Pass your MCQ, AKT or KFP – Optimise your GP Exam Preparation with this checklist
A particular pattern of behaviours tends to represent successful MCQ, AKT and KFP exam preparation
The more of these behaviours that you do and can ‘tick’ on this list, the more likely you are following an optimal GP exam preparation pattern to enable exam success. Though these behaviours don’t guarantee that you will pass your MCQ, AKT or KFP exams, they are the behaviours of past successful exam candidates.
You won’t be able to ‘tick’ them all and we don’t expect you to. Some may not be practical for you and your family. Others may not fit into an already busy schedule. However, the more behaviours you can ‘tick’ on this list, the more likely you are optimising your RACGP/ACRRM exam preparation strategies to be able to achieve exam success.
What does your exam preparation look like?
- Study the RACGP or ACRRM curriculum and the five Domains of General Practice
- Study topics as per BEACH data (including medico-legal issues and public health/medical research), such as up-to-date Australian guidelines and RACGP coloured books
- Identify your knowledge gaps (e.g. complete a knowledge self-assessment)
- Understand the exam techniques (e.g. KFP or AKT/MCQ technique requirements)
- Be familiar with the RACGP or ACRRM online exam formats, plus read past RACGP or ACRRM exam reports (learn from others’ mistakes) – know what to expect
- Have a learning plan (what, when, how – e.g. commence with least confident topic first)
- Use effective study techniques
- Have a regular study group or partner (e.g. fortnightly)
- Complete regular ongoing revision, which is included in your learning plan
- Have an exam strategy (e.g. exam time management)
- Have a study habit (e.g. focussed, regular, ongoing time and commitment)
- Use preferred learning style methods (e.g. visual, auditory and/or kinetic)
- Practice skills such as typing (speed and typing medical terminology), reading AKT/MCQ or KFP-style questions (speed, comprehension and selecting key features)
- Practice tests/questions regularly, such as in Dr MCQ and Dr KFP (e.g. weekly)
- Have optimal study periods (50 minutes focussed study / 10-minute breaks, ideally in morning before 12pm, for no more than 4 hours per session)
- Practice testing in less-than-ideal settings and situations (e.g. when tired, stressed, or distracting environment) which mimics exam stress
- Start minimum 3 months before Exam dates (preferably 5-6 months) – no cramming for exams!
- Have study periods which are regular and habitual, booked into weekly calendar or diary (e.g. 1-2 hours daily, 5-6 days per week)
- Have a study habit of 10 hours per week, 3 months before exam(s) (minimum)
- Have scheduled time off work before exams (e.g. 1-2 weeks annual leave)
- Have one day off per week from studying (for self-care, social relationships and work/life balance)
- Sleep approx. 8 hours per night – includes good sleep hygiene (e.g., not using phone 1 hour before bed, due to blue light)
- Work no more than 40 hours per week (less if possible)
- Exercise regularly
- Follow a healthy diet
- Maintain social and relationship connections while studying
- Start no new unhealthy habits (alcohol, junk-food, sugar, caffeine, drugs, etc.)
- Use resilience and stress management techniques regularly
- Have a healthy Mind-set (positive self-talk, growth mind-set, self-compassion and kindness, optimism)
- Have a perspective that not all stress is bad, but can be motivating or reflects what’s important and of value to you
- Demonstrate healthy coping strategies (e.g. for managing procrastination, exam anxiety, motivation or managing negative or critical self-talk)
- Manage any previous failures with self-compassion & kindness, with a positive present-focus (what can I do differently this time?) rather than a negative past (I’m hopeless because I failed my exam!) or future (I’m going to fail again!) focus
Though these behaviours don’t guarantee that you will pass your exams, they are the behaviours of past successful exam candidates. What does your exam preparation look like?
If you want help including some of these behaviours into your exam preparation, consider joining Dr MCQ, Dr KFP, or KFP Coach.
Dr Sonya Vandergoot
Organisational Psychologist and Performance Coach