The current structure of the primary examination is as follows:
Two sittings of the primary examination are held annually. It is comprised of: (a) an online MCQ examination (held regionally); and (b) an oral examination (held at a single site). The MCQ and oral components of the examination are held approximately six weeks apart.
Online MCQ Examination: 4x 90minutes
- The online MCQ examination of 11⁄2 hours duration is held in each of the four basic sciences. Candidates may sit as many subjects as they wish at each exam sitting. The examination is held over the course of one day. Each exam is 60 questions. The multiple choice questions are type A questions: choose the one most correct response from four options.
- Candidates passing all 4 MCQ subject exams will be invited to present to the oral examination. Feb MCQs can be sat from local centres (such as Christchurch). August MCQs are usually Auckland or large Australasian centres (not Christchurch).
All four MCQ papers must be passed before the viva component may be attempted.
- Each candidate undergoes 4x 10-minute vivas by a pair of examiners covering each of the four basic sciences. For example the first viva may be related to a patient with chest pain and ask you about relevantanatomy, physiology, pathology and pharmacology.
Props such as bones, normal x-rays and anatomical models are used in the anatomy viva, but not in the other subjects. of particular note, pathology specimens are not used. for physiology it is expected that you will be able to reproduce simple diagrams for topics such as oxygen dissociation curve, myocyte action potential etc.
- Each candidate must overall pass the four combined vivas at one exam to complete the primary examination.