Year 4 Survival Guide

Year 1     Year 2     Year 3     Year 4



Finals are spread over 2-3 weeks and consist of 5 examinations:

  1. Short Essay Questions (SEQ):  This exam comprises 6 questions with subsections, with the exam lasting for 2 hours. It comprises 50% ethics and law, and 50% public health. For public health, use 'Essential public health - theory and practice' (Gillam et al), and 'Medical Ethics and Law, the Core Curriculum' (Hope et al) for the ethics and law component. To study for this exam, practice applying the four fundamental principles of medical ethics, and work though the core texts.
  2. Multiple choice Questions (MCQs): 150 questions in 3 hours
  3. Extended matching questions (EMQs): 150 questions in 3 hours. There is no formal syllabus for these two exams, though the topics on the link to the right may be used as a rough guide. EMQ and MCQ practice questions with explained answers can be found at This was the most popular website among our year group. Most people signed up for the 3 months subscription prior to exams but had I known how useful it was, I might have considered signing up earlier. 
  4. Stimulated Clinical Encounter Examination (CCS): an OSCE-style examination with talking instead of physical examination. To succeed, practice scenarios with peers and give useful feedback to improve. A book offering scenarios is 'Communication skills for final MB: A guide to success in the OSCE' (H.R. Dalton).
  5. Object Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE): This is the culmination of everything you have been working for, for the last four years. It is a high pressured examination because your every move is watched and every word muttered counts. That said, the patients are nice and the examiners want you to pass, so if you do as you are capable of you will perform well. The best way to prepare for this exam - no prizes for guessing how - is to practise and try to simulate examination settings. Ask doctors on the wards for interesting patients with signs. EAU is an excellent place to clerk, examine and present new patients. Kidney transplant and Polycystic kidney disease patients may be found in the dialysis unit behind G8. These are classic cases in finals. Speak kindly to the dialysis nurses to find out when patients come in for dialysis and ask for permission to speak with and examine them. Varicose veins can be examined pre-surgery if you come in early on the final surgical attachment. Clinics can be excellent places to see signs, particularly neurological and endocrine. Liver transplant patients can be found on D9 in Addenbrooke's - beat the pre-final stampede by going early. Some keen students have been known to venture to Papworth to tune their ears to murmurs. You will be told time and time again that the conditions that come up in finals are most likely to be chronic stable conditions so that patients can be invited to the OSCE month in advanced. Therefore focus your revision on these cases. 


Clicking the calender above will download a table of placements in stage 3, complete with some tips produced by a previous medical student.

The link above downloads a list of specialities to be used to structure finals revision.

The downlink link above is a list of useful courses.




  1. Complete self-assessment for medical final (Patel)
  2. Medicine at a glance (Davey)
  3. Pass finals (Smith et al)
  4. Clinical Medicine (Kumar and Clark)
  5. Principles and Practice of Medicine (Davidsons)
  6. 100 Medical emergencies for finals (Brown)
  7. Surgical talk (Golberg)
  8. 250 cases in clinical medicine (Baliga)
  9. Macleod's clinical examination