how to pass the amc exams

An Australian Medical Council Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination Study Guide.

Are you wondering how to pass the AMC exams? Well. Having passed the Australian Medical Council AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination in the first go, I am often asked by doctors questions like “What’s your secret?”, “How can I plan my study schedule to pass the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination?”, “How long should I study for it”, and “What’s the best study plan?”.

Chances are, if you’re reading this post, you are preparing to take the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination within the next few weeks to months, and are looking for actionable advice about how to set yourself up for success in the here and now. I’m going, to be honest: if I had a single secret or silver bullet, I would tell you. The harsh truth is that if you want to pass the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination, work as early as possible with concerted efforts to build a solid knowledge base that you can then consolidate during your dedicated study periods.

In this article, I will try to point out the ideal way of doing things. Things I wish someone would have told me while I was preparing. things that would have saved me a lot of money and time (spent scouting for the ideal resources).

Here’s a summary of what I learnt about how to pass the AMC exams:

  • Start as Early as Possible.
  • Commit to An Examination Date to Give You Something to Plan For.
  • If Possible Study Whilst Undertaking Clinical Rotations or Work.
  • Make Sure You Choose Your Preparation Resources Wisely.
  • You Should Use John Murtagh’s General Practice, the AMC Handbooks and Question Banks to prepare most effectively.
  • Try to dedicate study time each day and take plenty of breaks.
  • Work out the areas you are most week in and focus on them.
  • Try to do some practice where you emulate the actual conditions of the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Exam.
  • Work out if you have problems in areas such as time management, understanding the answers, overthinking questions and address these.

There’s a lot more to it than just that. So let me give you some further details about my approach:

Starting Early to Pass the AMC MCQ Exams.

Believe it or not, my preparation for the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination started at the beginning of the 5th year of medical school. As I went through clerkships, I knew one thing. Studying hard would certainly put me at an advantage for the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination

Your best first step in preparing for the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination is to plan far ahead. Thinking about the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination 4 to 6 months before your scheduled AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination preparation will ensure that you have enough time to identify appropriate resources, create a daily schedule that works for you, and cover all the material you will need to review before your AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination.

One thing you do have a fair bit of control over is when you sit the examination. There are normally a few examinations scheduled every month. If you are aiming to sit in a certain international location you might be a bit more limited to when you sit but if you do have an option, pick a date that allows you plenty of time to prepare for it.

But also, don’t procrastinate around picking your date. Don’t start studying first to get to a certain point before picking your AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination date. It is always helpful to have a hard timeframe to be aiming for. It will keep you motivated.

Exactly How Long Should You Study to Pass The AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination?

No matter when you take the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination if you want to pass in the first go it is critical to have a dedicated study period with no other significant obligations to consolidate your knowledge and hammer home AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination preparation.

The answer to this question depends on a lot of factors, two of the most important being, your knowledge baseline, and the amount of dedicated time you have.

Exactly how much-dedicated study time you need depends on how far out you are from core clinical rotations in medical school. Is your knowledge recent or is it rusty? If your schedule does not allow for a prolonged dedicated study period because of clinical or personal obligations, then incorporating study over 6-8 months is sensible.

In my opinion prolonging dedicated study more than say 8 months is not advisable, however, as the likelihood of forgetting topics studied at the beginning of your review period increases with increasing time spent studying.

Also, factor in giving yourself enough breaks in between studying in earnest to avoid burnout.

Building a Firm Foundation: The Importance of Clinical Rotations to Passing the AMC Exams.

The most common question types in the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination are “What is the most likely diagnosis?” and “What is the next best test?” rather than “What is the mechanism of action of the appropriate antibiotic?” or “What is the makeup of the genome of the most likely causative virus?”

As we know from adult learning theory, interleaved practice is crucial to consolidating knowledge and making memories stick. This involves making associations between patients and disease processes you see on clinical rotations and the textbook versions of their diseases you read about in clinical resources like RACGP and Better Health Victoria guidelines, journal articles, review books, and question banks.

Studying hard pays dividends in both directions: clinical experiences in which you can put a face and a story to a disease increase the salience of the medical information you are reading while gaining a deeper understanding of patients’ disease processes will make you a more engaged and effective physician.

Because of this, there is no better time to consolidate clinical medical knowledge pertinent to the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination than during clinical rotations.

Tip. Squeeze In Study Time At The Hospital Or Clinic.

If you think about it, there is often a ton of downtime during hospital rotations. That period between completing your rounds and returning home might as well be a black hole where the free time goes to disappear. So how can you fit in some valuable moments of studying while not appearing nonchalant?

First, study primarily on your tablet or laptop rather than on your phone. This prevents people from thinking that you’re just browsing on your phone. Second, nobody will look twice if you’re reading John Murtagh’s General Practice or RACGP and Better Health Victoria Guidelines during the day, especially if you’re looking up topics related to your patients. Reading up on your patients and their conditions from textbooks during the day will also free up time in the evening for other resources such as question banks’ practice questions.

But What If You Are Not Working or Studying At the Moment?

Not every International Medical Graduate is studying or working clinically when they prepare for the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination. Especially those already in Australia. But in my opinion, it’s a big advantage if you are.

Here are a few options you may wish to consider that may help.

  1. Consider using your networks to obtain an extended clinical observership. If you have colleagues or family or friends that work in general practices or hospitals. Ask if they can connect you with someone in charge. Even being able to spend a day a week in general practice or an emergency department will be an advantage for you.
  2. Consider returning home to undertake some more clinical practice. This option not only helps with your study. But also will update your recency of practice.
  3. Obtain employment in another clinical role. It may be that you have sufficient qualifications or can gain qualifications to work in another capacity in a healthcare setting. Examples might be as a nurse or phlebotomist. Working as a nurse in Australia (if that’s something open to you) can be a particularly good way to prepare for the AMC MCQ exam process.

I have specifically not added options such as clinical bridging programs. As, whilst useful for other purposes, I don’t think they give you the real experience of patients to enable your learning for the AMC MCQ Exam.

What Are the Best Resources for the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination Preparation?

A common misconception is that using more resources equates to better AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination performance. One pitfall of utilizing too many resources is that you tend to dabble in each resource rather than focusing on comprehensively utilizing all the material in a handful of high-yield resources.

In my view, it is important to select three or four high-quality resources and focus all of your attention on the material within these. Your study schedule should include enough time to thoroughly and completely review all of your selected resources.

In my experience, doctors commonly fall into the trap of assuming that “If I review ‘everything’ in each of these study resources, then I’ll be more prepared than if I only reviewed a single resource”, or so goes the argument. This is a fallacy. Based upon my experience and the consensus of several peers the highest yield resources are:

Getting through the entirety of your chosen books and question banks and understanding each topic should be your top study priority.

What Textbooks Should You Use for the AMC MCQ Examination Preparation?

Many preparation books exist for each subject area, but doctors should avoid studying from 20 books at the same time. Instead, the best strategy is to use a single book. John Murtagh’s General Practice rates highly. It provides a very good review of all important subject areas tested. Do not underestimate any details presented in John Murtagh’s General Practice book. Even the most minute detail can come up in the form of a question on the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination.

Even after reading the book multiple times, you may find details that you had missed before. It is imperative to read the small italicized font that you thought wasn’t important, the captions on the images, and the labels of any diagrams.

Although you might find some sections of the book less interesting or easier, do not skip any of them. I aimed to have everything in John Murtagh’s General Practice memorized, to the best of my ability. The main advantage of using this is you get an excellent but yet detailed overview of the syllabus. The drawback being it’s time-consuming.

Why this book in particular and not other books? It is true that the AMC MCQ (and the clinical) test across a range of specialties. But Murtagh’s book is considered “the bible” for general practice in Australia and it provides the Australian medical context that no other book does. Its also recommended by the AMC themselves.

Should You Subscribe to Question Banks for the AMC MCQ Exam?

Practice questions are the most important part of the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination preparation, I cannot emphasize that enough. Since the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination is a multiple-choice examination, it is important to practice applying your knowledge by utilizing question banks, or QBanks in short.

Avoid using “handed down” questions or so-called “Recalls” that are circulated for free. These are often very poor in quality. And often suffer from “recall bias”.

Commonly used question banks include AMEDEX and AMCQBank. Make sure that you choose a question bank that gives detailed explanations about why an answer is correct and the others are incorrect. Below, I get into more details on how to approach practice questions, but as a general rule of thumb, you should put a lot of your focus and energy into working through Question Banks.

They provide hundreds of practice questions that you can take either timed or untimed as full Examination, sections, or by category. They also offer explanations for each answer.

How To Use Your Question Banks Effectively?

If you have questions banks to study with. Which you should. Then you want to know how to make the most of them. It’s not as difficult as you might think to make the most of these. Use these tips to make them work for you:

  • If you miss a question, make a note of it and come back to try those questions again at a later time. With just about any question bank, you’re going to have the ability to flag questions if you have a problem with them or if you can’t get them right. That way, you can check your flagged questions later for study or to try and answer them again.
  • Don’t assume that a question bank, or even a couple of question banks, is going to be enough. You need other study materials of different types as well. For example, videos and flashcards are a good idea too. These can help you break up the monotony of just one topic and also help you get a better understanding of the subject rather than just memorizing facts.
  • If you get a question wrong, read through the information that you’re given about just why that answer is incorrect. If you don’t know why it’s the wrong answer, you run the risk of making the same mistake again. Also, read the reason why the right answer is correct. This will help you remember the answers better the next time.

AMEDEX Question Bank.

AMEDEX question banks include various question categories covering all topics as well as updated explanations and references. There are approximately 1300+ questions in this question bank. This question bank is considered to be the emperor of the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination.

Whenever I’m asked about how to study for the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination, I will mention the AMEDEX Question bank and give this one simple piece of advice. Use it. The AMEDEX question bank was the closest thing to the real thing I found during my study preparation.

The vignettes are close to the length of the actual AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination, and questions are also similar in difficulty. I did AMEDEX 3 times before my AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination. I attribute my success in large part to this.

Many doctors use this resource to get comfortable with the question style. Because practice questions are so critical to effective AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination preparation, make sure that you are using your AMEDEX question bank in a way that most closely replicates real-time AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination conditions. This means using timed-mode and using randomized, mixed blocks as you get more familiar with AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination style questions.

Initially, you will want to do subject-specific questions to get familiar with and master the concepts that are tested in each subject area, but later on, you should transition to randomized, mixed questions. Using too many subject-specific questions during your prep will give you far more comfort than you’ll have on the Examination day.

You will need to train your brain to do the mental acrobatics needed to quickly switch from one subject area to another, within time constraints. After your first complete pass through the question bank, do a quick take through all the questions to see which ones you got wrong or right.

Identify weaknesses and high-yield topics that you struggled with, and work on solidifying your knowledge base in these areas. Then take a second pass. After your second pass, you should go back and do a complete review, spending most of your time on the questions that you got wrong as well as the questions you are uncertain about but got right.

AMCQBank Question Bank.

Is another good yet more expensive option and consists of 1,800 on-line questions; similar to AMEDEX question bank. It has a large question bank with an excellent library feature that breaks down the topics covered by each question. The answer explanations that AMCQBank provides are excellent, and they are easily searchable at any time. One of the best parts of doing practice questions is how much you learn from the answer explanations.

Should You Attend Any Courses for the AMC MCQ Examination?

There are a number of courses available to help you with preparing for the AMC MCQ. Generally, these also include question banks for you to practice on, with the added benefit of their being instructors to assist you in understanding the reason behind certain questions.  You will also be studying with other students so this can help from a motivation perspective.

I did not use any courses and personally I don’t feel that they add any benefit over and above having question banks and other good resources and a study group.  So my recommendation would be to save your money for other things.

Are Flashcards Helpful for the AMC MCQ Exam?

I recommend also using flashcards to document important concepts or points that you learned. Use Anki to make your flashcards. The web version is free.

Anki’s spaced-repetition method is ideal for long-term learning and retention. Every flashcard you make should be concise and prompt a short, to the point answer. Be diligent, and keep up with making flashcards on concepts and points that you learn from practice questions. This will give you an extremely solid knowledge base for the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination.

Here’s what I recommend. When you’re reviewing your question banks, make short and to the point flashcards for any question, you missed or guessed correctly on. Do your cards the next morning before beginning with a few review cards. This will help you avoid making the same mistakes again on the question bank and the real AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination.

So if I missed a question about shock, for example, I’d make a short sentence about the key concept or try to replicate the vignette. Then I’d put just the important info that I didn’t understand quite right before.

Remember these shouldn’t be elaborate flashcards. Don’t waste too much time on making the flashcards and have no time to study them. Make sure they’re in a quick question and answer format. There are also some flashcard banks that you can check out on different subjects if you don’t want to create your own.

Preparation Strategies to Pass the AMC Exams.

Here’s how I recommend you prepare for this examination.

Balance out your schedule. You want to make sure you’re studying about the same amount each day between now and the day that you’re going to take your AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination. That means you should be looking closely at how many days you have available and what you need to study to find a good amount to do each day. Don’t get too rigid about the schedule and study plan that you have.

You need to be prepared to make changes that fit your life. If something has changed, and you don’t have as much time to study each day as you thought you did then adjust your schedule to reflect that. If you have some areas that need even more practice than you thought to go ahead and change that too. This plan only works if you make it.

Some claim the only way to ace the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination is to study 14 hours a day; I disagree.

Yes, you need to study a lot, but not so much that you’re sleeping less than 8 hours a night. Take frequent, short (15-minute) breaks. Take a day off from studying periodically, exercise and maybe even meditate. Stay attuned to when you feel overworked, and cut back accordingly.

If you’re a bit of a workaholic, and grinding through the question banks two times makes you truly happy, that’s okay too. Don’t try to dramatically change your way of life during your dedicated study period. You’ve already come so far and had your fair share of successes: do what you can to stay true to that best version of yourself.

Distractions are the worst enemy of efficient studying. Avoid them at all costs! Stay far away from the computer except for using the question banks. That includes emails as well. Just set up a vacation message in your email, so others will understand.

If you can achieve a dedicated study period in the end, make sure you do nothing else except study, eat, drink, use the bathroom, and sleep.

Sometimes the questions in the question banks can be tough. Be not dismayed, but rather use that as motivation to study even harder to overcome it.

Don’t just sit down and do several hours of questions all in a row. Mix things up a bit and go through some questions and then switch out and watch some videos or read some text. By going to different things each time you come back from a break, you’ll give your mind something different to focus on, keeping you from getting too bored with the study.

Study the topics that you don’t know. Take the time to figure out where your weak points are. These are the things you want to spend the most time on. Schedule your hardest subjects each day, if you have three subjects, you’re not as good at, schedule one of them for each day you’re studying. Then, schedule the topics that you’re about average or less than average on for every two to three days.

Finally, plan the topics you feel confident in every four to five days. Many doctors slip into the habit of studying the subjects they’re already confident in, but if you’ve mastered a subject, spend time focusing on areas that give you trouble.

Study with a friend or study group, and use mnemonics, even humorous ones to help you memorize the material. Remember that the amygdala (emotion) is connected to the hippocampus (memory).

Schedule breaks, research shows that the ideal amount of time to study is 52 minutes, followed by a 17-minute break. This gives you time to really dive into the material and then relax, take a breath, and process what you’ve read before you start up again.

Even though you’re working hard to get the passing score, that doesn’t mean you should ignore having some fun. Schedule in some breaks that are a little longer than 17 minutes or a lot longer and take some time to have fun with your family or friends. This is going to help you feel a lot better jumping back into studying, and who knows, you may perform better too.

Set realistic goals. Do not set reading plans that you cannot possibly fulfil. Even then, you will inevitably fall behind at the time. Let it not discourage you, but catch up as soon as you can. If you finish a task before schedule, great! Don’t use that as an excuse to do something fun, however. Instead, start doing the next item on the list immediately. Trust me, you will fall behind eventually, so you should get an early start to prepare for that.

Some claim the only way to ace the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination is to study 14 hours a day; I disagree.


Should You Change the Date of Your AMC MCQ Exam?

As you are approaching the date of your examination you may start to worry that you have not prepared enough.

It’s okay to change your AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination date. But do so for the Right Reasons. While you should not hesitate to move your AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination date if you’re not feeling 100%, try not to change your AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination date in response to self-doubt.

The AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination can cause extreme anxiety. But once you have an AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination date, try your best to stick to it, or you can find yourself constantly pushing back your AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination date and self-doubting, preventing the most efficient study plan, and risking burnout.

Remember most International Medical Graduates pass the AMC MCQ exam at some point. You won’t know 100% whether you are going to pass without sitting it. So better to sit and fail and get feedback than never to sit at all.

What to do If You Are Sitting for the Second or Third Time.

If you are retaking the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination, focus your preparation on the areas where you struggled. Thankfully, the feedback sheet from your previous AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examinations provides graphical performance profiles for each station category. These will allow you to see where you need to concentrate your efforts.

How To Do Well In Your AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination.

If you can, get a great night’s sleep the night before the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination. Anecdotally, doctors and admissions counsellors report that this night of sleep is an important and easily accomplished AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination-preparation goal.

Know how to get to your AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination site. Do a practice run in advance. There is nothing worse than feeling rushed on the morning of the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination.

Get to the Pearson VUE AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination site at least 45 minutes early and be sure to have a current picture ID with your name and signature, an acceptable form of a secondary ID bearing your name and signature, along with a printed copy of your scheduling permit.

Think of the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination as 3 mini-tests, that is, three blocks of 50 or so questions each.

Focus solely on the question you are on, complete it, clear your mind, and move to the next question.

Answer every question. Wrong answers do not count against you. You cannot proceed to the next question without answering the question before.

You’re Earning Points Not Losing Them

When we typically take an Examination like the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination, we see every question as an opportunity to lower our grade. This is a common reason we’re always anxious throughout and after the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination. We just focus too much time and energy on what we don’t know. But instead, think about earning points!

Think about getting excited about the questions you know well and see your grade getting higher. If you have a difficult question (which you will) shrug your shoulders at it, guess, and think that getting it right may only help your score. This shift in mindset can help you so much during your preparation and the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination.

You’ll feel more confident and not give too much weight to the questions you don’t know. When you’re answering a question that should be the only question that you’re thinking about and when you’ve answered it, you should put it behind you and jump in with the next one. Don’t think about a question once you’ve answered it, or you could find yourself second-guessing your answers.

Be sure you have checked all the questions before hitting “end.”  Don’t let the timer go off on its own, press “end”  to submit your test.

If you can manage your time wisely, you’re going to be in much better shape to get the scores that you’re looking for.

Keep in mind the average amount of time you have per question is generally about 100 seconds and learn how to keep your thought process within that 100-second mark. That way, you have time to think about the answer, but you aren’t going to run out of time before you answer every question.

How to Plan Out Your Breaks During the AMC MCQ Examination.

The AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination is long. 3.5 hours to be exact, so it’s all about pacing. Make sure you have a game plan.

When will you take your breaks? During the last few weeks of your preparation, try to do a few sections of questions in a row. When do you find your energy tanking? This is probably a good time to introduce a break during the real AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination.

After doing thousands of practice questions I felt I had developed a pretty good sense for how long each question should take, so once that internal alarm went off, I would pick the answer I felt was the most correct and move on. I took a 5-minute break between every 50 questions, in the end, neither fatigue nor timing was an issue.

I left the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination centre with absolutely no clue what my score was going to be. Furthermore, I was pretty confident I had surpassed 250 but was unsure beyond that.

What Are the Reasons Why Doctors Fail the AMC MCQ Exam?

The passing rate of the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ examination throughout the years is approximately 53%. However, it can be argued that most candidates do not fail due to a lack of medical knowledge. Failure is caused as a result of one or several of the following:

  • Poor time management, i.e., not finishing due to time running out.
  • Not reading or understanding the question properly, i.e., If you don’t have the correct information to start how can you choose a correct answer?
  • Not knowing how to navigate through the answers, i.e., getting confused with your options.
  • Thinking at too high a level. The examination is set at the level of a graduating medical student in Australia. So if you think like a GP or Specialist you may not be satisfied with any of the answer options.
  • Not understanding Australian medical and social culture: Australia does not deal with many of the serious things that are experienced in other countries, therefore things that may not be so serious in your country may be quite serious in Australia. For example, if a young child has whooping cough. In your country, you are likely to treat them and send them home with follow up. In Australia, this is often considered so serious that you would hospitalize them.

What to Do About Poor Time Management.

An effective technique to combat poor time management is called cycling. It may seem strange at first but once you master this it will take you less time to answer the questions, and you will always end up finishing ahead of time.

How to use cycling can be found on page 44 of ‘Mastering Multiple Choice

This is explained and should be initially practised on a paper exam.

After you have been studying for some time, make sure you also go on to the AMC website and try their online mock AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination. It is the same questions as in the AMC Handbook of Multiple Choice Questions, so it won’t be new study material, but it is important that you know how to use the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination and are comfortable with it when you sit the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination. You don’t want to waste important time during your 3 hours learning to use it.

What to Do About Not Reading And Understanding The Question Properly?

This is a common problem. There are two techniques to overcome this.

The first is you have to acknowledge the importance of the nonmedical.

Each question in the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination has taken hours of labour by several examiners to write before being tested and reviewed by other examiners and then tried in the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination, 30 non scored pilot questions.

Every single word in the question is important. So if the question mentions things like clothes or patient’s concerns or similar nonmedical information, do not ignore this as it could be the clue to the answer and of course, this also applies to the annoying words like not and except that change what the question is asking.

This is also why practising amateur recall questions is often a bad idea. As generally, they do not capture these sorts of nuances.

The second technique that will assist you in your AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination preparation is to try to think like the examiners.

Have you ever heard the saying ‘to catch a criminal you must think like a criminal?. Well, this is similar, to successfully take the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination you must think like an examiner. If you understand how to write an AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination question you will understand how to read one.

Most examiners use ‘Constructing Written Test Questions For the Basic and Clinical Sciences’ or similar to guide them on writing questions.

Chapter 4 will give you templates and detailed instructions on how to write a question. You will find if you write your questions for each topic you study it will also help you remember the details you are studying. This is also great to do with a study partner, located anywhere. Choose a topic to study, write a set number of questions each e.g. 5 or 10, and then email the questions to each other to attempt.

What to Do About Not Knowing How to Navigate Through the Answers?

You will find some great techniques to use for this in ‘Mastering Multiple Choice’ from page 53 onwards.

What to Do About Thinking At Too High Level?

Most doctors who sit the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination are already medical professionals in their own right. They have usually studied medicine for more than 8 years, have been working in a clinical environment for several years, and have often begun studying and working in a specialist environment. So by the time you sit the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination your medical knowledge is quite high and developed. So you need to make sure you bring it back down to an undergraduate level. Commonly, people sitting the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination do the worst in their area of specialty because they are thinking at too complex a level.

What to Do About Not Understanding Australian Medical And Social Culture?

There are several ways you can gain knowledge about this. If you are in Australia, get out into the community. Talk to people on the street, watch Australian TV dramas like Neighbours and Home and Away and join a hobby club or group. It might sound like a waste of time but the information you learn from an Australian about the culture you can not find in a book.

Use Google to locate things near you that might interest you. Council community centres are a great place to start because they are usually close to where you live and their classes/activates are free or cheap e.g. $5. You can also use online resources such as newspapers like The Advertiser or The Age, a Google Australian newspaper to get an understanding of the type of things that are important in Australia, you can also see what local medical stories are included. Some online medical resources include RACGP AFP (this is free in Australia, but you may have to pay if you are overseas) and Better Health Victoria. These can be used as support for your main study material.


  1. I would recommend you study from a textbook first. John Murtagh’s General Practice is the most suited.
  2. After finishing the textbook, revise all the notes you took thoroughly.
  3. Then move on to the AMC handbooks, there are 2. The handbook of MCQ and the annotated MCQ. Take notes of the questions. Read the explanations carefully. Be sure to know why the correct option is correct, and why the other options are not.
  4. After finishing both handbooks, revise all the notes you took thoroughly.
  5. Now it’s time for the question banks. Use the same approach for the question banks, carefully reading the explanations, and taking notes.
  6. After finishing both question banks, revise all the notes you took thoroughly 
  7. By now you’ve studied the textbook thoroughly, solved all the questions, and revised them 3 times along the way.
  8. Be sure to check the growth milestones, school exclusion guidelines for communicable diseases in children, cancer screening guidelines, and the immunization guidelines. Always follow the latest guidelines on RACGP and Better Health Victoria websites.
  9. Be sure to know common ECG rhythms and important XRAY presentations, for example, Pneumonia, TB, or Sarcoidosis.
  10. Revise all the notes you took thoroughly again. The key is always revising after finishing a step so the information stays fresh.

Although the AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination is a difficult Examination, with diligent and focused work, it is possible to be prepared and confident on AMC Part 1 CAT MCQ Examination day.


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