I first heard about onexamination.com early in my final year and it’s a resource that I wish I’d discovered much earlier. While the site does offer book reviews, course information and revision tips, onexamination.com is predominantly an extensive question bank that includes typical assessments for all exams from medical school and PLAB levels, through to The Royal Colleges’ Membership papers.
As a medical student member, you have access to literally thousands of questions, covering general practice, anaesthetics and all of the usual medical and surgical specialities, as well as additional topics on the basic medical sciences, statistics, NICE guidelines and much more. onexamination.com allows users to customise and adapt their revision to their personal needs. Once logged in, you create your own mock exams (either MCQs, EMQs, ‘n’ of many or short answer questions) with between 10 and 100 questions on whichever specialities you want to focus on at that time. Furthermore, you can set the bank to only include questions that you haven’t seen before or even to adjust the questions to your skill level (so they get harder as you get better). When you get bored of revision and something far more exciting crops up halfway through a text, you can even save the test to return to at another date. As you complete your mock exam, you are given your marks and the answers to the questions are explained in a sentence or two at the bottom of the page, sometimes accompanied by external links to further information on the topic. Having said this, there are some questions where the explanations don’t match the questions or are in the wrong order so it’s always wise to double-check before getting too despondent about your revision! Another slight criticism of onexamination.com is that sometimes you are asked questions from a completely different medical speciality to the one that you specified when you designed your test but you always have the option to skip a question if you don’t want to do it anyway.
If you can’t be bothered to plan your own revision, onexamination.com can still help; the “Exam crammer” course on the site will take you through all of the questions one by one so you can just plough through that at your own speed. Most medics are pretty sick of giving feedback but if you really want to, you can also rate the questions as you do them, so that onexamination.com can assess which questions and styles are proving the most effective and adjust any that are felt to be poorly worded etc.
Using onexamination.com is simple and the layout of the site is fairly user-friendly although occasionally you will find that you have navigated yourself into a dead end and need a couple of clicks to get back to where you wanted to be. Aesthetically, this site is simple and focussed on the job in hand, without many distracting graphics or any adverts etc. One very useful feature of the site is the “How am I doing” button, which allows you to compare how well you are performing, as compared with other users and you can see how your chances of passing the exams improve as you revise (well hopefully they will). As well as looking at your global performance, onexamination.com allows you to see how well you are performing in each of the different medical and surgical specialities so that you can see quickly which areas of your knowledge are lacking.
isn’t a free service; medical student membership costs £40 for 4 months, although this price is discounted to only £26 if you are an MDU member (which is free for medical students). Having used onexamination.com
for several months of finals revision, I can safely say that it has been a useful revision aid, particularly when you need a break from reading or writing notes and the varying difficulty of the questions means there’s always something you didn’t know before, no matter how good you might think you are!
Reviewed By: Ian Anderson (05.06.2007)
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