Author: Medics' Inn


Repeating The Year – Some Words of Wisdom Part 1

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To be told you have to repeat the year to remain in medical school is a scary thing, but having the option to repeat the year is an opportunity that is not provided to all medical students. Medics’ Inn have provided a few pearls of wisdom for our readers, we have gathered some advice from several medical students who repeated a year of medical school. Look out for Repeating The Year – Some Words of Wisdom Part 2.

  • Feelings of the following are normal: embarrassment, failure, shock, fear, loneliness, insecurity, pain, inadequacy, etc…
  • Stop trying to rationalise why this has happened.
  • Accept help, correction, advise from others, other students, teaching fellows, there is no shame in that, nor in repeating itself.
  • Don’t become obsessed with the numbers, e.g. things like “rankings” – ranking is surmountable, and you will still get a job, top or bottom decile.
  • Don’t be complacent, e.g. complacent with only making one change, or no changes, or just doing what you deem will get you just the 50% or will match the bare-pass you achieved last time!
  • Mentally prepare yourself and even practise how you may or may not wish to explain your position, about why you are in this year group, and who you may or may not care to tell, because the most tactless to those with the best intentions may ask at the least convenient times. Not everyone needs to know your business, and similarly you don’t need to be ashamed. Remember that in a year or so, people will no longer care/ know about your detour
  • Don’t compare yourself to others ever, whether they have or have not intercalated, know all the answers in teaching, get 100% in every e-biolab or quiz, are years younger than you, are first authors in the Lancet – don’t compare
  • If you are ever, for any reason experiencing difficulties (health-related, personal and emotional) beyond the work of revision, during the year – do not miss the opportunity to submit extenuating circumstances before God-forbid, you may find yourself repeating anything!
  • Don’t burn-out by setting unrealistic expectations of yourself. Seek help from friends, Faculty, GP, student advice service, if necessary!

Now, answer these questions and really thinking about your answers and what they mean to you. (It might help to write your answers down on a piece of paper)

  1. What is your greatest motivation in life?
  2. In the past, what were your greatest fears and how did you overcome them?
  3. What do you want to achieve in this year you will repeat?

Medics’ Inn


Top Tips For Your Presentation!

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Here are a few top tips for you to consider the next time you have an oral (PowerPoint) presentation!

  1. Know the FACTS! How long is your presentation? Does this include question time? Where will this presentation take place? Who is your audience?
  2. Timing, a simple formula: timing (in minutes) +/- 2 = maximum number of slides. E.g. For a presentation lasting 7 minutes, the maximum number of slides = 5 – 9 slides.
  3. Phrases vs. Sentences. Write phrases on your slides, phrases you will discuss or expand on. There is no point in writing sentence upon sentence for your audience to read. Let them pay attention to what you are saying! Let them hang on your every word!
  4. Important Pages (examples):
    1. Title Slide Oral presentation title page
    2. Overview  Oral presentation overview slide
    3. Summary oral presentation summary slide

To download these slides click this link: Medics’ Inn Oral Presentation Template

  1. Labels & clarity! Label all graphs charts, etc. clearly.
  2. Highlighting & simplicity! If there is a lot of information in a graph/chart, draw your audience to the important parts. E.g. underlined text, text written in red, arrows pointing to the important features. But keep your slides as simple as possible.
  3. Anticipate Questions! What questions could your audience ask? What research will you need to do to answer these questions with sufficient confidence, evidence and understanding? Although, calm down, at your level no one expects you to be an expert, so an honest answer is always the way forward if stuck – if you don’t know, you don’t know!
  4. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Practicing will help you overcome nervousness and give you the confidence boost you need. Being well prepared is a good practise, not just for medical school, but for life!

These are just a few of our top tips! We know there is so much more! So please leave your own tip in the comment box!



Reputation and Ranking

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Reputation and Ranking
Reputation and Ranking

Are educational performance measure (EPM) scores validation for all medical student needs? Should we just aim to rank in the top 10-25% of the year? Are the results of clinical and written exams predictor of your effectiveness as a future doctor?

It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of medical school. It’s easy to be consumed by the surmounting pressure to exceed a standard.  But the question to ask yourself is: How do you want to be remembered by your patients and colleagues?

Pick 2-3 words that sum up how you would like patients and colleagues to remember you e.g. safe and caring or efficient and honest.

Good educational performance is essential to pass medical school, but a good reputation is essential for life.


Free Elective!

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How to get a Free Elective!

  1. Determine & Determination – first, determine this is what you want to do. “I want my elective to be completely funded by external sources!” Then turn this into your goal! Remember goals are SMART (specific, measurable, action, realistic and timed) e.g. By March 1st, I will have raised all the funding I need for my elective.
  2. Budget – what is the overall cost? Create a budget for your elective. Distinguish between items you’re will to do without and those that are compulsory. For example the cost of flights & a visa are compulsory, while the budget of £20 for a day trip to visit Lekki Conservation Centre, in Lagos is not so high on the priority list.
  3. Source – Do your research to explore where you can source your funds from. Compose a list and give yourself deadlines to send your application/letter. Doing this as early as possible is best to avoid unexpected delays and disappointment.
  4. Application – create your letter/complete the necessary application forms .
  5. Remember – after returning from your elective, remember to hold up your end of the bargain. Is there a report to submit? Are there thank you letters to send?

All the best!


How To Stand Out In A Crowd Of Medical Students

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2015-09-04 17.51.34
How To Stand Out In A Crowd Of Medical Students



Ever wonder how to stand out of the hundreds of people in your year group? Here are 5 tips that can help you stand out in your teaching group, year group and medical school. These tips are not just limited to life in medical school, but can applied to most situations.

1. Be yourself. No one can be better than you at being you. There are particular attributes about your person that makes you special, pretending to be someone else hides your potential from yourself and others around you. Knowing who you are and appreciating your strengths and weaknesses is a great start to getting yourself noticed.
2. Don’t be afraid to try new things. A new club, hobby, extra curricular activity in an unfamiliar medical specialty or medical unrelated venture. Try it (as long as its safe), as you try new things you may notice a natural talent hiding somewhere. Getting involved in group activities will also give you the opportunity to meet new people who can help you along your journey.

3. Continue to do whatever you find yourself doing to your best ability.  Every written assignment, verbal presentation, etc. try your very best whether or not it may contribute to your grade or assessment. This attitude develops a sound character that will ultimately be rewarded (eventually!).
4. Be open to constructive criticism. Especially from clinical fellows, peers, family members, and members of multidisciplinary team. These people may not conduct a formal assessments on your behaviour or skills but they make observations on a day to day basis. Taking on constructive comments from such people can help you perform better in formal situations.
5. Never be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help is not a weakness or sign of inadequacy, it is a strength. It shows you have good evaluation skills, you can identify your strengths and weaknesses, make a judgement on these and seek help for the areas you are coming up short in. Asking for help can also open doors of opportunity. Develop this habit, it will save you a lot of headache, heartache, time, resits, money and so much more in the future.


These are our top 5 tips, we know there are so much more! So give us one of your tips in the comment box!


Budgets And Funding

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Estimate the cost of your elective

Costs to consider include:

  1. Flights
  2. Visa
  3. Accommodation
  4. Food
  5. Spending Money
  6. Immunisation
  7. Transport
  8. Communication
  9. Travel insurance
  10. Professional medical protection/indemnity insurance

Determine your possible sources of funding

  1. Family & Friends
  2. Medical School
  3. Charities
  4. Royal Colleges e.g. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  5. Religious Organisations
  6. Banks
  7. Pharmaceutical companies






Royal Society of Medicine


How To Arrange An Elective In Nigeria – breaking it down, step by step

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If you find the task of organising your elective in Nigeria daunting, do not worry, Medics’ Inn can help you along the way. Here are some steps to organising you elective. Sign up to our mailing list, we can connect with you better and give you personalised advice and support.

  1. Confirm with your Medical School if Nigeria is an acceptable location for your medical elective

(e.g. Some medical schools discourage travel to regions advised against by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

  1. You must decide on the following:
    1. Duration of your elective period.
    2. What type of location you would like: Rural or Urban?
    3. What you would like to get out of your elective: Aims and objectives
  2. Know exactly what information is required by your Medical Schools to register/confirm your medical elective.
  3. Select the hospitals you would like to carry out an elective experience in.
  4. Create an elective proposal letter (click here to view a sample letter)
  5. Make contact with hospitals and follow through with the hospital’s requirements to arrange an elective. Also query if the hospital can provide accommodation.
  6. Have patience
  7. Confirm your elective.
  8. Arrange accommodation
  9. Research other learning opportunities available in surrounding region

Preparing For Finals – Top Tips!

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If you’re looking for positive thoughts and helpful advice, have a quick read. We asked recently qualified doctors for their top 3 tips for preparing for finals.

“1) Eat well & sleep enough. It will make such a difference to your ability to concentrate.

2) Have a structure. What I mean by that is break down the subjects you need to learn about (Cardiology, Respiratory, Neuro…) into smaller manageable topics (for instance, asthma, COPD, lung cancers). Then for each of these smaller topics, break them down into logical headings (e.g features, diagnosis, management)

3) Slow & steady wins the race – doing your revision little and often is less stressful and more effective than trying to do “revision marathons”.

4) Organise your revision notes in a visually appealing way – it’s much more difficult to remember long lists than it is to remember pictures or diagrams.

5) Prioritise by importance – it’s much more useful for your exams to know about the management of asthma than it is to know every detail about something rare like Klippel-Feil syndrome.

6) Ignore the management at your peril – a lot of the questions in last year’s written finals focused on management of diseases, rather than their diagnostic features. ” Dr Harvey, graduated 2015, he gave us some extras!

“1) Bite size learning: it can be so overwhelming to pick up your Oxford handbook and sit in a library, not knowing where to begin. I found it useful to pick a system a week and go over it

2) Practice questions!! It’s the best and easiest way to learn. I found bmj on-examination so helpful. You can do a random paper of tailor practice papers to specific systems you’re struggling with, and then it’ll give you detailed explanations of the answers after

3) Start early: it’s nothing you don’t already know. But to avoid stress and anxiety, begin early by just picking up a book and reading a chapter an evening. You still have portfolios and things alongside finals revision so just start the term off with light reading every evening and go from there.” Dr Simi, graduated 2015

“1) Start early. This is the most obvious point, but it is so important. Why stress yourself out with 5 years of material? There is a lot to get through! You can be asked anything. Despite the volume you do have a lot of time if you use it wisely. It makes the whole process more manageable. Also don’t forget there will be a lot of repetition of material via tutorials, evening sessions or bedside teaching. The earlier you start the more you can cover material and experience the reinforcement benefit of scheduled teaching!

2) Learning for life. You are going to be working as a doctor in a few months. Finals is not just about passing exams but the only time you have to consolidate everything you should know over the last 5-6 years training to use in your working career. Use the time to identify any weaknesses in what you know and ask anyone and everyone to ensure you understand. Ask the stupid questions now: you’ll have enough to ask when you start as an FY1!

3) Avoid “stress medics.” Fellow medics are your best friend and worst nightmare. Whilst you couldn’t ask for a more wonderful group of people to call your peers, come exam time everyone stresses the hell out of each other. Now I am not saying lock yourself away! It is SO important to have time out and chill with friends. But try not to get too stressed by the 100 hour a day, 5am starting, £100 a day crash course attending, I know it all already people. There is no truer fact when I say: you have gotten this far, just do what you normally do. You’ve got this.” Dr Viren, graduated 2015.

“1) Start early, do lots little and often.

2) Get organised, what topics do you need to know, what have your weaknesses been? I recognise this from doing practice questions.

3) Don’t stress too much, you’ll never know it all. Stick with horses not zebras!” Dr Kellie, graduated 2015.

” 1) Well my main advice would be not to panic both before and after. There’s a big feeling of stress and as if you really cannot learn absolutely everything you feel you ought to know beforehand. The truth is you simply cannot know everything and that’s OK. Medicine is difficult and it’s easy to still expect to be able to go into an exam and know all the answers like it was possible to do at A levels. Its important not to work yourself too hard, take time off.

2) Ultimately I did tons of work but felt that in practice I could have done much less and much more revision and it would have made very little difference to my marks cause the written papers were more skewed towards experience from years at medical school and being involved than from book reading. So get stuck in, don’t devote all your time to reading text books. Spend time on the wards learning the theory of what investigations are useful when etc.

3) During the exam the main type of question for it was “what is THE MOST LIKELY diagnosis” or “what would be the most suitable first line investigation?”. This felt difficult a lot of the time but just take a deep breath and think about it logically, it’ll be alright. These questions might be frustrating at points cause you might feel they are too vague and you don’t have enough information to differentiate between some of the answers but I guess that’s the point, it’s about seeing how you deal with not only what is a realistic diagnosis, but how common/likely it is.

4) Know your ECGs.

5) Also worth noting is that in the written papers there were several questions that were in the style of the situational judgement test and some statistics/epidemiology questions, but these were pretty basic so just revise the basics briefly and you should be fine.

6)Finally, it’s easy to feel you have definitely failed after finals. I genuinely thought I’d failed both and was ready for failure (having bet my entire firm I’d buy them a bottle of wine each if I passed).  If you feel bad after finals, that’s normal, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed, they’re meant to challenge you or it wouldn’t be a test of five years of medical school.” Dr John, graduated 2015, he gave us some extras!

“1) Start 1-2 months prior to exams with an hour/so a day.

2) Focus on Medical & surgical specialties, give some time to all the others (pathology/Paediatrics/Obstetrics & Gynaecology/GP/epidemiology etc) but you will only get a handful of questions on each so don’t go crazy, be familiar but don’t stress about the details!

3) Divide the slides between your academy group and put them on a google drive for everyone’s reference, saves revision time. (applies to clinical data exams)

4) Remember to have a life!!!! These exams are tough but it’s all stuff you’ve done before and not as bad as 4th year exams!!! Balance your time, don’t burn out, you will all be fine!!! You can still do sports, have nights out etc. I didn’t work beyond 8pm at any time!!! Good luck!!!” Dr Daniel, graduated 2015, he gave us some extras!

“1) They want to see that you’re safe. They’re not looking for you to be a specialist in anyway, but they want you to have a fair amount of knowledge and be able to recognise red flags. Obviously if someone doesn’t have a heart you may want to ask some questions.

 2) Common things occur commonly, make sure you know the basics for the basics, don’t tell them about the 1 case that happened in Zanzibar in 1901 before the pandemic that happened last year.
3) Group work, goes such a long way. Practice makes perfect and going through the motions of things you’d have to do in an exam makes you look and be more confident.” Dr Habib, graduated 2015.
If this is helpful, please share, don’t keep it to yourself! If you have anything else to add, please drop it in the comment box below!

Fully Accredited Medical Schools and Approved Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria


It can be difficult to know which teaching hospitals and medical schools to consider for your medical elective. Always conduct a thorough search into your institution in Nigeria and confirm with your medical school your chosen location meets their requirements.

Here are some suggestions of where to start when organising you elective in Nigeria.


“The Medical and Dental professions in Nigeria are regulated by the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act Cap 221 (now Cap M8) Laws of Federation of Nigeria 1990 which sets up the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria with the following mandates:

  1. Regulation of training in Medicine, Dentistry and Alternative Medicine in Nigeria
  2. Regulation of Medical, Dental and Alternative Medicine practice in Nigeria.
  3. Determination of the knowledge and skills of these professionals.
  4. Regulation and control of Laboratory Medicine in Nigeria.”


Cited March 2015



Fully Accredited Nigerian Medical Schools


  1. College of Health Sciences, Abia State University Uturu, Abia State
  2. College of Health Sciences, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom
  3. College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Nnewi, Anambra State
  4. College of Medical Sciences, University of Maiduguri, Borno State
  5. College of Medical Sciences, University of Calabar, Cross – Rivers State
  6. College of Health Sciences, Delta State University, Abraka, Delta State
  7. College of Health Sciences, Ebonyi State University Abakaliki, Ebonyi State
  8. College of Medical Sciences, University of Benin, Benin-City, Edo State
  9. College of Health Sciences, Igbinedion University Okada, Edo State
  10. College of Medicine, Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, Edo State
  11. College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, Enugu State
  12. College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Idi- Araba, Lagos State
  13. College of Medicine, Lagos State University Ikeja, Lagos State
  14. Obafemi Awolowo College of Health Sciences, Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago Iwoye, Ogun Sate.
  15. College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Osun State.
  16. College of Medicine, Enugu State University of Science & Technology, Enugu, Enugu State
  17. College of Medicine, Imo State University Owerri, Imo State
  18. Faculty of Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State.
  19. Faculty of Medicine, Bayero University Kano, Kano State
  20. College of Medicine, University of Ilorin, Kwara State
  21. College of Health Sciences, Bingham University Karu, Nasarawa State
  22. College of Health Sciences, Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State
  23. College of Health Sciences, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Osun State
  24. College of Health Sciences, Usmanu Danfodio University Sokoto, Sokoto State
  25. College of Health Sciences, Madonna University Elele, Rivers State
  26. College of Health Sciences, University of Port- Harcourt, Rivers State
  27. College of Health Sciences, Benue State University, Makurdi, Benue State
  28. College of Health Sciences, Anambra State University, Uli Anambra State
  29. Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Jos, Plateau State
  30. College of Health Sciences, Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State
  31. College of Health Sciences, Babcock University, Ilisham-Remo, Ogun State
  32. College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Oyo State



Approved Nigerian Teaching Hospitals


  1. Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Aba
  2. University of Uyo Teaching Hospital
  3. Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi
  4. University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital
  5. University of Calabar Teaching Hospital
  6. Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki
  7. University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City
  8. University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu
  9. Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano
  10. Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria
  11. University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin
  12. Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba
  13. Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja
  14. Olabisi Onabanjo (Ogun State) University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu
  15. LAUTECH teaching Hospital, Osogbo
  16. OAU Teaching Hospital Complex, Ile-Ife
  17. University College Hospital, Ibadan
  18. Jos University Teaching Hospital
  19. University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital
  20. Usmanu Danfodio University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto
  21. Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara
  22. University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada
  23. Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri
  24. Benue State University Teaching Hospital Makurdi