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Practical exams, revision and handovers

Optometry is a very practical subject so it should come as no surprise to hear that we have the joys of practical and oral exams. These normally take place just after the Easter holidays in a lovely welcome back present. All 4 years have an element of this to build you up to the practical and oral parts of the scheme for registration which all optometrists have to do to become fully qualified.

In Year 0 and 1 there are quick 5-10 minutes orals on dispensing (talking about lenses) and a practical to show how to mark up a lens. Year 2 carries on with that but also adds in a station exam with 16 stations covering a wide range of subjects. This is a very similar format to the final OSCEs at the end of pre-reg. Don’t worry there are a few smaller station exams around Christmas for 2nd years so it doesn’t go straight from nothing to 16 stations! In the 3rd year we have orals on dispensing (with a practical section) and low vision. We also had practical exams in contact lenses and slide exams for binocular vision, special assessment, abnormal ocular conditions and investigative optometry. These are automatic slide shows where you have to answer questions based on pictures or details on a slide which automatically advances after set time so you need to answer before it goes. Some of these can be tricky but it’s a good way to kickstart your revision over the Easter holidays.

And with that it leads me nicely onto revising for exams. As we’re a small course optometry gets put in all sorts of random places for exams including my personal favourite – the Temple of Peace in Cathays Park.

Anyway, tips for revising (disclaimer – different methods work for different people):

  • Plan your revision – it can help prevent getting side tracked
  • Focus on your next exam but don’t ignore the others – especially with optometry where subjects can overlap
  • Plan in revision breaks – you need some to keep you from going mad but not too long that you completely go off work
  • Remember to sleep – sleep has been shown to help cement your learning from the previous day
  • Look at past papers – there are often trends and also helps see the style of questions that can be asked
  • Plan sample answers – it can help with the writing style especially if you get someone else to check them over
  • Have a study group – friends are great for bouncing ideas off and getting help understanding parts of a module you may not understand

So I have 3 weeks until my exams finish and just over 2 months until I graduate so it’s time for handovers. First on the list was the OPSOC committee which was elected at the recent Eye Ball and last week we had our handover. This consisted of handing over the numerous folders of historical accounts, and running through how the Union and everything works with my successor. The wheels have been set in motion for finding my replacement for this little position and as soon as I know I will pass on the information. However in the mean time you have a few more blogs from me over the next couple of months.

 

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