Two weeks have elapsed since the written exam is over and this is time to start OSCE prep especially if you are a non-UK based candidate. I keep repeating this advice from time and time again in hope that at least a few will get benefit out of it.
I know many candidates feel hopeless after the written exam and this is the greatest reason they don’t feel inclined to start OSCE prep, but in my view, regardless of how the written went, these are the best days to start getting the know-how of OSCE.
The reason is simple!
OSCE is an exam of some skills which can’t be lectured and instilled in anyone.
These skills can only be practiced and then learned over a period of time. Under the stress of exam, especially an oral exam, no one remembers what they read, it’s the reflex behaviour that works under that pressure. So, in order to pass OSCE a change of behaviour is required. To achieve this, first of all you need to know what sort of exam OSCE is and what does it test, then you need to begin practicing and improving the required skills to the point that you develop them as a reflex behaviour. This can only be achieved by practicing on a regular basis, in your routine clinical practice.
A consistent and repeated practice is particularly important for the non-UK candidates because they are working in a different setting. MRCOG students come from a wide geographical and emotional environment. Most of them are studying under work, family, personal and financial pressures. Each person has their own needs and deficiencies. The working environment that you have, may not function similar to NHS. But you need to meet similar standards as a UK based candidate in order to pass the exam. And actually in my opinion, achieving these standards help you in several ways other than passing OSCE e.g. personal and professional development, improved patient management, better communication skills and awareness of ethical & legal responsibilities.
So, even if you don’t get through the written now, you will have a whole new horizon to explore when you study for written again because OSCE related skills are developed side by side your written exam preparation. You never lose anything by learning, there is always a gain. And OSCE is such an easy exam that it’s a shame to fail just due to non-awareness. Even if a few of those reading this blog get my message and start preparing today, I’ll be a happy person.