1 – Stick to Your “Script”
Developing a script that you have rehearsed well and can easily alter depending on the topic, will ensure accuracy and efficiency every time.
2 – Read the Question Thoroughly
Often our nerves can get the best of us leading to misinterpreting the question or missing essential information altogether. Take your time – Take a deep breath – and read the question.
3 – Make Notes Before the Buzzer
On exam day, you are provided a clipboard to record notes throughout the exam. This is a great way to quickly plan or outline what is required of you for the station. Use this to outline your plan of attack, contraindication/precautions, or parameters so that you have it when you need it!
4 – Have your identification sticker ready for the examiner
This is purely a time factor. The entire day will be chaotic – having these stickers made easy to peel and pass to the examiner will pay off.
5- Scan Your Environment
Pay attention to the clues of what the station is evaluating – is it safety, communication, assessment or treatment skills, or ethics related?
6- Introduce Yourself and Explain what your plan is for the station
This process is no different than what you do in a real-life scenario – so why change it for an exam. Plus, talking it out will help to organize your thoughts appropriately.
7- Check Safety Flags
This is probably the biggest reason people are unsuccessful. Remember not only to check your red flags – but verbalize it as the evaluator cannot read your mind.
8- Clear Contra-indications and Precautions
Be thinking of this while you read through the question, or even write them down before you enter the station.
9- Talk your way through what you are preforming
As mentioned above, the evaluators cannot read your time. Make sure if what you are processing in your mind is important for moving forward with the patient – that the evaluator hears it.
10- Summarize what you have done and re-read the question if you have time
This “review and reflect” technique can help to ensure you don’t miss something important. Especially if you have extra time, re-reading the question is a great way to check your work.