Study tips

Wake up at the right time

Apparently most people sleep in 90 min cycles. So if for example you go to sleep for 6 hours, it’s actually 4 cycles, of 90 min each.

The theory is that if you wake up in the middle of one of these cycles, you wake up exhausted and groggy.

If you wake up at the end of a cycle, you feel more fresh.

Print out this chart to help you work out what time you should set the alarm clock.



Structure your day

Try this technique, it’s called ‘Pomodoro’ (it means ‘tomatoe‘ in italian !).

You study for about 15-25 min chunks, then take a 5 min break.

After four ‘chunks’ you take a longer break e.g. 30 min.

Version 1 has 15 min chunks (pictureVUE file)

Version 2 has 25 min chunks, with 5 min breaks built in (pictureVUE file)



Are you sitting comfortably?

This is such an important topic, it has a whole page dedicated to it.




Some people find it easier to study with some background noise.





Use the right tools

Glass whiteboard.

There like normal whiteboards, but never get worn out.

They can be really expensive so instead use a glass chopping board with a white backing e.g. click here.

If you want a massive version to keep on your desk all the time, you can buy a glass top that is meant to sit on top of a chest of drawers from Ikea.





You really don’t want to get repetitive strain injury when your a little older.

Save yourself the agony and buy an ergonomic mouse (or tablet).

There’s a few different designs, so get which ever you feel comfortable with.


mouse 2





Students get a massive discount, so now’s the time to buy Microsoft Office, and what ever else you need.




This amazing software reads out your assignments so you can hear your mistakes, and also reads out anything you highlight e.g. a wikipedia article.

The ‘reader and a single voice’ package costs about £35.

You can improve the pronunciation of any weird sounding medical terms.



Learn the key words for MCQ’s

MCQ’s are a lot easier once you know which key words are linked with a particular answer.

I made this database which links keywords from the question to an answer.

E.g.  If you read the following words in the question ‘halitosis, regurgitation and neck lump’ you know the answer is ‘pharyngeal pouch’.

It doesn’t matter when the symptoms start, or how old he is or if was fish and chips or beans on toast.

One you read the key words, you just need to select the answer and move on.

No more thought needed.

No more time needed pondering over the question.



Day of the exam

Take a bottle of water into the exam room.



Keele medical students only

Past OSCE exams (transferred from the old wikispaces website).



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