Superpowers all medics have in Exam Season

By Hithin Noble

You know the saying- not all heroes wear capes. Well this couldn’t be more true. Not to blow our own trumpets or anything (we’re not Jason Derulo), but medics are a different breed during exam season. We develop superpowers during this month like no other. Here are a few of my favourites:

1. Finding a Place to Sit in the Library

Finding a seat in the library is like playing whack-a-mole. Just like a harpoon, empty seat means target is locked and loaded. You have to be smart about this. You’ve got a seat to get. Someone on their phone? Work them puppy eyes and let their guilt set in. You hear a laptop shutdown, make your move. But this is just for the lucky few. People can be sat on the floor, like they are camping outside the Apple Store for the newest iPhone, or reading textbooks stood up. You have a mix of people, all in one place. You’ve got the crammers, the guys who are just on it like a car bonnet, the masters of procrastinators, the loud munchers and my favourites: the nappers. What annoys the ants out of me, is people saving a seat in the library, and swanning off for hours. A bit of time for lunch-no problem at all. The time some of these individuals are gone for is ridiculous. What are they doing- popping off to Primark, having a manicure and ending the day by doing the Harlem Shake? What makes it worse is the way they save their seat. Do they leave their bag? No, some just leave a SINGLE worksheet, or notepad. I don’t care if it’s the Mona Lisa - it means NOTHING. Additionally, some seats are more top end than others. The Mayfair of seats are definitely by the window, with the comfy chairs, and plenty of desk space. The seats you don’t want are near the entrance or the toilet: its more war than peace here, and you are little too close to comfort to the person you’re sat next to. Hopefully, with your seat all set, you can get to work amongst the sweat and stress of exam season.

2. The Mean Lean Caffeine Machine

Caffeine is just a necessity during exam season. You are memorising intricate physiological mechanisms at the middle of the night, and it’s really what stops turning us all into the cast of the Walking Dead. I’m definitely more of a coffee person than tea. I just associate tea with a relaxing night, in front of the telly: it couldn’t be more of the opposite. But here’s my problem with coffee. It’s just a bit grim really. I mean I love an iced latte, the coldness reboots my brain, and there is more sugar than coffee in one of them. But actual coffee, is just as bitter as my fellow Scrubbed Up Co-Founder. The positive is that the bad taste does wake you up. But so would a dog, if it did a poo next to me. Then there are the mad hatters who down energy drinks. Is it me or do they all the taste the same? May I stress though, it’s important to always keep hydrated- to really get your brain juices flowing.

3. Lectures, Lectures and More Lectures

I just love how people listen to lectures at like X2 or even X3 speeds, like they’re listening to Eminem on repeat. It’s certainly an artform: one that I haven’t mastered. I prefer listening to lecturers who actually sound like lecturers and not Mickey Mouse. Forget that, how are you meant to write notes, understand and memorise everything so fast? It’s like rather than marinating the chicken, letting the juices soak in, and then putting it in the oven, you are essentially plopping on the marinade, whilst the chicken is still roasting in the oven. How do I get the most out of lectures, I hear you ask? I get in the zone, with my headphones in, with my trusty whiteboard and my go to revision snack: M&Ms at hand. Whoever invented M&Ms is the legend our world needs. I’ve seen all sorts of revision snacks: from the standard crisps and chocolate, to tinned tuna- I feel sorry for anyone sat next to the latter. Nevertheless, we are all different, so focus on yourself and do what works for you.

4. Stationary Demolisher

I get through more whiteboard pens than I do meals in a day. Those pens run out faster than the seats in the library. My whiteboard has definitely been my saviour in medical school, and is essential to how I perform the wizardry that is Active Recall. Whiteboard pens have minds of their own. They always seem to run out when I most need them. When I’m finally getting somewhere, the pen bids its farewell and like Travis Scott would say, “they out like a light”. For me its whiteboard pens, but for others it’s paper. There are medics, who somehow amongst the stress of trying to learn boatloads of information, make their notes intricate and fancy, fitting for an exhibition at the Tate Modern. Then there are others, who make their notes concise, and even more concise again, like some sort of complex mind origami.


5. Avengers Assemble

My friends are like Marmite during exam season: I either love them or hate them. I am deep into my revision playlist, really getting through some anatomy and then I see a friend. Two hours later, and I am contemplating my life decisions, now behind schedule. FACT: there are just some people who you cannot work with. One look across the table, and I’m deep into convo about the latest Premier League scores and how dead their trim is looking. But that’s just one side of the coin. Your friends are also a great support network: they know what you are going through and essentially working towards the same end goal. Some of my greatest memories at uni have actually been during exam season. Teaching other people is such an effective way to study. Not only does it let you revise a topic again, but it shows you have fully comprehended and memorised it. By also discussing each other’s weaknesses and difficulties, you are becoming one unstoppable force. And just like Scrubbed Up, true strength comes as a collective.

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