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Practical Exams


In most medical schools, there will be an exam where you have to take histories and/or examine patients, followed by a short viva at each station. In Cambridge, these exams are called the SCEE and the OSCE exams.

The notes uploaded below were part of my preparation for these exams. They were also a resource I used to use when going around the wards talking to and examining patients. I called them my MEDICAL CONSULTATION MANUALS, consisting of:

  • PART I: INTERVIEW SKILLS – the most important questions to ask in a history depending on the presenting complaint / system, as well as some background information and viva questions.
  • PART II: EXAMINATION SKILLS – all the examinations to learn for finals in bulletpoint format, with some relevant background and viva information if necessary.

I still used them from time to time now that I work on the wards – I hope you find them useful too!

By the way, I’ve written some more thoughts on how to make the most of your final placements and best books to use here.

Another important aspect of your performance in practical exams (and later in your job) is being able to summarise examination findings, present clinical scenarios and interpret data, such as X-rays and ECGs. This is difficult at the beginning as it requires a lot of mental processing, so it helps to have a structured approach. To make things easier for myself, I wrote a presentation called PRESENTATION MANTRAS, in order to conceptualise some of the thought processes and phrases to be used. This helped me a lot, make sure you practice this over and over again – practical exams won’t be an issue for you any more.





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