5 reasons you should do a mock exam before the real CCE
How many times have you heard people say that the RACGP’s clinical exam is “just like an ordinary day of general practice”? The reality is that this exam is far from an ordinary day in general practice, with rapid fire cases being presented in an artificial and stressful format. You can expect the cases to span a wide range of patient demographics, ages and presentations including urban and rural cases.
There are five key reasons why exam candidates sitting the upcoming Clinical Competency Exam (CCE) should consider enrolling in a mock exam:
1. It is an opportunity to test out your tech
For some candidates, the most stressful part of the CCE is the practical and logistical aspects of sitting an exam through Zoom. When the exam is conducted remotely, there are so many additional things to consider. Is my internet signal strong enough? Will my video and audio work? How does Remote Access on Zoom work? How do I scroll through the presentation during reading time?
Sitting a mock exam through GPEx’s Dr CCE program allows you to test out your technology and iron out any issues before the real exam.
2. Identify your weaknesses
The RACGP’s CCE assesses candidates on a range of clinical competencies, and it is recommended that you familiarise yourself with these as part of your exam preparation. GPEx’s practice cases, including those within the mock exam, have been carefully created with these competencies in mind, allowing you to identify your areas of weakness.
Consider, for example:
How are your communication skills? How is your understanding of issues relating to rural health or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health? How do you manage diagnostic uncertainty? How do you manage ethical or professional dilemmas?
All of these are key components of being a good GP and GPEx’s Dr CCE mock exams can help you identify areas for improvement.
3. Practice your time management
Time management can make or break a candidate’s CCE performance. In the CCE, you need to be able to manage your five minutes of reading time, ensuring that you have an opportunity to read and consider the multiple slides of information that you are presented with. Additionally, 15 minutes for the case itself tends to go very quickly, especially when you are feeling stressed! In the Clinical Encounter stations, you are entirely responsible for managing your own time and it is not uncommon for candidates to miss out on valuable points towards the end of their case because of poor time management. GPEx’s mock exams through the Dr CCE program allows candidates to practice their time management whilst receiving advice from experienced Medical Educators about additional strategies.
4. Learn how to maximise your performance in Case Discussions
Case Discussions are a unique format for examining a candidate in the CCE, with the examiner asking a candidate a set number of questions according to a timer. Candidates can expect at least four Case Discussions out of a total of nine exam cases during the CCE. As Case Discussions are a unique format which does not reflect everyday general practice, candidates can sometimes feel overwhelmed about how to answer questions succinctly but with sufficient detail to maximise their score. The use of prompts and probes is also a key component of Case Discussions and has the potential to both assist and derail a candidate’s train of thought.
Practicing Case Discussions in a mock CCE exam can help you to understand how prompts and probes may be used and how to structure your answers effectively.
5. Receive individualised feedback from experienced Medical Educators
There is no doubt about the value of practising cases with a study partner or group. However, many candidates report that it can be challenging to know if they are receiving honest feedback from their study partner(s) who may worry about causing offense. Receiving feedback from a trusted Medical Educator (such as during GPEx’s Dr CCE mock exam) is invaluable for the following reasons:
- The feedback is impartial.
- It is individualised to you and your performance.
- The feedback is constructive, which gives you clear direction about how to improve.
There is no doubt that enrolling in a mock exam will be beneficial to your CCE preparation. After all, practice makes perfect!