Wellbeing Toolkit

1. I would like to improve my health and wellbeing

Thank you for expressing interest in the MedSoc Wellbeing toolkit! Medical Students are known to have rates of anxiety and depression higher than the average population, so it’s a great idea to improve your wellbeing early on to protect yourself against burnout and other stressors of medical school that might lead to a deterioration in mental health.

One of the most important things in maintaining good physical and mental health is having a GP. The UNSW health service on campus bulk bills all students and AMSA has made a map of GPs in Australia happy to see medical students as patients.

Thiswayup is a mental health and wellbeing tool created by UNSW researchers which is designed to help you identify, understand, and improve psychological difficulties like stress, insomnia, worry, anxiety, and depression. This is achieved through lessons, action plans, and progress tracking.

Mycompass is an evidence-based self-help tool for people experiencing mild to moderate stress, depression, and anxiety. It’s clinically proven to reduce symptoms and improve wellbeing and is particularly targeted at young people and health care professionals.

Meditation is a tool that can assist in overall mental health and wellbeing, and it has been suggested that it can also improve memory, focus, and cognition. Some tools which can assist you in learning to meditate and making it part of your regular routine include:

Exercise, diet, and sleep are three other key components to positive mental health and wellbeing. It can be difficult to get into these routines, particularly when you’re in a period of high stress or poor mental health, but focussing on these core things can make difficult tasks like studying much more efficient and effective. Please see below some resources on this topic:

2. I have been having problems with my mental health and need help

If you are concerned about your mental health, there are a range of places on and off campus to seek help.

None of these services will disclose information about your mental health to MedFac, and seeking help should not have any negative impact on your study or career. If you are concerned about discrimination due to mental health, you can use services that are off-campus and not affiliated with the university, and you can approach MedSoc, DHAS or your MDO for support in cases of discrimination.

Some places to seek help

If you’re not based at UNSW but would like in-person services, see the tab on ‘clinical school specific resources’.

3. I need help with my studies/I've failed an exam or assessment

Failed Assignment

  • To be eligible to present your Portfolio for examination at the end of Year 2, you must have obtained an overall P- or higher grade in at least 11 formal projects and assignments, of which 5 must be assignments.
  • If you fail any project or assignment, you may choose to discuss possible remedial action with the relevant Course Convenor who may permit you to submit an additional project or assignment for the course
    • A lot of the time you are better off not completing a remedial assignment, as this will impact negatively on your following assignments.
    • If you do a remedial assignment, it needs to be a separate topic. This is uncommon and not generally recommended. 
    • Your original failed assignment will still be in your portfolio, but your new assignment will also be included with the full graded honoured.
  • Appeals: It is standard practice at UNSW Medicine for all failed assignments to be double marked. If you receive a fail grade and would like to repeal, your first action should be to inquire as to whether this has been done. 
    • Double marking only occurs for overall fail grade, not if a single capability is failed
    • In light of the already standard double mark process, asking for a third marker is unlikely to change grade
    • There is no financial cost associated with a remark, but please request one with respect for the markers time and high workload
  • If you wish to contact the Course Convenor, you must do so within 10 working days of receiving your fail grade. If you do not approach the Course Convenor within this time period, you will forfeit the opportunity to resubmit.

Failed EOC

  • Assuming no special consideration; it depends on the other courses
  • If you fail one end-of-course examination in either Year 1 or Year 2, you may be given a supplementary assessment which you must pass to progress.
  • If you fail, usually before the results go out on eMed, you will get an individual result from Dr. Gibson or the course convenor informing you that you’ve failed and explaining what will occur.
    • Generally, no supports are offered at this stage
    • Indigenous or rural students can access support through the Rural Clinical School
  • If you fail more than one end-of-course examination in either Year 1 or Year 2, you will not be allowed a supplementary examination and you will be required to repeat these courses.
  • If you fail a supplementary assessment you will be required to repeat the course.
  • Supplementary: happens in January (mostly). The exception is in second-year, when an SH or BGD supplementary may occur in September if there are no other courses to repeat the next year.
  • A fifth fail may result in exit from the program, in discussion with the faculty. If a student has failed enough exams for this discussion to be occurring, there will likely have been many conversations in the lead-up, as well as supports offered.
  • Appeals: remarks- request via the university website
    • On the remark, it could go down (if you’ve passed don’t do it)
    • The second mark is final
  • If you fail, you can contact the course convenor and look at your exam paper. This would be good to provide clarification for your resit.

Failed EOP MCQ

  • If you fail this assessment you will get an email from Dr. Gibson and there will be a supplementary exam the following year
  • To pass the End of Phase written examination, you must obtain a mark of 50% or more as a combined total from the two components. Each component contributes equally to the final result. Students who fail either component will fail the examination overall, even if their overall mark would otherwise qualify for a pass grade.
  • It is very rare for a student to fail this

Failed OSCE

  • If you fail this assessment you will get an email from Dr. Taylor, Dr. Gibson or MESO just before or at the same time as results are released on emed.
  • There is some support for remedial OSCE practice (organised by Dr. Taylor and Professor O’Sullivan)
    • You will be directed towards support at your clinical school, which varies depending on site but usually consists of doctor tutorials. Often students don’t take these opportunities, but they are highly recommended.
  • If you fail either the Written Examination and/or the Clinical Skills Examination, you will be required to do additional work prescribed by the Phase 1 Assessment Review Group and to re-sit the examination(s).
  • Appeals: There is currently no appeals process, but you are able to seek clarification and discuss your results with Dr. Taylor by email request.
  • Supplementary: the P1 OSCE supplementary occurs in mid-February.
    • Failing the supplementary: what occurs is dependent on the student and their grades in other areas of the program. A discussion will occur with relevant faculty staff, and students may have to wait until the next supplementary exam in November/ December of the same year, potentially with further academic support or a recommendation for general education subjects.

Failed portfolio

  • You will get an email which tells you that you’ve received an overall fail, you should contact your college advisor to discuss action
  • Appeals: All failed portfolios are at least double marked, sometimes more, therefore there is no ability to ask for a remark
  • You will be advised to resubmit with specific advice from their portfolio examiner
  • If you fail a first supplementary portfolio assessment may be required to undertake an individual study program (ISP) in a further one or two teaching periods in the Phase before being eligible to resubmit their portfolio for final supplementary assessment.
  • If you fail this final supplementary assessment will formally fail the Phase 1 Portfolio Examination and exit the Medicine program according to the Rules of Progression.

Progressive Practical Examination

  • You need to pass each of the four cumulatively with at least 50% in each discipline
  • If you fail one or more of these disciplines, you will sit a supplementary exam in January or February
    • You only need to resit the failed disciplines, but these exams will cover the whole phase
  • Typically there are no specific supports for studying for the supplementary, but you can ask to speak to the relevant lecturer to discuss areas in which you might like to improve or things to work on
  • If they students the supplementary, they are required to do a remedial science course

Late submissions

  • If there are circumstances that will prevent you from submitting an assignment or project on time, you should apply for Special Considerations and contact the course convenor before the due date
  • Late submissions are subjected to a penalty as follows:
    • Up to one week after the specified due date: The maximum grade for the ‘Self-direction and Critical Evaluation’ capability will be P-
    • Up to two weeks after the specified due date: An F grade will be awarded for the ‘Self-direction and Critical Evaluation’ capability
    • More than two weeks after the specified due date: The assignment or project will not be assessed and an overall F will be awarded

Failed assignment

  • All failed assignments should be double marked. If you receive an overall fail grade and are not satisfied that it is an accurate evaluation of your work, enquire as to whether this has occurred.
  • If the assignment has already been double marked, a third marker is unlikely to change the grade
  • Your pathway of escalation with concerns should be
    • Course convenor
    • Phase convenor
    • Program Authority
  • If you fail an assignment you may be asked to complete a supplementary assignment or make changes to the failed assignment, at the discretion of the course convenor

Failed ICE MCQ

  • As this is an MCQ exam, there is no process for appeal. If there is a question that you believe is inaccurate or incorrect, you may contact your hospital representative, and if this is a substantial claim or a widely held opinion among the cohort, they may escalate it to the Phase 2 committee.
  • A supplementary exam will be held as determined by the Phase 2 Assessment Review Group

Failed ICE Practical

  • You will be required to undertake an Individualised Study Program (ISP) that consists of up to 8 weeks of remedial work, and then do further assessment
  • The nature of this remedial course and supplementary assessment is determined by the Phase 2 Assessment Review Group 
  • If you do not achieve a satisfactory level of performance in the supplementary assessment, you will be required to repeat the Phase 2 courses, and re-sit the ICE examination the following year
  • Students who do not achieve a satisfactory level of performance in the ICE after repeating the Phase 2 courses will exit from the Medicine Program with no further supplementary assessment

Failed ILP

  • If you do not receive a combined mark of at least 50, or do not receive 50% for your final report, you will be deemed to have failed the ILP.
  • The ILP committee will consult your project supervisor and examiner to assign supplementary assessments 

Failed P2 portfolio

  • Appeal?
  • You will be required to undertake an Individualised Study Program (ISP) that consists of up to 8 weeks of remedial work, and then do further assessment
  • The nature of this remedial course and supplementary assessment is determined by the Phase 2 Assessment Review Group
  • Students who fail the supplementary assessments after undertaking a remedial course will exit form the Medicine Program, as per the Rules of Progression guidelines. 
  • A student who has been excluded from the Medicine Program can appeal to the Dean in writing within 20 working days. Appeals should be based on health reasons, or exceptional circumstances and will require appropriate evidence and supporting documents as per this outline.

Failed Biomed Viva

  • Students who fail one station will be offered a supplementary examination as soon as practicable on the area of demonstrated weakness
  • Students who fail more than one station, and those who fail the immediate supplementary examination will sit a further supplementary examination at the end of TP1 the following year. Biomedical science teaching will be available in STP and TP1 the following year which students sitting the supplementary examination are encouraged to attend.

Failed P3 portfolio

  • Appeal?
  • Your mark for the P3 portfolio is an assessment of your Phase 3 learning plans, assignments, and a reflective essay. An F or P- in any capability constitutes a fail grade.
  • You will be required to undertake an Individualised Study Program (ISP) that consists of up to 8 weeks of remedial work, and then do further assessment
  • The nature of this remedial course and supplementary assessment is determined by the Phase 3 Assessment Review Group

Failed P3 ICE

  • Appeal?
  • You will be required to undertake an Individualised Study Program (ISP) that consists of up to 8 weeks of remedial work, and then do further assessment
  • The nature of this remedial course and supplementary assessment is determined by the Phase 3 Assessment Review Group

Prescribing Skills Assessment MCQ

  • You will be allowed to repeat the PSA until you receive a satisfactory result

Special considerations

In 2019, UNSW adopted a new process for special considerations, called ‘fit to sit or submit’. The essence of this policy is that if you complete an exam or assessment, you are declaring yourself fit and well to do so, and are not able to retrospectively apply for special consideration. More information about what situations qualify for special consideration and how to apply can be found at the special considerations website. If you are experiencing difficulty in any way, it is also encouraged that you speak to the course convenor.

For phase 1 it is often useful to copy in Dr Gibson, as she has a comprehensive understanding of the process, experience in assisting with struggling students, and can respond promptly.

Study Help

The learning centre has resources and runs tutorials on a range of learning, research and writing skills appropriate to all levels, from first year to ILP to final year. These courses are famously run by Gwyn Jones in the library. Off campus students are also encouraged to get in contact with the learning centre and access online resources.

Rural and Indigenous Students

4. Clinical school-specific resources

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5. I just need help

Anonymous Reporting

Arc emergency help

  • Crisis accommodation
  • Legal services
  • Emergency care packs (available at reception)
    • Food
    • Hygiene
    • Baby pack

Arc Legal Services

DHAS

Check out the Doctors Health Advisory Service which has a section on resources for medical students.

Your MDO

  • MIPS
    • Conduct a detailed online health check and access 6 to 10 week nutritional, physical or mental health programs via the ‘My wellness’ portal.
  • Avant
  • MDA National
    •  MDA Nationbal’s Health & Wellbeing page provides resources inlcuding:
      • Doctors for Doctors Program
      • Professional Support Service
      • Caring for your health and wellbeing
  • MIGA
    • Doctors Health program features resources including
      • Doctor’s Health Assessment
      • Practitioners’ Support Service
      • Doctors’ Health e-book