Exams


I guess exams are probably the last thing a lot of you want to think about at the moment, having just received your results not too long ago. Anyway, I’m going to talk about them anyway, cause they’re a big part of your uni life (although, that being said, they form a smaller part of uni life for some people than others).

You get a few exam types at Dunders:
Online Exams
In my mind, these are the biggies. You sit these exams on campus on computers and the questions are multi-choice style questions. It sounds easy, but I would disagree! Instead of 4 choices, you get around 8-10 potential answers. For more info on the question styles, the questions are called EMIs and MCQs. They basically test your theory knowledge of medicine and sometimes your situational judgement as well. Lots of fun.

OSCE
This stands for Objective Structured Clinical Exam, and you’ll sit these whichever medical school you go to. They test your clinical skills e.g. taking a history from a patient, doing an examination etc. etc. and are really nerve racking! You stand outside the door of a room with a sheet telling you what you’re expected to do inside, a bell goes (reminiscent of school, which is enough to shoot the nerves of even the bravest medics) and then you do as much as you can in the 7 minutes to impress the examiner. You get these at the end of each year of medicine (apart from 5th year if you’re lucky). I remember in 1st year and 2nd year I had to do something called ‘Urinalysis’ as my first station. There’s a general rule that your first station is your worst in any OSCE, just because of nerves. Well, I was so nervous both years that after fumbling around for around 3 of my 7 minutes in the station, I managed to get about 3 fingers in the right place in my gloves and then proceeded to spill urine all over myself and the floor. Not the best!

I also remember in 1st year, you get given these wee hand gel things which you can attach to your clothes, and they’ve got the push top things, so you push the top down, and pungent alcohol gel shoots out of a hole on the front of it. Now, at every station, you get a point for washing your hands using alcohol gel, so I was intent on spraying my hands at every chance I got. Unfortunately, my aim was a bit off, as the hole was pointing inwards towards my crotch rather than outwards onto my hand. I ended up walking around for an hour looking like the urine accident in station 1 could well have been me. It gave the examiners a laugh though, I guess.

Anatomy Spot Check Exam
You get these in 1st year, where you’re presented with a prosection with a flag pinned in at an exact location. You walk around with a sheet of paper, told when to move to the next station by a buzzer, and have to name everything thats flagged – it could be a muscle, a nerve, an artery or a nerve. These are a case of either knowing it or not having a clue exams and so can be a bit daunting at first, but you get used to them.

VIVA
This happens in your final year. Over your time in med school you build up a portfolio of cases you’ve seen (called a RoCE (Record of Clinical Experience), said Rocky). You then put these in a big folder, your examiner has time to look at them all and then they can ask you anything about any of the cases they choose. I think this’ll be a pretty scary exam, but plenty of time before I need to worry about that one! If you fail this, then you have to pass a remedial OSCE before you qualify.

Intercalated exams
If you want to intercalate, you’ll be doing some different exams.
Essays are usually the final exams and make up about 50% of your final degree classification (if you’re like me and hated english at school, this probably won’t be much fun!), although you have either a Project or Dissertations you do throughout the year whihc makes up 25% of your final grade, and then throughout the year you get wee mini tests which usually make up about 25% of your grade. You don’t really need to know that, but its nice to have an idea of what things are like.

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