The mania involved with end of year exams and OSCEs can only be defined as chaos. Students stressing, teachers overloaded with requests and too many varieties of caffeine being over-consumed.
With all that being said, it was also an exciting time because with the end in sight, we could make our transition from the pre-clinical to the clinical aspects of medicine. It would be time to start a new page in my own life-book and embrace the challenges that came with that. Before then, I had to focus on the present and get myself motivated enough to study for these exams!
One thing I never expected, was the huge psychological toll the pre-clinical year would have on myself and others. In fact, so much so I would term particular activities ‘mental welfare maintainers’. Crazy I know, but everybody deals with stress differently and for me maintaining certain go-to hobbies served me and continues to serve me well. For completeness sake, these things included exercising, watching a favourite show, watching sports TV, meeting up with mates or simply sitting alone in silence and thinking about absolutely nothing.
The exams. You do many exams leading up to this stage in your life so you think it shouldn’t be too difficult to just repeat the same process, but for some reason the old way doesn’t cut it. One thing you have to understand is the shear volume of information you need to retain, alongside the skills you have to practice before completing your first official OSCEs. Somebody that has practiced well, is incredibly obvious in an OSCE situation and so is the reverse. The stuttering, the pauses, the blank look on the individual’s face, the incomprehensible mumbling and other things that examiners see and indicate a student is in trouble.
Written exams for those like myself are an absolute pain in these kinds of circumstances. Sitting down for hours on hours just trying to rote learn slabs of text just isn’t how I roll. It is much too mundane and robotic, with little creativity and flare, not to say that’s what study is about. I find comfort in attempting to draw my way through study as I’m very much a visual learner. That’s not to say that I’m any good, however even my childish attempts at drawing I find enhance my learning in ways that no amount of text memorising could. It is the power of imagery.
With all this disordered cocktail of what one may call study techniques, I managed to get through the year and move on to the next chapter of medical school. A chapter in which the pages are filled with clinical medical interactions and integrate the best form of learning, action.