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richardmellor

Revising for essay experience

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Hi there

I'm planning on sitting part 2's in autumn but it's the essay paper thats making me feel demoralised most. Reading apt - seems very helpful - but just don't know how far to read. there are 100s of highly relevant reviews for the essay. what are other people's experience? thanks :-/

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i got through the part 2 second attempt.first got essay 10,critical paper 10 and mcq's 5.

for essay i got all the previous topics and put them in broad categories.

none of the topics are repeated but many are around common topics.

then take each topic and read all about it in the manchester notes,making notes of references,etc.

then read the relevant topic specifically in a textbook you are comfortable with.for me it was companion.

then summarise this info and it will be your core knowledge for the essay.i also found this info stayed with me and was useful in the clinicals.

i did not read any journals,but do so if you have time.

the main trick is to show that you know the basics,current rs,opinions and one or two studies related to it and most important show that you can give the pros,cons,limitations then argue your point of view.your view can be not current view but you will score most marks for your arguement style.the essays are not weighted towards pure knowledge,it is towards your ability to argue on paper.

be clear what the question asks and lay out your essay accordingly.you need to do this prep now.your knowledge will biuld up slowly but appropriately.you have enough time.good luck.

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the above technique was used for my second attempt.for the first attempt i was running around like a mad wabbit not knowing what the exam was about and it was more lets have a look and see attitude.i wrote the first essay with no mention of any papers,nice guidelines etc and was quite surprised i got 10.i did argue for half the essay pretty much like a journalist and i guess that gave the marks.take home message is that you need the facts but the arguement is more important.

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I've posted some hints and tips in the clinical section for part II on this, but I'll sum it up here.

ESSAY: This is the MOST important part, as you HAVE to pass this. I have to say that I read 18 months worth of journals prior to the written and it didn't help that much. Having a good broad general knowledge of each topic - there are about 15 of them. Good overall knowledge is invaluable.

PLANNING a good essay is crucial as you will NOT get marks for regurgitating material. It's all about debating the issues and coming up with a balanced argument. Advances in psych treatment is brill for essay structures. I planned essays for all major topics, e.g. schizophrenia, depression, DSH, forensics, personality disorders, services etc. Having essay plans and integrating them is a good idea. If you have a plan for 'services,' you can adapt it to any topic that involves services. Having the odd reference is a bonus, but don't kill yourself over it. NICE, ICD-10, NSF all count. On the exam day, spend about 20 mins planning your essay and always read the question. You will be surprised about much you can write on a topic.

Hope this help.

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HI you guys. Only managed to get back online now. Thanks alot for your comments. Really been helpful. Thanks :)

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Essay will seem a big hurdle, but actually it isn't.

as maverick said planning is very important. i wud recommend planning for approximately 20 mins out of 90 mins allocated.

go through important topics in APT for the last year. manchester material is good. there are no. of facts which can be used for many common topics.

also practise writing essays as in exam scenario. this is quite useful as it wud exactly test your writing skills.

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i wouldnt say that u have to pass the essay as I got 6 in it while I got 14 and 12 in the other 2 and I still passed the theory last time.

I think where i went wrong was I was writing about what I knew about eating disorders rather than on the topic.its v imp u have to write on teh topic.u can large amt of knowledge n still fail essay while u may not know anything and still pass.Its how you write .usually there is a very general topic which even a non medico can write on ,perhaps better than us...so discuss in a group how u can tackle each essay...n u will get lots of points from others.

ofcourse u do read APT , OXFORD ,MANCHESTER notes but u need to know how to apply that knowledge.

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I think that you should stick to one thing and read it. For example the Manchester notes contain everything you need to pass the essay and MCQ's and all the people I know just read them. Forget about loads of books as you will get snowed under. It is not that hard to pass and the main thing is not to let all the waiting about before, during and after the exam get to you. Also forget about references in the essay. I didn't put any in and passed.

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I would suggest reading few apt articles, bjpsych n psych bull editorials to improve your knowlegde base. I had actually saved plenty of articles on my computer to read couldnt manage, about 1-2 weeks before exam i read only the abstract bits of most of the articles and i found it useful.

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I agree with jimbaxter, manchester notes covers just enough info to pass and it would be better to read it well. But, the essays sometimes in the past have been unpredictable, if you atleast read abstracts of some imp articles topic wise it would help

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