I was reading Grinmedic’s recent posts of going through the PCP program at the JI, so I thought I’d write a post on some tips I’ve learned from my experience. Perhaps it’ll be helpful to some of you.
Tip #1: It’s a marathon. Pace yourself or you’ll burn out and lose the race. (I learned to eventually take one day out of the week to do nothing related to paramedicine. I also made an effort to go to gym at least twice a week. Both the one day break and exercise helped keep me sane and I studied and retained info a lot better, not to mention I had a lot more energy and was happier).
Tip #2: Throw out all the white coiled books they give you except for “the bible” (training protocol manual). Those booklets are nice, but honestly, you won’t have enough time to go through it all. In all honesty, I attempted to do those booklets for the first two weeks and then gave up. Never looked or used those booklets again and I did just fine on all my exams. Those books are still gathering dust somewhere in my house.
Tip #3: Use the WebCT. Copy and paste all the answers of the flashcards onto a word document and print it out and study it. Review the questions you’re not familiar with or get wrong.
Tip #4: More things you DON’T need to save you some $$$. You don’t need the pathophysiology textbook for the course. It’s useful for some leisure reading, but you won’t have time during the course. The PEPP book is expensive and not worth the buy, there’s a reference book in the library, if you have time before PEPP day, go photocopy the first chapter, that’s mostly all you really need to know. Even better yet, locate someone who has the book and borrow it. The workbooks are useful but not essential (I personally just bought the vol. II one to use to summarize the chapters).
Tip #5: Work together as a team! The first week is often overwhelming because you’re still getting used to the intense study pattern and stress. The online courses like EVDR, OSH, get together with your classmates and team up to tackle all the answers. It cuts down the hours from 8hrs on your own to 3-4hrs as a team. I also recommend getting those courses out of the way ASAP or it’ll haunt you later in the course.
Tip #6: Save your questions and answers for the EVDR and OSH quizzes…who knows…it might pop up again once you get hired with BCAS 😉 *hint hint*
Tip #7: Know your strengths and weaknesses. Seems obvious, but you don’t have time to read everything. Study what you’re weak at, skim what you’re strong at. If you’re comfortable with the written exams then put more time practicing for the practicals and vise versa.
Tip #8: Study smart! Be smart, pick and choose what is important to read and what is not. ie. DON’T read ALS material! Waste of time. You can keep the textbook after you’re done the course for toilet reading material.
Tip #9: Stay ahead of the game. I cannot emphasize how important this is. During the one week “reading/clinical break” it’s okay to take some time to chill, but also take the time to read and prepare notes in the chapters to come. Staying on top of the readings and being one or two chapters ahead makes a huge difference in the long run.
Bonus Tip #10: Ask LOTS of “What If” questions. Why? It’s chicken soup for the soul for the instructors 😉
Hopefully you find the above tips helpful. If anybody else who reads this post has other tips they’d like to add, please post underneath in the ‘comments’ section. Good luck!!