Preparing for Clinical Years

With the start of a new year comes the start of a new organisational system because we all know I spend too much time procrastinating-by-preparation: a fantastic illusion of productivity because you’re still doing something, but it’s questionable whether the time could be spent better doing other things. Maybe something to fire up the neurones that have been lying dormant since March (probably before March, I clocked out after January exams). Anyway, I still think setting yourself up for a new year is important, so I wanted to share a more detailed insight into how I’ve set myself up for third year.

Notion for Information & Tracking

I spent some time this week reading through all the information and documents available on third year and the different components that form a part of the course this year. This is the first time I’ve really done this and it may have been helpful to do this these past two years for some aspects, but I feel like there’s more going on this year and it’s a new environment, so centralising the information felt like the right thing to do.

I’m planning on essentially going paperless this year, so I’m using Notion as my hub for all the information I need to know.

My Year 3 Hub

My year 3 hub

The first few pages are all information pages, which contain things like tips and tricks that the university have given us, important things to remember and minimum requirements to pass each aspect of the course.

Again, the purpose of this is really to centralise the information in a concise manner for myself so I won’t have to sift through multiple documents to find the few bits of information that I need.


My portfolio area

Every year we have to complete a set number of pieces for our portfolio based on a bunch of different things. I made this table as a tracker for my portfolio so I can document what I need to do. I included what I need to tag the entries with, as that’s a required part of the process, and an additional links section where I can put any external documents that are particularly useful for different pieces.

TCD Tracker

My TCD tracker (we’re starting with chest pain!)

I’ve filled this in with the first 12 cases we’ll be covering, and what topic it comes under. Next to these, I have checkboxes for whether I’ve done the online material and whether I’ve made Anki cards for that topic.

TCD is both similar and dissimilar to PBL in that although it is a case that we’ll be working through in the session, it’ll be a new case to which we have to apply the knowledge that we’ve learned throughout the week.

I’m not planning on putting my notes in Notion because I have a bit of a different notetaking system I’m incorporating this year which I’ll speak about a little later.

With regards to Anki cards, I’m still unsure whether making them for TCD is going to be a sustainable idea over the course of the year because it adds another element of effort and time spent into it, but equally, I know I won’t be able to memorise the content if I don’t. Maybe later down the line when I’m a bit more well-versed in it, I’ll change things up and possibly sacrifice the Anki cards, but as of right now, I do want to make the cards. I think everything about it is good, especially because I get another pass of the material, but it’s just going to mean I spend a lot of time doing that.

GoodNotes 5 for Notetaking

For clinical years we got an iPad mini (perhaps the most exciting part of induction) and I invested in an Apple Pencil because I wanted to go paperless this year and start making notes on my iPad.

I like the freedom of handwriting notes but this is quite new to me because the first two years of university, I typed up all my notes, especially seeing as we had structured lectures so it made a lot more sense to type. Due to the online material being so varied this year (from videos to mini lectures to audio recordings to interactive activities), I think handwriting them digitally is a nice idea. I’m excited to try something new out and I’ll definitely give it a good go, but I don’t want to restrict myself and force myself to do something that’s not working so I’ll probably adapt things as the year progresses if things aren’t as rosy as they look.

This year, because I’m putting a focus on Anki, I’m using my notes as a place to solely understand the content, and I’m not relying on using my notes to memorise things. The one downside I can see right now is not being able to copy and paste things across into Anki straight from my notes, but I think I’ll deal with any issues like this as they occur.

A screenshot of some of the stuff I’m currently working through

So, this is the system I’m putting in place for this year. As I’ve mentioned before, this is likely to evolve, and I’m sure you guys will be the first to know if things change. Have you started your new academic year yet? How are you feeling about getting back to learning? I would love to hear!

One thought on “Preparing for Clinical Years

  1. Pingback: A Week of Med School: Introduction to Clinical Learning – Made by Malaikah

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