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Ovidiu Croitoru, a 1st year medical student, talks about his experience of essays.



Hi everyone, my name is Ovi and I'm a first-year medical student here at Trinity College Dublin, and in this video I'm going to be talking to you about my recent assessment experience, more specifically, about essays in medical school.

All right so I'm an international student from Quebec Canada and I did an undergraduate bachelor's degree in Biomedical sciences, and the vast majority of my assessments were under the type of multiple-choice questions and sometimes short answer questions. However, I've never had any sort of experience regarding essay questions whether it was assessments, papers, or exams. So, if you're like me and you were feeling a bit lost, unsure where to start or how to organise your essays, well don't you worry, I've been there.
So, let me tell you about my experience of writing these essays.

So due to the current sanitary situation, all my assessments were done online at home from my computer. So, whether it was MCQs, SAQs or essay questions. And for the assessment period, we had to download this program which allowed the school to monitor us in order to make sure that we were not cheating, and that involved having our screen recorded, audio, as well as video recorded.

So, I had essay questions as part of my Evolution and Life course. We had 2h and a half to complete the assessment and for me that was plenty enough because I prepared quite a lot for these essay questions. So now you might be wondering: well Ovi, how did you prepare for these essays? Well don’t you worry, I'll tell you right now.

All right so first and foremost, the single most important resource that I used to prepare for my essay in medical school, is trinity's past paper website. So, on that website you will find all sorts of old papers from all sorts of modules dating back even to the 90s for some of them.

So, what I did then, I created a document where I compiled the questions and topics that would come up the most often in these past papers. And then I answered all the questions with the lecture slides, reference textbooks and articles online so that way I could make sure that my answers were as good as possible.

Afterwards, I would just practice typing out the answers to a few questions every single day. The way I did that is that I first started by learning the outline or the structure of my essay and then out of memory, just filled in the different sections. Afterwards, I would compare what I had written to the full complete essay that I wrote a few days prior to that. And by doing this process multiple times, I was able to memorise a handful of essays. This was extremely useful since on the day of my exam I was just able to type out my essay and not worry too much about the organisation, the structure or what I'm going to talk about.

Now of course, the questions are never the same, but the general topics do come back and by practicing before the exam, you're going to have good knowledge about the subject and be able to answer to a variety of questions about that topic.

So, if I could give you any tips on how to prepare for these essay assessments, well, use the past papers, make the most out of them. Talk with older year students, ask them about their experience, and most importantly, start well in advance. It takes a lot of time to prepare for these essays so don’t underestimate that.

All right so I hope you enjoyed this video. If you want to join me through my journey through medical school, or if  you want to know what its like to be a medical student here at Trinity College Dublin, I have my own YouTube channel which I’m going to link right here ( and also in the description down bellow. So good luck on your assessments and see you in the next video.


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