The Synap team showcase their favourite digital tools and ways you can use and adapt them when studying at home.

There’s a lot of pressure being placed on the health service by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s having an extraordinary impact on your education. The challenges we currently face are unexpected and devastating, rapidly changing how we all live and work. We’re going to take a look at some of the obstacles you may face when revising from home and provide you with tips and tools to help you overcome them.

Synap is an intelligent online revision platform created by medical students. It’s a simple and engaging platform which uses content from Oxford University Press and spaced repetition software to identify knowledge gaps and create a personalised study plan.

We’ve used a lot of digital tools while studying medicine and have suddenly found ourselves relying on them more than ever to keep our business running smoothly. We’d like to share a few suggestions that work for us which you can apply to your studies.

Recording your notes in a structured way

Writing things down forces you to think more about what it is you’re writing and helps to keep your brain engaged. This is often the case in medical education.

There are hundreds of conditions, drugs and investigations you will need to learn about which will have a familiar structure. For example, when learning about the core undergraduate conditions such as asthma, you’ll need to know the pathophysiology, demographics, symptoms and treatments.

This approach lends itself to having a structured form to collect your research, making it easier for you to write and look up information afterwards. Take a look at our example. We created this in Airtable, a free easy-to-use piece of software that functions like a spreadsheet combined with a database. Setting it out this way allows you to see what conditions you need to learn and everything associated with it. It’s a great way to store all the different information you need in one place. Feel free to use it yourself to study.


Consolidate your learning

Studies suggest that students who spend time teaching others what they have learned have a better understanding of the topic and retain more knowledge. That’s because you need a good understanding of the topic to teach someone else without reading from a slide. It also tests your ability to recall information. Try creating your own lessons with a video capture tool like Loom. You can capture your screen, voice and face and share the finished result with friends instantly. 

Microlearning with Synap

How many times have you found yourself cramming in two months’ worth of revision the night before an exam? Cramming only lets you remember information for a short amount of time. It will probably leave you feeling stressed before your exam and you’re likely to forget everything in the long run.

Instead, try breaking up revision into 10-15 minute chunks over a longer period to commit information to long-term memory. Enter Synap – the revision platform designed to make your learning more engaging and effective than before.

Synap uses content from the Oxford University Press Assess and Progress Series and our spaced learning algorithm to identify knowledge gaps. The algorithm creates a tailored study plan and delivers personalised quizzes to your device daily. It’s free to sign up. MDU student members can also access a free chapter from each title in the series, pick a free complete title from the series for each year of study (12 month access), and purchase the series from Synap at an MDU exclusive rate of £15 per year. All you need is your MDU voucher code, waiting for you on the summary page in My membership on the MDU website.