Libre Pathology talk:Study Group

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Michael's thoughts on the exam

  • I wrote it and passed it in 2012. I also did the American exam the same year and passed that.
  • The pass rate for the FRCPC exam is pretty high.
    • 2009-2011 it was 96+/-3.9% for Canadian medical school grads on their first attempt.


  • I though it was picking at details. Some things are very relevant to practise... other less so.
    • The pocketbook version of Robbins covers most of it.

Practical (slide) exam

  • You should know the answer almost immediately.
    • If you don't know, write something down and move on.
  • It is set to broadly cover everything.
  • If it isn't a spot diagnosis... it should not be on.
  • Somethings are PGY2/PGY3 stuff. One should not overthink things.
  • Anecdotally, the first impression is usually the right one.
    • I think one should stick with the first impression.

Gross exam

  • Go with the most probable if you're uncertain.
  • I worked through the Atlas of Gross Pathology with Histologic Correlation (see Pathology books for the reference).
    • I am not sure this is necessary... but I thought it was useful.
  • images has a lot to offer in this respect.
  • Gross spot diagnosis.

Forensic exam

  • I thought this was tricky... and I liked forensics.
  • Residents that took the exam prior to me said the same.

Cytology exam

  • Some of the cases have several images.
  • I remember being confused... the first three images were from one case. I remember thinking... I have the same diagnosis three times.
  • Like the forensics and gross sections - this section isn't too long. From an exam strategy point-of-view, this makes it less likely that a diagnosis is repeated.

Oral exam

  • I think this is to test if you are safe and useful.
    • By "safe" I mean: knowing your limits and consulting with a colleague when appropriate.
    • By "useful" I mean: you don't need to consult on everything.
  • The examiners ask a pre-determined list of questions.
    • Questions may depend on one another and, in fairness, they are told to redirect you.
      • Example: You see a lung biopsy with hyaline material... and you go down the fibrosis route-- but it is really amyloidosis.
        • The examiners will say something like "how would one work-up suspected amyloid?" or "lets assume this is amyloid..."
  • If you're a Canadian resident, you cannot be examined by someone within your residency program.
  • As far as I know, examiners are told to be stone-faced, i.e. show no emotion.
  • Some of the cases were very straight forward.
  • I didn't think anything was really exotic.

Michael (talk) 23:43, 25 October 2014 (EDT)

Short answer questions submitted by Tate