For the majority of you, today will be a great day. But for some of you it may be more difficult. The important thing to remember is that failing is no the end of the world and you will be able to redeem yourself.  Gathered by Sarah Long, MedSoc Welfare Rep, here are some words of wisdom from Scott Border, Chris Torrens and Katy Baran (third year).

Scott Border…

Firstly, a sense of perspective is important. Medical school isn’t easy and capable students sometimes fail exams, but the reasons are varied. The majority of students who a fail a main exam DO go on to pass the supplementary, so it is not all doom and gloom. My advice would be – don’t try and do too much during the initial phase of disappointment, as there is little motivation to engage when you are feeling low.  Once it has passed take every opportunity to find the root cause. In particular, try to address weaknesses, time management issues and other factors that may cause you to underperform such as stress and anxiety during exam time.

Chris Torrens…

Firstly, while it may be disappointing, don’t worry and don’t panic. You are not alone in this, in either interpretation of that phrase.

The main point to take from this is that the staff are here to help, whether that be the academic staff or the pastoral Senior Tutors. That is what we are here, for so please don’t ever apologise for asking a question or asking for some time to speak with us. Equally, never feel embarrassed about asking what you think to be a “stupid” question. If you don’t understand something how else do you expect to find out? Now it is fair to say that the staff are busy and that we can be tricky to pin down at times but this is not the same as not wanting to speak to you. This is especially pertinent with regards to your exam feedback.

For a number of years we have offered the opportunity for all students who did not pass, the chance to look through their script with the module leads. This can be useful in seeing where you went wrong, but it is probably more informative in how you went wrong in the way you have answered questions. We think this is useful but it is surprising the number of students who do not take this up. I would strongly advise each of you to arrange a meeting with the tutor when you are offered. You may not want to do it immediately which is fair enough, but do please take advantage of it.

There have been plenty of capable students in the past who have failed an exam for any number of reasons and the overwhelming majority of those that do go on to pass the supplementary. So don’t feel too down, don’t be afraid to ask the staff for support and prepare to ace the resits.

Katy Baran BM5 Yr3 (Khpb1g14@soton.ac.uk)…

1. Honestly, it’s one of the worst feelings an 18/19/20/21+ year old can have especially when you’re friends all ace exams. I remember my friends panicking about exams, saying they felt they were going to fail and actually getting 80% or more, whereas I did fail…there’s not much you can do to shut them up, you have to ignore and pick yourself up.

2. You won’t be the only one resitting! Make sure you find a few others who are and chat to them, some of my closest friends now were made through resits.

3. Make sure you get in touch with lecturers about the exam and arrange a meeting so they can discuss your results and go through your paper, I know this is terrifying and you think they are going to take the pisshowever, they’re all really encouraging and want everyone to pass (even Tony Sampson has a sensitive side). Do this early on and take notes as you can’t take your paper away with you.

4. Cover all the basic physiological and pharmacological mechanisms, don’t stress too much about tiny details. If you nail the basics, you’ll get the majority of marks.

5. It’s difficult to revise for anatomy resits as you can’t really go to the lab much, especially if you live far from southampton. What I did was go through the anatomy books and use visual apps such as aclands to apply that understand. Try to learn as much as possible. Then around a week or 2 before the results, the anatomy lab will be open with specimens so you can apply all this knowledge to that. I made some quizzes about each module so I could then take it into the lab and test myself, like a homemade IFA.

6. Talk to people who have been through it! Most students have. Just message anyone you in Years above to find out who resat and bombard them with questions. Don’t feel you’re annoying them because they probably did the same to older students

7. Make sure you do still enjoy your summer. Go on holiday for a week or 2, you need to relax after an intense yeartry and do this before summer results day as you won’t feel as if you should be revising.

8. Continuing my last point, also don’t go overboard and go travelling for 8 weeks then leave a week to revise…think how much you really want to pass these exams and progress in med school!

9. This sucks but I set myself a goal for the summer to not go out on the lash, no alcohol, try to get up early most mornings, eat a bit healthier than usual and go for frequent walks to exercise. This is entirely up to you but I noticed a huge difference in my energy levels when I did this!

10. Although my family were so supportive during resits, they were very distractingI came to southampton a few times over summer, just for a few days to meet with lecturers and have some alone time to revise. If you live far from Southampton this may not be ideal (I live quite far too, but I thought it was worth it)

 11. Don’t be ashamed! Make sure you tell your family. Ok they will be annoyed or upset at first but you tried your best and what more could they want. Damn it they have a future doctor in the family! They should be proud of you, even if you have failures and make mistakes

12. Think about changing the way you take notes or revise. It’s likely that your technique isn’t quite right and that’s why you failed, rather than a lack of understanding or knowledge. Think about interactive methods, pictures/diagrams, flash cards etc. I actually had a job at a pharmacy over my resits and this was so good for learning drugs as I learn by doing rather than remembering a list on a page.

13. Work hard don’t make yourself ill over it but don’t be complacent. If you work hard, the results will come.

14. Some things might happen while you’re revising over summer that may affect your revision. This happened to me, a family member was taken extremely ill in hospital a week before my exams. Make sure you tell people! Tessa Davies was the best help ever! She will guide you through the special cons process and offer tonnes of support.

15. Finally, the med school do want you all to pass and become doctors. It may seem like they’re trying to catch you out or want you to fail but they really don’t (unless every single one of you fails). They are just doing they’re job!

Feel free to contact Katy with any of your questions!

Read more from the MedSoc blog site here.

Not the results you wanted? Here are some words of wisdom…

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