Many Deaneries are now using an MCQ assessment as part of their GPVTS selection process - this can be before allowing an application, prior to shortlisting, or after shortlisting as part of an assessment centre day. Althought there is not currently a single national assessment, most Deaneries use a similar format, content and level for their MCQs. This article covers the subjects included, the level and types of questions, useful books and resources and a few practice questions.
MCQ dates and timing
Some deaneries (e.g. London) require prospective candidates to sit an MCQ BEFORE the application process begins - only those with that are above a certain standard are allowed to submit an application (last time around the cut off was 67%). Other deaneries ask only those shortlisted to sit an MCQ as part of an assessment day (e.g. West Midlands Deanery). Each deanery is responsible for setting the dates of the assessment and the candidates must contact the relevant deanery for full details of times, dates and venues of the MCQ.
MCQ content and level
The VTS entry MCQ assessments are set at the level expected of a PRHO or F1 doctor at the END of their first year. The MCQs are typically 3 hours in duration, with about 300 questions. The make up of the questions is about 65% general medicine / general surgery / therapeutics, and the other 35% is usually made up of speciality questions from ENT, ophthamology, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, psychiatry, dermatology, orthopaedics and trauma and rheumatology.
Most of the questions are TRUE / False MCQs (about 250), with about 40-50 Single Best Answer type questions. Finally there are usually about 10 EMQs or Fill in the Blank type questions.
There is no negative marking, so aim to answer all the questions.
The most useful books for preparation are the Oxford Handbooks - Clinical medicine and clinical specialities. Most of you will already be familiar with the content of the OHCM, but soem of you may not have had a look at the OHCS - this allows a quick revision of all the specialities covered in the MCQ assessment. The Oxford handbook of general practice is NOT particularly useful for the MCQ as they do not test in depth knowledge of general practice in this MCQ. This book IS useful for interview preparation to give a broad overview of General Practice issues.
Here are a few practice MCQs:
1. The following are Notifiable Diseases:
a. Herpes Zoster
c. Whooping Cough
d. Chicken Pox
2. Regarding Psoriasis:
a. Generalised psoriasis can cause severe systemic upset
b. There are high levels of arachidonic acids in psoriatic skin
c. It is extremely rare before the age of five
d. Usually follows staphylococcal infection
e. Pustular psoriasis does not respond to topical steroids
1. a - False
b. - True
c. - True
d. - False
2. a - True
b - False
c - True
d - False
e - True
There are more practice MCQs for VTS entry and general information and advice for anyone interested in GP training at www.gpvts.info this is a free educational resource.