8 signs you need help with your KFP, AKT and MCQ exam preparation
If you are preparing to sit your GP Fellowship exams with RACGP or ACRRM, you have no doubt heard about the different exam preparation programs which are available. With the exam fees already so expensive, are these exam preparation resources really worth it?
Some candidates may opt to collate their own study resources by searching online for articles, guidelines and exam support information from the Colleges. While this is an essential part of exam preparation for all candidates, below are some important signs that an exam preparation course might be a worthwhile investment for you:
- You don’t know where to start
- You have no study plan
- You are feeling overwhelmed or scared
- You are procrastinating and avoiding study
- You are lacking in confidence
- You feel too tired and your motivation to study is low
- You have failed the exams before
- All of the above!
1. You don’t know where to start
According to the RACGP, their Fellowship examinations assess a candidate’s competency for unsupervised general practice anywhere in Australia, with each exam having a unique and targeted approach to assess knowledge and skills. While the RACGP and ACRRM exam components may be different, your exam preparation strategy should be very similar if you are aiming for exam success. A great Fellowship exam preparation strategy should include a good understanding of the features of each exam, the type of knowledge and skills which are being assessed, and the marking criteria. Developing your personal exam strategy is the best place to start, but even this can feel overwhelming. Investing in an exam preparation course will clarify where you should start and will also support you through each step along the way.
2. You have no study plan
Plan? Plan what? I hear you ask. As you know, general practice requires clinicians to have a broad knowledge base across all body systems, and this means that you need a clear and achievable study plan. You also need to consider the strategies you may need to use to deal with typical study issues, such as memory retention and recall. Learning isn’t always fun. Even topics you love will have material that you may find difficult, boring, or overwhelming. Having a plan of what and how to do it will enable you to manage study more effectively. Having an exam preparation expert assist you to plan your study is much easier than devising one on your own.
3. You are feeling overwhelmed or scared
Without a method or process, it is easy to feel scared, overwhelmed or despondent about what and how much you need to cover between now and the exam(s), particularly when you have failed exams previously or had a long absence from studying. It doesn’t take much for people to convince themselves that they aren’t as capable as their colleagues. Good study techniques and habits can draw out your strengths, while a supportive team can help you understand how to learn more effectively and smooth out some of your study journey’s ups and downs. For example, GPEx’s Performance Coach will be able to explore your exam concerns or anxieties and work with you to devise an individualised strategy. Additionally, GPEx’s Medical Educators are there to answer any content questions or clarify concerns you may have about exam techniques.
4. You are avoiding studying (procrastinating)
Procrastination is defined as voluntarily delaying an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for having done so. Putting off important tasks like studying often results in feelings of guilt, which leads to lost productivity, anxiety or stress. Almost everyone is guilty of procrastinating occasionally. However, if you struggle to justify why you are not studying and your excuses sound lame (even to you!), then you need to accept you’re procrastinating. There are common triggers for procrastination and GPEx’s Performance Coach can help you identify and overcome your particular triggers.
5. You lack confidence
Confidence is like motivation. We know when we have it, but find it hard to describe what it involves and how to get it. Confidence is crucial in all aspects of our lives – in building relationships, achieving ambitions, how we perform and for success in careers, work and exams. So how do you start to build your confidence in learning and studying? Confidence is a skill that builds slowly, increasing with each successful experience. By taking planned progressive steps, you can develop your skills and confidence slowly and successfully. Having a supportive, expert team of Medical Educators, psychologists and program developers backing you in your exam preparation journey means that you can start the process more confidently than if you were doing it alone.
6. Your motivation is low
Motivation – it’s something we all want to have, but something that can easily evade us. It often comes easily at first, but the difficulty for many is maintaining it. We have all struggled to stay motivated when working towards a goal. It’s human nature to want to do what’s easiest, and goal achievement can be hard, especially if you have been preparing for multiple exams over a long period of time on your own. So how can you increase your motivation for studying over the long term? Tips for increasing motivation include committing publicly and joining a support group. As an individual, it is easy to lose motivation and give up. We are quick to let ourselves off the hook, procrastinate, and find justifications or excuses for giving up on goals. Your family, friends and colleagues can be great sources of support, and they will encourage and help keep you motivated. Support through a colleague or groups with similar study goals can be very effective in increasing motivation, commitment and countering procrastination. Similarly, receiving support from people who are experts in exam preparation strategies will increase motivation and help you stay on track.
7. You have failed in the past
Failure is a reality of life. It helps us learn and grow. Intellectually, we can acknowledge that the greatest achievers of the past and present have all experienced failure. But still, we hate to fail. We fear it, dread it, and when it does happen, we struggle to get over it. We give it power over our emotions, and sometimes we allow it to dictate our future. Some of us go to great lengths to avoid failure because of the pain and shame we may associate with it.
However, the RACGP and ACRRM exams are not a measure of your intellect or your worth as a doctor, nor should you allow it to define you. It’s a snapshot of you, on that day, having logged so much sleep or time to prepare, with a particular level of motivation and confidence. Hence it is critical that you avoid repeating past mistakes and learn from your exam experiences. GPEx’s Learning Coach and Medical Educators can assist you with identifying your personal obstacles, whether it is related to knowledge gaps, memory recall, exam or study techniques or anxiety…and more importantly, we can support you to overcome these barriers.
All of the above!
Preparing and sitting exams can be a difficult process and you may find that you can identify with all of the previous 7 signs… and that’s ok! If that is the case, GPEx will likely be one of the best investments that you can make in your career. We have an experienced team who can help you find the exam preparation product(s) that will best suit your needs. Contact us today and let our expert team support you on your exam preparation journey.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. RACGP Education: Examinations guide. East Melbourne, Vic: RACGP, 2019.
Jacky Dakin and Kathryn McEwen (2004). Short Poppies can grow – Confidence at work. Mindset Publications, North Adelaide, Australia
Health direct website, Motivation, How to get started and stay motivated.
Susan Tardanico, (2012) Forbes, Five Ways To Make Peace With Failure
Paul Newton and BookBoon (2014) How to overcome Procrastination ebook