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Advice from Previous Students

Advices from Previous Students

General tips

The phase 2 written exams are very different to those of phase 1. Questions are based around a clinical presentation ‘stem’ and focus around pathophysiology, basic investigations and basic management. Try and stay relatively up to date with phase 1 content as it’ll make revising for phase 2 that bit easier! Also, don’t focus too much on finals content, there is more pathophysiology than you think; Capsule bears the closest resemblance to phase II exams of all the question banks!

Plan time out

There is time to enjoy yourself and take a break during phase 2! Take advantage of this and take every opportunity to do something that isn't related to work!

Be Proactive

Get the most from your placements by being proactive - ask your consultant if there are any patients you can see/examine.

Question Banks!

There is more to life than PassMed!!

Clinical Key and Capsule are two of the most underrated question banks. Throughout Phase II, you will receive cases in Capsule which have been tailored to the course.

Ask Specific Questions

Ask specific questions to your registrar / consultant - they won't have time to cover entire topics with you but they will usually be happy to help if you approach them with specific cases/questions.

Learning to Learn

Spend some time learning to learn - meta-learning massively speeds your education, & ensures you don’t waste time on methods that don’t suit you. Reflect on techniques that worked or didn’t for Phase I, & check out these YT playlists (see also Learning Tips for Phase I)

Test your Knowledge

Before covering a topic, go over what you already know about it - ideally make a mind-map, or a multi-list format, anything to active your recall

If using any question banks, do these to reaffirm knowledge - from as early as possible!

Be Consistent

There are so many presentations and information to cover in Phase 3, so assign yourself presentations or pathologies per week so it doesn’t build up!

Preparation is Key!

Try to briefly cover the topic before attending a workshop, even just reading over it from PassMed, GeekyMedics, Zero to Finals, a prior students notes - so it’s not all brand-new information & easier for you to pay attention to learn the new stuff


Phase Two is sometimes difficult to pitch - it doesn't tend to map directly to other universities pre-clinical resources nor is it finals level. The conditions list is great at giving you a feel for what you need to wrap your head around. Just remember you'll never be expected to know everything. Having a general understanding of concepts will help as a basis to your learning.

Be up front about what you want to do on a placement day, a student that says: I'd like more experience with history taking is likely to get that, but if you don't ask, you might end up tagging on to a ward round that doesn't help you with your areas of weakness.


Tips for GP placement

GP is a great chance to practice examinations and history taking in a more focused environment than you'd get in a clinical setting, it recognises the level of phase two students but still pushes you to think more about each case and identify gaps in your own knowledge.

GP Placements in Phase 2 are primarily a means of feeling more confident in a primary care setting while allowing students to improve their history taking and clinical skills learned in phase 1.
In each CCE block, the GP placement is once a week from weeks 3-10. You are allocated a GP practice by the medical school, however they can take personal circumstances into consideration if you require a placement in a certain area. A typical day on GP placement may consist of shadowing the GP for the morning session, followed by a further observation session or even a student-led clinic!

iPad Top Tips

    When taking an iPad onto placement, consider what you want to get out of it.

    Clinicalkey is great for quickly researching a presentation; geeky medics for examinations.

    If you wish, they can also be useful for tackling question banks during downtime.

    Be wary of using the iPad for looking things up in lieu of discussing with doctors on the ward, they are more likely to explain concepts to you in a way relevant to the patients you are seeing, thus unlocking that higher level understanding which will put you at an advantage come revision time!

    Get sign offs done then and there. There is nothing worse than feeling like your pestering someone over email, or chasing around the hospital on the last week for a consultant! Clinic sessions can be long (and some parts will be at a very specialist level) sometimes a bit of a Google halfway through can help everything else make sense and give you some good questions to discuss with your consultant.

    • I bought an iPad case with a shoulder strap, found it helpful cause it kept it on me!
    • Make your password quick to type, I found delays annoying!
    • Familiarise yourself with the apps, they’re massively under-utilised.