A Not-So-Brief Guide on Professionals Exam (UKM)


I would not be able to give the breakdown of each component of the exams as it may vary every year. However, here's a general rundown of what you should be expecting:

Continuous Assessment
  • This aspect is important as you are required to pass each posting in final year to qualify for the professionals. So, make sure you have satisfactory attendance, satisfactory logbook requirements and perform adequately to pass your mini CEx.
  • If I am not mistaken, there is no contributory marks to your professional exams, although your performance in each posting may be evaluated and graded, and this would appear in one of your transcript when you pass your professionals. However, this would not matter much, unless you're already on track for an Honours since Year 1. :P
Theory Papers: (50% of total)
  • You would most likely have:
    • 2 sets (60 questions each set) of OBA + EMI
    • 2 sets(around 10 questions each set) of KFQ. 
  • The format may vary every year, but should there be separate sets of paper (eg, 2 set of OBA+EMI), you would expect division of the postings into the 2 papers. For example, the 1st set may have Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Psychiatry, Pediatrics ++, while the 2nd set would then feature questions from O&G, Surgery, ENT, etc. However, there may be the occasional crossovers, so don't forget everything!
Clinicals: (50% of total)
  • The clinical evaluation consists of 3 components, namely unmanned OSCE(20%), long case (30%), and manned OSCE ala short cases (50%)  
  • Unmanned OSCE is basically what many would have called OSPE. You are given some photos/ radioimaging/ items and you are required to answer them. There could also be simple statistic questions from JKM. You will be asked about everything under the moon in this test, which would have 20 stations.
  • You have 1 Long Case, which you are to spend 45 minutes with a patient (with a nurse as chaperone and aid). During this allotted time, you are supposed to take a history of the chief complaints and other co-existing problems, do a targeted physical examination and simple bedside tests (waist circumference, urine dipstick, Dextrostix, blood pressure, etc + ask for weight/height), depending on your case.
  • After the 45 minutes is over, you will be brought to a table just outside of the examiners room. A timer will be set for 15 minutes. During this time, you are supposed to organize your train of thoughts, that is, to plan your investigations and management. Once the time is over, you will have to enter the examiners room and spend approximately 30 minutes there. There will be 2 examiners from 2 different posting (1 from the field of your long case and another from a related field as a buffer). From there, you will have to present and discuss about your case. You may need to return to the patient's room to show your physical examination to the examiners.
  • The cases are from the 4 main postings, namely Internal Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics and Obs & Gyne. However, the patients may have problems related to your minor postings, and they should not be neglected! Most of the time, the patients are well-trained and able to converse well, and their problem list may not exceed 4. However, there could be some occasional outliers which may not conform to the norms.
  • You have 4 manned OSCE ala short cases(10 minutes each). The cases would be from:
    1. Internal Medicine
    2. Surgery/ Orthopedics (Ratio of cases are 2:3, or 1:2)
    3. Obs & Gyne
    4. Misc: Pediatrics/ Psychiatry/ ENT/ Ophthalmology/ Emergency Medicine (BLS/ATLS)
  • Most of the time, you are expected to do a physical examination within 7 minutes, which can be brief and targeted if you're running out of time. The extra 3 minutes will be for answering the questions posed by the examiners. Certain stations may require you to do procedures or counseling instead. For example, the O&G station may ask you to do a urinary catheterization or ERPOC, or GDM counseling. Yes, this may seem unfair, but it also shows that you need to be prepared for anything. 
As of 2011, the requirement to pass the professionals would be:
  1. Score more than 50% in your clinical exam
  2. Score more than 50% in your overall exam (clinical + theory)

By now, I hope that you have a rough idea on how the professionals exam works. Don't worry if you don't get it now. All you need to do is to do your part in learning all you can in your final year. Learn how to investigate and manage a case. Learn how to present a case. Learn how to do a proper PE. Learn how to teach your juniors. Yes, you will now have juniors under your wings, and by teaching them, you'll also be able to train your presentation skills( if they don't understand you, it means you have a long way to go..  :P) and your confidence. Learn how to juggle your time between wards and study.

So, here I am wishing you all the best for the march in March. (Pardon the pun) :)

Related Article:
Back to Introduction to Year 5 Clinical Postings

2 referrals:

Foo Yi Hui said...

Yee Ming basically has the format of pro exam covered here. The info revealed here was a mystery to us seniors until a few months before the exam, which put us in quite a limbo, particularly pertaining to the format of the long case.

Thus, I would advise final year students to:

1)Practice long and short cases in EXAM FORMAT starting from your first posting. Yes! I mean even when you're doing SSM. 45 minutes for long case + 15 minutes away from the patient. 10 minutes (roughly 7-8 minutes for PE after taking into account time for discussion) for short case. Time management is extremely important in pro exam as from our experience, everyone save a select few did not have enough time to manage the long case. Believe me, time passes really really fast when you're in the thick of action. Having a year's time of practising the same approach would do you no harm, and you're less likely to panic even when given a difficult case.

1) Have a look at the past year pro questions to give u an idea of what are the common questions that will be coming out. Give particular attention to these cases when you're in the ward. I know you still have to cover bed for ward rounds, teaching etc... At the end of the day, it's more beneficial to know how to approach febrile fits by heart than covering some ATRX syndrome which is interesting but would never come out in pro exam. Who knows, if you're fortunate enough, you might get the same case in your pro exam. You'll definitely be smiling after walking out of the examination hall.

Most importantly, I hope 5th years will enjoy their final year of med student life. I know i thoroughly enjoyed mine. =)

Anonymous said...

Dun "hai" ppl la yi hui...practice during SSM? Joking~ hahaha.

Just be serious while in your posting.Do your work properly Some will plan to study the next posting during this posting, you will not succeed. Play when play is due, work when you need to work. No time to play too much, except if u r brilliant student like the one who comment before me :P

If only yi hui practiced since ssm, he would have been MD(Hons) ^^ hahaha