So, you’ve been a good student and done all your reading/note making but need a way to test all this new-found knowledge? I’ve teamed up with Pastest to give you some insider information on how their Medical Student Finals Question Bank can help you with your PA studies and quantify that knowledge.
Pastest provide revision materials for medical students and doctors, but they are aware of a growing number of PA students and qualified PAs using their resources. They provide online medical revision aids, as well as books and courses. I first came across Pastest when I bought their ‘Data Interpretation for Medical Students’ book whilst I was a student and I found it really useful. I’ve now had the chance to use their online question bank and have been equally pleased. Below I’ve outlined what you can find on their Finals resource and how this can be used to help you with your PA studies.
Once signed up to Medical Student Finals, you’ll be presented with a dashboard offering you 4 different question banks: Finals, OSCEs, Prescribing Skills and SJTs. The dashboard also shows you how many questions you’ve completed in each, and your percentage of correct answers. Once you’ve chosen the question bank, you are taken to another page (shown below) where you can choose between ‘Test Me’ and ‘Teach Me’. If you’re wanting to test yourself, you can choose a timed mock exam, or a past paper specific to your university. If you’re in the mood to be taught, then you can choose from a variety of media. The question bank combines the two methods by testing your knowledge, and helping you to learn from each answer choice.
Medical Student Finals
The Finals part of the subscription is made up of a question bank which is similar to the written paper for the PA exams. This section also allows you to select your University (shown above) and gives you access to past papers and a question bank specific to your University. This is super helpful as most PA programmes are built on their Medical School programme equivalents.
I would recommend starting with the general question bank and working through those questions. Once closer to exams then you could try Uni-specific resources and timed mock papers. With the question bank, you can filter questions to speciality / difficulty / data interpretation etc. if you’re looking to improve a certain area. On top of all this, you’ll be given statistics on your performance showing you strong vs weak specialities and performance over time.
Once you’ve answered a question, right or wrong, you are shown a breakdown of why an answer is right and why the other options are wrong. The key words in the question are also highlighted to consolidate your learning. You also get information about how other users answered questions, so if you get something wrong you can judge how hard the question was based on how well others did. Obviously, some of this should be taken with a pinch of salt you don’t know how others are answering these questions (using the internet, working in a group etc). Some questions are quite challenging but practicing at a higher level means you’ll be more likely to ace your exams.
Medical School OSCEs
The questions in this section are focused on the types of questions that could come up in the OSCEs. This includes commenting on pictures of presenting complaints, radiological imaging and data interpretation. Once you’ve filled your answers in the text boxes, you can mark your answers against the marking scheme. It’s a good way to practise your data analysis, thinking of differentials and management plans.
Medical Student Prescribing Skills
Although PAs can’t prescribe, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t know about medications and pharmacology. The prescribing skills sections is a helpful way to practise using the BNF and testing your treatment knowledge. Again, the explanations given after you’ve answered will aid in consolidating the information.
Medical Student SJTs
SJT stands for Situational Judgement Test. Although PA don’t have to sit SJTs, the questions in this section are focussed on how you approach and respond to real-life situations in the workplace. They are often challenging scenarios and answers are based on the most appropriate action. Practising these types of questions is good preparation for the Ethical station in the OSCEs. Plus like the other question banks, you’re given the reasoning behind the correct choices and learn about the guidelines and policies the questions are based on.
This section incorporates videos which can be filtered according to speciality and video length. Anatomy features heavily as well as lecture series in paediatrics and obs and gynae. As well as the videos, there are podcasts available which run through hints and tips for exams, mnemonics and more. There is also a spot diagnosis section in which you are shown images of dermatology, ophthalmology etc. Once you know the diagnosis, you can click to be shown the answer. You’ll be told what the picture shows, what to look for with that particular diagnosis and extra information.
In summary, the Pastest Medical School Finals resource offers you a range of skill specific question banks to test your knowledge. Their question statistics allow you to focus on weaker areas and compare your answers with other peers. You also get access to numerous other revision aids in the form of videos and podcasts. It is definitely a helpful resource to have alongside your PA learning and to use in preparation for University and National Exams.