This site is intended for health professionals only


I’m glad I’ve passed my CSA, but I still don’t feel it measures GP skill well



There I was, driving home on the motorway on Monday evening and suddenly I receive two beeps in quick succession on my mobile phone. It was not until I stopped at some traffic lights near my home that I could have a quick peek at my phone and saw I had received some texts from colleagues in my tutorial group. I immediately knew why they were texting me.

I walked in through my front door, dropped my bag, hung my coat, said ‘Hi’ to my fiancée and then pick up my laptop. I switched it on and waited for it to boot up. The booting up felt like it took forever and once again, I thought to myself, maybe I should buy one of those ‘oh so cool’ MacBook’s with their instantaneous boot up times.

Next I fired up the RCGP website and logged into my e-portfolio.

And there it was. The symbol of the ‘fruits of my labour’. A small green tick.

Surprise. Shock. Elation. This small green tick confirmed I had indeed passed the CSA exam and those three months I spent practising after work and on weekends at my GPST colleagues houses were worth it in the end.

Looking at the breakdown of my marks was interesting, but at the same time I felt the scores did not represent how I really consulted day-to-day in my ST3 practice. I feel like how you cope on the day is a big factor.

Many very good candidates fail the CSA not due to lack of knowledge or poor interpersonal skills, but I suspect they crumble under the intense pressure of the exam.

My fiancée was relieved to hear my good news, as she was not looking forward to meeting the grumpy and depressed version of me that evening and over the next few weeks after that.

So, what next for me? Well, it turns out I’ve accumulated a lot of annual leave. My fiancée fancies a holiday in Key West, Florida, with its sun-kissed beaches and tasty regional dishes. After that break, I am keen to attend do some more training courses, spruce up my CV, learn how to sell myself in an interview, and get a job. It’s time to enjoy my life a bit more.

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