The courses created here are based on extensive trainee feedback, careful and in-depth study of what the College is expecting and best-practice adult-learning techniques.
My courses are designed around the principles of coaching - cycles of practice, honest, direct feedback and technique adjustment.
Based on more than 10 years of supporting trainees through the written exams and studying results and examiner feedback I feel that I now have a good understanding of what the College expects of "consultant-level" ability and "broad and deep knowledge" of psychiatry.
There are no short-cuts and no tricks, but there are solid techniques that you can learn and it is also essential to avoid the dead ends and pot holes!
Courses are hosted in a state of the art Learning Management System (LMS). The system is available 24/7 with MCQ Courses, CEQ Courses and MEQ Courses.
Registration is free, and once registered, you can see the full detail of each Course and try the first module for free.
A subscription to a course will give you access until 1 day after the sitting of the exam for which the course is published.
Professor Richard Harvey MBBS MD MRCPsych FRANZCP FPOA AMA(M)
Quotes are republished with trainee permission
"Thankyou for your in-depth and very structured MCQ course. I signed up for the course to help with my study generally, but particularly for the CAP section. I am a Monash undergraduate student with no research subject at uni, in a regional hospital where we don't have a journal club. Statistics has always been my weak point. I watched the 3 lectures very carefully (and multiple times). You can imagine my surprise today, to see that CAP was my highest ranking section in the MCQ breakdown, getting 82.5% of the CAP questions correct.."
"Just wanted to say a big thank you for your assistance during my Essay Exam.. I was delighted to hear that I had passed. The fact that I was able to achieve this after only 2 years of training as a basic trainee was particularly gratifying. I wouldn’t have been able to achieve that without your guidance and support for which I am most grateful.Hopefully you can use my example to encourage your future course participants to believe that with the right preparation, the exam can be passed despite not having as much experience as the college advises prior to sitting for the exam.."
"Just letting you know that we have both passed the essay exam!!!!!!!
I am so delighted. Thank you a million times over for your gradual, incremental coaching over the duration of the online course.
I honestly feel it helped very significantly for the CEQ component especially.."
The College has now confirmed that the essay exams will be 'decoupled' from August 2021. This should make a big difference to helping trainees pass both essay components.
My experience with coaching trainees over the past 8 years to pass the essay exam is that it is unusual for candidates to be fully prepared for both the CEQ and the MEQ. The most common outcome is that candidates pass one part but not the other.
I am now recommending that for success, trainees take the CEQ first and only attempt the MEQ once (ideally) all other assessments are passed.
The preparation required for the CEQ exam is very very different from that required for the MEQ exam.
To quote the College:
"Purpose of the CEQ Examination
The CEQ Examination assesses skills that are considered essential for consultant psychiatrists and are not adequately sampled by other assessment opportunities
.The CEQ Examination assesses skills that are part of the CanMEDs, and allows trainees to demonstrate their ability to evaluate and critically appraise a proposition relevant to psychiatry, apply an evidence-based assessment and demonstrate a capacity for balanced reasoning and reflective thinking .
The purpose of the CEQ Examination is to assess:
* written analytical and critical thinking skills that indicates a clear and coherent understanding of the complex role of psychiatry in a broader context,
* the ability to consider different points of view, awareness of broader social, cultural and philosophical models of illness, and
* the ability to express a professional opinion clearly in written prose under time pressure."
Prepraration for the CEQ requires extensive reading of the current clinical literature on Australasian psychiatry and deep and reflective thinking on psychiatry, being a psychiatrist and the experience of patients and carers.
These skill can be learned relatively early in training and the keys to success are having the time to do the reading and develop the skills of writing a critical essay for the RANZCP marking scheme (not just any essay will do!).
By contrast the MEQ exam is more like a written version of the OSCE exam - testing clinical skills, management skills, governance skills and leadership skills. Again to quote the College:
"Purpose of the MEQ Examination
The MEQ Examination will continue to have a clinical focus and test the candidate’s ability to apply knowledge and clinical experience to a realistic clinical scenario.
The purpose of the MEQ Examination is to assess a candidate’s:
* clinical competence and problem-solving approach,
* understanding and the management of complex but common psychiatric situations,
* capacity to think broadly in terms of bio psycho-social aspects in assessment and treatment planning,
* ability to explore issues relevant to the practice of psychiatry, models of illness, ethical and complex service issues, and
* clinical maturity. "
In my experience, this is a very tricky exam. The final point of needing "clinical maturity" is key and attempting this exam too early is a major mistake.
Again, in my experience, for success, trainees need to be at least in their 4th year of training and to have experienced training in a variety of settings including private practice.
In pre-COVID times I would always recommend that the OSCE is passed first, but, as things stand this is not an option. What passing this exam will do is set you up for success in the OSCE.
My current best advice is to take and pass the exams in this order:
1) MCQ exam (anytime after 1st year)
2) CEQ exam (anytime after 2nd year)
3) OSCE exam (anytime after 3rd year) if exams return to normal.
4) MEQ exam (anytime after 4th year, but with the CEQ passed and your psychotherapy case and scholarly project submitted)
As always, I am more than happy to take phone calls from trainees to discuss any of my thoughts on this.
According to the November 2017 Training Newsletter the College is actively considering a computer based essay exam.
At present the College are "not satisfied that the examination vendor can supply services that meet the College’s requirements" which is not surprising as it would seem to me that this is a much bigger challenge than delivering an MCQ exam on-line.
Here at Prepare4RANZCP we are ready to go and will be accepting typed essay and modified essay submissions as soon as we hear a definite announcement from the College.
Quotes are republished with trainee permission
"The exam was very hard. There were numerous clinical questions which were quite ambiguous and there were also many questions on psychotherapy. There were many unheard-of names in psychotherapy and these were to be matched with a single technical word or phrase associated with the person. The CAP questions were qualitative analysis and the other one was a case-control of some sort.."
"I am a Sydney registrar who undertook your essay exam course. Just wanted to let you know that I passed comfortably, and am very thankful for your guidance and support along the way. My essay writing improved dramatically by using the skills I learned in the course, and I ended up scoring especially highly in the CEQ."."
"I would like to share my joy with you. I have passed the MCQ exam. Your MCQ course, particularly the CAP has been very helpful for this exam. Thank you very much for your support."
" Thank you for your amazing course. You picked the last question (on pseudoseizures) which was very helpful!"
"Thank you so much for all your feedback , ongoing support and motivation! I really appreciated the personal feedback. I think I did much better than last time, finished 2 min early :-)"
"I especially appreciated the essay feedback, all I hope for now is that I have passed.."
"I thought I'd let you know I got through the MEQ/CEQ. I so appreciate all your help with the preparation"
"I think your course is one of the best preparations available out there, especially when working remote with no training program/ trainees in the service."
"Your course has been very useful for me as a candidate trained in a different country, especially regarding the broader humanistic and cultural perspectives relevant to the RANZCP."
"Not sure if you included this in your course already, but avoiding having too much fluid before the exam is important, so that you don't waste time busting or in the bathroom!"
"I failed but it's quite ok. Some tweaking to do for next time. Also I need to actually complete the online courses next time."