Midwifery Year One: Exams

As I said in my year one review, I wanted to talk about the different assessments and exams in a separate post. To start, I really want to say that the assessments are not that bad. Honestly, hand on heart, they are not that bad!
Let's start with the essays. The first and second module both have an essay component. There is a word count - more of a limit - but I actually found it really easy to reach and the hard part for me, was cutting out the work and picking the best parts. I find it easier to write without being restricted and then cut down to reach the word cap. I feel this doesn't stop the flow of work and it allows you room to write what you want.

I found both essays fairly easy to write. I didn't even look at them before the independent study week, which I found was defintely enough time to write it within. I personally researched Saturday to Monday, wrote Tuesday to Thursday and then I got my father to check it on the Friday or Saturday, depending on when I'd been through and cut it down. My flatmates, who all also study Midwifery, sometimes got each other or myself to check their work, but I find this important step as easy mistakes can be picked up better by someone who hasn't written it.

The assessment I found the strangest was the debate. As a small January cohort, we split the group into 4 groups of 6. The lecturers tell you exactly how the whole process will work and you even have a practice debate beforehand which is really helpful. I absolutely hated the debate. In all honesty, despite most people loving it because technically in some ways it requires a lot less work, I hated it. I was petrified. I worked so hard trying to perfect it and get it within the time limit, but also to know it off by heart. One of my biggest fears in public speaking and despite there only being 30 people in the room, it was hard for me. The added difficulty was that I was also the team captain, meaning my work had to be done somewhat last minute, plus I had the added pressure of not one, but two speeches! It was hard work but I did it and my grade defintely reflected on the work I did!

Next up was the big exam. I feel like the Normal Childbirth exam is the one everyone dreads. I was in the exact same boat. Unfortunately, there was a lot of movement in our timetable so it meant that we got the module split up with 6 weeks of teaching, followed by 4 weeks of annual leave and 4 weeks of placement, before getting back into theory block with 2 weeks on independent study. It was hard having such a long break and honestly, I would have much preferred to have had the exam sooner, with less time, but that was what the university decided. Luckily, for all future years, the module will be 8 weeks altogether. The hard part for me was that for the full 8 week gap, I kept wanting to revise but knew I had to take a step back from it. It was a constant thought in the back of my head thinking "I should revise" but I just literally, did not have time. So in the end, I just revised for the 2 weeks of independent study and I felt more than comfortable with the knowledge.

My big fear was that I was obviously going to fail. I hadn't had much luck in exams prior, having failed so many of my previous exams. I was petrified it was going to happen again.

The exam is split into a choice of 3 our of 5 questions, answered in an essay format within a 3 hour time period. I was so happy to open the paper and read not only a couple of questions that I liked but 5! I really could have answered any of the questions and got a fairly decent mark. I feel like I could have got a better mark with one of the questions but I chose questions that didn't overlap because as  had the knowledge, I wanted to share it, and after writing everything once, it's far too boring to write it all out again. The scary part is knowing that you've written enough content to pass but worrying about the "unsafe error" aspect which automatically fails you. Luckily, I didn't!

There is also a practice element. Within your placements, you have something called a tripartite which is a meeting between your placement mentor, personal tutor and yourself. It's really just a discussion about how you did, based on the 6C's model. If anything, it's just nice to hear what your mentors this of you and where you can improve. Personally, I don't think it's the best way to be marked because it's very subjective and different mentors and personal tutors give different marks for the same thing.

Finally, there is a formative OSCE (objective structured clinical examination). This is nothing like my Medicine OSCE. Quite honestly, if I was to compare the two it would be somewhat of a joke but the Midwifery OSCE is more what I thought it would be. It is all just practical and assesses two basic midwifery skills: hand washing and medicine management. It was very quick, well organised and over within 10 minutes after I arrived!

Overall, I ended up with really good marks and so more than anything, I'm disappointed first year doesn't count towards the final degree grade! Just because I know people will ask, I will share my grades as they don't count towards anything:

  1. Compassion Essay - 68% 
  2. Debate - 75%
  3. Contemporary Essay - 80%
  4. OSCE - 100%
  5. Exam - 98% + 85% + 70% = 84%
  6. Practical - 70% + 78% = 74%