Sunday, 26 February 2012

Exam Chat

Over the past week, I have spent a lot of time thinking about my exams in June. That sounds a long way off, and it is, but this time last year I had properly started the hardcore revision and I feel slightly weird that I haven't started studying for these exams yet. I think the oddest thing is that because I have no written exams (two OSCEs, one of 5 minute stations and one of 10 minute stations) there are no past papers to go over so I feel like I have no idea what could come up.

We had a "mock" OSCE during my last placement but that was only quite short. I'm trying to remember what came up in that and I recall the following salient points:

- Check the femoral pulses first in a lower limb vascular exam (apparently starting distal and saying "that's there so the more proximal ones must be ok" won't cut it)
- Being able to use a hand-held doppler is useful
- If it feels like a spleen, it is a spleen - not a kidney trying to trick you
- If there is reference material, read ALL of it, not just the first bit you see in your sense of blind panic
- Have a differential for your findings. Even if you know the patient and you know exactly what their diagnosis is.
- Never, ever, ever (ever, ever, EVER) forget the occupational history. Especially if the patient has dermatological or respiratory symptoms.

That's about it - presumably they were the stations I embarrassed myself in, hence why I can remember them. I was, erm, a bit tipsy when getting my feedback so I don't recall that much about it (we went to the pub for a swift pint whilst waiting for the feedback session, but I can't handle booze at all and someone bought shots - I am convinced the consultant knew I was wasted but he didn't let on - I tell myself it's because I did really well in his "pet" area)

I keep trying to work out what could come up and I am totally clueless. Obviously lots of practise at examining and history taking is useful (basically what I've been doing all year on placements anyway) but I also need to do some proper studying. I do recall someone saying a few years ago there was a patient with Cullen's and Grey-Turner's signs coloured on them in felt tip. And no, I can never remember which one is flank and which is periumbilical!

Any suggestions for what to study before a final year OSCE much appreciated!


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