Techniques to Prepare for the EMQ and Critical Analysis (MCQ) Problems – RANZCP Written Exam

Posted on: February 27, 2019
Last Updated: March 8, 2019

Dr. Sanil Rege is a Consultant Psychiatrist and founder of Psych Scene, a platform to enhance psychiatry education and Vita Healthcare, providing high quality mental health care services to the public. He is a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK). His clinical and research interests include psychosis, depression, anxiety, post- traumatic stress disorders, and personality disorders.

Author Quotes :

EMQ is about pattern and word recognition. It’s all about, what I call ‘buzzwords’… and your pattern and word recognition will lead to a mind map… this is the kind of linking that has to happen, EMQs are about quick recognition.

Critical analysis–registrars do find this difficult, there’s no doubt about it, and I think part of the reason is because training isn’t there for critical analysis on a day-to-day basis.

If you can actually do a Journal Club in the same way that the exam is, then that’s what will help you.

Summary :

Passing the RANZCP MCQ exam which consists of Extended Matching Questions (EMQ) and Critical Analysis Problems (CAP) requires two different skills sets.

In this video tutorial, Dr Sanil Rege gives his advice on how to study.

1. EMQ is about pattern and word recognition which involves the temporal lobe.

Dr Rege explains that EMQs are about quick recognition and provides many examples to aid mind mapping.

2. CAP requires abstract and analytical thinking bringing your frontal lobes into the spotlight.

Dr Rege emphasises the difficulties experienced by registrars in this area, and importance of training and practice.

Calculations and numbers recruit parietal lobe areas.

In an overview of how to read a paper effectively, he describes the process of determining whether a published article is methodologically sound.

As with any task, rehearsal, repetition and associating concepts with real life experience is more likely to transfer them into your explicit and implicit memory which is where you want them to be stored so that you can retrieve them when necessary, even when you are under pressure.

Take Home Messages : 

  1. Recognising buzzwords and using mind maps effectively are essential tools when preparing for MEQs.
  2. Critical analysis is a difficult skill to master and needs constant practice.
  3. Clinical and statistical significance are what you want to know from a publication.

Quiz :

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