The CSA exam is aimed at testing doctors’ skills in various areas. They include effective communication with colleagues and patients, making evidence-based decisions, the ability to collect information and an understanding of person-centred care and disease processes. Below are essential tips on how to pass the CSA exam.
1. Acquaint yourself with the basics
The CSA is essentially a simulated surgery comprising thirteen cases. Examiners will allow you some time beforehand to read before each of the thirteen consultations. This will be followed by ten minutes for each of the consultations. For each of the cases, you will be assessed on interpersonal skills, clinical management and data gathering.
2. Form a study group
Forming a study group six to nine months before the CSA exam will help you in many ways to prepare for the exam. A study session should ideally have three members in attendance; the first person acts as the doctor, the second as the patient, while the third can record and give feedback.
3. Regularly seek feedback on your performance
Be sure to seek feedback regularly on your consulting with colleagues. You can do this through joint surgeries and consultation observation tool assessments, as well as during tutorials and out-of-hours sessions. A video is a valuable tool too as you can watch your recorded consultations and work to improve on your weaknesses.
4. Observe others’ consultation style
Watch your trainer and colleagues consult. This will help you identify and use ‘good’ habits and gain useful tips from your more experienced colleagues. Watching more experienced colleagues explain complex conditions is a definite must for exam success.
5. Prepare for challenging cases
Identify all the areas that are challenging to you and adequately prepare for them. If, for instance, taking a patient’s sexual history proves challenging to you because you feel uncomfortable asking sensitive questions, do a few more consultations involving such cases.
With the above tips, you can face the CSA exam confidently and emerge victorious at the end of it.