FCAI Written Exam 28/2/18 Review / by Muhammad Amir Ayub

I knew that there was a large amount to cover for this exam, more than the membership exams. The problem was that as I focused on another topic, I forget what I had already studied previously. At the same time basic science questions could still come out, and I had no time to cover those topics at all. Hell, I only studied a core topic such as diabetes 2 hours before the exams. There was just no time.

But I knew that when it comes to these exams, there is just no shortcuts, as you don't internalize the knowledge without being mindful (woah my language!) of the topics you study. So I made a gamble to go deep whenever possible and if a topic comes out where I didn't read them at all, then it's just tough luck.

With the SAQ's, the question on the sedation spectrum was a topic that you do day in and out, but I never really "focused" and made notes on, but did do some deep reading on a long time ago; I don't think I did well on that simple topic (which makes it disappointing). The only topic that I really read up and made notes on was smoking. I presented on pre-eclampsia once, but that was like a year ago and never touched on it again. I specifically read up on opioid induced hyperalgesia and tolerance. I listened to a podcast on intra-aortic balloon pumps right before the paper (lucky me, I never read on the topic). Otherwise, I only superficially read on the other topics, once upon a time.

The SBA's were generally similar in difficulty. The theme was the same; only a bit of what I studied came out. I had notes on diabetes management, sepsis, and eye ops only (I never re-read the latter 2 topics)! I had read (once upon a time) on the SVT algorithm, cancer pain management, phrenic nerve block post BP blocks, robotic surgery, sedation spectrum, cyanotic heart disease goals, management of hypoxia on vent (daily management), sympathetic hyperreflexia, sci (incomplete notes), the DAS Extubation algorithm, peripheral nerve injuries (I think it was the median nerve). I had to just guess the answers for the rest. I just relied on my instinct of daily management for the question on daycare surgery. I read up on poisoning the night before the exams, but I was too drained by then; I could barely remember anything.

The true/false MCQ's were disappointing. I left the SAQ's early as the gap between that and the MCQ exam was just 10 minutes, and that would not be enough for me to recover. Even after snacking, I was still starving for the last paper and I just couldn't focus. There were a couple of questions where I gave a different answer than what I intended to; I'm not sure if I corrected all of them. I felt confident in answering only one question: massive transfusions. The other questions were all topics that I've read once before (or had ancient notes), but I could not completely recall the knowledge. I never covered the topics of loop recorders, changes after a heart and long transplant, diathermy. But since I could barely very poorly recall any knowledge about the other topics, there was probably no difference in the performance answering the questions that I didn't cover at all. Very disappointing.

Knowing that I had covered only so little of the topics that came up, and could only recall so little anyway, I'd be very surprised if I passed. If I passed, then good. If not, that'll just add up to the RM 40,000 that has been spent so far furthering myself. I will ban my children from this path of self-destruction. Being a quack is better to become healthier wealthier and wiser.

After the exams, I was literally starving and tired. Ate a meal, and then went to sleep. I could only wake up after more than 12 hours later.