Last week I hosted a webinar, through ANZCA, entitled “Tips for the Primary Exam”. For those of you who are registered with ANZCA, you can watch it via the College networks (it is a bit of a time investment, but the fast forward button is always available).
One of the other contributors to this blog, asked me whether there were any noteworthy points that could be highlighted here. A lot of what I discussed has already been touched in the previous study tips on this blog.
With the upcoming exam, there has been single, but significant change – the increase in reading time to 15 mins and the allowance for you to write on the question paper during that time. I discussed how to use this change to your best advantage in the webinar and that is the point I will focus on today.
The written portion of the exam is a real feat of endurance – 2.5hrs of MCQs in the morning, backed up with 2.5 hrs of writing the SAQs in the afternoon. Exhausting! None of us write for that long continuously these days. By the end of the afternoon, you will be very tired.
A the start of the SAQ paper however you will still be reasonably fresh – capitalise on your freshness in the 15 mins reading time:
1. Read the questions carefully – those that look like repeated questions may have had important changes made. The answer you have practised for the old question may not be able to be successfully transplanted into the new question
2. Highlight important words – this may include those important word changes, things you wish to define, anything that helps you ANSWER THE QUESTION
3. Jot down a couple of notes to help you structure your answer – your brain will be thinking quite well at this stage. If something great enters it, take 30 sec to write it down. This may be especially helpful for questions you plan to answer towards the end of the 2.5 hrs. To be able to refer back to your little notes, when your brain is fatigued, may provide that little spark that helps you through.
I suggest that you include “Reading Time” in any set of SAQs you practice (1 min per question). The more times you use that extra minute per question in practice, the more useful it is likely to be for you in the exam.