The MRCGP AKT is a pointless exam. Does it really help you as a GP?

SEO blog The MRCGP AKT is a pointless exam.

“It’s such a pointless exam.” has to be the number one feedback statement on the MRCGP AKT. In this blog, I would like to share my thoughts on how the MRCGP AKT shouldn’t be seen as a pointless exam. Moreover, it may be your get out of jail free card as a General Practitioner.

“It’s such a pointless exam.” has to be the number one feedback statement on the MRCGP AKT. In this blog, I would like to share my thoughts on how the MRCGP AKT shouldn’t be seen as a pointless exam. Moreover, it may be your get out of jail free card as a General Practitioner.

 

 

I’m now well into my career as a GP, and I am twenty-one months into my WellMedic journey! On the 6th June 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we shared our 15 point plan to pass the MRCGP AKT with 700+ GP trainees.

 

I created the “15 ways to BOOST your MRCGP AKT” course well before I had any genuine engagement from GP trainees. In effect, it was very much my plan on how to pass the exam. Having repeatedly witnessed my peers fail the exam, I had to do something to help!

 

My passion for medical education

 

My passion for medical education started during my time at the University of Aberdeen. I’ve always had an intense fear of not knowing enough, so I’ve taken the opinion to “know more than you need to, or at least know as much as the examiners know.”

 

My methods are thorough, and I’ve only recently become aware of the impact this has had on the WellMedic GP trainees. This got me thinking… is the WellMedic way too intense?

 

Two emails that I’ve recently received

 

Very, very, very recently, I received an email from one of the very first users of WellMedic, and we both entered the GMC GP register on the very same day! 

 

Here is a snippet from that email…

 

“I’m not sure whether I know less as a GP than I did as a GP trainee or, I have just had a tough start to life as a GP!

 

I can say for sure that your course empowered me to become comfortable with using guidelines, especially when in doubt.

 

Interestingly, I was fractions away from passing on my first attempt at the AKT, and at that time, I relied purely on question bank summary answers and some summary slides. 

 

During my second sitting, I was laser-focused on guidelines and using the BNF, and I can safely say that I’m benefiting from that approach now! It does worry me a little that had I passed on my very first sitting, I may have become a very different GP.”

 

On that very evening, I received the following email from a current GP trainee preparing for the April AKT.

 

“Hi Sham, 

 

The AKT revision isn’t going particularly great, and I’m not going to have enough time to go over what I need for the exam. What do you think of the following plan?

 

I will try and watch the fourteen fish videos, and I will try and do as many of the questions from the banks as possible between now and April.”

 

This isn’t an exceptionally uncommon scenario. Without fail, I have received over fifty emails like this before.

 

It was somewhat coincidental that I received both emails on the same night, which led me to write this blog! 

 

In this blog, I will cover;

 

What is the WellMedic way?

How does WellMedic differ from other providers?

How has my process helped me as a GP?

What are the pros of using WellMedic?

What are the cons of using WellMedic?

 

 

What is the WellMedic way?

 

Much to the surprise of many, the WellMedic strategy does not encourage GP trainees to reinvent their revision strategy completely! You have made it this far without WellMedic, and I’d be nothing short of deluded if I felt that we could somehow change your revision process within an eight, twelve or sixteen-week timeframe.

 

I see the WellMedic way as a better, more rounded approach to the MRCGP AKT. We encourage independent learning. 

 

Does this mean that I am anti-question banks?

 

It means much the opposite. I’ll say it loud and proud that I do not discourage using AKT question banks. If anything, I encourage question banks, but I would like you to be more thoughtful when using them!

 

I may be losing £49.99 worth of sales here, but the AKT question banks do not replicate the MRCGP AKT! They have recycled questions from several exams, which could be anything from medical school to the MRCP part one.

 

 

How does WellMedic differ from other providers?

 

This seems like a boardroom question from Lord Alan Sugar. Imagine the setting, me on his right and every other AKT provider to his left!

 

I’m pretty happy to say that WellMedic isn’t for everyone. I’m often asked on my live chat…

 

“Why would I spend time looking at guidelines when I can sign up to X and follow their high-yield strategy?”

 

Without going into the limitations of summarised medical notes and the high-yield strategy, I can appreciate the temptations and the incredible effort other providers have placed into their content.

 

What makes me uncomfortable is the lack of independence, reflection and agility demonstrated in a postgraduate qualification!

 

Here is a bit of an oversimplification. 

 

Look beyond the summarised notes, and pick up the primary guidance.

 

 

How has my process helped me as a GP?

 

Life as a new GP has been incredibly tough! It’s a lot tougher than I would have expected it to be. But then again, I’ve completed my GP training and started life as a GP in unprecedented circumstances!

 

I can share two examples of how primary guidance have helped me thus far!

 

Polymyalgia Rheumatica is much more than low dose oral prednisolone.

 

Arrange the following tests in all people with suspected PMR to rule out other conditions before starting corticosteroids: full blood count, urea and electrolytes, liver function tests, calcium, alkaline phosphatase, protein electrophoresis, thyroid-stimulating hormone, creatine kinase, rheumatoid factor, and dipstick urinalysis.

 

Consider the following tests depending on the clinical features: a urine specimen for Bence Jones protein, blood tests for antinuclear antibody and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody, and chest X-ray.

 

Earlier this year, I encountered a PMR like presentation, where the patient had an underlying cancer diagnosis.

 

Thrombocytosis is a bit of a nuisance!

 

There are a wide range of causes of a raised platelet count — they can be classified as primary or secondary. 

 

Knowing the causes of thrombocytosis is helpful as it will help your assessment and diagnostic process in patients with thrombocytosis. Repeating bloods in four to six weeks isn’t always the answer!

 

Iron deficiency is the most common cause of secondary thrombocytosis. Knowing this has helped me pick up a few patients with an underlying IDA requiring further investigations.

 

 

What are the pros of using WellMedic?

 

I have a question for you… How do I answer this without blowing my own trumpet?

 

 

The WellMedic courses have helped thousands of GP trainees with their MRCGP AKT preparation. However, I’d really like you to consider the benefits beyond GP training.

 

Medicine is agile, it’s forever changing, and it’s your responsibility to stay updated. In addition to this, patients are rarely straightforward, and by diving deeper into the primary guidance, you will become a complete GP, which will give you the much-needed tools to flourish independently.

 

 

What are the cons of using WellMedic?

 

The answer to this is simple…

 

It’s intense, and it will require effort on your part.

 

It will give you structure and make all of your revision efforts (banks, guidelines, note-making) much more purposeful!

 

I’ve enjoyed writing this blog, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it. Unlike some of my other blogs, this one is very much based on feedback that I’ve received from you!

If you’ve found this interesting, please share it with your peers. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the piece, so please email me at sham@wellmedic.co.uk

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