Some ideas to help you get the best marks and not fall into common student pitfalls

Some common traps to avoid when approaching these assessment tasks.

As mentioned within an earlier blog post case studies can be quite problematic. Students may interpret the information wrong, interpret the information correctly but not focus on the right priorities and all of these factors may impede their ability to score well for this assessment.

However, some of the more notable and common areas of weakness for students include:

Reiterating known information

Many students I've marked in the past have spent a large portion of their word count repeating the information from the case study. Repeating this known information doesn't help you to address the marking criteria or rubric. A way to think about assessments is that your word count is a commodity. You only have so many words available to use and if you waste these writing information that is known it doesn't help your submission.

Instead, try to pick out the key pieces of information and embed these aspects into relevant discussion. This might be referencing their physical and physiological symptoms to anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology and treatment algorithms. Moreover, use this clinical information to help your idea develop. If you believe the patient differential diagnosis' are x,y,z explain linking back to this information. This theme is applicable across any case study outside of health sciences. Use the information to assist your argument.

Use vocabulary consistent with your discipline

Within an earlier post this has been well discussed, however, I've included this element for completeness. Again, thinking back to the idea that words are a commodity. Can you use language within your discipline to convey the same information in a more succinct way? For instance, students may write 'the patient has low blood pressure and then include the physiological data to suggest hypotension.' Instead, why not write hypotension, one word replaces many. But more importantly, the clinical language conveys far more information and knowledge. This is applicable across any discipline but especially relevant to students studying within the health sciences. For education students, pedagogy would be no different, it is succinct and straight to the point.

Remain within your scope of practice

For health science students, as you progress throughout university you begin to develop more advanced procedural skills. However, you cannot suggest interventions, procedures or pharmacology beyond your scope of practice or if it is not available currently within Australia. Also beware of new and emerging technology. Whilst they may offer potential benefits to patients, equally they may not. As such, stick with best practices for managing a patient suffering from x,y,z and what is currently endorsed as the best available evidence based practice within national and state based treatment algorithms or frameworks.

Ensure your submission is weighted correctly

Always, always check the rubric to ensure you've covered all the aspects necessary and that your submission is weighted correctly. If your submission provides 10 marks for analysis of the student data and 5 marks for teaching practices to help that particular student, this should be reflected in your word count allocation. In this example, 2/3 of the word count for this part of the assessment should be dedicated to the analysis, with 1/3 of the word count dedicated to the teaching practices. But this idea is especially relevant with submissions that need discussion about physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology and treatment modalities.