Suggested Study “Itinerary”
7 months before the exam:
Get in a Study Group
- The best size for a group is 4 or 5 people.
- Joining a study group is probably the best single thing you can do to increase your chances of passing this exam.
- Meet up frequently at least every fortnight.
- Try to cover one system at a time and delegate each person to cover 1 past paper year. So for example if you were sitting the exam in 2012, get 1 person to pull out all the Cardiology questions for 2011, another person for 2010, another for 2009, etc.
- Make sure you go through ALL the past exam papers diligently and focus on the topic or themes surrounding the question.
- Consider leaving one exam paper for practice in the week before your exam.
- By early December to January, aim to have covered most of the big systems and plan to meet more frequently
- DO NOT IGNORE: Statistics, Pharmacology, Psychiatry, Geriatrics, Opthalmology, Pregnancy Medicine. Questions from here invariably come up and are “Money for Jams” if you put the work in.
Approach to answering past paper questions
- Remember that what has been asked in the past will be asked again- only to appear in a slightly different way of questioning.
- Past papers are the key to what will be on your paper. Therefore, your approach to them MUST be thorough.
- When doing past papers, don’t just try and work out why the answer is correct but also try to find out why the other options are incorrect and read around the topic.
- Spend time on each question and don’t hurry through them.
Attend a Study Course
Remember to book early and work out your study leave soon as these courses are very popular and can be hard to get into.
Try and get the practice papers from the 2 courses that you do not attend and save these to do in the 2 to 3 weeks before the exam.
Be opportunistic with your Study
- The hard thing about this exam is that you have to try and find the time to study while also working a busy fulltime job with nights and overtime.
- Bring little bits of study to work with you and try and do at least 1 or 2 hrs of study at work every day.
- Things you can do at work include: watching 40min college lectures, preparing your study group answers, reading around your patients, MKSAP and of course doing our FRACPractice MCQs.
- Attend Hospital Teaching, journal clubs & Grand Rounds. You will learn at least 1 thing every time you attend and you never know if that might just pop up in the exam.
- Build up your study hours as you go. Don’t do too much too early or else you’ll burn out and don’t do it too late either because otherwise you’ll “miss the boat”.
- Remember to space out your study over the course of the year so that you have better retention of the study material. Unfortunately, “Cramming” doesn’t work for this exam.
- Take as much study leave as you possibly can.
8 weeks before the exam:
After your study group had covered all the topics AND had finished watching the RACP lectures AND finished all the MKSAP questions, you should start doing your own personal revision.
For each body system, you should:
- Read over the RACP lectures
- Read over the MKSAP notes
- Read over the study group notes
- Go through the MCQs again on FRACPractice.
- Try and consolidate harder concepts and look up stuff you didn’t know or didn’t quite understand.
- A flashcard system with some hard to remember facts could be useful.
3 weeks before the exam:
Time to do some actual practice papers:
- Do the “saved” RACP exam paper.
- Do the remaining 2 study course exams eg Dunedin and RPA (If you are able to get hold of it)
- Look up the answers to questions you get wrong and make sure you understand the concepts
- Be honest with yourself: This is the time to do “high yield” study. Focus on your weaknesses and likely exam questions.
- Don’t focus on areas that you already know well.
The final week:
- Don’t get yourself muddled by trying to learn new things as time is running out.
- Use this time to review difficult things or problem areas and to do flash cards.
- Do not exert yourself. Make sure you eat well and get plenty of sleep and are well rested for the big day
The weekend before the exam:
- Try and take the 24 to 48h before the exam to do nothing.
- Rest, relax, get a massage and make sure you are well rested for the exam.
- Go in with a positive attitude.
- Be prepared to see things that you have never seen before but to approach it with all the knowledge that you have.
- Be realistic. You will not “definitely know” the majority of answers and most will be an educated guess.
- For many questions you will be able to get it down to 2 choices and then you will make a 50/50 guess.
- Try not to second guess yourself as your first guess is usually correct.
- BEWARE of the distracter answer. If something sounds exotic, weird and wonderful but you have never heard of it, it’s probably wrong!
- Most Importantly: Take care of yourself.
“I will prepare and some day my chance will come.”
― Abraham Lincoln