Thoughts on educational technology, psychology & enterprise

MRCP MCQs now available on Synap

MCQs for Medical Board Exams (MRCP MCQs, FRCA, MRCS & more) now available on Synap!

If you’re a junior doctor preparing for board exams such as the MRCA, MRCS or FRCA, then we’ve got some good news for you! In conjunction with our content partners at Oxford University Press, we’re pleased to announce that today we’re releasing over 10,000 premium MCQs for medical board exams – all written and peer-reviewed by experts at OUP.

As you’d expect, subscribing to any of these packages also brings the full benefits of Synap’s cutting edge revision platform such as Spaced Repetition, detailed and personalised feedback, the ability to compare results with your friends – and of course our brand new mobile app!

The full list of courses available is shown below:

Each question has been peer reviewed by experts in the field and designed to match the board curriculum. Questions also come with detailed feedback for each answer, so you can understand and learn from your mistakes.

MRCP, MRCS & FRCA MCQs available on the Synap Store

To top it all off, we’re offering a 20% discount on ALL products for January – simply use the promo code NEWYEAR when checking out!

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Synap 1000 Customers

Celebrating 1,000 Customers!

Today marks a significant milestone for all of us here at Synap – after lots and lots of hard work, we’ve reached our first 1,000 paying users, just three months after launching our partnership with Oxford University Press that saw some of their most popular revision materials for medical students being offered on the Synap Store.

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Advice for the Situational Judgement Test (SJT)

Your academic performance in medical school is worth less than your performance in this one aptitude test alone. Yet, many of your colleagues will say, “you can’t prepare for it”. Sure, it’s not like you can memorise facts in bulks and apply them clinically like in medical exams, but don’t throw in the towel just yet.There are two main methods to prepare for the SJT; practice questions and day courses. The latter can set you back anywhere between £60 to £100 for a day.


Practice questions come in two forms: a practice test endorsed by the Foundation Programme, or third-party practice questions from various publishers. Due to the somewhat subjective nature of this test, the Foundation Programme cannot endorse third-party practice content, however, the logic behind each question and its answers must stand up to a lot of scrutiny. The tradeoff of using third-party questions is that you get a lot more practice, and a lot more explanations for the reasoning behind each answer. But its not easy to decide which third-party content is trustworthy, unless of course, that third-party happens to be the Oxford University Press (OUP).

Whilst there are other third-party publishers that have valuable practice material for the SJTs, I’ve chosen to use OUP’s book for this checklist as it can be used directly from Synap, allowing you to easily keep track of progress and make sure you haven’t missed significant areas of competencies. In the interest of simplicity, I’ve ordered my practice plan into a few steps:

1) Getting your feet wet

If you’ve decided to start preparing for the Situational Judgement Test five minutes ago, and this is the first thing you’ve come across, I recommend that you get your feet wet and practice 5-10 questions straight away, just to get an idea of what to expect. Heck, here you go – take these 10 sample questions and come back here with some well needed insight. You’ll notice two types of questions: ranked items and multiple-choice answers (best 3 out of X). The crucial distinction between the two is that for ranked questions, only the first answer has to be correct, the rest can be varying degrees of incorrect. However, in questions where you have to select the best 3, all 3 must be correct, and all the remaining must be incorrect to varying amounts. For this step, I discourage using the official practice paper from the Foundation Programme – with only 70 practice questions at your disposal, it’s wiser to save them towards the end of your preparation as a marker of your efforts.

2) Understanding the SJT

The SJT is designed to see how you, after graduation, will deal with difficult, but common, situations on the wards. The questions ask you to place yourself in the shoes of a doctor with a perfect moral compass and a working understanding of medical ethics, law and hospital processes. The last of this includes the knowledge of how to sensibly escalate a situation. This is discussed in great detail over the first 8 chapters in OUP’s SJT assessment package, which you can read directly from Synap. You should also take this opportunity to familiarise yourself with the test instructions and scoring system.

3) Developing your ground knowledge

Don’t fall into the trap that the SJT is purely scored upon aptitude; there are plenty of questions that base their reasoning behind the GMC’s Good Medical Practice. There are four domains in this guidance:

You can get through the above four domains is roughly 1-1.5 hours depending on how fast you read, and how much of it you already understand. After that, you can put it in practice by running through these interactive cases, provided by the GMC:

4) Practice, practice, practice

Using your choice of third-party practice questions, go through the 5 areas of competencies tested in the SJT:

  • Commitment to professionalism
  • Coping with pressure
  • Effective communication
  • Patient focus
  • Working effectively as part of a team

SJT question chapters

If you’re using Synap, always select ‘practice’ mode for the SJT quizzes (apart from chapter 14) as shown below – this allows you to get instant feedback after each question which is essential as you want to compare and contrast your reasoning with what’s provided. Waiting until the end of a practice test to see your feedback will mean that you forget much of why you selected each answer. On top of this, you can skip questions and end a session at any point with ‘practice’ mode.

SJT Practice Mode vs Test Mode

Considering how many questions there are to get through, you will find yourself losing focus after only 20-30 minutes of practice. Not only that, you may end up going through the various chapters randomly to keep things interesting. That is why we provide a handy progress chart on Synap so you can see how much you have covered from each area, and and how well you have performed in it.

SJT Progress


5) Test yourself

You should aim to do this roughly a week before your exam date (early December or early January). Start by taking the ‘Test’ quiz on OUP’s SJT book through Synap (Chapter 14, 60 questions) – do this in one go and set yourself a maximum of 120 minutes maximum. Aim to complete this in one sitting to mimic exam conditions. If you’re not happy with your scores, you can either review step 3 or consider booking onto a practice course. Otherwise, take yourself over to the Foundation Programme practice test (70 questions), timed for 140 minutes, and see if you’re in good standing for the real thing.


Good luck! I, too, will be taking this very test in January 2017.

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5 Ways to Manage and Control Your Time in College

5 Ways to Manage and Control Your Time in College

With plenty of things to do in so little time, college students are faced with challenges related to managing their time efficiently. Lack of time management has been found to impact the performance of college students, according to Raplh Heibutzki of Demand Media.

“Faced with so many competing demands on their time, many students simply give up and let the situation take its course. Without intervention from a professor or parent, a student is unlikely to succeed,” Heibutzki wrote in his post.

So, how can you manage their time efficiently ?

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Hooked on Ventilation by Stacey Mcwee

Hooked on Ventilation by Stacey Mcwee

This August marked two years since I lay in the operating theatre of a hospital whilst surgeons removed my appendix. Earlier on that day I was sent home from work with what I thought was a stomach bug, however within a few hours I was vomiting, shivering, feeling cold, clammy and in severe pain…. I had no idea what was to come, my suspected appendicitis was in fact a life-threatening condition called sepsis.

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10 Signs you’re not ready to be a final year student.


  1. Its your last freshers week. Which means you’ll be stuck in a sea of freshers who look like infants to you. You never looked that young at 18, right?


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Synap Store offers premium MCQs with Oxford University Press

Announcing the Synap Store, with MCQs from Oxford University Press!

Today we are proud to announce the latest addition to Synap, the world’s most powerful educational website. The Synap Store is a brand new area of the site, that connects students and teachers with professionally written Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) tests from top education publishers.

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Microsoft Hub

The Tech Game; Is the Microsoft Hub winning in the classroom ?


The Tech Game; Is the Microsoft Hub winning in the classroom ?

Microsoft Surface Hub as a Teaching and Learning Tool – First Impressions

Classroom technology isn’t good. In spite of the fact that you have a room full of students to educate, you’re probably fighting the technology as much as you are using it. Projectors refusing to detect inputs, PCs deciding it’s time for an update right in the middle of a class or just frustration at poorly configured digital whiteboards and visualizers that make you miss the days of chalk and dust allergies.

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Singapore Skyline

Getting ready for your CEI Exam?

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No matter where you are in the world, one thing always remains the same – exams are stressful! Today we turn our focus on the CEI exam used in Singapore. The CEI exam is an important one for those of you working in employment agencies, as it demonstrates your knowledge of the important laws to do with. 

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Pomodoro timer

Spaced repetition and the Pomodoro Technique

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Studying for an exam is hard work, and most students will have experienced the pressure to cram as much learning as they can into a short space of time. During my undergraduate and postgraduate study days I remember spending long chunks of time chained to the library study desks before an exam or piece of coursework was due. It turns out that relying on big blocks of study time might not be the best way to do it after all. There has been a lot of research in the last few years done on the most efficient and effective ways to study, and something which comes up time and again is the concept of spaced repetition. A popular method which has spaced repetition at it’s core is the Pomodoro Technique.

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