The below is a copy of an open letter sent to all 2016.2 OSCE candidates today. It was written by the RACGP National Assessment Advisor, Dr Guan Yeo. I’m posting it here as it is one of the best OCSE tip summaries I’ve seen, containing many a gem, and will hopefully be helpful to future OSCE candidates also, when they start to prepare for this last FRACGP exam hurdle.
You can find other OSCE related posts here, here and here. My YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/DrGenevieveYates has links to various physical examination clips and other videos which might also help in OSCE preparation.
How are you progressing in your preparation for the Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE)?
By now I expect you have your regular small-group timed roleplay sessions up and running. Improving your performance in the rating areas that apply across multiple OSCE stations is a good way to maximise your chances of success.
Use this quick list to check your performance, eg.:
||Some features of good performance
|Communication and rapport
||Patient centred? Empathic? Patient expectations? Simple language explanations?
||General and focussed questions? Orderly? Demonstrates safe diagnostic strategy? (Murtagh)?
||Hand hygiene? Explains and is considerate of patient comfort? Orderly? Gives positive findings and significant negatives?
||Prioritised? Staged – initial and later Investigations? Differentiates between your differential diagnoses?
||Prioritised? Considered patient supports? What does the patient think/understand? What are the obstacles (eg. to behaviour change)? Safety-netting?
|It is time to critically review your clinical experience and familiarity with conditions represented in the ICPC2 groupings, e.g. women’s health, mental health, musculoskeletal, ENT, etc. Study up now on the common presentations in your areas of weaknesses: How do they present? What history or examination do you target? How do you prioritise investigation? How do you manage – short term and longer term, explanations, drugs and non-drugs, again prioritisation.
Finally, hopefully you have already booked in for a trial exam. This is often useful to ‘polish-up’ your preparation.
To use your time effectively during the exam consider the following:
- In the three minute reading time, do read the instructions line by line. Some nervous candidates miss entire lines as they read. It can be helpful to put your finger against each line as you read – it is simple, may sound silly, but it works. You don’t have to memorise – there is the same set of instructions on the desk inside the station.
- When in the station, if you are nervous, it is easy to miss visual cues. So if eye contact is not your strong point, train yourself to look regularly at the ‘patient’.
- Use the time at rest stations wisely. Besides toilet breaks and drinks of water, regroup your thoughts, use short meditative exercises/mindfulness, focus, and regain your composure in readiness for the next station. Avoid dwelling on previous cases as that won’t improve your scores, but rather prepare yourself mentally for the remaining stations.
I hope that you have found this information useful and I wish you well in the OSCE.
Dr Guan Yeo
National Assessment Advisor OSCE