Done with your Part 1 exam?, now it’s time to prepare for Part 2, the clinical exam.
If you think the written exam was tough, wait till you see what the clinical exam has in store for you.
Some say that the ‘real’ exam is actually the clinical part of the exam as this is when the examiners get to see the real you and examines your clinical skills and knowledge on the spot and gets you to ‘think on your feet’.
But having said all that, the long case is probably nothing more than doing a good admission and using common sense.
It’s all about showmanship.
Showmanship is actually a big part of the clinical exam whether you like it or not. It’s all about developing an appearance and personality that the examiners expect to see. When presenting in the long case, you have to appear confident and in control of the situation.
Just imagine that you are the consultant, and the examiners are your junior colleagues listening to your eloquent speech.
Honesty is the best policy.
If you don’t know the answer, then admit it. But rather than saying “I don’t know’, say ” I am unable to provide you with an answer at this point of time, but I would like to search the literature for the most recent evidence and review articles on this topic”…talk about showmanship huh!!
“Unfortunately, there seems to be far more opportunity out there than ability…. We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation.”
― Thomas A. Edison
Luck = Preparation + Attitude + Opportunity + Action.
I have to admit, there is an element of luck in passing the clinical exam. But preparation is key. To be honest, the preparation for the clinical exam is relatively simple. You just have to be consistent with your practice, that’s all.Do at least 2 long cases a week and some daily short cases.The more the better.
Develop a positive attitude towards your preparation along with a positive mindset. After all, at the end of the day, the clinical exam does make you a better doctor and this translates to better patient care and management (I hope).
Manage your time wisely. Be proactive and ask your boss and other consultants for the opportunity to do some long case practice with them. Only through direct feedback from a variety of consultants (in particular current and past college examiners) can you find your weaknesses early and work on them.
Gather your old study group and start practicing on as many cases as possible and do it together as a group under exam conditions.
DO NOT practice alone or else you won’t know what you’re doing wrong. Getting feedback from your colleague is just as important (if not more). Observing your colleague presenting a long case and listening to the feedback received is also very helpful in getting some ideas on how you would prepare for your own long case.
If time is money, then I would invest it on practicing the long case. The long case is ‘where the money is’. A long case would score 3 times as much as a short case.
Score well on your long case and you’ll do well for the exam, ‘mess up’ your long case and get ready to sit for it again next year.
However, the short case is not to be ignored. As of 2013 onwards, candidates are required to pass at least one short case and one long case in order to pass the exam. If you do not meet these criteria you will fail the exam regardless of your final score.
Personally, I think it’s a myth when people tell you that you don’t need to know as much in the clinical exam. You actually do. Browse our Online Bookstore and you will find some recommended reading materials.
To get you started, there is an excellent guide written by Dr. Craig Boutlis on how to approach the long case exam. The article can be found on his website at Boutlis.com (Under Teaching- FRACP Exam- Long Case Notes) and here is my personal long case template that I used for practice.
Focusing more on the specifics, the FRACP clinical exam notes written by Dr. David Tripp is an excellent resource for candidates sitting for this clinical exam.
And lastly, take Action now!! There’s no point just reading this article but not doing anything about it. You can read as many books as you want, but if your reading does not translate to actual clinical practice, then it’s all been a waste of time. So start your long case practice today.
Practice makes perfect!!
Best of luck,
Founder of Fracpractice, NZ.