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How to excel in summative assessment audit


Your audit project must be relevant, interesting and have potential for change – so get cracking, advises Dr Meiling Denney

The written submission of practical work for summative assessment can be completed at any time during the three years of

vocational training but submitted no later than three months before the end of your general practice training year.

It is important to allow enough time for this, so as to be able to consult your trainer and make any necessary revisions. Most registrars submit an audit, although another option is a project marked under the National Project Marking Schedule (NPMS).

Both the COGPED audit marking scheme and the NPMS will be available until 31 July 2008. From August 2007 there will be a new single assessment process, the nMRCGP, for doctors wishing to obtain a certificate of completion of training (CCT) in general practice. If you have begun your GP VTS training prior to 1 August 2007, and have completed at least one component of summative assessment by 31 July 2007, you will have until 31 July 2008 to complete the summative assessment. If you are in any doubt, consult the RCGP website

When you think about how to set about your audit project, the choice of topic is very important. Most examiners take note of the title of your audit, and relate what you have written to it. Here are some key points regarding your audit.

•It must be relevant to general practice – think carefully how it relates to general practice and primary care.

•It should be reasonably important or

significant as you will need to justify your choice. Avoid obscure topics or very rare events, as the examiner will be looking carefully for your reasons for choosing the topic.

•To get ideas, look critically at how you do things, or what goes on in the practice. It might be a common problem, or one that is uncommon but with serious consequences.

•Choose a subject you are interested in – you will be spending a lot of time on it. Make sure it is your choice, rather than your trainer's or practice manager's.

•Find an area where there is potential for change, as you will be marked on the way you have changed practice, and your evaluation of this. Avoid areas where there is already performance at a high level (such as some QOF topics), or where it is unlikely you can actually change anything.

•Think about timescale – will you have time to effect a change and complete the

audit cycle?

•Are there any ethical issues, and have you taken steps to protect the confidentiality of any participants?

•You need to show evidence of teamwork in your audit project, so involve the practice team early on. Be clear about the workload it might entail, and sensitive to the fact that staff in the practice have other jobs to do

as well.

•The results will be available five weeks

after arrival of your audit in the deanery


You are more likely to pass if you:

•decide on your topic early on, and allow adequate time to do the audit

•make it relevant, interesting, and with

potential for change

•read the information on audit regarding the requirements for format, criteria,

number of words, and need for anonymity

•find out what resources and support you can expect from your trainer and practice

•keep the title of the audit in your mind at all times

•avoid plagiarism, as this will be checked for and will invalidate your audit if found

•check your audit against the marking schedule criteria and make sure it meets these – if not, it will be returned and your certification may be delayed

•accept constructive criticism from your trainer and be prepared to alter your audit with this in mind.

Meiling Denney is an examiner for the written submission of practical work for summative assessment

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