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Goodbye OSCE, hello CASC: a mock CASC course and examination

  • Paul Whelan (a1), Geoffrey Lawrence-Smith (a2), Laurence Church (a3), Claire Woolcock (a3), Maja Meerten (a4) and Ranga Rao (a3)...
Summary

The Clinical Assessment of Skills and Competencies (CASC) is the latest change to the MRCPsych examination. the CASC is a complex version of an Observed Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) format, with paired stations, and is now the only clinical component in the MRCPsych examination. We describe how to organise a relatively inexpensive and workforce-light 1-day course and mock CASC examination by adapting a previously described method for running an OSCE workshop. We also evaluate the acceptability to trainees of a mock CASC examination and course, and describe their views on this new clinical examination format.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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Benning, T. & Broadhurst, M. (2007) The long case is dead – long live the long case: loss of the MRCPsych long case and holism in psychiatry. Psychiatric Bulletin, 31, 441442.
Hodges, B., Regehr, G., Hanson, M., et al (1998) Validation of an objective structured clinical examination in psychiatry. Academic Medicine, 73, 910912.
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Pryde, I., Sachar, A., Young, S., et al (2005) Organising a mock OSCE for the MRCPsych Part 1 examination. Psychiatric Bulletin, 29, 6770.
Thompson, C. (2009) Will the CASC stand the test of time? A review and criticalevaluation of the new MRCPsych clinical examination. Psychiatric Bulletin, 33, 145148.
Whelan, P. & Church, L. (2005) The first cohort of OSCE Part 1 candidates reaching Part 2 (letter). Psychiatric Bulletin, 29, 353.
Whelan, P., Jarrett, P., Meerten, M., et al (2007) MTAS fiasco: lessons for psychiatry. Psychiatric Bulletin, 31, 425427.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Goodbye OSCE, hello CASC: a mock CASC course and examination

  • Paul Whelan (a1), Geoffrey Lawrence-Smith (a2), Laurence Church (a3), Claire Woolcock (a3), Maja Meerten (a4) and Ranga Rao (a3)...
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eLetters

Organising a mock CASC examination

Pratish B Thakkar, ST6 Forensic Psychiatry
17 August 2009

In a recent article, Paul Wheelan et al., 2009 discussed their experience of running a relatively inexpensive and workforce-light 1-day course and mock CASC examination. They concluded that is was relatively easy to organise and received favourable feedback from the trainees.

We would like to share our experience of helping to organise two setsof ‘mock CASC’ course. We organised the course in autumn 2008 and spring 2009 with number limited to ten candidates in both series. We refrained from getting sponsorship from pharmaceutical companies and were completelysubsidised by the Medical Development Centre of the trust. The feedback received from the candidates was the free mock CASC examination was as good as, many of the paid courses and majority of the candidates went on to pass the CASC examination.

We were lucky to have a current college examiner who helped us to validate the actual stations and advise on running of the event. The author (PT) had attended the mock CASC examination organised by the Royal College as a candidate which helped immensely in understanding the processand getting ideas for possible scenarios which could be asked in the actual exam.

The examiners were picked from different subspecialties and matched with the scenarios. The examiners were given a short talk by the college examiner on the process, marking and expectations from the candidates. Theactors were hired from a local agency. Most actors had previously ‘performed’ in the old style OSCE and were familiar with the style. We were oversubscribed by the number of candidates and owing to style of one candidate per station we had to limit the number to ten. We appreciated the style that Paul Wheelan et al, adapted of having 4 candidate-observersin each station with the performing candidate benefitting both the observers and performing candidate.

We tried to run the course in the style of the actual exam. Due to shortage of time and space we had blank station which helped to run interlinked and stand alone stations in the same circuit. Following the circuit we had feedback from actors, examiners and candidates. Responses from the actors, regarding body language, use of phrases empathy and general demeanour were particularly well received by the candidates.

The problems with running such a course were getting a suitable venue, coaching the examiners who have not examined before. We found that some of the instructions on the college website were vague and not prescriptive enough.

Personally we found it a satisfying experience which helped sharpen leadership, management and communication skills. In this era of commercialor industry sponsored coaching for every exam having a having a local freely accessible mock CASC course was appreciated by the candidates. The examiners valued the opportunity to examine as they gained knowledge of the current exam process which they will carry forward to their future trainees.

References:http://rcpsych.ac.uk/exams/about/mrcpsychcasc.aspx

Declaration of interests:PT has examined on a mock CASC course.
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Conflict of interest: None Declared

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