Planning your study approach for the RACGP exams

Some of the biggest questions candidates face in the lead up to exams is how long to study and how much study to do.  Whilst there is no perfect fit for all candidates, the following is intended as a guide to planning your study approach.

12+ months out from the exam

Make a learning plan with your supervisor

At every stage in your training you should have the opportunity to sit down with your supervisor and plan your learning.  This will help you with your supervisor to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, allows others in the practice to be aware to share interesting cases with you and helps your supervisor plan your in practice teaching.

Patient directed study

 The best way to prepare for the RACGP examinations is to see patients!  Take the time after each consultation to reflect on what went well, what you may have been able to do better and determine if you have any new learning goals following the consultation.  Make sure you keep a record of things you plan to learn more about later.  It is also valuable to do random case analysis with your supervisor as this may help you to uncover some “unknown unknowns”.

Plan your placements

 You will need to work in more than one practice during your training, and it is important to consider your placements carefully.  If there is an area of general practice that you are not getting good exposure to in your first practice then it is valuable to seek this out in a future placement.  Keep in mind that the RACGP examinations assess your safety and competency to practice anywhere in Australia, so make sure you’re seeing an adequate breadth of practice to prepare you for exams.

Collect resources

 From the time you commence your training, start collecting useful resources that help you with your clinical practice as well as exam preparation.  The RACGP published guidelines are a great place to start, and on the RACGP website you can find a number of endorsed guidelines that are published by other Australian organisations too.  Your supervisor and regional training organisation should also be able to assist you in finding appropriate study resources.