Active Revision for AMIE Exams

AMIE Exams are not a test of memory but rather a test of understanding. So it follows that your whole approach to revision should be geared towards demonstrating your understanding of the course. You do need to remember the main points in order to apply this understanding, but the prime focus should not be on memorising.

Approach your revision in a way that is geared to understanding and constructive criticism of course topics. This will help you remember everything you need.

Right from the start, you must think of revision as preparation to provide clear, focused answers to exactly what the examiner asks.

This means that you must be able to understand the various viewpoints or aspects of a particular topic in order to develop reasoned responses to questions aimed at testing that understanding. You need to develop this approach, something I call 'active revision' so that it becomes almost second nature throughout the course. In this way, you will reduce the time needed for final revision.

Active revision involves looking for and understanding the key points and arguments associated with each topic as you progress through the course, and thinking how these may manifest themselves in exam questions.

Contrast this to 'passive revision' which is simply the process of memorising the facts just before the exam with no real regard for being able to do anything other than regurgitating facts.

Practising exam questions

But there's even more to it than that. The active revision also involves practising the past and potential AMIE exam questions so that you can develop the skill to express this newly-found level of understanding in a coherent and concise manner in the time available.
  • Periodically answer a past question under exam conditions. 
  • For each topic ask yourself what might an exam question on this look like?' 
  • Share your thoughts on both the key points and potential questions with your study group.

Predicting exam question

Whilst we're talking about what exam questions for each topic might look like, it's worth thinking about the fairly common practice of guessing which topics are likely to come up in your exam. Students do this to minimise the amount of final revision they have to do but it is always a risky process. Remember the aim is to build confidence through the use of a well-planned approach and trusting to luck doesn't support that notion. Don't leave out large chunks of revision on the basis of a forecast or guess at what might come up.

(From "How to Pass Your Exams" by Mike Evans)

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