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::examination technique::

You have probably sat countless exams in getting this far in your career.  Unfortunately, there are a few more that you have to complete on your way to becoming a GP.  Although the knowledge required varies greatly from VTS entry exams to the MRCGP, there are a few general tips that are useful to keep in mind when preparing for any exam.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

Good preparation is the key to success in any exam.  You need to find out some key facts before you even begin looking at the content to learn.  First, find out when the exam is, where it is, and what the exact format is.  This is important so you can plan your workload, apply in time, ensure you have study leave and make necessary travel / hotel arrangements if necessary.  Knowing the format of the exam will help you decide how to revise - revision for MCQ papers may involve simply working through as many sample questions as possible, whereas a critical reading paper may involve reading some papers and getting used to extracting the relevant information.

Make sure you have enough time to study.  This is different for each person, and by now you should know whether you need four weeks or four hours to prepare.  Remember that these exams are very different to exams at medical school - you have to balance studying with work, on calls and for many, running a household.

Practice makes perfect

Get your hands on sample papers and questions, and practice as many as you can, or until you feel confident.  This can help to focus your revision - concentrate on areas where your knowledge could be improved, and less time on those in which you excel.

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