Top Ten Tips for the AKT and KFP exams

By Dr Natalie Caristo FRACGP MBBS BSc (Med) Hons DCH DRANZCOG
Medical Director, National Home Doctor Service

Our Medical Director and RACGP examiner, Dr Natalie Caristo, shares her top 10 tips to prepare you for your AKT and KFP exams.

1. Use specific resources to focus your study

Use the BEACH data to help you focus your study as the exam reflects clinical presentations typically seen in general practice in an Australian context. Various resources are available, including the Australian Family Practice magazine and CHECKs which have questions which reflect the types of questions seen in the KFP exam. Answers and explanations are provided and give you an opportunity to test yourself and compare answers with friends. There are also online resources such as BMJ online education where, for a fee, you can practise AKT-like questions. Remember they are designed for a British context, but are helpful to practise time management.

2. Refresh your knowledge on dermatology, ophthalmology and radiology

These are the areas that are often poorly completed in the KFP exam and the scenarios may involve pictures for a spot diagnosis. There are many online resources available such as Dermnet for dermatology. If you have friends sitting the exam as well, practise with them by picking outsome pictures and test each other.

3. Read each question at least twice

You are likely to miss key points that may be critical to your answers when you are in a rush. Remember to avoid repeating answers.

4. Monitor your time

If you get 100% of your answers correct but only complete a third of the exam, you are unlikely to pass the exam. Therefore don’t be afraid to miss a question if you are stuck to ensure you can continue on and complete the rest of the paper.

5. Plan out your study

Do a small amount regularly, form a study group if possible or join an online study group or Facebook page. Remember to take regular breaks. It is important to look after yourself during this stressful time so you can peak for the exam rather than burn out.

Dr Natalie Caristo's specific tips for the KFP exam

1. Focus on key information

It is important to focus on the key information in the scenario and provide the most likely answer. For example, if the question asks for a list of the most likely differential diagnoses of chest pain, this would be different for a 23 year old male vs a 70 year old woman. Answers that are not relevant to the clinical scenario will not be awarded marks even if they are still a cause of chest pain. This is because it is a key feature problem paper and not a short answer paper.

2. Provide the number of answers requested

If a question requests a specific number of answers there will be a penalty for providing more than the requested number of answers. The answers are meant to be short and one answer per line. The RACGP suggests that if you use phrases such as, quo;for example”, “because”, “and” or a comma then the answer is likely to contain extra responses and therefore attracts penalties.

3. Do not reuse information provided in the question as your answer

Using information provided in the question as one of your answers will not attract points. For example, if the question asked for further history to establish a diagnosis, answers reflecting examination findings which have been presented to you will not gain marks.

4. Be specific

Avoid broad general answers such as pain relief or resources. For example, what type of pain relief? What type of resources? General answers will not gain any marks.

5. Consider issues specific to Australian General Practice

For example, Indigenous patients, refugees, rural and remote patients. If you do not have any experience dealing with these issues then ask other GPs/registrars/supervisors about their experiences so as to facilitate your own reading and understanding.

Dr Natalie Caristo grew up in Sydney and graduated from the University of New South Wales with first class honours in 2009. She works as a GP at Abbotsford Medical Practice and on some evenings and weekends works for 13SICK, National Home Doctor Service. She loves family medicine and helping people across different stages of their lives from birth through to the nursing home. She also participates in the Shared Care Antenatal Service at RPA Hospital looking after women in pregnancy, and teaching and mentoring medical students. Dr Caristo is a Medical Director with National Home Doctor Service.