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The video exam

Putting together a video for summative assessment is a significant hurdle of your registrar year. Dr Mei Ling Denney explains how it will be marked and what the examiners are looking for

Putting together a video for summative assessment is a significant hurdle of your registrar year. Dr Mei Ling Denney explains how it will be marked and what the examiners are looking for

The video component of summative assessment is often a high priority for registrars in their final six months of the GP attachment. It must be submitted no later than three months before the end of your GP training. Unlike the consulting skills component of the MRCGP, it must be passed before you can be signed up to practise independently.

Check that:

  • Your tape is two hours long
  • There is variety in your selection, which should not consist of trivia
  • You have obtained consent and stored the signed forms in the practice
  • The technical quality is adequate and you have recorded on VHS at standard speed.

You need to decide whether your consultations are straightforward, moderate or difficult, and mark them accordingly in your workbook. Try to be honest and accurate ­ examiners are not obliged to agree with your decision as to the degree of complexity of your consultations.Your tape will initially be viewed by level 1 examiners. They will choose a minimum of six consultations to view, trying to ensure a spread of types of consultation. If they are not convinced that you have demonstrated adequate clinical and consulting skills, they will view more consultations until they are satisfied they can make a clear judgment. They will select consultations from the whole of your tape, so don't put poor consultations at the end just to fill up the space!

You will be allocated marks in three areas:

  • Listening (discovering the reason for the patient's attendance, negotiating with the patient)
  • Action (appropriate management, investigations and referral)
  • Understanding (showing in your logbook that you understand the process of the consultation, and identifying any obvious shortcomings).

Six grades can be awarded for each of your consultations ­ Excellent, Good, Competent, Bare Pass, Probably Refer and Refer. There are also spaces to comment on major or minor errors. You can get away with a few of these, but a tape containing many, or one with major errors, is likely to be referred. This means it will be looked at by two level 2 examiners and so on, until national level. Make sure that both clinical and consulting skills are up to scratch.

  • Ensure you are practising evidence-based medicine.
  • Review some consultation models, and apply your learning to your consulting.
  • View your tape critically, reflecting on how it might have been improved or done differently.
  • Ask a colleague or your trainer for advice if you are unsure.


Your workbook should show insight into the consultation. No one consults perfectly, but this part enables you to demonstrate that you have insight and can reflect on your performance. Don't write a purely descriptive paragraph.

  • Look for cues you have picked up or missed, and comment on them.
  • Fill in gaps such as details of the prescription issued.
  • Comment on how it might have gone better, if that is the case.

Finally, make sure that a properly labelled copy of the videotape goes to your local deanery office with your completed COGPED Video Declaration Form, and two copies of your workbooks and Log Summary Sheet. Keep the original, and mark both tapes with your summative assessment Check the full details of the requirements from the National Office of Summative Assessment -

Mei Ling Denney is a GP in Peterborough, and an examiner for summative assessment and the MRCGP

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