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Five Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Course for a Postgraduate Medical Examination

May 31, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 241

As a doctor wanting to progress in a specialty, you will be all too aware of the demanding examinations that you have to pass. Preparing for these examinations can be daunting. Not only do you need to know your stuff, but you also need a good understanding of how to answer the questions in a way that meets the examiners' expectations. One of the most sensible things that you can do in preparation for your examination is to find a preparation course, where you not only receive guidance on how to pass the examinations by expert clinicians, but you also gain the support of peers, who are going through the same challenges as you. If this sounds like a good idea to you, then the next step is to work out which course you should select.

Here are 5 questions you should ask yourself before making that decision:

1) Are the clinicians who run the course not only experts in their field but also knowledgeable of the exams?

This question is crucial. Imagine being taught how to drive a car by Lewis Hamilton. He may have all the expertise in the world about how to drive a car, but if he does not teach you in such a way that you can pass your driving test, then the wealth of knowledge he imparts to you will be futile. In a similar way, you may listen to a very stimulating and informative technical lecture, but unless it is tailored in a way that helps you to remember the key concepts and answer the exam questions, its benefit to you will be minimal. You can gather information about the examiners from biographies on the website, by checking for books on the exam by them, and from asking around among peers.

2) Is the organisation running the course well established and does it have a good reputation?

With the arrival of the internet, we have all become a lot more attuned to the proliferation of scams. Much can be promised but how much is delivered? Beneath the glossy, all-singing, all-dancing websites, you need to discern, is there any substance to this course? Will it deliver as advertised? To work this out you not only need to look at how long the course has been going for, and how reputable the course leads are, but most importantly, how the participants have found the course. Read testimonials; a good source for these is on medical chat-rooms, such as - this will almost certainly have forum threads about preparing for the exam under the relevant specialty. Better still, find as many people as you can who have done the course and ask them what they thought.

3) Do the course providers take trouble to ensure that the course is a good experience for all concerned?

Attending a course shouldn't simply be an event but it should be an experience. The content may be brilliant, but if the welcome you receive is frosty, the room you sit in is too warm, and the refreshments are poor, then you may come away feeling disappointed. As a doctor your life is busy. You should expect the training provider you choose to go above and beyond expectations, particularly when it comes to important matters like transport and accommodation. You should ask yourself, does the organisation provide help in getting to the course, finding a comfortable and affordable place to stay, help with parking, and these other important practical issues.

4) Does the course provide value for money?

It is important that you do your research, and ensure that the course you plan to attend compares favourably, in terms of price, with other courses of its type.

5) What does the course provide in addition to the information you learn on the course?

An exam preparation course should provide you with the essentials you need to know to pass the exam, but it should do far more than this. You should ask yourself, do I get anything beyond the scope of the course itself which assists me in my ongoing studies? For example, you should investigate whether you receive any of the following as part of the package: a high quality clear course manual, access to past papers and online resources such as training videos, and ongoing email correspondence with clinicians in case you need to ask questions relevant to the exam.

If you ask yourself these 5 questions, the answers should lead you to the most profitable examination preparation courses.

The author, Andy Floyd, is the manager of the UK's largest MCEM Courses provider, which runs a full range of exam preparation emergency medicine courses for the MCEM Part A, MCEM Part B and MCEM Part C exams.

Also on the curriculum are courses in Emergency Ultrasound Level 1 and Level 2, as well as Emergency Radiology.

You will get much more information by visiting the website via this MCEM link.

On visiting the site you will also be able to get access to valuable MCEM Course training videos.

Source: EzineArticles
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