2015.1 Fellowship Exam preparation – An insider’s perspective

I’m receiving a lot of requests about information for the new exam format, and as there is so little information available that I’ve started asking registrars who are preparing for the exam to share what they are doing, in the hope that some of you who are under-resourced may benefit, and so that people around the country can get an idea of how others are preparing for the new exam. Here’s the first post from Dr B, an ED Reg at a tertiary hospital in Melbourne:

As my fellow study-group colleagues and I boldly prepare for the unknown (a.k.a. FE 2015.1), I thought it might be useful to share how we are tackling the process. I won’t talk specifically about exam prep – Andy has a great summary of the basic study stuff, which still applies. I’ll just mention some things we are doing specifically for the new format. This is not to say it is the right way, just a way. It would be interesting to compare with others in the same situation.

Step 1 – get a study group: I work in a Melbourne Suburban ED and am in a study group of 6. Maybe a bit big, 4 might be ideal, but each member is precious. We are a mix of 2 hospitals – that helps because we are each hearing different things about the exam and combining our knowledge.

Step 2 – Let it go. Breathe in “we’re-giving-up-our-lives-studying-for-an-exam-which-has-still-not-really-been-defined-and-basing-our-approach-mainly-on-rumours-about-what-they-might-want”, Breathe out “accept-what-you-can’t-change”. It’s so easy to spend a lot of time practising questions and getting frustrated because it is still very unclear what the ‘rules’ are for this exam. It is very hard for the type A personality – but we are ED docs, used to chaos and unpredictability. Either way we can’t change it so we might as well push on.

Step 3 – Cast the net wide. There are a steadily growing amount of new-format SAQs being posted online (see the “FE Resources 2015 Onwards” page). Sure, they are best guess, but between them you can get an idea of what the exam might be like.

Step 4 – Write your own SAQs and practise them to time. This is the best tip we’ve had so far. In my group we now each write 1 or 2 SAQ questions – combine them, meet and do them to time. We also sometimes do EMQs. The great thing about writing our own questions is that you get an idea of how hard they are to write, and so what things can truly be asked in short snippets. It also gets you practicing timing and forms the basis of further discussion as the person who wrote the SAQ tends to know the subject better.

Step 5 – MCQs. There are more of them this time so we better practice them. I am personally a bit behind on this one will need to step it up over the next few months.

Well that’s us. What do you think? Has anyone got a better approach they might like to share?

Thanks to Dr B and her study group for sharing. If you’d like to share what your study group is up to, or if you have any tips on preparing for the exam, drop me a line via the contact page.

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