Practice Exams in Emergency Medicine App Review

Written by Rylan Hayes, sponsored Elsevier Australia Medical Student Ambassador on June 6, 2013 in Book Reviews. No Comments

Everybody learns differently, and this becomes particularly evident in medicine where, by and large, people spend a lot of time learning. It’s probably not an outlandish statement to say the overwhelmingly preferred method involves an element of hands on practical experience. It’s fun, exciting and makes everything that’s been read seem real and worthwhile.

Unfortunately not everything can be reasonably seen and experienced practically, and it’s obviously important to know much more than one can garner exposure to. That is where the individual styles become important. Each to their own, because there is no point giving a white board to somebody who likes to read things over and over. Nor will a busy, noisy room help the student who paces back and forth talking to them self.

Of course the old favorite of passing out face-down on a book when even i.v. redbull cannot keep the eyes open after 72hours straight – often jokingly referred to learning by osmosis, but if that’s the case it implies knowledge is the solvent that’s moving, so what constitutes the solute which is of higher concentration in the brain? Think about that later.

Another major category of learning is by self-testing. For some it helps them recognize gaps in their knowledge. Others find the competitive challenge of you versus the world a fun motivator to learn (children’s math games might be based on this principle, but some people are still big kids at heart). Whatever the reason, doing questions, being humiliated by a quiz and getting back up for more is an excellent tool to learn with.

In the ‘Practice exams in emergency medicine’ app, Elsevier has created an incredibly detailed and powerful self-test tool. The question style ranges from brief statements with a few possible options aimed at testing your knowledge, to complex cases designed to require the user to incorporate a range of facts and principles to arrive at the most appropriate next action.

The scope of these questions is also vast, covering a huge range of emergency medicine concepts.

Immediate feedback is available after submitting a response/guess, and this is the most valuable asset of the app.

Self-testing is good with answers, but when detailed explanations actually help enhance the understanding of a question self-testing becomes phenomenal. After an answer – users are told via a green or red light whether they were on the money. The option is then available to open a box that explains what the question is asking, what the scenario is describing and why the answer is as given (complete with references)!

This isn’t just a confusing one line explanation either, it’s full of detail utilizing sub-headings where necessary and bolded text for the crux of the detail. The usefulness of this app should not be lost on any student who’s spent countless hours sitting anonymously in surgery, feeling less useful to a registrar than the alcohol gel that just splashed on his shoe or even while losing precious time catching a bus so delayed you’re not sure if it’s actually the next scheduled one instead.

Rather than fumbling through papers to find the quiz you were working on, or worse, carrying textbooks around ward rounds – just whip out the phone and do a couple of quick quiz questions to fill the time.

Alternatively, if you’ve got a bit more time to fill, there are 3 x 90minute exams to work through, each with 60 questions. Paper textbooks are lovely, something about flicking through one is without a doubt more enjoyable than flicking through an e-book. But the convenience of e-books cannot be understated, and similarly apps like this one are a huge advantage to mobilizing self-testing. Hopefully Elsevier continues to develop question apps for other specialties as it truly is the learning tool for the current tech savvy generation.

For more information about this app please visit:


Android Phone:

Android Tablet:

Rylan Hayes, sponsored Elsevier Australia Medical Student Ambassador. Rylan Hayes is currently studying medicine at the University of Queensland.

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