MRCGP AKT Exam Revision – High Yield Topics from the January 2013 AKT Exam

MRCGP AKT Exam – High Yield Topics from the January 2013 AKT Exam

Dr Mahibur Rahman

After each MRCGP AKT examination, the examiners release a report highlighting key information from the last exam. This includes pass marks and rates, and also key topics – both those that were answered well, and those that GP trainees performed poorly on. These topics are frequently 867805_inhalerexamined again in the next few sittings of the AKT exam, so it is worth ensuring that you have a good understanding of them.

As some of you may be starting your revision for the May 2013 MRCGP AKT Exam, we thought it would be helpful to look at the high yield topics from the latest examiners’ report.

Key facts from the January 2013 MRCGP AKT exam:

The top score was 93.5%
The mean score was 70.7%
The lowest score was 33.5%
The pass mark was 66%
The pass rate was 68.7%

Scores by domain:

Clinical medicine – 70.6%
Evidence interpretation – 66.9%
Organisational – 75.2%

High Yield Topics

The examiners’ report from this diet of the MRCGP AKT exam highlighted the following key topics:

  • Adverse effects for common drugs
  • Administration of drugs by non-prescribers
  • Drug dosage calculations
  • Oral contraception and LARC
  • Paediatrics – recognising normal findings
  • Asthma management in children
  • Colorectal cancer – screening and diagnosis
  • Breast cancer – screening, diagnosis and referral
  • Diabetes – diagnosis, management, interpreting diabetic blood results

The MRCGP AKT is a comprehensive examination, so it is important that you cover the entire curriculum. Remember that 80% of the marks are related to applying knowledge relating to clinical medicine in general practice, 10% to evidence interpretation and 10% to the organisational domain.

Emedica Alumni can get a £20 discount off the Emedica MRCGP AKT course by entering this code when booking: alumnimrcgp

Further reading:
Complete January 2013 AKT Summary report

MRCGP CSA Exam Feedback and Summary – February 2012 exams

MRCGP CSA Exam Feedback and Summary – February 2012 exams

Dr Mahibur Rahman

After each MRCGP CSA examination, the examiners release a report highlighting key information from the last exam. This includes pass marks and rates for the sitting, along with the number of candidates sitting the exam. Since the February 2012 exam they also started releasing a feedback report highlighting key areas that candidates found challenging.

These topics are likely to continue to feature in future CSA sittings, as there is a common case bank, so it is worth ensuring that you have a good understanding of how to tackle them.

If you are thinking of sitting the MRCGP CSA in November 2012 or January / February 2013, then you have probably started preparing. As the January / February sitting is the most popular each year, we thought it would be helpful to look at the feedback and challenging areas from this sitting in 2012. The sumary report for the May 2012 CSA exam is not yet available.

Key facts from the February 2012 MRCGP CSA exam:

Number of candidates: 2074

Proportion sitting the CSA for the first time: 92.5%

Overall pass rate: 71.8% (1490 candidates passed, 584 candidates failed)

The top score was 111 out of 117
The mean score was 81 out of 117
The lowest score was 37 out of 117
97 candidates (4.7%) scored 100 or more out of 117
67 candidates (3.2%) scored 20 or more marks below the pass mark.

Challenging areas

The examiners’ report from the February 2012 diet of the MRCGP CSA exam was released in April, and highlighted the following areas that caused candidates difficulty:

Genetics in primary care

Cases involving genetics regularly cause CSA candidates problems in the exam. Examples of cases you should be prepared to handle include:

Prenatal counselling for risk of single gene disorders – e.g. sickle cell disease, Huntington’s, neurofibromatosis, cystic fibrosis etc.

An asymptomatic patient requesting a colonoscopy with a family history of colon cancer.

While you do not need to have an in depth knowledge of specific genetic disorders, you should be able to take a good history and draw a family tree. You should also be able to explain the difference in risk for autosomal dominant and autosomal recessive disorders, and know when it is appropriate to refer to a genetics counselling service.

Examinations

In some cases in the CSA you will actually perform a physical examination. In some cases, candidates lost marks for being unable to be focused in their choice of examination, or not being able to perform the examination proficiently. Examples of a lack of focus would include requesting a full physical examination in someone with hearing loss – it would be more appropriate to examine the ears, and to perform a Rinne and Weber test. Examples of an inadequate examination highlighted by the examiners included listening to a patient’s chest with through their shirt! Most examinations in the CSA are fairly straightforward – you should try to practice all the common examinations with a study group until you are fluent. Ask your trainer to observe you and to provide feedback.

The MRCGP CSA is a challenging, comprehensive examination, so it is important that you start preparing for it early. Try to get as many observed consultations as possible with your trainer, and form a study group early on.

Further reading:
Complete February 2012 CSA Summary report

The Emedica MRCGP CSA Course includes teaching on the new CSA mark scheme including the new 2012 CSA feedback statements. Each course only takes 6 GP registrars, with a strong emphasis on practice with individual feedback. Practice sessions are donw in groups of 3, allowing each candidate to have 4 mock CSA practice cases. There is detailed, constructive 1 to 1 feedback after each case using the new marking criteria. Our mock CSA cases are done in a realistic setting with professional simulated patients and timed in the same way as the real exam.

 

 

MRCGP AKT Exam – High Yield Topics from the April 2012 Exam

MRCGP AKT Exam – High Yield Topics from the April 2012 Exam

Dr Mahibur Rahman

After each MRCGP AKT examination, the examiners release a report highlighting key information from the last exam. This includes pass marks and rates, and also key topics – both those that were answered well, and those that GP trainees performed poorly on. These topics are frequently examined again in the next few sittings of the AKT exam, so it is worth ensuring that you have a good understanding of them.

As some of you may be starting your revision for the October 2012 MRCGP AKT Exam, we thought it would be helpful to look at the high yield topics from the latest examiners’ report.

Key facts from the April 2012 MRCGP AKT exam:

The top score was 93.5%
The mean score was 73.2%
The lowest score was 41%
The pass mark was 68.8%
The pass rate was 67.6%

Scores by domain:

Clinical medicine – 74.2%
Evidence interpretation – 70.2%
Organisational – 68.1%

High Yield Topics

The examiners’ report from the April 2012 diet of the MRCGP AKT exam highlighted the following key topics:

  • Prescribing for children – asthma, migraine
  • Normal childhood development
  • Data interpretation / statistics
  • Confidentiality – insurance reports / ABI / BMA guidance
  • Nice Hypertension guidelines 2011 – diagnosis and treatment
  • Spirometry – interpreting results
  • Cancer – 2 week referral guidelines

The MRCGP AKT is a comprehensive examinations, so it is important that you cover the entire curriculum. Remember that 80% of the marks are related to applying knowledge relating to clinical medicine in general practice, 10% to evidence interpretation and 10% to the organisational domain.

The highest scorer in the April AKT examination was Dr Razwan Ali. He attended the Emedica AKT course about a month before his exam. He will be sharing his AKT preparation tips on our blog soon.

Further reading:
Complete April 2012 AKT Summary report

MRCGP AKT Revision – tips for effective preparation from a high scorer

GP Registrar Pay

 

MRCGP AKT Revision – Tips for effective preparation

Dr Razwan Ali

The MRCGP AKT exam is a challenging test of applied knowledge in a GP setting, covering clinical medicine, statistics and evidence based practice, and organisational aspects of general practice. Dr Razwan Ali passed the AKT on his first attempt with an overall score of 93.5% – this was the highest score in the April 2012 AKT exam. In this article he shares his tips to help you pass the AKT exam.

The first and most important point that one must appreciate when sitting the AKT is that it is a difficult exam; do not underestimate it. Almost all my colleagues that failed unfortunately decided to “cram” 2 weeks before the exam, a high-risk strategy that ultimately failed. I started my preparation  2 months before the exam, with  my weekends in the last 4 weeks taken up  with high-intensity revision.

It is worth remembering the structure of the AKT exam in relation to the 3 domains; 80% is clinical medicine, with organisational and evidence interpretation each contributing 10% of the marks in the exam.  Although these topics may take up a disproportionately longer time to cover and may at times seem quite dull to read, they can provide a real boost to your score. Moreover, once these topics are adequately covered by trainees, they tend to be fairly straightforward.

I tried to maintain a healthy balance between reading around topics and answering questions.  Simply repeating questions  may provide you with a false sense of reassurance as questions can be answered correctly by pattern recognition the second time round. Similarly, reading alone has its own pitfalls, as it does not allow you to assess whether you have truly absorbed the information you covered.

MRCGP AKT RevisionWith regards to the resources for the exam, I tended to favour online AKT examination websites over traditional text books which are often out of date with current best practice.  I used Passmedicine – this is cheaper and is of a similar if not more difficult level than the AKT exam. To supplement your statistical knowledge, you may wish to consider a basic text such as Medical Statistics Made Easy by Michael Harrison whilst the first few chapters of the Oxford Handbook of General practice provide an excellent foundation to the organisational/administrative aspect of primary care. Another important area to cover is the latest NICE/SIGN  guidelines on common topics such as asthma, diabetes, hypertension etc. as this is a common area for AKT questions.

AKT Revision Tips

  • Ensure you allow adequate time for revision – around 2 months.
  • Sign up with an online examination resource.
  • Pay due attention to statistics and organisational medicine.
  • A good AKT course can be invaluable to consolidate your knowledge.
  • Complete the online Pearson Vue tutorial to familiarise yourself with the computer system.

Exam tips for the day

  •  You have 180 minutes to complete 200 questions or 54 seconds per question.  Don’t dwell too much on one question. If you remain unsure, select an answer, mark it for review and come back to it later.
  • Answer every question even if it is complete guesswork. Remember the exam is not negatively marked.
  • Read the question carefully and thoroughly, appreciating discriminators such as most likely, least likely, diagnostic etc.

Useful resources

  • Oxford Handbook of General Practice.
  • Medical  Statistics Made Easy.
  • BNF Learn the first 36 pages, especially controlled drugs. Familarise yourself with common drugs and side-effects.
  • Memorise guidelines on fitness to drive (DVLA) and fitness to fly (CAA).
  • Familiarise yourself with NICE/SIGN guidelines on common topics; asthma, diabetes etc.
  • Be aware of RCGP feedback release from previous exams.

Dr Razwan Ali passed the AKT on his first attempt with an overall score of 93.5% – this was the highest score in the April 2012 – hopefully these tips will help you make the most of your AKT revision.

MRCGP AKT Mock Exam launched – 25% discount for alumni

We are pleased to announce that our complete AKT Mock Exam has been tested and is now available.  The online service has a complete AKT mock exam consisting of 200 AKT questions compiled in a realistic mock AKT exam.  Questions are laid out with a similar screen layout to the real exam, to help increase your speed in dealing with the layout in the real AKT exam.MRCGP AKT Mock Exam

The mock exam has been developed over the past few years, and is a realistic reflection of the real AKT exam – we have modified some of the questions based on feedback from doctors that have sat and passed the real exam. We have also included high yield AKT questions based on examiners’ feedback reports from recent past AKT exams.

The mock exam is timed just like the real exam – 200 AKT questions in exactly 3 hours.  The AKT questions have been written to reflect the same level of challenge as the real exam, and includes the same proportion of questions from each domain as the real exam:

80% clinical medicine – including wide coverage of the RCGP curriculum areas.

10% organisational – practice management, medicolegal issues, statutory duties of a doctor, DVLA guidelines, sickness certification etc.

10% evidence interpretation – statistics, types of study, interpreting graphs and charts.

The AKT Mock Exam usually costs £20, but we are pleased to offer Alumni a 25% discount – you can save £5 and pay just £15 by using the code aktmock in the coupon code box when registering. Get full details of the complete AKT Mock Exam and see how ready you are for the real AKT exam today!

Doctors that attend the Emedica AKT Preparation Course get free access to this mock exam after attending the course.

MRCGP CSA Preparation – Tips to help you pass the MRCGP CSA exam

CSA Preparation – Tips to help you pass the MRCGP CSA examMRCGP CSA Exam Tips
Dr. Safiya Virji

The MRCGP CSA examination is a challenging exam. Dr Safiya Virji sat and passed the exam on her first attempt with one of the top scores in the country. In this article she shares some tips on preparing for the CSA exam.

An important step in successfully passing the CSA is to make a decision early on which sitting to go for, and actively work towards being thoroughly prepared by this time. I made the decision six months beforehand. I had just started my ST2 placement in GP and took this opportunity to practice various consultation styles until I found one that suited me and came more naturally to me.

I ensured that I was videoed frequently from very early on and did not let the embarrassment of watching myself on the screen stop me from getting vital feedback from my trainer. I was always conscious to encourage my colleagues to give constructive criticism so that I had identified specific points to improve over the coming weeks. I also gradually reduced my consultation times; starting at 20 minutes and gradually working down to 10 minutes about two months before the exam.

I found joint surgeries with my trainer and other partners at the surgery extremely beneficial. Not only can you see alternative ways of phrasing things, but it also gives you a chance to see how you are inclined to perform when you don’t know who or what is going to come through the door and you are being watched. Conducting these on a weekly basis meant by the time the exam came, I was already comfortable with the scenario of being watched conducting consultations I was not familiar with, so was less nervous then you would expect in such a weighty exam. This enabled me to perform to the best of my abilities when it really counted.

It is important to use all opportunities as exam practice. Every patient you see is an opportunity to practice explaining a diagnosis in layman’s terms or to ask about what they think may be causing their presenting complaint. Anything that goes wrong in your consultations is worth jotting down and discussing with your trainer afterwards. It could be the phrasing, or it could be bad choice of questions. I found the more that went wrong, the better I was getting, as I was prepared for all eventualities.

I was also part of the on-call rota and working on emergency patients with a seven minute consultation time from about four months before the exam. This in combination with the GP out of hours (OOH) gave an excellent opportunity to practice for the exam. I took the opportunity in OOH to ensure every patient I saw was observed by the trainer, timed and feedback was given.

I read a selection of case books including:
nMRCGP – Practice Cases, Clinical Skills Assesment – Raj Thakkar
CSA Scenarios – Thomas M Das
Consultantion Skills for the new MRCGP – P Naidoo & C. Monkley
Get Through New MRCGP: Clinical Skills Assessment – Bruno Rushforth (this was the best book for role play in my opinion)

I tried to use these for role plays with colleagues at least for a one hour session a week, increasing this to 2-3 hours a week in the last month before the exam. However, I also read these books in my own time to learn how simple presenting complaints can often have an unbelievable amount of depth, and how missing out one vital question can lead to missing the underlying point of that consultation.

Regarding examinations, I watched videos on how to do the examinations thoroughly yet quickly, and used my own equipment to perform these multiple times on family and friends in the week before the exam so examinations were fresh to hand if necessary.

In preparation for the exam, I set myself a target to complete all consultations within 8 minutes. Strict time management a month before the exam meant I was used to working at a fast enough pace that would ensure I would not over run in the exam, even with the unexpected cases which take a few seconds longer.
I ensured I was always trying to examine the patient by 5mins, and always kept a note of the start and finish time of each consultation to ensure I was always working to time.
In the exam, on several occasions I was still conversing with the patient when the bell rang. However, it seemed I covered enough material at the end of the 10 mins to pass well on each station.

Having sat the exam before all my colleagues, I was not exposed to many horror stories about the exam. This meant I was optimistic when exam time came. A combination of this, alongside minimal nerves and trying my best to apply a structure that worked for me when things were going to plan, and adapting my consulting style when I needed to be flexible, plus a happy face, lead to my passing with a score of 106/117. And I forgot to mention, when I sat the exam I was 38weeks pregnant!

One month before the exam I went on several courses, one of which was the Emedica MRCGP CSA course. I found the course useful as it tackled preparation slightly differently to other courses. The group was very small (courses take just 6 candidates per day). This meant there was time to focus on each trainee independently and specific feedback was given on their performance. By the time you go on any course, you have usually had experience of the simple well known cases, but the scenarios at the Emedica course were slightly more complex then average which meant you were prepared for the more challenging cases in the real exam.

Some of the cases in the CSA do throw you so having some practice at performing under pressure can mean the difference between a pass and fail. The feedback on the course was very useful as it was not based just around what was done well, but more on what needed to be improved on in order for you to pass, and pass well. For me, this approach was more beneficial as I always maintained the attitude that by taking constructive criticism on board, I was far more likely to pass as all my flaws would be ironed out by the time the exam came round. After the course, further reading material and links were provided, including videos of common examinations. This was very helpful as though it is not a huge part of the exam, when it does come up, it is essential they are performed fluently and effectively so that the correct diagnosis is made.

In summary, the my key tips to help you pass the MRCGP CSA exam are:

• Give yourself enough time to prepare – I started 6 months before the exam
• Use all opportunities as CSA practice opportunities – surgery, OOH, on call
• Be observed as much as possible – joint surgeries and video surgeries are both helpful
• Actively seek constructive feedback – and use it to develop your technique
• Create an effective structure that works for you and apply it as much as possible
• Get used to working under time pressure – being comfortable with 10 minute consultations really helps
• Don’t let stress on the day change your attitude toward exam consultations – keep calm and carry on

One last point, once you have finished with one patient, don’t analyse or get upset in the exam, move your focus onto the next one and give it your best!

Dr Virji is a GP Registrar (ST3) in Oxford Deanery. She passed the MRCGP CSA exam on her first attempt, and scored 106 marks out of a maximum of 117.

The Emedica MRCGP CSA Course includes teaching on the new CSA mark scheme including the 2012 CSA feedback statements. Each course only takes 6 GP registrars, with a strong emphasis on practice with individual feedback. Practice sessions are donw in groups of 3, allowing each candidate to have 4 mock CSA practice cases. There is detailed, constructive 1 to 1 feedback after each case using the new marking criteria. Our mock CSA cases are done in a realistic setting with professional simulated patients and timed in the same way as the real exam.

MRCGP AKT Exam – High Yield Topics from the January 2012 Exam

MRCGP AKT Exam – High Yield Topics from the January 2012 Exam

Dr Mahibur Rahman

After each MRCGP AKT examination, the examiners release a report highlighting key information from the last exam. This includes pass marks and rates, and also key topics – both those that were answered well, and those that GP trainees performed poorly on. These topics are frequently examined again in the next few sittings of the AKT exam, so it is worth ensuring that you have a good understanding of them.

With the April 2012 MRCGP AKT Exam coming up, we thought it would be helpful to look at the high yield topics from the latest examiner’s report.

Key facts from the January 2012 MRCGP AKT exam:

The top score was 94.5%
The mean score was 73.1%
The lowest score was 42%
The pass mark was 68%
The pass rate was 74.9%

Scores by domain:

Clinical medicine – 74.6%
Evidence interpretation – 69.2%
Organisational – 65.4%

High Yield Topics

The examiners report from the January 2012 diet of the MRCGP AKT exam highlighted the following key topics:

• Hypertension management
• Drug dosage calculations
• Drug management of neurological conditions (e.g. Alzheimer’s)
• Dementia assessment
• Erectile dysfunction
• Childhood development
• Neonatal problems
• Contraception – including LARCs and side effects
• Certification – fit notes, insurance reports
• DVLA guidelines
• Vaccinations

The MRCGP AKT is a comprehensive examinations, so it is important that you cover the entire curriculum. Remember that 80% of the marks are related to applying knowledge relating to clinical medicine in general practice, 10% to evidence interpretation and 10% to the organisational domain.

Emedica Alumni can get a £20 discount off the Emedica MRCGP AKT course by entering this code when booking: alumnimrcgp

Further reading:
Complete January 2012 MRCGP AKT examiners report

Alumni discounts 2012 – MRCGP courses / CCT courses

We are happy to offer the following discounts for Alumni.  These discounts are valid for bookings made until 31 December 2012.

MRCGP for Trainees: Understanding the AKT and CSA coursesSave £50 off the full price on any of our MRCGP for Trainees courses (available in Birmingham and London) – enter the code elumnus – These courses are aimed at doctors in ST1 and ST2 that want a better understanding of the MRCGP exams.

MRCGP AKT Preparation coursesSave £20 off the full price on any of our MRCGP AKT preparation courses (available in Birmingham and London) – enter the code alumnimrcgp – These courses are aimed at doctors already preparing for the MRCGP AKT exams – the best time to attend is about a month BEFORE your AKT exam date.

MRCGP CSA Preparation coursesSave £20 off the full price on any of our MRCGP CSA preparation courses (available in Birmingham and London) – enter the code alumnimrcgp – These courses are aimed at doctors starting their preparation for the MRCGP CSA exams – the best time to attend is about 2-3 months BEFORE your CSA exam date.

Life after CCT course coursesSave £95 off the full price on any of our Life after CCT courses courses (available in Birmingham and London) – enter the code alumnicct – These courses are aimed at doctors finishing their GP training this year or in the first few years post qualification.


MRCGP AKT Exam – High Yield Topics from the January 2011 Exam

MRCGP AKT Exam – High Yield Topics from the January 2011 Exam

Dr Mahibur Rahman

After each MRCGP AKT examination, the examiners release a report highlighting key information from the last exam. This includes pass marks and rates, and also key topics – both those that were answered well, and those that GP trainees performed poorly on. These topics are frequently examined again in the next few sittings of the AKT exam, so it is worth ensuring that you have a good understanding of them.

Key facts from the January 2011 exam:

The top score was 93.5%
The mean score was 72.7%
The lowest score was 42.5%
The pass mark was 68%.
The pass rate was 74.9%.

Scores by domain:

Clinical medicine – 73.9%
Evidence interpretation – 72.1%
Organisational – 64.0%

High Yield Topics

The examiners report from the January 2011 diet of the MRCGP AKT exam highlighted the following key topics:

• Common eye problems, especially those needing urgent referral or admission
• Normal findings in childhood – including development
• Childhood immunisation schedules
• Contraception
• Drugs that require monitoring
• Prescribing in pregnancy – infectious diseases
• Common injuries
• Acute abdominal pain – including in children
• Good Medical Practice
• Patient – practice interface – e.g. handling complaints

The MRCGP AKT is a comprehensive examinations, so it is important that you cover the entire curriculum. Remember that 80% of the marks are related to applying knowledge relating to clinical medicine in general practice, 10% to evidence interpretation and 10% to the organisational domain.

Emedica Alumni can get a £20 discount off the Emedica MRCGP AKT course by entering this code when booking: alumniakt2011

Further reading:
Complete January 2011 MRCGP AKT examiners report

Alumni Discounts and Special Offers 2011

We are happy to offer the following discounts for Alumni.  These discounts are valid for bookings made between 4 January 2011 and 31 December 2011.

MRCGP for Trainees: Understanding the AKT and CSA coursesSave £50 off the full price on any of our MRCGP for Trainees courses (available in Birmingham and London) – enter the code mrcgp2011 – These courses are aimed at doctors in ST1 and ST2 that want a better understanding of the MRCGP exams.

MRCGP AKT Preparation coursesSave £20 off the full price on any of our MRCGP AKT preparation courses (available in Birmingham and London) – enter the code alumniakt2011 – These courses are aimed at doctors already preparing for the MRCGP AKT exams – the best time to attend is about a month BEFORE your AKT exam date.

MRCGP CSA Preparation coursesSave £20 off the full price on any of our MRCGP CSA preparation courses (available in Birmingham and London) – enter the code alumnicsa2011 – These courses are aimed at doctors starting their preparation for the MRCGP CSA exams – the best time to attend is about 2-3 months BEFORE your CSA exam date.

Life after CCT course coursesSave £95 off the full price on any of our Life after CCT courses courses (available in Birmingham and London) – enter the code gpcareers2011 – These courses are aimed at doctors finishing their GP training this year or in the first few years post qualification.