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Exam Support

Dr Hilary Swales and Dr Poppy Mackie

Image Dr Hilary Swales       Dr Poppy Mackie                          

Hilary and Poppy see trainees from any specialty who have not yet successfully passed their next postgraduate exam, whether 'writtens' or 'orals'. Often this is the first exam a trainee has failed.

Most trainees are referred to them through concerns raised at their ARCP or by their Educational Supervisor. The key thing is not to wait. Failing the exam once is one-too-many, and a short meeting can turn things around.

They explore with trainees their examination 'history', going back to medical school and sometimes earlier.

Hilary and Poppy discuss with trainees how they are preparing for their current exam - their 'revision' - before exploring further some of the theory of 'knowledge' and 'knowing'.

Following this they offer suggestions as to how the trainee might adopt other revision approaches which have been shown to be effective.

They end the meeting, usually after an hour or so's discussion, with a concrete revision plan. They like to follow up the meeting after a couple of weeks with an e-mail seeing how things are going.

Restructuring one's revision approach takes a little time, and it's most helpful to see trainees at least a month before their next examination attempt.

Exam Support Resources:


It is important to complete the British Dyslexia Association Checklist (BDA). If the score is 45 or above, a copy of the checklist needs to be sent to the PSU.

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