The Final Assessment - the Examiner's view

by Andrew Faulkner - Date: 2007-05-23 - Word Count: 424 Share This!

Peter Chapman has written an insightful piece about the upcoming Final Assessments. As one of these "malevolent" examiners I have to re-iterate his point that actually we do want to pass the candidates and not fail them. Apart from anything else, failure requires more paperwork! Joking aside, we are not "out to get you", our desire to pass you is definitely there.

Candidates need to remember that it is "fitness to practice" not "PhD". It is entry-level optometry, nothing more, and nothing less.

As examiners, most of us remember our own PQE's. It has been a decade since I sat mine, but the memory is still fresh!

With the cut-off date for the July sitting recently passed, what advice could I give you?

Firstly - work hard, but don't run yourself into the ground. Take some time out.

Secondly - assume you are going to Glasgow. That way you will be prepared, and if you get Anglia or Aston you have the bonus of the extra time.

Thirdly - don't spend all your time with your nose in a book. Three of the exams are practical or have a practical element. Three weeks of not using a slit lamp and then using one in the exam for the first time, is not advisable.

Fourthly- textbooks will name a condition and then describe it. In the exam you are given this reverse scenario. Ensure you can recognise conditions from signs/symptoms. Using index cards (and writing condition on one side, signs and symptoms on other) may be a useful technique.

Fifthly- the exams are competency based now. The emphasis is on management with less on theory and diagnosis. This does not mean you do not need to learn theory and diagnosis- you do!!

Sixthly- talk to your supervisors, other optoms, and each other.

On the day of your exams:

Dress smart, polish your shoes, do your tie properly, brush your hair. Smile, make eye contact, and be pleasant. Contrary to popular belief we are all human!

Listen to the question and make sure you understand it. Answer the question asked, not a different one. Only answer that question, don't go off on an unnecessary tangent and even worse open a can of worms you don't want opened!!

Take all your ophthalmic kit with you, and make sure it works. Spare batteries are always useful. Take your own watch, or clock. And please, please, please take a pen, and a spare pen. In fact take another pen, to lend to your examiner who may have forgotten to bring one!!

You can download a copy of the papers used in each of the practical exams.

Related Tags: health, advice, vision, eyes, exam, optometry, pre-reg

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