Getting ready for OSCE-style exams

Exam season has arrived, and many of you will be facing practical assessments as well as written ones. Plymouth student rep Sarah Hollyhead gives her top ten tips on preparing for OSCE-style exams.

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1. Practise, practise, practise! If you are able to go in to university and practise, do. Working with different people allows you to see test your knowledge in different scenarios. Using different equipment will help to improve your confidence. Don’t underestimate how much time it takes to perfect a skill.

2. Make sure you look at the marking scheme before your assessment, so you get a good idea of what you need to do to achieve the best grade.

3. If you aren’t sure of what will be expected of you, make sure you ask your lecturers for clarification, as they are there to help you succeed.

4. Go through your lecture notes, books and online resources and record everything you need to know. You can then narrow this down by highlighting key points that you struggle to remember.

5. Make a flow chart of your routine steps. This can help you to visualise the things you need to do, and the order in which you will do them. 

6. Make your flow charts into posters to go around your room. This will help you to refresh your memory when you are completing other tasks and help to relieve those late night panics.

7. Teach someone else your knowledge. Whether it’s your flatmate, family or your pet, recalling information will help you to identify which areas you are less confident in, and where you need to focus your revision.

8. Get together with your course mates (virtually, if necessary) and test one another. Working together allows you to bounce ideas and knowledge off each other. This can help you to understand the theory behind your practical knowledge too.

9. Watch skills videos. These can be very useful when you are unable to go to practise sessions.

10. Take a break! This will help you to stay calm, reduce stress and avoid burn out. Be kind to yourself! 

Good luck!

Sarah Hollyhead
Plymouth student rep 2021

Favourite equipment: Ophthalmoscope and retinoscope
Favourite book: Kanski’s clinical ophthalmology
Favourite topic area: Pathology and therapeutics
Favourite College resource: Optometrists’ Formulary
What inspired you to become an optometrist? I have been interested in optometry since going with my brother to his sight tests as a child. I enjoy caring for people so helping the public with their vision was the perfect career choice for me.