New Student Checklist - Getting Started


Immunisations | Police Check | parking | Books | clothes | STETHOSCOPES | MD Buddy | Checklist


The College of Medicine and Public Health will request that you undergo specific immunisations in order to be able to visit the hospital wards. Some of these immunisations are free for everyone in SA (e.g. Mantoux test) and others are not.

Getting these immunisations in advance is a good idea (booster shots of Hepatitis can take around 7 months to complete!), but not critical if they are not done by the time you start in February. The school will advise you all about it and you'll have ample time to complete them all so long as you get started early on in first year.Details of the Health Screening and Vaccination Schedules required for working in the South Australian Health Services can be found on the Flinders Website. It is recommended that you carefully read the Health Advisory Booklet and complete Form A and Form B (included at the end of the booklet).

The University Health Service (on main campus near the gym) has a bulk billing GP practice on campus that are familiar with the vaccination requirements for Med students.

The immunisation requirements as of 2017 include;

  • Chickenpox - A past history of clinical chickenpox OR presence of IgG to VZV or 2 shots of Varilrix.

  • Diphtheria/Tetanus - At least 3 diphtheria/tetanus toxoid shots, at least one of which was administered aged >10 years.

  • Hepatitis A - If no immunity shown from serological screening then administration of at least 2 dose monovalent Hepatitis A vaccine or 3 dose combination Hepatitis A/B vaccine.

  • Hepatitis B - Results from a recent Hepatitis B serology test including evidence of immunity (Hep B surface antibody >10 IU/ml).

  • Hepatitis C - Results from a recent Hepatitis C antibody test.

  • HIV - Results from a recent HIV antibody test.

  • Measles/Mumps/Rubella - At least 2 doses of MMR vaccine.

  • Pertussis (Whooping cough) - Single booster dose (given as dTpa).

  • Poliomyelitis - At least 3 doses of inactivated polio vaccine.

  • Tuberculosis - Via email, your risk factors are determined and you may have to do a Mantoux test (at a location such as RAH) to determine your TB exposure status, and potentially get a BCG vaccine.


All students at Flinders are required to undergo either a National Police Check, Criminal History Screening Check and/or a Working with Children check prior to undertaking any placement. This requirement is now compulsory in most states and territories in Australia and is managed at the state or territory level in accordance with their respective legislation. Details for both the South Australian and Northern Territory campus requirements are outlined in the Criminal History Screening Medical Course Fact Sheet.

These checks may take a month or two to go through, and the school will be happy to answer questions on exactly what is needed, so feel free to email them.

Note: Students with 'relevant' criminal records may not be permitted to undertake their placements and may therefore not be able to complete their course requirements. If any student is concerned that their criminal record may preclude them from placement it is advisable they discuss their concerns with their Course Coordinator.


If you are planning on driving to University you will require a parking permit. Permits can be purchased in person from Connect on main campus, at The Hub. or online. Details including the parking permit form can be found on the University website, and there are permits that cover either just one semester or the whole year. Make sure the permit is always visible.

The best parking spots are Car Park 1 for access to 1st and 2nd year lecture theatres and labs (and main campus). Car park 12, 21 and the overflow parking on the sports oval are good alternatives if car park 1 is full or you want access to the hospital. Checkout the campus map for more options.

Pro tip: The carparks fill up fast, especially early in the semesters, so getting to the carparks before 9am is strongly advised, otherwise the carparks further up main campus have a 10-15+ minute walk to the medical centre.


Don't get concerned about buying textbooks before the start of the course. A good option is to talk to other students from 1st year and above and borrow books from the library until you find what works for you. Also checkout the FMSS Textbook Guide. Upper year students are full of good (and mixed) advice on textbooks, and you'll just have to trust us when we advise you to hold off on dropping large wads of cash on books until after your orientation/first week or two.

Almost all books are available in electronic form (PDF) from peers/upper years/library, and hardcopies can be borrowed from the library. You can buy second hand books from Facebook Markt and new from Co-op Bookstore. Alternatively, many of the books can be found cheaper via BookDepository, which is UK based, but with better prices and often free shipping (2-3 weeks delivery time).

Having said this, I wouldn’t stress too much about books at this stage because everyone uses different books and you are going to have to try out a few different ones before you figure out what suits you.


  • CLINICAL - You will need to wear clinical clothes (business casual)   in the first year for ward visits and standardised patient examinations. It is also advisable to avoid overt jewellery or anything that can hang down over a patient during examinations or pose an infection risk such as necklaces, bangles or ties. You'll see upper years dressed clinically quite often, and that will give you a fairly good idea of the 'medical student' fashion.

  • LAB - You will need to wear laboratory suitable clothes for histology, pathology and anatomy classes as they are held in operational laboratories. You will be asked to leave if you are dressed inappropriately. Specifically you must wear closed shoes.


You don’t really need a Stethoscope in the first semester but you will need it in the second semester. Medshop Australia is a good place to buy stethoscopes, however there are many other retailers online. 

The most popular model around the hospital is the Littmann Classic II S.E closely followed by the more expensive Cardiology III.


There are a number of medical indemnity insurers who sponsor FMSS and offer free insurance for medical students. You will have an opportunity to signup during the FMSS O-Week BBQ and other FMSS events across the course of the first year. Generally, their cover is free throughout your student years, so it's recommended, but they'll give you all the details (they're very nice and they give free merchandise often!).

MD Buddy

Every year FMSS match up each first year student with a second year to act as a mentor. Your Huddy Buddy is a great resource for advice on all manner of topics and will be assigned to you via email in the first couple of weeks.

The committee members of the FMSS are also a great source of advice and assistance with many things, and we're happy to help!


  • Get your student card and parking permit from Connect or online.

  • Get your locker number allocations from the CAU (costs $20 for 3 years).

  • Sign up with the great student groups (FMSS) and like us on Facebook.

  • Join the Flinders Medicine Forum, Year Level and Meme Facebook groups (yes, there is a meme facebook group).

  • Sign up for free insurance during O-Week.

  • Organise your police checks and submit them to the CAU.

  • Read the Health Advisory Booklet, organise your immunisations and submit Form A & B to the CAU.

  • Checkout the FMSS Textbook Guide.

  • Catch up with your MD Buddy.

  • Attend some of the amazing FMSS events including Meet and Greet Night, Quiz Night and MedCamp.

Study Tips

Science Background students:

  • Don’t assume you know the basics;

  • Don’t rote learn, what worked in undergrad – doesn’t work in med.

  • Try not to get too bogged down in science – it’s not always the molecular mechanism level that you need to know but the bigger concept.

  • Think more clinically. Always consider when studying, if this is how this normally functions, what may happen when things go wrong?


Non-Science backgrounds:

  • The first few weeks might feel overwhelming, don’t stress about being behind.

  • Upper years will usually run peer teaching sessions every week covering and summarising the content of that week, so attending is a great way to reinforce your understanding and ask questions.

  • Form a group and support each other.

  • Utilise your lecturers and subject coordinators. They are more than happy to help and would prefer you let them know early you struggled to understand a concept than leaving it too late.

  • Many of the textbook suggestions will be complex, so don’t feel silly to start with basic physiology and anatomy books, or the wonderful 'Crash Course' or 'At a Glance' series. Layer your knowledge like a fine wedding cake.

  • Try not to overwhelm yourself with small details: science can be very specific, so try to think of the big picture.

  • Find how that bit of science is clinically relevant, textbooks often have little side boxes or ‘clinical focus’ pages. That will let you know which parts are important to remember.

General Tips

We know you are incredibly excited to start and we remember being in your shoes, so as you begin the first few weeks keep some of these tips in mind:


  1. Invest time to come into uni. Attend lectures, go to pracs and make an effort to catch up with your TBL/Clin Skills groups to do group study sessions.

  2. Bring food to share and make studying easier and fun! This is how your friendships and memories will develop so enjoy every part of it. You have to immerse yourself to get the best out of medical school.

  3. You will quickly realise how different things will be from your undergraduate or previous work, and it will be a steep adjusting process. It's okay, you will try many different things and find what works best for you.

  4. Remember, you will come across many incredibly intelligent people, so don’t compare or be critical of yourself. Everyone brings a unique set of experiences so learn from each other, and we understand it can be difficult when some of your peers seem to breeze through things.

  5. This is a hard one to grasp: You are FINALLY IN medical school. You have made it, you got through, and you are no longer in competition.

  6. Unlike previously, it is not about getting the best marks, or the highest score, it’s about understanding, and asking yourself week-to-week, have I understood the physiology, the anatomy, and how is this clinically relevant. Everything you learn is to treat YOUR future patients – so put in what you would want your doctor to put in.

  7. First semester will be going over the basics, both on the science front, but also clinically – you will do history taking etc. However, as you progress to second semester you will notice how the disease processes you learn about, and the clinical skill questions you ask, will overlap.

  8. Lastly, get involved in everything you can, attend all events run by societies: learn life skills and go to social events, becoming a well-rounded doctor starts with becoming a well-rounded person so make sure to enjoy life too!

Self Care


It's okay to not be okay. Medical school will present a unique set of challenges and experiences which can at times be overwhelming. It can be stressful and demanding so ensure you take time out for yourself and find ways to relax.

Also, Speak up! There is so much support around you, you will never be alone. Your year will become your pseudo family so speak to your peers, counsellors and teaching staff. If you are worried about someone, don’t be afraid to say something.



The simple economic reality of life is that many students need to work part time to fund their way through university. It is possible to work while studying medicine but it requires great discipline and time management skills. You will have an opportunity to pick the brain of other students who have worked in 1st year as part of the FMSS question and answer session on the first day of the year. Please understand that the University's official position is that the degree is a full time commitment so you can expect very little in the way of accommodation on the topic.

Medicine does take up a lot of your time but try to keep up with things you like doing outside of study e.g. sports, hobbies, relaxing. You need to remain sane to get through this degree (duh) and having a life outside of medicine where you see your family and friends, and do things you enjoy will make your life so much easier and more enjoyable.  



Okay so number one coffee joint is Urban Paddock Co(UPCO) in the Hub, and as FMSS members you will be able to get a large coffee for $4, and a small for $3.

Other (inferior) coffee places are Grind & Press (Hub), T Bar (FMC) Hudson's (Flinders Private), Theo’s (FMC) and Spots (FMC).

There are some great food spots at Flinders, both in the hospital and the Hub. Again, Theo’s and Spots have the widest range of food options in FMC. The Hub has a huge range including Parwana (Afghan food), Subway, Burger Theory in the Tav, Toly’s (Vietnamese). UPCO, Grind & Press and Nutrition Republic provide a wide variety of different lunch and snack options as well.


FMSS Hardship Grants

FMSS offers a range of financial support to get you out of a bind. 


Every week, there are learning objectives released by the course coordinator.

They are there to guide your learning, and everyone utilises them differently, but ensure when studying for the week’s content you cover those points. Try not to narrow down your study to only the learning objectives, but include your lectures in your study, and read widely.

A common adage is "lectures provide an insight into the depth to go into, and LO's the breadth".

If you ever need some guidance, have a look at the MD Google Drive → KHI→ PBL Notes → Supernotes. They are notes from people over the last few years. The course used to have PBL cases, so the learning objectives are not all the same, but if you do some searching you will find a few that cross over and you can get an idea about how much to include in your notes.

FMSS strives to run 'peer teaching' sessions every week, whereby upper years give a presentation summarising the learning objectives for that week. Great for asking questions and reinforcing your understanding.

Overall, remember to understand the bigger picture of the week and how the learning objectives fit into this. FMSS organises peer teaching which is run by second years; use this as a chance to fact check, not to learn everything in one session.  


Curriculum | Mahara e-Portfolio | Progress Testing | TBL


The course changes implemented in 2017 means a number of new learning concepts to get your head around. The following are some tips from the MD 2020 cohort following our experiences with these changes. We want you to be as successful as possible, so embrace the change with a positive attitude and ensure you also try some of your own strategies (as these worked for us but they may not work for you as an individual). The MD cohort is like a family, so if you have any questions or need any help make sure you come to find us J



Mahara is a portfolio for you to reflect on the MD course learning objectives. The MD course has eight learning objectives; scholarship, learning, leadership, knowledge, society, skills, professionalism and communication. This is your evidence that you are building a professional identity and learning from your experiences throughout your degree, so make this a priority as it is an integral part of your overall assessment. You will meet with your learning coach 2-3 times per year over the four years to discuss your interactions with Mahara and how you are progressing throughout the year. To help you with this, the 2020 cohort has put some together some tips for you from their experiences:

  • Interact with your Mahara regularly (and by regularly, we mean weekly– ensure you make this a priority, just like LOs).

  • Make lists or another form of reminder about the posts that you need to do, you are nearly always strapped for time and it is easy to forget about what posts you want to make.

  • Have a positive attitude in regards to Mahara – reflection is critical in self-development and developing your learning strategies!

  • “Close the loop” is a statement that you will hear regularly. Basically this statement means that if you set a goal and construct strategies to achieve these, reflect on these and let your learning coach know what worked or what you will change. Don’t leave your learning coach hanging – they genuinely care about your progress through medical school and want to know how you are developing as a self-regulated learner.

  • Discuss the expectations they have for Mahara E-Portfolio within the first meeting and utilise their feedback effectively.

  • Everyone posts in Mahara differently – you can use dot points or paragraphs, you might like to reflect on a specific event or multiple events that fall under similar learning objectives. Regardless, a strategy that could help with each of these is to reflect on; what happened, what went well, what could be improved and goals (including strategies to achieve these). It is also helpful to reflect on previous strategies and whether these helped or not to close the loop. For example, you may identify that in an iRAT you got questions wrong as you were rushing and so next week you are going to aim to read slower. Your evidence for this strategy being successful may be that your mark increased or that overall you felt calmer whilst doing the test. It may sound simple but it’s the little things that help you generate sustainable learning strategies for the future.


Team Based Learning (TBL)

Medicine is a team-based career, whether it be with other medical professionals, nurses, allied health or your patients and their family, you will always be interacting with others in a team based environment. TBL is the perfect preparation for us to develop the skills we need for our future, you will only get out, what you put in. Make the effort to get comfortable with your peers, and the various groups you are placed in. This includes be respectful and professional; treat others how you would like to be treated and always be on time. This is a post-graduate degree meaning that everyone has different backgrounds; take the time to listen and learn.

Take the time to meet up with your group; a few coffee catch-ups to break the ice won’t go astray (hello Up-Co discounts). It is not compulsory to meet as a group but no one says that you can’t – in fact we are sure it warms Karen’s heart when she receives an email to book rooms for groups (and we highly recommend you take advantage of this).

What is TBL?

1.    iRAT (Individual R Assessment Testing)

·   Based on the week’s content, you will first sit a multiple choice test called an iRAT that covers the weekly learning objectives, you then sit the exact same test but this time as a group.

2.    tRAT (Team R Assessment Testing)

·    The tRAT is your chance to discuss why you selected your answers and any differences that arise in your group. Use this as an opportunity to learn from your peers – we cannot stress how valuable the tRAT is (your peers are the BEST learning resource).

3.    Clarification

·      Still have questions that require clarification following the tRAT? Never fear, you will then have a clarification session run by your lovely academic who will address any further queries you may have and discuss the questions that caused most groups some issues. There is an opportunity for you to challenge questions and the academics are happy to take this on board but remember to be respectful and professional.

4.    Application

·   Now time to apply all the knowledge you have worked to gain throughout the week in (you guessed it) the application session. This is a session run by a clinician who specialises in the area that you have addressed this week and you and your group will work through questions together in a game show style setting (you will know what we mean once you have your first session). If the catch-box survives for next year, remember to not throw it more than three rows and please for Karen’s sake (and Darwin’s) wait for a microphone!!!!

Most importantly failing an iRAT does not define you – how you learn from this and addressing the gaps in your knowledge is what is important (also a great #Mahara post).

How do you prepare for TBL?

Each week you will have learning objectives which address the content for the week and these are usually what you will be tested on during the iRAT. It is important to remember that everyone prepares for TBL differently, studying the learning objectives is not a competition, help each other throughout the week in preparation. The most important thing about TBL is that everyone leaves on a Friday with a smile on their face and new knowledge (that you as a team have helped them develop, usually under the influence of coffee).



What is it, why is it and why do we have it?

We all had these questions as well when we first started, so this our attempt to try and make sense of Progress Testing. Progress test is a way to test our knowledge longitudinally, and ensure that instead of rote learning we retain our knowledge. What that means is that four times a year, everyone in the degree from first to fourth year sit the same multiple-choice exam. Each exam is different but is made up of questions that address the knowledge required as a graduate doctor. Don’t be alarmed; you aren’t expected to be able to answer all the questions! What you are expected to do is answer the questions you can, and as the year progresses answer questions from the blocks you have done. So, try and approach each progress test as an opportunity to see how much you have learnt, and use it to test yourself in how well you know the content so far.

As you can probably tell it’s not a typical test, so it’s not marked in a conventional manner. Instead of a standard pass or fail, there are three categories: Satisfactory, Doubtful and Unsatisfactory. Daunting, we know. Instead of a benchmark of questions answered correctly, everyone is placed on a bell curve, and everyone is compared against the average of your cohort. This means that there will always be a group of people that are Doubtful and Unsatisfactory, so before and after Progress Test, be there for one another, and provide support and reassurance. One of the benefits of progress tests is that you get given a comprehensive analysis of the questions you answered, what you got right and what you got wrong. This is a great way to monitor your own learning and remediate what you need.

Some things to keep in mind for progress test:

-     No one’s expecting you to answer all 150 questions on the third day of Medical school or by the end of first year! Remember it’s a test pitched at graduate level doctors. But what you can do is use the first progress test as a personal benchmark and an opportunity to assess how you are improving from there onwards.

-      A Unsatisfactory or Doubtful is not the end of the world, nor does it define you! Instead view it as a learning and Mahara opportunity, and try and identify areas of improvement. Plus as long as you demonstrate on Mahara how you are learning, studying and progressing it’s nothing to worry about.

-     It’s a wonderful way to see the common diseases and conditions you’ll be exposed to and what you will be learning over the four years!

-     It’s not a test you can cram for! So instead stay on top your weeks iRAT content, and keep revising. There are also multiple online resources and progress test like questions you can find online, so use it!

-     Remember to analyse and integrate your previous PT results.

-     Work with each other and make study groups!

-     Find what works for you and do it!

-     Keep looking forward one PT result does not define you.

-     There’s always a friendly MD2 willing to sit down with a coffee and answer any questions.



A good chunk of your assessments are either a non-graded pass (NGP) or on a scale of ‘unsatisfactory’, ‘doubtful’, ‘satisfactory’ and ‘exceptional’. You will receive an actual grade for weekly iRAT assessments.

Getting an unsatisfactory or doubtful can be pretty disheartening, especially if you are use to achieving high marks, but make this an opportunity to complete remediation. Remediation is not a bad thing; it is an opportunity for you to improve on your knowledge, and you will likely end up learning more and remembering it better.

You can always self-remediate, don’t wait for teaching staff to contact you! Lastly, an iRAT grade does not always represent your knowledge, so don’t be too disheartened if you get a lower grade than expected when you studied hard during the week.