topic that you are interested in (cue the various different acronyms) – although here we are allocated topic areas to give us some sort of direction.
I was allocated rather unexcitingly to the topic of ‘marriage and religion’ (yup it’s a humanities essay…) so I have had the joy of researching and writing about this for a few thousand words. The essay is due early next week and I’ve finished my first draft (hurrah) and so really just need to cut down some words and I’m pretty much there. We’d had countless library sessions on ‘how to search for resources’ and it gets pretty repetitive after a while… The hard part of researching and writing a report or essay I find is just trawling through databases and journals to find suitable articles that you can reference and use in your own essay. Once you’ve sort of collaborated enough, it then makes shaping your own report slightly easier.
I always struggle a bit with structuring humanities essays simply because they are a little ‘freer’ than ‘normal science’ essays you might find in the StudentBMJ for example. But it gets easier once you start writing and you realise where you need to expand or dedicate more of the word count too. So I am glad that I’ve got that almost sorted. For some reason, the university give us a lot of time just to write this one essay (although some topics involve hospital placements to acquire data so I guess it’s sort of understandable) but the final one I have after Easter is to do with cardiology and medical imaging so sounds a bit more clinical and ‘science-based’ which is exciting. Woo hoo.
Other than that, I have been trying to be a bit more proactive in my revision to make the most of the ‘free-time’ that I have had recently off timetable. As I have mentioned in my post on failing my recent exam and in the comments, my next one is in a few weeks time before we break up for Easter so I’m trying to prep a bit for that. I think that my attitude before was a little blasé since I didn’t really do any particular revision for the last exam – in my mind, I thought ‘it’s all clinical and so I can’t really revise for it’. I’ve adapted that outlook slightly and now am trying to just get into the good habit of revising old work consistently so that I am hopefully memorising more as well as picking up clinical skills and tips along the way.
I am sure everyone has heard of the ‘holy grail technique’ of recapping work over and over to get knowledge into your long-term memory, at increasing time intervals. So I have been planning this more often by actually noting down in my diary ‘revise ______ topic’ and then writing it again a week later and then a month later. Hopefully instead of focussing on ‘I must pass this exam’ type of attitude, I am just upping the much-needed revision for this demanding course, and in due time, by doing this, I will be encountering useful knowledge for MCQ questions like which drug is used in the ‘abortion pill’ (mifepristone which acts by filling progesterone receptors and blocking the action of progesterone) along the way. Well that’s the theory anyway. I already feel a lot more confident, knowledge-wise about having another exam soon so we’ll have to see.
I have also been making the most of the free extra lectures and teaches on offer by tutors and upper years students just to gain some exposure to topics I might not have come across yet formally in the course. Upper years students can often help point out ‘typical’ MCQ scenarios or symptoms as they have experience of doing the exam so it’s good to note them down!
It’s not too long until my Easter holidays now and I am definitely looking forward to going home – I think that having such a long time off timetable really makes you reflect and think a lot more, and I have come to realise that I have actually missed family and home more this term, and speaking on skype is just not the same as seeing them face to face. I did get a lovely letter from my intelligent sister (just for you Eve!) today in the post which was really lovely and definitely made my day!
Hope everyone has been enjoying the sunnier weather in England (though still chilly) or wherever else you are!