Had fully intended to go into university to do the formative, but there were two major problems. Firstly, I woke up at 11.38 due to the antics of the night before, and secondly I had crippling leg pain from being crouched in the gutter at the front of the stage during the show – I was either hunched over or wedged in a small gap for about two hours, and in skinny jeans that’s more difficult than it sounds.
Essentially confined to the house for the day, I did a few more hours of revision in the morning, had lunch and then sat down for the formative. Our first one became available on Thursday and had to be completed before 5pm the following Wednesday. Given that Block 2 teaching started on Monday, I absolutely wanted to get it out of the way during the weekend.
The format was 25 multiple choice questions, following by 4 short answer questions, with an hour allowed for the first component and 90 minutes for the second. I wanted to see what I had been able to retain so far, and did a first pass of the exam using only my existing knowledge, making a note of what I had answered. I then went through again using my notes and filled in any blanks or elaborated further, again noting where I had done so.
In terms of why I did it this way, there are a few reasons. Firstly, while there are no real consequences for failing a formative (the pass mark is 60%), if you fail enough of them steps do start to be taken, such as meeting with your form tutor and eventually higher authorities. There is therefore no advantage to failing outright. Additionally, by leaving things blank I stand to learn absolutely nothing, so skimming the material seemed to be a better option.
I’m very happy to have scored 66% for the MCQs and 68% for the SAQs unassisted, which has provided a much-needed morale boost. At times the sheer amount of information has been overwhelming, but by structuring revision and doing a little bit every day you are able to tackle it head-on. Anki is a lifesaver. Something I learned – learning to answer the questions in the correct way seems to be important. Only got ¾ on a question concerning ELISA, a serological test I’m very familiar with from my undergrad. Need to be simpler and pick out only key points.