Top Tips to Survive Final Year

So 4 years have flown by and now it's come down to the crunch: Final year.

I'm sure you'll be fed up of the standard 'You're in final year now' spiel and are generally a bit overwhelmed and scared of the pressure that finals and job applications bring!

But don't fret, here I will outline how to get through this year without losing all your hair!

Top Tips

1. Be organised
Set deadlines for work you want to achieve and stick to them!
I find google calendar really helps me plan my time but use whatever method works for you.
Know what work you have outstanding and identify areas of weakness so that you can target them when revising. 

2. Sort out your case portfolio early 
Don't leave everything to the last minute. Identify the required number of suitable patients with backups too, patients sometimes let you down.
Start writing cases up if you can already (you'll have more pressing things to worry about in the new year) and make sure you have the appropriate study models and photographs - you don't need a last minute panic trying to squeeze your patient into photography when everyone else is doing the same thing. 

3. Get on top of in course assessments and quotas
As I said earlier, set deadlines and stick to them.
If you're struggling with quotas or getting suitable patients for competencies, then let your tutors know as soon as you can - especially consultants. They can look out for patients for you on their clinics and pass them on to you. 

4. See lots of patients 
Gain as much experience as possible whilst you're at dental school. It's tempting to leave clinics free so you can have more revision time but you learn better from treating patients.
It's also reassuring to learn a new procedure whilst still in an environment where you are surrounded with other more senior staff to guide you through the treatment.
In a couple of years you will either be an associate or working in a hospital - you'll be the one providing treatment and it's likely that there will be no one will be there to help you out. 

5. Start revision early
This is really important. You don't have to go crazy at this stage in the year but making sure you're topping up knowledge at home and write a plan so you make sure you cover everything (there is a lot!)


Start as early as possible
Again a bit of repetition here but whenever your exams are, get started on revision early. I know it's tempting to leave things to closer to the time but there is a lot to learn so start slowly but asap!

Vary your revision methods
Just reading through a textbook may work for a while, but I find it best to mix up revision techniques, not only so it doesn't get boring but it also helps me consolidate my knowledge.
Make notes, flashcards, highlight books (as long as they belong to you!), watch or listen to lectures.
Why not try using my Quizlets - a great website where you can create your own flashcards or use the ones I have already created last year for finals. You can also test yourself with tests or match up the terms.

Revise with your friends
Test each other, hold revision sessions or seminars. This can help a lot if there is something that you are a bit confused about.
Get in touch with staff members too - our clinicians at Newcastle were really willing to hold revision seminars and lectures if you asked for them or meet one on one if there was anything you needed to discuss.

Overlap your topics
It's tempting to spend one day revising restorative and the next revising child dental health but remember topics overlap!
Link topics together, it'll save you time but more importantly it will help you understand topics fully!
Dentistry isn't a set of modules, it's one big interlinking subject!

Some useful text books
Here are some of the texts that I found useful for finals.

Clockwise from top left: Master Dentistry Volume One Couthard et al, Paediatric Dentistry Welbury et al, Applied Dental Materials McCabe et al, Introduction to Orthodontics Mitchell, Master Dentistry Volume Two Heasman,  Oral Pathology and Oral Medicine Cawson and Odell, Textbook of Human Disease in Dentistry Greenwood et al, Prosthodontic Management of the Edentulous Patient Basker et al and Pocketbook of Oral Disease Scully et al. 

There's a lot of content to cover for finals, do here's a summary of topics you will definitely need to cover.


1. Restorative and Conservation dentistry

2. Child Dental Health

3. Dental Public Health

4. Radiology

5. Oral Medicine

6. Oral Surgery

7. Oral Pathology

8. Endodontology

9. Periodontology

10. Special Care Dentistry

11. Prosthodontology

12. Occlusion

13. Dental Materials

14. Human diseases and Medical Emergencies

15. Temporomandibular disorders

16. Orthodontics

So good luck everyone! If there is anything you would like to know, or if anyone has any additional tips for final year dentists, please comment below!

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