Dr Kate Drew, B. VSc, B. Laws, B. Communications
What do you find most challenging about exams?
“Time management. I have a tendency towards ‘word vomit’ that can cost me valuable time. Structuring a precise response that directly answers the question asked, in the time provided is therefore the biggest challenge I face when taking exams. I like to have time to think, and plan, and then think again – exams do not allow me to do this.”
What are some of the obstacles of studying that a Membership Candidate might relate to?
“Finding time to balance work and study is a real challenge that Membership Candidates are likely to face. I think that every vet is already familiar with the feeling that your time is no longer your own, having studied for all those years to get to where they are today. Something I found when studying was the lingering feeling that there is always ‘something else’ you should be doing when you decide to take a break. I can only imagine that when candidates are working in addition to study, ‘down-time’ may again be in short supply and that such feelings can arise. Time and time again though, its been shown that its better to take the break, refresh yourself and come back ready to effectively study (and retain) the information!”
How do you deal with these challenges as a student?
“Probably not very well – thankfully the terms/ semesters were pretty short and a study free intra/ inter-semester break was always on the horizon to get you through. Seriously though, I find breaking tasks into smaller chunks helped me to manage the mountain of material required and give you a (false J ) sense of achievement when ticking tasks off my list.”
What are your strategies in organising your time when studying?
“Lists, lists, lists. I do love a good list. This helped me to prioritise my work and then set goals based on how much of the list I wanted to cover at each study session. Again, this helped me to break the work down into manageable chunks and gave the feeling that amidst the mass of work required, I was making process.”
How do you organise concepts?
“I used mnemonics a lot – my friends and I also tended to make up silly little stories to try and link material to triggers. Sounds juvenile, but it worked.”
What tricks do you use to understand and memorise concepts?
“I can’t express how much studying in a small group helped me to understand and memorise concepts. It is not until you are required to explain a concept in detail to a peer that you can really identify gaps in your knowledge. It also provides an opportunity to share and pick up any tricks that you have all formulated to deal with the material. Hearing others explain the concepts to you is also invaluable in small group sessions, as each person picks up slightly different aspects of importance that you may have glossed over or misunderstood.”
What would you advise vets studying for their Membership Candidate to do when overwhelmed or frustrated?
“I find Mercy Valley cheese and quince paste fixes everything. Peanut M & Ms also provide comfort. If comfort eating is not your style, I found taking 15 minutes to get out of the house, go for a walk and just breathe to be very effective in recharging your battery. Sleep also plays a key role in managing these feelings. I never studied past midnight or before 6am – you gotta sleep. Otherwise you are wasting your time – you won’t retain the material.”
What tricks do you use to cope with stress?
“Prioritising sleep so that you are better able to cope with stress. Asking for help from friends when you need it.“
What tricks do you use to concentrate?
“I don’t think it’s a secret, but coffee helps. Also breaking work down into bite-sized pieces and deciding after how many bites you will take a break helped me.”
Any other thoughts or words of encouragement?
“I wish the candidates all the luck in the world as they prepare for Memberships. I have nothing but respect for the achievement – those vets that I know who have been through the experience are an inspiration to those of us who hope to do the same one day.”
Thank you Dr Kate Drew! What great tips, for all of us busy bees – – not just those studying for exams. Best of luck to everyone who IS prepping for their Memberships. You can do it!
Interview by Stephanie Buelna, via www.vetprac.com Share this with your friends via Facebook or email! And follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn. Alternatively, sign up for our monthly newsletter by emailing us at [email protected]