So guys i just recently completed the AMC clinical exams. As with my previous post on AMC MCQ exam, This is how I studied for it, I dont know if it will work for you, but having gone through this process I believe reading through other doctors experiences helps prepare you mentally for this challenge. I also believe that sharing what you did and what you know will come back to you in abundance so here goes…i studied for the clinical as follows:
I read and summarised and learnt talley o connor, clinical examination. Its the foundation for most of your clinical examination stations
Then I did the amc Handbook of clinical examination (the prescribed one) - I went over the cases twice. I did everything on each case and surrounding topic ie: history taking, examination, differentials and short term management, longterm management, follow up. I made my own protocols and approach to various conditions. It was particularly long and difficult as our south african protocols for management are different from aus guidelines. so that meant that i had to google australian management for every case, some stuff was on the RCH.org website. but i had to do this for almost every case in the handbook.
thereafter i went over recalls, whatevers on facebook amc clinical recalls, i went over all the cases working backwards from the latest exam recalls.
Bear in mind that i only studied for 3 months(as I was on a time schedule to get through this), the time was really short, i didnt have enough time for as many recalls as i would have liked to do. but i did as many hours a day as i could and as many recalls as i could. i did not join a study group, i jus practised stuff on my husband and children. I carried out the history taking cases as i would in real life, said it out loud, discussed the differential diagnosis and management plan for each case as though the examiner was with me in every scenario. I went over topics that I gathered were common from all the recalls and knew them well. I made a point of knowing psych and obs and gynae really well. I concentrated on common paediatric topics as per the RCH website and knew them well. You have to practice, practice, practice. Know what you know WELL. Adapt your basic examination to suit the case scenario. There are online courses that you can buy, thats totally up to you. I googled maria fortuna (URAMCTUTOR) and watched her tutorials, as well as you tube videos on physical examination and geeky medic.com. It was hectic, make no mistake but i also had a lot of clinical experience and that counts for confidence when seeing a patient.
Best of luck to you, bear in mind that they not only test your clinical skills, but they look for your personality, your relationship with your patient, empathy, ability to counsel and explain medical jargon in lay mans terms, some stations are just history taking, others are watching a video of a mental health patient and getting to a probable diagnosis. Its all very varied, so theres not a set structure that you can master except for the actual physical examination.
The examiners i had were not friendly and they gave no indication about how i did in the station. The key is to forget each station as you leave the room, jus concentrate on the next task, be focused in what is expected from you, and go into the room with a probable differential list in your mind. Talk slowly, dont rattle of a list of questions, start forming a relationship with the patient from the time you say hello, if you are unsure about a question asked, be honest and say you will get back to the patient, always call the patient back for follow up and ask if they have any questions. Remember to counsel about red flags and advise about possible complications. Try to do this for every case you do when you practise so it comes naturally in the exam To be honest i was surprised that i passed let alone did so well. I can probably say alot was from my clinical experience and also being able to create a differential list for every symptom and being able to suggest investigations to rule out probable diagnoses.
I hope i havent confused you, feel free to ask any questions if you are unsure and il help as much as i can.
Best of luck