People have often asked how the AMC conduct their exams. Well, here's an overview of how both the AMC MCQ and Clinical exams are, the basics of what you'll need to know. This is compiled from the Information from the Examination Specification handbook by Australian Medical Council.
The AMC MCQ Exam is a computer administered, integrated examination over a total of 6 hours, consisting of 250 questions, divided into a morning and afternoon session of 125 question per session. It is conducted 5 times a year, in centers within Australia only. Dates for the exam and fees can be found at the AMC's website.
The MCQ exam covers a range of conditions in the disciplines of:
Medicine 65 questions
Surgery 50 questions
Pediatrics 35 questions
Obstetrics and Gynecology 30 questions
Psychiatry 20 questions
Of which only 200 is scored, and 50 is not scored.
The non-scored questions will test and calibrate new questions, which may be used in future exams, but will not be counted towards the overall score for the candidate.
Of the 200 scored questions, 60 questions are called mastery questions dealing with conditions and issues critical to the safety or outcome of the patient and those which are important in an Australian setting. These are identified by an asterisk.
Candidates will also require the knowledge of the pathogenesis, clinical features, investigative findings, differential diagnosis, management and treatment. Some questions will require basic knowledge while others will test a candidates ability to distinguish between correct diagnosis and differentials. Questions contain clinical scenarios, some with ECGs, Xrays, CTScans, MRI's and other clinical photographs. Books recommended includes the Annotated Multiple Choice Question and the Anthology of Medical Conditions. Other recommended books may be found on this URL: http://www.rxpgonline.com/article475.html
The MCQ exam have questions with Type A format, meaning one correct response in 5 choices. One has to choose the BEST answer.
Questions not attempted will not count against the examinee, and marks will not be deducted for incorrect answers. So, try answering everything!!! Just an advice, don't stay too long on a question cause you might not have enough time for the rest of the questions. If you're not confident of your answer or cannot take a guess, leave it first, but do put a mark on your scratch paper (given to you during the exam) and make sure you'll go back to it once you're done answering the rest. Time is ticking, so divide your time between the questions!!!
Candidates are required to obtain a pass standard in the MCQ exam in order to proceed to the Clinical exam. The MCQ examination operates as a pass/fail exam with pass mark set at the level of knowledge required by Australian Medical schools for their final year graduates. Advanced statistical methods are used to equate the raw score by separate derived measures of the candidate's ability and item difficulty to a standard scale. The 200 scored items and the 60 mastery items are scored and converted to the AMC scale. For the 200 scored items, the pass mark is set at 250 on the AMC scale, and for the mastery (two thirds of the mastery questions) is at 300 on the AMC scale. To pass, you have to satisfy both criteria!!!!
During application, you will be given a unique AMC reference number when you are determined to be eligible to take the exam. This reference number will assist in the processing of results and minimize the possibilty of error. Results will generally be available one month after the exam.
Now for the clinical exam. You have to meet the pass standard before being eligible to proceed to the clinical exam.
This exam requires the candidate to dmeonstrate an understanding of the basic concepts of disease processes across a broad range of disciplines and how these produce deviation from the normal.
A candidate has to be familiar with the concepts of disease processes, able to discuss mechanisms of the conditions, and be familiar with the indications or adverse effects of therapeutic agents. These factors, of course should apply to the Australian community.
The clinical exam consist of multistation structural clinical assessment of clinical skills. It is conducted in 4 separate series per year on specific saturdays in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane. Closing dates of exams and fees may be found at the AMC's website.
Candidates applying for the clinical exam may be given a clinical position after application for placement. However, the AMC cannot guaratee to place an applicant in his/her preferred center although it will endeavor to do so wherever possible. Books for this exam, according to those who have taken it are:
General Practice - John Murtagh
Clinical Examination - Talley, O'Connor
Patient Education - John Murtagh
Scheduling for the clinical exam will be on a priority basis:
First attempt candidates will have priority over repeat attempt candidates
Time since MCQ will be taken into consideration
Candidates will be ranked in order of merit based on overall MCQ exam
Candidates with fewer attempts will have priority over those with higher number of attempts.
Candidates are scheduled for a single morning or afternoon examination, which takes around 3 or 4 hours. There will be 20 stations, of which 16 is scored + 4 rest stations. The exam includes 3 Obstetrics/Gynecology and 3 pediatrics stations. Some may be unobserved, others may be link to other stations. You are generally given 8 minutes per station plus 2 minutes for changing of stations. Stations may have actual or role-playing patients.
Clear pass means obtaining a pass score in 12 or more stations including at least one pass in OB/GYN, and at least one in Pediatrics.
Marginal performance means a pass in 10 or 11 stations. You have to take a re-test consisting of 10 stations (8 scored and 2 rest), of which you need to pass at least 6 of them. If you get less than 6 stations in this re-test, you will be given a fail mark.
Clear fail means passing in 9 or less stations or fails in all three OB/GYN or fails in all three Pediatrics station.
That's about it, I hope this will able to give you a clear view of the examinations.