The AMSS has received several queries from a number of students seeking clarification regarding the 2020 Academic Calendar. This update aims to provide additional information and explain the background of the issue. It is important to note that these student concerns were taken seriously by the Year 4 Education Representatives and VPE and escalated to the Year 4-6 Committee and the Dean of the Medical School.

The main concerns regarding the 2020 Academic Calendar centred on the changes to the structure of Year 5, specifically

  • The length of the mid-year break
  • The length of end-of-year SWOT
  • The addition of end-of-semester SWOT (EOS SWOT) and end-of-semester Exams (EOS Exams)
  • How the metropolitan calendar would match with the rural calendar

BACKGROUND:

It is important for students to understand that in 2016, 2017 and 2018 Year 4 and Year 5 students were allocated a 3-week mid-year break. There were no end-of-semester Exams at the end of Semester 1, only end-of-rotation assessments that were specific to each rotation.

  • In 2019, Year 4 students had end-of-semester Exams (combined MSK/Psych OR Gen Med/Gen Surg OSCEs) at the end of Semester 1 without a SWOTVAC period. This will also be the case at the end of Semester 2, with students completing combined MSK/Psych OR Gen Med/Gen Surg OSCEs without a SWOTVAC period.
  • In 2019, Year 5 students had no changes and did not have end-of-semester Exams at the end of Semester 1. This will also be the case at the end of Semester 2 (no end-of-semester Exams).

It is important for students to understand that in 2016, 2017 and 2018 Year 4 and Year 5 students were allocated a 3-week end-of-year SWOTVAC period in preparation for their end-of-year exams (Year 4: 2 written exams AND Year 5: 1 written exam and 1 two-day OSCE).

  • In 2019, the end-of-year SWOTVAC period was extended to 4 weeks despite identical end-of-year exams (Year 4: 2 written exams AND Year 5: 1 written exam and 1 two-day OSCE). This one-off SWOTVAC period of 4 weeks is due to the way the 2019 calendar fell, including the timing of various public holidays.

CHANGES IN 2020

The Year 4 calendar in 2020 in very similar to the 2019 calendar. However, there is an additional week of end-of-semester SWOTVAC before the end-of-semester Exams (combined MSK/Psych OR Gen Med/Gen Surg OSCEs). This allows students to have time dedicated to study without the responsibilities of attending clinical placement.

The changes to the Year 5 calendar in 2020 are in order to ensure it matches the Year 4 calendar.

  • It is important to note that Year 5 in 2020 will still have end-of-year exams, and hence will also have an end-of-year SWOTVAC period.
  • It is important to note that Year 5 will not be fully semesterised in 2020.
    • It remains unclear whether there will be assessment tasks in the week labelled as end-of-semester Exams (EOS Exams).
      • E.g. it is highly unlikely that Year 5 would have end-of-semester OSCEs (e.g. highly unlikely that there would be a newly combined Paeds/O&G OSCE) but it is unclear whether there would be some assessment tasks, or no assessment tasks, in that week.
    • If the Year 5 rotations remain the same as they were in 2019 (with no end-of-semester Exams at the end of Semester 1 or Semester 2), it remains unclear what students would do in the weeks labelled as end-of-semester SWOTVAC (EOS SWOT) and end-of-semester Exams (EOS Exams). It is likely that students would not be required to attend clinical placement, but this is not certain.
  • It is important to note that the Year 5 Rural program remains an integrated whole year program. It is unclear whether these calendar changes affect the rural program, particularly regarding the timing of the mid-year intensive.
  • The answers to the above questions still remain unclear despite being asked to staff of the Year 4-6 Committee and the Dean of the Medical School. The Year 4 Education Representatives and VPE are continuing their advocacy efforts to resolve the above questions.
    • If there are additional questions you would like answered, please don't hesitate to get in touch with the the VPE directly at vpe@amss.org.au

If there are any further questions please contact the VPE directly at vpe@amss.org.au

Alternative staff contacts for concerned students include the Year 4 Year Level Advisor, the Year 5 Year Level Advisor, the Year 4-6 Course Coordinator, the MBBS Program Coordinator, or the Dean of Medicine. The VPE recommends contacting one of the above staff members if students have concerns about the 2020 Academic Calendar.