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Good luck: the one week countdown to the CSA

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This time next week, I will either be having a celebratory drink or drowning my sorrows somewhere in London post-Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA) exam.

Over a three-hour period, I will be asking, ‘What are your Ideas, Concerns and Expectations?’, or ‘ICE’, to fake patients, and hoping my nerves don’t get the better of me.

I’m sure I will be running on adrenaline for the entire exam, but know I must outwardly maintain a cool and friendly manner throughout. And I mustn’t forget to smile!

I want to say good luck to all my fellow ST3 trainees in my locality, my deanery and the rest of the country wherever you may be. Remember your ICE! 

Dr Avradeep Chakrabarti is a GPST3 training in Swindon, living in Bristol.

Readers' comments (13)

  • What a load of tosh! just about to retire, haven't stopped learning yet!

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  • Dear Dr Chakrabarti
    I have no say what so ever in your performance in the exam - so please don't worry that I have posted.

    Can I suggest that make sure that you don't throw out your management skills "baby" with the" bathwater" of the ICE.

    Its much more important to do what you always do in your clinical practice - that is sort out the patient in front of you and not work to a strict formulae (other than exhaust the presenting complaint - which i learnt on day one of clinical medical school). The cases will be standard GP cases - UTIs', vaginal bleeding, diarrhoea, depression, anxiety, management issues. Of course you need to sort out ICE - but look at what is front of you and don't second guess. If you really feel you don't know what is going on- say so- it might be the answer "knowing your known - unknowns".

    The 'patients' are excellent actors - better than real patients as they stick to the task in hand and don't stray into areas that will detract from you - you should however consider them as patients - as in role, they are.

    Good luck
    and I wish you every success
    GP has sustained me for 30 years and I hope it does you as well


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  • 8.11pm
    Don't be silly
    I have no influence whats so ever on the exam -and I think Dr Chakrabati has done a very good blog on his fears leading up to the exam

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  • Dear Avradeep,
    Projection of air of confidence is crucial in this exam. In my opinion exam does not test so much your clinical ability like MRCP but you need to know something. It is not what you say is matter but how you say it.
    Therefore go to the exam with confidence and you will be fine. I know leading up to any exam can be very stressful but if you encounter such moments think to yourself we all know much more than we do think we know. The time we spent in medical school and at least 5 years post graduate training must have given enough knowledge/skills to be confident of our abilities.
    If that does not calm your nerves, remember as a local graduate you have >90% chance of passing this exam by default. As far as the confidence level is concerned , that will in itself should put yourself ahead of the game.
    All the best mate.

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  • All the best Avradeep. You will do well.

    I still don't understand, if your program director (who has personally seen your skills for three years) has determined that you have good GP skills, why does RCGP want to fish out $1500 and make you travel to most expensive city in the world to prove yourself in front of a bunch of actors and grumpy examiners.

    I am lucky to be in a different country.

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  • £1694 = $2600
    Insanity at its finest.

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  • Clinical Skill Assessment should be renamed as Counselling Skill Assessment. But it's a shame that doctors are judged by the way they talk rather than their clinical competency! But the exam can't truely illicit how competent a doctor is because all patients in the exam are actors.

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  • Thanks Clare and the few anonymous well wishers.

    Compared to the old system, I understand the CSA is the fairest and best exam for us. Feedback from previous cohorts say it's fair, with a few crazies saying they actually enjoyed it!

    Good luck to everyone else about to sit it soon!

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  • Mark Struthers

    'The moderator' removed the 8:11pm comment by Dr Anonymouse, despite Chair of Council of the RCGP seeing fit to reply to it. Get a grip, Pulse! What extraordinary moderation ... yet more of it.

    PS. I hope you do well, Dr Chakrabarti. Good luck next week.

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