Do you spend a lot of time commuting in the car or public transport? Do you enjoy running or cooking? Listen to a podcast at the same time.
There are many psychiatry podcasts now available online. Many discussions are particularly useful for essay questions, which you may not find in textbooks. Finished the hours and hours of podcast downloads on RCPsych or University of Oxford? Create your own playlist by converting YouTube clips of psychiatry lectures from video format to MP3 format. Most web browsers have applications or plug-ins that can convert videos at a click of a button or Google websites that convert it by copying and pasting the video URL. Here is an example of a playlist on adult ADHD on Soundcloud.
2. 'OVERCLOCK' YOUR BRAIN
Overclocking is a computer term where “the action of increasing a component’s clock rate, running it at a higher speed than it was designed to run.”
Studying for a written exam? Instead of just doing past papers in exam time conditions, why not give yourself less time or do extra papers in the same amount of time. By pushing yourself mentally, you can better prepare yourself for the stresses of the real thing. A tip would be to do this after you get bored of doing single papers weekly to add novelty to this routine. Do this approx. 1 month before the exam, NOT the same week as the exam as you will need time to recover.
3. USE YOUR LIBRARIAN AND GO TO THE SOURCE
Just finished an essay question with a psychiatry quote? Many of these essays do not come with the “ideal” answer. Why not google the quote and find the original paper? Then use your library to find the pdf. If you can’t find it, email the reference to your librarian who will be able to find it for you and send it to you. Then buy your librarian chocolates and they will continue to do this for all your other hard to find articles. By getting the original article, you can at least get a context to your question. The article will often lead you to other references to use for other essay questions.
4. USE YOUR SOCIAL NETWORK
Group study is a tried and tested method to get through the rigorous exam preparation. However, for many trainees spread across different training sites, getting a group together face to face can be tough. Many trainees are using Skype to do group study. Some group study tips: make sure you have the right people with the same mindset and set up a group “vision” and rules. Be very clear about what the purpose of the group is for.
Group study is beneficial in a lot of ways: psychological support, troubleshooting answers and motivation. However, it is very easy to get distracted, especially over the internet. You should also ensure you invest solo study time prior to meeting your group and that your group meets face to face occasionally if possible. Also, consider setting up a Facebook group or Whatsapp group to share news and articles in between group meetups.
5. OUTSOURCE YOUR LIFE AND DISRUPT YOUR LIFESTYLE
Have you given yourself 3 months to prepare? That’s 131400 minutes or 2190 hours. In this discrete window period, your priority must be your exams. If it is not, then, you probably shouldn’t sit the exam. In addition to giving away all of your on-call shifts (outsourcing to your fellow colleagues who will have empathy for you), you should also outsource as much of your life as possible.
Need healthy fuel for your brain? Outsource your grocery shopping and cook. How about outsource the whole meal altogether and sign up to home delivered meal plan? There are many nutritious home delivered options for athletes (like 5.4, easy eating and muscle meals if you don’t fancy lite ‘n easy). Feel out of shape? Get a personal trainer.
Need motivation to sleep? Use wearable technology or apps to track your sleep quality. Don’t have anyone to read and mark your essays? Look online and hire a professional. Do whatever it takes, the resources are there and study hack your way to success.
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The Hub is a platform to share ideas, cases and concepts that bridge the gap between academia and the real world. Think about it as the real world textbook, a platform rich with experiences. Many fields including medicine and psychiatry suffer from ‘closet’ ideas. Many brilliant solutions, the so called tacit knowledge, is embedded in the brains of people that do not have the platform to express them or at least reach a wider audience. The Hub is a device to unlock this knowledge and share it with the wider world. The Hub gives you an opportunity to make a difference.