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Study Skills: Revision Tips from the Team

Now for something a little different... the team of Medisense volunteers have combined their revision techniques and have some pearls of wisdom to share!

Considering there's so much variety in what we have to learn in medicine, it seems paradoxical that many of us employ just a couple of methods to study. Of course, we use our tried and tested techniques for good reasons, but there's probably also an element of succumbing to exam fear, leading to a crisis of imagination and the tendency to fall back on old habits. Experimenting with new ways of learning could unlock brain power you never even knew you had, but what to do? To get you started, here are some methods that members of the Medisense team use to make studying more engaging, effective and (dare we say it) enjoyable.


Saama: I'll write out my notes. Then rewrite them again but in a more condense format, making sure I only write down the key points. Then do the same again, so that by the third time I've got them really condensed into small boxes/post-its.


La'ali: I pick a topic and record myself talking about it for as long as I can. I basically work out all the gaps in my knowledge through that. I keep the recording so that if I’m ever sat somewhere and want to do work, I have plenty of audio to listen to. I also do a lot of sound association. Like the other day, I was trying to remember Naftidrofuryl as a drug for PVD, and I turned it into ‘Naff tide of fury’ and drew a little cartoon of a tiny angry wave washing over a foot.


Roland: I like making notes but sometimes you need to put the pen down, reflect on what you've learnt, and put everything together to form a story which brings key concepts together. You'll find out if things don't make sense and you'll see what you need to find out. Based on your story/current knowledge, you should be able to make predictions about what may happen in different situations, then compare this with reality.

For example, based off what I understand about how different forms of asthma present and their pathologies, can I work out the differences in investigations and management steps that need to be taken from scratch? How much overlap is there between my predictions and the NICE/BTS guidelines? Why do those differences exist? Seeing where intuition and the evidence base align is perhaps a different approach to spice up revision, but this obviously takes time!


Hannah W: Learning through stories, rhymes and songs helps things stick together better for me. For example: Croup the dog, who barks in a park and runs after a horse (barking cough, parainfluenza virus, hoarse voice) but needs to be bigger (steroids) and faster (adrenaline) to catch it!


Eliot: I learn from two methods. Repeatedly reading and copying out my notes like I got in trouble in school and have to do lines. Or pretending I'm giving a lecture on the subject to my family (plus or minus actually trying to teach non-medics about medic stuff).


Hannah R: For when I'm on public transport, I downloaded a “random selection” app on my phone, and created two lists: one of conditions I need to know about, and one consisting of typical presentation, pathophysiology, aetiology, signs on examination, investigations and results, management, and complications. I'll let the app decide the topic for me and then talk through it (in my head) – for example the signs on examination in Crohn's disease. I carry the Oxford Handbook with me to check whether I was right and fill in any gaps.


Salma: I do peerwise/ multiple choice questions, but before I look at the choices available, I try to answer the question as is, so that I'm testing my knowledge. I also like studying with friends! We either make each other questions or do multiple choice questions together and then discuss the answers. Discussion really helps, especially when you have a debate about what the correct answer is, because it makes the information stick and links things together in my mind.


If you’d like to contribute to the Medisense blog, we’d love to hear from you – send us an email at

Guest Blog: , 04.12.2018


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