At fellowshipexam.com we've spent a lot of time on ABGs. They remain one of the most feared and poorly understood props used in the fellowship exam.
So we were thrilled when one of our candidates had the confidence to ask a really hard question on the VSG. Keep reading for the question and the commentary.
'....a derivation of a derivation using small margins....'
There have been developments in the way the exam is presented and how its marked. The number of physical answers required has been reduced, such that you will have time to complete the exam.
You will get 3 exam books of 20 pages each and a props book.
It is anticipated that you will spend 3 minutes per page or one hour per book. This is a good way to judge how you are doing.
timing in the exam
I would advise people to spend no more than one hour per book. Have a point where you check, midway through the book i.e. at page 10, that you have spent no more than 30 minutes until that point.
In an exam where you are spending on average 6 minutes per question, it is easy to go over by 30-40 seconds per question and thus not get to finish. Other forces at play will assist you with this(explained below). So know that you will be finishing page 10 at 30 minutes and book 1 by 60 minutes etc. This is a good way to speed up, without trying to set your alarms for every 6 minutes, which is about a 5 second loss of time every time you do that(2.5 minutes in the exam).
how much do I write?
"SAQs are designed with the answers being short. This is reflected in clearer wording. The following general principles apply for the upcoming paper
–The words “describe, outline, and discuss” are now absent from the paper (as these words suggest a paragraph or short essay answer)
–The word “list”, if used, suggests the answer items will each be 1-3 word answers.
–The word “state”, if used, suggests the answer items will each be a short statement, phrase, or clause.
–If the word “list” or “state” is used, the precise number of answer items requested will also be known, with each item attracting one mark e.g. “state 3 items, list 4 items”.
how is the marking distributed?
Each question has a set number of answers required, each worth a mark, as indicated. This is not equal for all questions i.e., there are a total number of answers that have to be given for the whole exam. If those total number of answers is greater than the number of answers required to pass; you pass.
Given the way the exam is now set up, technique becomes less of a weapon, although there are some things I would recommend.
1. If you write a drug- write its dose (important for kids)
2. You need to be able to calculate kids weights.
3. Given that most answers are single or a few words long, you'd be foolish to leave any blanks.
If you are ridiculously running out of time, the only time I would leave a question out is if you are doing a question worth say 25 marks and you just don't have time to think about one worth just one mark.
4 Forget about the old idea of leaving out 3 or 4 questions, the way the marks are now distributed i.e.., unequally between questions, this almost has no meaning.
The fellowship faculty
We work as emergency physicians, and teach, blog and write at resus.com.au