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rob

This is how I did it

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Firstly , I began a year in advance attending a weekly MRCPsych course and partook in their mock exams . This was a good way to get into the right mental mindset .

I bought MCQ  books  , a book on essay writing , a critrical appraisal book and a psychiatry handbook  . Impulsive spending on books does make you feel less guilty , so do it ! but most of them are a waste of money  :lol:  

I would say that I only really got serious studying about six months in advance .  I signed on for the Manchester course as soon as it opened as it is the Gold Standard of courses today .  I decided that I would at least have revised everything once before the course or there would be no point in going .

I began to read my Critical appraisal text  and had to read it multiple times ( Greek it was to start)  and did the  appraisal exercises for the Manchester course .   Attended the weekend course which I found quite gruelling but incredibly reassuring that I wasnt the only one feeling at sea  especially  concerning essay writing .  The course notes were excellent , a very concise summary of the Oxford Textbook in fact .  The ISQs were directly from the previous exam .

The course was a good 2 months before the exam so there was plenty of time to consolidate .  I began to use the internet  alot for those unanswerable questions , it lead me into interesting webpages   such as     http://www.yorku.ca/eye/toc.htm     and http://www.cebm.net/    as well as too  many more to enumerate .  Of course this website was gold . :lol:

I made a conscious decision not to concentrate on ISQs but rather to develop a sound knowledge base by studying the Manchester notes and practising the ISQs that came with the course .  I learned the art of essay writing  from first principles which I picked up from ' Passing the Essay' by Trigwell et al.

I spent my 12 days study leave on my a_ s . I attended a Critical appraisal  crammer . I read and studied my critical appraisal  text back and fourth .  I made notes which I called my 'pearls of wisdom' and I kept notes on prevalence and incidence on a horizontal line graph which helped me to remember important figures .  I made notes on comparing and contrasting case control , cohort , randomised control studies , meta analysis etc, I made mind maps for about 4 possible essays and learned them .

I looked to superego for reassurance , I practised the ISQs , looked up answers on the internet .  I was most worried about the C.A exam  ,knowing that it would be a race against time and indeed it was .  It was exasperatingly quick .  I did the short question first and did it well.  The second one was anybodies guess .

My Advise is

1.  have a solid knowledge base

2. practice the technique of essay writing and make mind maps for some spots to help your confidence

3.  know your C.A like the back of your hand and expect the worst possible exam experience , be aware that you will have no time to think . Start with the short question  first and go for it !

::) ::) ::)

GOOD LUCK

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