The universal GP Training website for everyone, not just Bradford.   Created in 2002 by Dr Ramesh Mehay

Teaching & Learning

Exam stress, nerves & pressure

I'm feeling the pressure...

Are you feeling pressured and overloaded with all the exam prep work you are doing?   Or perhaps you’re feeling it with general training – because there is lots to do!  If the answer is Yes, can I ask you a few more questions?

  • What sorts of things do you normally like doing? 
    • Examples – do you like walking, the gym, swimming, playing music, listening to music, playing games etc.  Still doing those things?
  • Do you normally spend some time each week with friends?
    • Are you still doing that?
  • Are you in a relationship?
    • Spend time with your significant other?  Do you do things together?
  • Do you have a family?
    • Spend quality time with your family or kids?  Does your partner/family members make remarks about you not being around for them?  (if so, please listen to them!)

These are the types of things that make us happy.  We call them nourishing activities.  If you answered “no” to a number of these questions, that means you are no longer spending a significant amount of time on the activities that nourish your soul.    And if our soul is under-nourished, we become irritiable, anxious, agitated and sometimes even depressed.  Life can feel a bit dull.  

And when our soul is not well nourished, and our lives lack lustre, our learning platform also lacks that shine and as a result we don’t learn very well either.  So, if you are feeling any of these things, the first thing to do is take a break and make time for those nourishing activities.  It’s very likely you will feel that this is the last thing you want to do because time is precious but believe me when I say you will end up learning more efficiently if you do. 

Still thinking you don’t have time?  Here is one piece of truth: “you do actually have time, you have lots of it”.  You just don’t realise it because you’re feeling a bit off kilter.  And when we are feeling a bit off, we can’t see things clearly.   For example, have you ever had that moment where you’re trying to solve a problem for hours and you feel like tearing your hair out?   And then you come back to it the next day and after a nice cup of tea, you miraculously sort it within 10 minutes! (PS I have had many a moment like that).   

Well, making time for your nourishing activities is a bit like that.   Devoting a bit more time to non-studying activties makes you learn more in the shorter time that is left!   Try it and see if you don’t believe me.  Prepare to be impressed.  Once you take those well deserved breaks and nourish your soul, you will see that shine come back.  And when you’re happier, you learn effortlessly.  Life becomes beautiful and colourful.

The thing is, if you don’t take this advice on board, you may find  yourself burning out.  If you’re not enjoying going to work, your sick and tired of GP training or you hate studying, then it may be that you already are!   If you are wondering whether you are, ask the people who love you who are around you all the time.   Ask them if they feel you are different to normal – in particular, irritable, angry, stressed, looking awful, not spending time with them and so on.  And if they voice concern, PLEASE listen to them.  And don’t despair –  talk to them about it.  Talk to your peers about it.  Talk to your Trainer and TPD about it.   They will be understanding and will want to help you.     And taking that first step to engage in those nourishing activities again will revitalise you, make you feel happier and help you learn things in half the time.   And the people who love you will continue to love you.

Specifically about AKT/CSA exam...

In the few days before the exam, take it easy!  

  • Do not do any crash learning.  If you do, you will not have a clear head for the day and your performance will be below par.   But if you have a nice clear and peaceful mind, you’re more likely to perform smoothly and do better.  
  • So…  in the week of the AKT/CSA exam calm down  and take it easy.   Let your brain breathe.  Do not overload it. Don’t bother with any more practice.  The more it can breath and feel relaxed, the better your performance will be in the AKT/CSA exam.  
  • Oh, and get to the venue in good time.  If it is for the CSA, get there the day before the exam.  If it’s for the AKT, get there early that day.  
  • And when you get there, perhaps spend a little time chilling and relaxing.  So, for the AKT, perhaps a little walk around the neighbourhood/shops.  If it is the CSA, perhaps a nice day out in London.   Relax, forget the last minute learning.  Meet friends, have a coffee, or if your in London, just watch the world go by at Kings Cross, for example.    But NEVER be too far from the examination venue.

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Bradford VTS was created by Dr. Ramesh Mehay, a Programme Director for Bradford GP Training Scheme back in 2001. Over the years, it has seen many permutations.  At the time, there were very few resources for GP trainees and their trainers so Bradford decided to create one FOR EVERYONE. 

So, we see Bradford VTS as  the INDEPENDENT vocational training scheme website providing a wealth of free medical resources for GP trainees, their trainers and TPDs everywhere and anywhere.  We also welcome other health professionals – as we know the site is used by both those qualified and in training – such as Associate Physicians, ANPs, Medical & Nursing Students. 

Our fundamental belief is to openly and freely share knowledge to help learn and develop with each other.  Feel free to use the information – as long as it is not for a commercial purpose.   

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Our sections on (medical) COMMUNICATION SKILLS and (medical) TEACHING & LEARNING are perhaps the best and most comprehensive on the world wide web (see white-on-black menu header section on the homepage).