AMC: MCQ Exam – Part 3

AMC MCQ Part 3

Alright, you bought your books, done your revision, tried the questions and you feel you are ready to sit for the MCQ.

The next step in your journey is to book your exam.

You will need to go to your AMC portfolio and select a date and time for your exam.

I would suggest booking it a few months in advance, this will give you ample time to request for leave and get better deals on flight and accommodation.

Now, Malaysia does not run AMC exams.

The nearest centre would be in Singapore.

Other centres in the SEA region are Bangkok.

I chose Singapore for these reasons:

  1. Same time zone
  2. We speak the same language
  3. Good public transport (need to be on time)
  4. Safe (cannot stress this enough)
  5. Food almost the same like ours (and clean also)
  6. Roaming services available for Malaysian numbers

You can go to Bangkok and other regions. It’s up to you to pick what is best for you. Going to Singapore to sit for my exams for me was so that I can take the mental load off worrying about non-exam factors and just focus on the MCQ.

Unless you know Singapore very well, I advise you to fly (or drive if you are from Johore) at least 2 days before the exam. Know your logistics well. Know where the train stops are, what the traffic is like, food etc.

Pick a hotel nearest to the test centre. Get a comfortable hotel (of course not a presidential suite in the 4 Seasons la), you need good rest before the exam and last minute revision if you need to.

Take your meals at least 2 hours before the exam. You probably will not have appetite to eat, but you need to. The exam is 3.5 hours and they do not allow food in the test centre. Eat something filling but will not make your sluggish. Dial back on the coffee if you really do need it. Coffee -> diuretic-> pee-> time take out of exam.

Morning of the exam, don’t do anymore revision. You done what you can, close the book and relax your mind. Picture yourself passing the test. This is a very important visual cue. Do whatever relaxes you. Deep breathing, stretching, walking, gaming or whatever.

Always arrive at the test centre 1 hour – 45 minutes before the exam. Report yourself to the counter and you can breathe a little easier.

Now the test has started. You will be in a booth. In that booth you will be in front of a computer. They will provide you with ear plugs if you need it. Answer all the questions the best you can. Don’t worry any negative marking.

3.5 hours later

Ok you’re done!

Congratulations on finishing the exam.

Now don’t think about the exam for now. There is time for that later.

Go ahead and enjoy yourself.

Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint.

You still have a long way to go. For now, have fun.

The results should be available within 2 weeks. (at least during my time)

If you passed good! Well done! Now you can think about the Clinical Exams!

If you did not pass, its alright. Take time to reflect where you went wrong. Review your exam results and see where your weak points are and work harder on them. The good thing about this exam is that they give you feedback on areas your performed poorly. I know you can pass it the next time round! Stay positive!

I will talk about the AMC Clinical Exam in my next entry.

If you have any questions you can ask in the comment section below and I will do my best to answer them.

Till next time!

AMC: MCQ Exam – Part 2

AMC MCQ Exam: Part 2

Ok so how do we prepare for this?

You will need to have these resources to prepare for your exams.

  1. Murtagh General Practice
  2. AMC MCQ handbook
  3. Online question banks

Murtagh General Practice

Regardless if you want to do GP or not, this book is a must.

Remember, you are going to practice in Australia. John Murtagh’s book is an excellent resource of how things are done in Australia. Order this book via Amazon or go to Kamal and buy it. If you are the type that can read on tablet/computer, get the electronic version. There are even some sites that allow you to download free copies (I will not reveal it in this blog – you cari sendiri)

Price: AUD 145 (plus minus)

Disclaimer – I bought my book from Kamal.

I read this book at least twice before attempting to do the questions.

It helped that I was doing KK at the time so I was killing two birds with one stone.

It does not matter if you have been a super senior MO in whatever discipline you are now, in order to pass this test you need to be well rounded. You need to identify your own weak areas and work on it.

Medicine is vast. No one can learn about everything. But when it comes to exams you got to be smart. They are not assessing you as a consultant/specialist. What they want, is a safe doctor who can recognise dangerous situations and call for help. No hero/heroine here.

Now using my experience, I am surgically inclined. I am quite solid in general surgery, ENT and plastics because I have been a MO in those fields. I am weak in the rest of the disciplines. I identified O&G to be my weakest. Adult medicine and paediatrics are big, big topics to cover. This is how I prioritised my revision.

  1. O&G
  2. Population Health
  3. Mental health
  4. Paeds
  5. Medicine
  6. Surgery

Remember common things are common. Don’t be too focused on rare paediatric conditions. Know they exist, know how it’s inherited and move on.

My second round revision was faster. I took a calculated decision to skip certain topics that I felt I was confident in and doubled down on the ones I was weak in.

I even wrote my own mini notes to help me remember.

Once you’ve finished reading, do practice questions. Don’t go sit for exam straight away. Chances of passing would be low.

AMC MCQ Handbook

Definitely a must.

600 plus questions + answers + explanation

Price AUD 275

There are sample questions on the AMC website. It was free during my time in 2017, not sure about that now.

Again you can get it from AMC website, Kamal or get an electronic version online.

I used the hardcopy, because I like to write my own notes.

My opinion, finish the MCQ book first before purchasing online questions.

You can return to the questions again if it helps you with your confidence.

Each question has its explanation in the answer session. So you are learning as well.

Do not feel bad if you did not score well the first time. You will get better over time.

AMC MCQ Online Questions

I strongly recommend it

Several question banks are out there

I chose www.amcquestionbank.com

They divided the questions according to topic. If you feel like doing some paeds just click on the filter and it will only give you paeds questions.

Like the handbook it will give you an explanation in the end.

It shows the percentage of questions you got right so you can focus on your weakness.

However I would need to advise you that not all the explanations are right. If you feel the explanation is funny, cross reference it with Murtagh.  Otherwise it is a reliable tool for self-assessment.

Depending on how far your exams are, you can plan your subscription. i.e one month, three months etc.

I picked the 6 months subscription – AUD 159

Summary

Best preparation tools

  1. John Murtagh General Practice – AUD 145
  2. AMC Handbook – AUD 275
  3. AMC question bank (optional but highly recommended)  – price depending on length of subscription

Tips

  1. Focus on your weaknesses and prioritise them first
  2. Become a well rounder in terms of clinical knowledge
  3. Have a positive mindset

In my next entry I will write about how to prepare for the days leading to the exam itself.

AMC: MCQ Exam – Part 1

Ok, let’s talk about the MCQ.

MCQ takes 3.5 hours.

It costs AUD 2720

You will sit in front a computer and click on the answers.

There is no basic science component (i.e. none of that Kreb Cycle, mitochondria stuff)

The questions are clinical. There might be a few applied basic science question. E.g. if the patient has numbness at in between the 1st and 2nd toe, what nerve root is that. That sort of thing.

It consists of

  1. 150 single best answer (out of five) questions

Now not all of the 150 questions are scored.

120 would be scored

30 would not be scored (pilot questions)

The tricky part is that you would not know which are scored and which are not. You need to finish all the questions especially the 120 scored items.

The exam would have questions that are distributed among different patient groups:

Adult Health Medicine 35 questions

Adult Health Surgery 25 questions

O&G, Paeds, Psych and Population Health – 15 questions each

That would give you a total of 120 scored questions.

Each question is scored depending on how difficult it is. (Hard question, more marks)

There is no fixed pass mark.

Your performance will be scaled with the other candidates and from there, AMC will determine what is the passing score for your cohort. (means cannot just cukup makan).

The passing rate for MCQ exams is posted on the AMC website. (Don’t worry they will not put your name there. Only your candidate number that is known only to you).

November AMC MCQ exams

Number of candidates: 569

Candidates who passed: 323

Passing rate: 56.76%

The passing rate has been around this figure.

Tough exam right? But do not worry too much. It can be done.  Have a positive mindset.

To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail – Benjamin Franklin

The next entry I will advise you on how to prepare and hopefully pass the AMC MCQ.

Introduction

Hi there

If you clicked this link on your search engine, you’ve most likely conceived in your mind that you want to migrate to Australia and work as a doctor here. I’m sure that you have a lot of questions and doubts in your mind. I would like to assure you that you are not alone, and you’re neither the first nor the last to think about migrating overseas.

Before we begin, allow me to give you some background about myself.

I am a Malaysian.

I graduated with my basic medical degree in 2010 from a local private Malaysian university.

I completed my housemanship (internship) in 2012.

I spent a few years as a medical officer in various departments.

I passed my MRCS exams in 2015 with the intention of entering a surgical based discipline. My goal was to get into a postgraduate programme with overseas training.  However, the lack of financial support from the Ministry of Health (despite them encouraging us to take the parallel pathway) made me decide otherwise.

The local master’s programme was not an option for me.

Along the way, I got married to a loving, brilliant and wonderful woman. This made me rethink my life decisions. I wanted a good work life balance, earn a decent living and save for retirement.

 I still liked clinical work, but I cannot see myself working long hours operating when I’m in my 50s or 60s. I did some GP work and decided I liked the hours. I could sleep at night without being called in to see patients. I decided that I would like to specialise in Family Medicine. Looking at the economic prospects of a GP in Malaysia is bleak. You’d have to put in more than 60-70 hours a week to stay afloat unless you decide to stay in KKM. Additionally, with the current government not offering permanent posts to medical officers anymore, these doctors would flood the GP market. One may even have to work weekends to make ends meet and consultation fees will drop because everyone will try to undercut each other.

With this in mind, after a long discussion with my wife, we both decided to make a go at Australia.

It is a long journey and we are still far from reaching the finishing line.

I know there is a lot of content online out there in the internet. It can be daunting, that is why I decided to write this blog. Bear in mind, this is written from a Malaysian’s point of view. My experiences may not be the same as yours. You may have different personal or professional life goals. That is all ok.

I will help you by sharing my experiences, advising you how I prepared for the exams, the migration issues, life in Australia.

Let us begin.

The First Steps

First you need to go to the AHPRA website (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency).

https://www.ahpra.gov.au/

They have an excellent flow chart that you can use for a self-assessment to see if you are eligible to practice medicine in Australia.

AHPRA is like their MMC. You need a license to practice.

There are 3 sorts of registrations.

  1. Limited registration – only practice in the designated area with supervision. i.e Hospital A or Clinic B only
  2. Provisional registration – practice with supervision (interns from Australian medical universities would be given this or those who have completed AMC part 1 and 2 but yet to finish their compulsory postings)
  3. General registration – you can practice anywhere in Australia

You must either have a basic medical degree that is recognised by AHPRA or complete the AMC examinations. 

Thus far, only Monash Medical University is the only medical school in Malaysia that is recognised in Australia. If you are a Monash graduate, you need to show proof that you have indeed finished your housemanship in Malaysia. You can ask your admin in hospital to provide you a written letter stating that you’ve successfully finished your housemanship. You can apply for a provisional registration, look for a job and complete the compulsory postings (more on that later).

For the rest, you have to sit for the AMC exams.

The next thing you have to do if you do not have a Monash Medical degree, is to visit the Australian Medical Council (AMC) website.

https://www.amc.org.au/

Before you can apply for the exams, they would need to verify that your credentials are legit.

Your medical school needs to be recognised by the WHO (don’t worry almost all Malaysian medical schools are)

To verify your credentials, you have to apply for this account

  1. Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPIC)

In a nutshell, these guys will make sure that you are really you. It is accepted as a verification tool in most developed countries. Even if you want to go to USA you would need this. You need to prepare your documents because they will ask for it. For more details refer to their website. I have listed their current fees below

To create and account and confirm your identity USD 125

Verification of your credentials USD 90

You’ve got your EPIC account? Good, now the next step is to apply for your AMC exams.

To do so you need to apply for an AMC portfolio in order to sit for the exams. This portfolio would keep track on your personal details, professional qualifications, exams you are taking or have taken. Don’t worry. No one but you can see this.  It is a fairly straightforward process and should not give you too much trouble.

Now in the next entry I will tell you more about the AMC exams.

Summary

  1. AHPRA – check if your medical degree is recognised or not
  2. AMC – read the overview of assessment pathways
  3. EPIC – apply to get your credentials verified
  4. AMC portfolio
  5. Start preparing for AMC exams
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