From the printed Final Exam schedule listed in the current class schedule or on the web page, write your exam schedule on a sheet of paper. To identify needed study times work backward from the exam dates so you know how much time you will have for each class. You will also want to consider the difficulty of the class, the weight of the final exam (the percentage of the total grade), your current grade, and how well you want to do in each class. Compare the importance of this final with your other final exams, and decide how much time you can afford to spend on each class.
For each class, gather the relevant study materials, tools and equipment. For example, you’ll need your course outline, class notes and your text or lab manual. If you have study guides, lab exams and midterms, gather those as well. Make sure you have the correct answers for any exams. Make a list of the topics you’ve covered during the term or the year. This list of topics will become your Table of Contents. (If you number each page of your notes sequentially, you’ll know exactly where to find each topic.) While you’re reviewing your notes to generate this list, estimate your current level of knowledge of this topic, on a scale from 1–10 and jot this number in pencil beside the topic heading. Examine the course objectives and determine the distribution of marks. Are some topics worth more than others? Beside each topic in your Table of Contents, jot your estimate of the importance of this topic for the final exam. (For example, if your professor has told you that your final will emphasize the last half of the term, you will want to be certain that you understand that last half before reviewing other topics.) You might also want to rate the difficulty of each topic. Now review your Table of Contents and your estimates of 1) your current level of knowledge, 2) the importance of the topic and 3) the level of difficulty of each topic. Based on these estimates, decide which topics to study first and which will take the longest. Once you have identified the most important and difficult topics, review your exam schedule to see how much time is available for this exam and assign a block of time for each topic.
Schedule time for adequate sleep, exercise and healthy meals. Your brain depends on oxygen and glycogen to function. It gets oxygen when you exercise. To maintain the levels of glycogen, eat a combination of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fat at every meal, even snacks. That means if you need to chew while you study, you’re better off with celery, broccoli or carrots with a slice of cheese than munching on cookies—hard as they are to resist! Be careful about the amount of coffee and soda pop you drink. Although a cup or two of coffee might actually help you study (especially if it becomes part of your study ritual), too much caffeine will interfere with your sleep. A regular can of soda pop might contain 16 teaspoons of sugar! That much sugar will temporarily boost your blood sugar levels, but will be followed by a low as your body produces insulin to take that excess sugar out of your blood stream. Not only that, but pop often contains caffeine, sometimes more than the strongest coffee. Your poor brain won’t know what hit it! Watch your energy and anxiety levels. Your ability to learn depends on your ability to concentrate. A few minutes of alert, focused concentration is worth more than an hour spent gazing sleepily at the same sentence! You want to stay in the optimal energy zone for learning, neither too low in energy nor too high in anxiety. A little anxiety actually helps your motivation, but too much interferes with your ability to concentrate, interferes with sleep, and drains your energy. Although it takes practice, you can learn how to relax whenever you wish. Click here for links to relaxation websites.
Anxiety can surface as physical complaints, such as tense muscles or “butterflies” in the stomach, but it can also express itself as negative emotions. If you feel frustrated, annoyed or worried, take a few minutes to identify the source. Are you worried about a particular exam? Is this material exceptionally difficult? Is negative self-talk undermining your concentration? Are you simply tired of studying? Try to identify the problem and take action to address it. Structure your study time to maximize your learning. Your brain needs time and good quality sleep to make your new memories permanent, so it’s better to schedule shorter, more frequent study periods. For reading and general reviewing, 45–50 minutes with a ten-minute break is usually recommended, while memorizing should probably be done in shorter periods of time, perhaps 15–30 minutes. Alternate subjects, so that your brain gets a change every study session. Be sure to schedule longer breaks every few hours, including time to relax before going to bed. Spend a few minutes at the beginning of each study period developing your “mental set.” Clear a space, physically, mentally and emotionally, where you are able to learn. Close your eyes briefly and evoke your curiosity. Tell yourself, “I want to learn this. It’s interesting. I’m learning valuable skills and knowledge.” Even if you dislike the material, you can still have a more positive learning experience by trying to find at least one good thing about the subject. Sometimes it might be, “I need this class to graduate, and if I pass this exam, I’ll never have to study this subject again!” You should also develop a little “ritual” before you begin to study, such as getting yourself a drink, setting out the tools you’ll need (pencil, pen, eraser, ruler, calculator, etc.), and then reviewing your goals for the session. Some students like to stimulate their memory with sensory cues, such as sounds, tastes or smells. Choose something that you can recreate in the exam situation. For example, burning a candle often helps students relax and focus at the beginning of a study session, but bringing a candle into an exam might be problematic. Having a hard candy, such as a peppermint or cough drop, is less conspicuous and easy to obtain. You could have a different flavor for different subjects, which might help you remember. Although many students like to play music while they work, music (especially with lyrics) may be distracting, interfering with your concentration. Also, you usually cannot take music into the exam. At the end of every study period, briefly review the material you’ve just learned. Tell yourself that this material will become a permanent memory very soon. “Lock it in.” Leave approximately half of your study time for “output.” This “output” is simply various ways of processing and reproducing the information. The form of output will depend on the subject matter. For example, output could include testing your ability to do math problems, making a summary of the major topics, developing a “contrast and compare” chart, generating a chronology, labeling a blank diagram or writing practice tests. Test your knowledge soon and often. Although you might feel testing yourself before you’ve studied thoroughly is pointless, forcing yourself to recall material helps you to learn that material. Testing early also gives you valuable feedback. Perhaps your self-test indicates that you know a particular topic fairly well, so you can spend your valuable time studying another topic or subject that you don’t know as well. If you test yourself early and find that you don’t know a topic as well as you thought, you still have plenty of time to learn it before the final exam. You may be able to get old exams from the exam file in the USSU Print Shop in Lower Place Riel. These old exams can help you improve your exam writing skills as well as test your knowledge. You can self-test by creating your own exams, using review questions from the text or re-creating some of the tools you used during “output” (See number 6, above.) If you learn well in groups, you could spend some time studying with others from your class, but remember to practice writing your answers as well— most exams are not orals! You have to be able to write your answers clearly during the exam
Ways of handling the rest of the world Pay attention to your attention – Be aware of your internal interruptions. If you keep interrupting your studying to remind yourself of something, decide to do it before studying or write yourself a note to do at a later time. Agree with living mates about study time – Make the rules clear to roommates, parents, spouses and kids. Once they are set, stick to them and follow them yourself. Get off the phone – Stay off the phone when you are trying to study. Simply say “I can’t talk right now, I’m studying.” Most people will understand if it has to do with your education. Learn to say “no” – Saying “no” to a request can be done effectively and courteously. Others want you to succeed as a student and will understand if you say you cannot do something because you are busy studying. Hang a “do not disturb” sign on your door – This will let others know that you are working. Get ready the night before – Completing a few simple tasks before going to bed can help you get in gear faster the next day. For example, if you have to make phone calls in the morning, look up the numbers, write them on a piece of paper, and leave them by the phone. Call ahead – A few seconds on the phone can save hours in wasted trips and wrong turns. For example, phone the grocery store to see if they carry the items you need before you drive down there or call for directions before leaving. Avoid noise distractions – Studying in a quiet environment is best. Notice how others misuse your time – Be aware of repeat offenders who interrupt your studying. If avoiding the interrupter is impractical, then send a clear message
When you get stuck, ask yourself What is one task I can accomplish toward my goal? Am I being too hard on myself? Does this need to be perfect? Would I pay myself for what I am doing right now? Can I do just one more thing? Am I making time for things that are important but not urgent? (i.e., exercise) Can I delegate this? Could I ask someone else to do such time-consuming tasks as make supper or collect library books? How did I just waste time? Note: this is not the same as feeling guilty. The point is not to blame yourself, but rather to increase your skill. Move from “blame” to “learn.” Could I find the time if I really wanted? If someone was paying you to do schoolwork, could you find four more hours without sacrificing sleep or anything important to you? Am I willing to promise it? If you want to find time for a task, promise yourself and others that you’ll get it done. Promises can work magic because when your word is on the line, it’s possible to discover reserves of time and energy you didn’t know existed.
Ways to avoid procrastination Make your plans a part of public record – Write down your plan and it will be harder to ignore, or announce your plan to close friends or family members. Step back and check your progress from time to time – Avoid becoming bogged down in the details of your work by periodically stepping back and measuring your progress to see how near or far you are from achieving your intended goal. Let your momentum work for you – Let the excitement from accomplishing an interesting task carry over to an activity that interest you less. This extra energy will help you start on the dreaded task, and once you have started (the hardest part), you will be that much closer to finishing. Use the five-minute plan – Begin a long neglected task by agreeing to work on it for only five minutes. When the five minutes are up, decide if you want to keep going. You usually will, because simply starting is the hardest part. Be specific – Clearly define what you need to do and the goal will seem more concrete, doable, and therefore, easier to complete. This will also make the task seem less overwhelming. For example, rather than saying to yourself, “I’ve got to start writing that research paper,” start breaking down the assignment: choosing a topic, compiling a working bibliography, writing an outline. Verbalize your excuses – State your excuses for procrastinating out loud to yourself or to a friend, you’ll often find that your reasoning is not nearly as logical as you’d thought. Visualize success or completion – Imagine yourself accomplishing a task, passing a test, or achieving a goal. This visualization gives you a tangible game plan and the positive outcome imagined provides an incentive to complete the task. Find a reward – construct rewards carefully and be willing to withhold them until you complete the task.
Preparing for FCPS-II Exams Dr. M. Nasar Sayeed KhanAssociate Professor of Psychiatry SIMS and SHL firstname.lastname@example.org 0332 8440242
Preparing for FCPS-II Exams BalancingStrategies & Goals
The Purpose of Exams• The purpose of an exam is twofold and it is for the examiners and college to check: – That you have understood the work covered in your specialty – That the work that demonstrates this is entirely your own effort….• Preparing for exams involves a high release of energy and an unusual degree of focus, which produces a very intense kind of learning.
Preparing for Exams The pressure of exams stimulates you to draw together the strands of your learning, and to acknowledge areas that need more work: This pressure can be viewed: Negatively: As Stress and the likelihood of failing Positively: As a challenge encouraging you to heighten your own expertise.
Outline Preferences, Learning & Studying Strategy Toolbox Time Management/Study Plan The ABC’s of Preparing for FCPS Exams A. Organize B. Spend your study time wisely C. Strategize to overcome problems Practicing for Your FCPS theory and OSPE Taking Your Exams
Time Management 168 hours in a week Block out committed times Work/Home/Other required commitments Block out sleep, eating, and personal readiness Look at times left and other needs include home and family/study times needed weekly When should the most difficult courses be studied
The ABC’s of Preparing for FCPS Exams College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan “One of the most common difficulties that PG`s encounter when preparing for FCPS is not having allocated enough time for studying.”
The ABC’s of Preparing for FCPS Exams College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan “Students who plan their study strategy and manage their anxiety and time effectively are able to study their course materials systematically and have enough time to cover the material they need to know for their exams.”
The ABC’s of Preparing for FCPS Exams College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan “By scheduling time to write practice exams similar to the final, they increase their confidence and reduce their exam anxiety.”
The ABC’s of Preparing for FCPS Exams A. Organize B. Spend your study time wisely C. Strategize to overcome problems
A: Organize –FCPS Exam Schedule IMM OSPE Theory FCPS-II OSPE
A: Organize - Study Plan For each session on rotations identify difficulty and for exam preparation needs. What materials should I study? Sequence and develop a study plan.
Select What to Revise The Revision Process is one of Selection•Select which topics you are going to revise – If you will need to answer three exam questions, revise at least five topics – Try to attend revision classes as these will help greatly in narrowing down the material that needs revising
Select What to Revise Work our answers to a range of possible exam questions for each topic Select the most important theories, references and evidence for each topic Organise the selected information so that it is easier to remember.
Practice In order to revise effectively, it is essential to know what is expected of you: 1. Obtain a copy of the syllabus (module description) – check the topics 2. Look at past examination papers (available from the library) 3. How long is the exam? (time per question/time to plan answers)
Practice Look at the following words and ensure that you understand EXACTLY what is expected of you: Analyse, Assess, Comment, Compare, Contrast, Criticise, Comment, Define, Describe, Discuss, Evaluate, Enumerate, Illustrate, Interpret, Justify, List, Outline, Prove, Reconcile, Relate, Review, State, Summarise, Trace If you are in doubt of the meaning of any of the listed words, go to a good dictionary If you “ describe ” when you are asked to “ define ” you will fail to answer the question
Past Exam Papers Past papers are your best resource; they are found on the library website. At first the wording of exam papers can be off putting: Questions may seem vague as they cannot ‘give away the answer’It is important to get used to this style well in advance of the exam
Past Exam Papers• On an exam paper, each question links to an area of the table of specification; you need to find that link and consider which issues the question is directing you towards• Look for the following on past papers: – What type of questions are asked? – Are there compulsory questions areas? – Do some questions reappear each year? – What is the minimum number of topics you can revise to answer the paper?
Exam Day Listen to the examiners instructions carefully, then read the exam requirements carefully How many questions to be answered altogether? How many on part 1, 2, etc. Read through the question paper, put a tick against possibles, choose your best ones, Eat a sweet. Start your action plan – which question you are going to answer first? Re-read the question, plan your answer, start writing.
Exam Day DO NOT PANIC!!! NO ONE WANTS YOU TO FAIL!!!•Remember: The exam is not designed to catch youout, ruin your future or psychologically destroy you.•Itis simply a means of assessing whether you haveworked wel throught your module and are thereforeable to meet specific criteria to a reasonablestandard.
What is OSPE? O bjective S tructured P ractical E xamination
OSPE for the FCPS Psychiatry Reflect the objectives Set at the appropriate level Understanding the theory Applying the theory Acquiring practical skills
Advantages over Practical Exam Better coverage Less duplicated equipment Less preparation for each task Reduced cost Supervision easier
OSPE can Test Laboratory based measurement Microscopy skills Simulated skills Applied medical science Laboratory procedures Special tasks
Station Types in an OSPE1. Microscope2. Specimens3. Computer4. Laboratory equipment5. SPs6. X-ray, laboratory preps & results
Station Example 5bRadiological Anatomy A B C D E
Advanced Preparation for OSPE’s Practice: Exam performance improves with practice Attend any mock exams if provided (even if you feel you are not ready) or arrange your own (with friends or by yourself): Pick and old exam paper Arrange your seating so that you cannot see each other’s papers Write the answers within a set time limit, work alone and in silence Afterwards, discuss your answers with each other
B: Spend Your Time Wisely Plan for adequate sleep, exercise, and normal meals (watch too much coffee & soda). The remaining class and study times are precious. Watch your energy and anxiety levels. A little anxiety is a good thing—what if you have too much anxiety?
B: Spending Your Time Wisely… Lowering Anxiety Relax! Count/Visualize/Unplug the toe/Reprogram Self-Talks Prepare/Maximize learning/When is your best time? Rituals - Preview/study/take breaks/review Input/Output 50/50 Test yourself Index Cards/Where to get the information? Mnemonics (silent m, long e) Memory Dump
C. Strategize to overcome problems Ways of handling the rest of the world Pay attention to your attention Agree with living mates about study time Get off the phone/TV Learn to say “no” Hang out a “do not disturb” sign Avoid noise distractions Notice how others misuse your time
C. Strategize to overcome problems When you get stuck, ask yourself What is one task I can accomplish? Am I being too hard on myself? Does this need to be perfect? Can I do just one more thing? What is the best use of my time right now? Can I delegate this? How did I just waste time? (cleaning room)
C. Strategize to overcome problems Ways to avoid procrastination Make your plans a part of public record Study with others Step back and check your progress from time to time Start/Use 5 minute plan Be specific Verbalize your excuses Visualize success or completion Find a reward
Practicing for Your Final What is important to study? What materials should you use? Type of questions: Essay, Multiple Choice, T/F, Fill-in, Matching Learn from your mistakes Time yourself Practice reducing anxiety don’t wait until test day Should I cram?
Taking the EXAM???? Mind Set Preview Plan your time/Points/Weighted Memory Dump/Anxiety Reduction Read question carefully Strategies for essay, multiple choice, matching, T/F, fill-in Skip or guess Be last to Finish Review test, be sure it is complete