When should I start studying? How much do I need to study? How do I study?
“You need to answer the question”, “You need to be more structured”. What does that actually mean?
The Origins of MAK95 and Mission Statement
When I first became a Primary tutor in 2017, I had to familiarise myself with the revised 2013 syllabus – being an old dinosaur who sat the Primary in 2004.
To be honest, I don’t like how the new syllabus is organised. The Learning Outcomes are categorised under headings such as “General anaesthesia and sedation”, “Perioperative medicine”, “Resuscitation, trauma and crisis management”. While this format highlights the relevance of Part I material to clinical anaesthesia – which, I presume, was the intention – unfortunately, I found it difficult to use as a guide to ensure that my trainees were covering all the required material.
I acknowledge that Problem Based Learning has become the norm in education, but as I said, I am an old school dinosaur. My mind compartmentalised information much more intuitively under headings like “respiratory physiology” or “cvs pharmacology”. So for my own benefit, I used MS Excel to start to recategorise the Learning Outcomes under headings much more similar to the old syllabus.
It then occurred to me that this might not only be useful to me, as a tutor, but would probably also be useful to my new trainees who were starting to study.
I asked my current trainees about what resources they were using and discovered that there has been an explosion in the amount of useful material on the internet (the Kerry Brandis website was THE site, when I was studying), but now many past candidates have also made their study group notes available for all to access, which is fantastic! Plus, many examiners are now also publishing advice, recommended reading and test questions to help candidates. See the Resources page. Sometimes, when I’m grumpy, I feel like saying “back in my day there wasn’t any teaching, you were just expected to study textbooks yourself and pass…”. It’s really great that there are so many resources out there now.
The only downside to this is that there is almost too much information out there, it’s overwhelming and time-consuming to try and look at all the available resources. If only there were a way to make all – or at least part – of it easily accessible, in a convenient and organised way…
This sparked the idea that maybe I could try to do that. I had a little bit of experience using the database program MS Access, from when I did an audit for my formal project – now morphed into the Scholar Role. So I started to collect the Learning Outcomes, SAQ and MCQ resources and tried to figure out how to connect them all together. I settled on a database platform called Filemaker, which has versions for both Windows and Mac. For Version 2 of MAK95, I was forced to change to Xojo and start from scratch, due to a change in Filemaker’s business model 😣 but it has all worked out in the end, with Xojo being more flexible and customisable.
What started out as an attempt to get organised for my Part I teaching, turned into a pet project to make something useful for my trainees. That has evolved into MAK95 – my attempt to render obsolete the need to re-invent the wheel when you are first getting organised to study, and to streamline the process of accessing resources. It won’t do the study for you – you will have to wait until we are all plugged into the Matrix for that – but it should save you a significant amount of time.
Much of the material contained has been crowd sourced. It is my hope that you find the program useful in your preparations and that you contribute back to help future candidates.
Find out more
Take a quick tour of all the features integrated into MAK95