Tips for success in Fourth Year Medical School

Am a 400 level medical student..
I feel so nervous resuming my new level(400L).. I have no idea how clinical looks like.
Please I need to know how to go about all this feelings

Tips for success in Fourth Year Medical School

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Alabi Samuel Toluwanimi
Alabi Samuel Toluwanimi
15 days ago

So, am a current 500level student in the University of Ilorin and I’ll like to share my experience about the clinical class of 400level. I will try to be detailed as possible so my post may be quite long, kindly bear with me. Thank you.

400 level is a different ball game entirely, it’s a whole new world of Medicine but with the right tips and information, you’ll be able to scale through successfully so don’t panic, you’ll be fine.

The 400level class especially in Unilorin is where you’re exposed to your first Medicine and Surgery Postings (which we call chilling posting here in Ilorin) my advice for us during this posting is to try to clerk as many patients as possible. Clerking is the most important skill in coming to an accurate diagnosis and it is a good opportunity to sharpen your skill in that area. Well my experience was totally bad, my first attempt at clerking was nonsense and the consultant gave me a D grade out of pity but that didn’t make me relent, I ended up presenting up to 20cases during my stay in the surgery posting.

The hard core of 400level is Pathology and Pharmacology. To be frank with you, if you want to pass easily, ensure you join an adequate discussion group. In my early days of Path and Pharm, I tried reading alone but it was very difficult for me to remember all what I read during the exam periods and I failed but when I started discussing with people, I realized my marks got better with very little effort on my part.

Other tips I’ll like to share with you include:
1. Attend all your lectures and practicals. Attending lectures is good because you’ll know the areas lectures emphasis on. Attending practicals is also equally important because many lecturers tend to explain deeper or more during the practical session.

2. Be consitent. One thing that I can say about 400 level is that it tested my level of consistency. It was crazy for me trying to read three materials daily, 15 materials per week. It was energy draining. In the beginning I was consistent but as time went on, the drive reduced I had to opt for easier ways like engaging in group discussion, watching videos, and solving past questions. If you’re lazy like me, please find a short cut that will work for you. 400 level is not about how much you read but about how much you understand and remember.

3. Ask questions in every class. This trick worked so much for me. When I ask a question in class, I try as much as possible to link the answer from the lecturer to the relevant part of the materials released or taught in the class, that way even if I don’t remember the material, I’ll remember the question I asked and I’ll be able to supply a good and satisfactory answer even if it isn’t the perfect answer.

4. Take your time to rest. 400 level will stretch your mental capacity. They were many times I wanted to give up the whole thing and just run back home. The mental pressure was just that much but communication with seniors helped me maintain my cool. Have connections with your seniors in 500 and 600level class. Take time to rest, be optimistic and cheerful.

5. Plan your time and your study very well. In Ilorin here, Chemical pathology and Hematology are very easy to pass if you know your way around. Morbid is very bulky and people get Micro scores in Microbiology, so it makes more sense to focus more on hematology and chemical pathology where you can get a high score.

6. About textbooks. For my Pathology, time was not on my side to be checking Robbins and cotran text of pathology. I focused more on class materials and past questions and class notes. If you have the grace to be reading that big textbook, please do but if you’re lazy like me, class materials alone should suffice.

7. For pharmacology. Many people have issues with Pharmacology because of the numerous drugs, relatively new words you have to learn. The Kartzung review of Pharmacology helped me during my time. I also used Recall too. They were my two main text for pharmacology.

8. Be prayerful. Whether you’re a Christian or Muslim or atheist, there is the need for us to be prayerful. You’ll need Spiritual guidance in this uncharted terrain of 400level. Have faith in God and believe that you’ll scale through without issues. The truth is that 400level activities can be so choked up that you’ll hardly have time for other activities but ensure you remain prayerful.

Lastly, simplify 400level by taking each Posting as it comes very seriously that way, your pre MB scores will be good and the final MB will be a walk in the park…. Let me stop here for now, from time to time, I’ll be updating on some of my personal experiences so that you’ll learn from them. Thank you and I wish you all the best in your clinical years. Congratulations!!!