The final push! How to keep going in exam term

Exam term is really tough! It’s hard to keep going with everything going on and after a long year. Have a look below for some inspiration on how to make it easier!

 

Why am I writing this blog?

Firstly, a big bravo for making it so far! It’s been a hurricane of a year and you’re not alone if you feel exhausted! Lockdown in, lockdown out, hours of online teaching and you’re still going. Speaking with other medics, it seems being on placement is a key motivator for a lot of us. With exams approaching – or perhaps you are already in the midst of them, it can be difficult to maintain the same enthusiasm on the wards, balanced together with revision time. We’ve put together some advice that’s helped us to keep going during final term; we already know you can do it, but sometimes we can all appreciate a little push…

 

Establish a schedule (and try to stick to it)

When you have a lot of work, it can be so overwhelming you don’t know where to start! Especially when placements are ongoing, adding to new content to cover. Having a routine can help you stay on track, lessening decision fatigue. This means you don’t have to constantly be deciding what to study next, or deciding when it is time to change topic.

Make a list of all you have to cover and start by focusing on what you feel least confident in and is most high-yield. When setting out your weekly goals, bullet-point how you aim to address them. For example, if you aim to cover paediatrics by the end of the week, list the sources you intend to use for practice SBAs, or set days for practicing OSCE stations.

Don’t forget time-outs

They say medical school is a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes, further stressors from life outside of medicine can put you in overdrive. Take a step back to process how you feel, and at times like that take it slower.

Remind yourself the bigger picture, and try to switch the routine to add a bit of variety to your day. Thankfully, the warmer weather and lockdown easing means you can do some lighter study outdoors, in a coffee shop, or simply use it as an incentive to make sure you get the work done to have some free time to enjoy other activities outside afterwards! Hopefully, there are hobbies and activities that bring you joy in addition to medicine; don’t forget to build them into your life too!

 

Reflect and realign

Sometimes, I find myself working on one thing but thinking I should be studying something else. It is helpful to remember that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ thing to be doing. Try to be a bit less strict on yourself and focus on making progress, rather than it being perfect. However, I’d recommend reflecting on what you’re doing and how, because it will help identify things you can improve on, what is working and what is not. If you’re finding that making notes is taking way too long and that you’re still struggling with practice questions, perhaps focus your technique on flashcards, or check out our free notes on the In2Med website! Take it day by day, and focus on what you can do to be 1% better than you were yesterday.

Electra Bosa
UCL

About The Author

Nayan is a medical student from the University of Nottingham. He has a keen interest in widening participation and loves learning new skills.

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