Hello beautiful people, welcome to another read on the blog, I promised to make a detailed post about my licensing exam experience so that’s what this post is going to be about.
I’ll try to summarise everything in sections because honestly there are many things involved in this exam so please kindly read till the end and share with anyone you know preparing for their licensing exam.
The exam is organized for foreign trained doctors who intend to practice in Nigeria. Every year the location for the exam changes, 2020 it was in Ibadan, 2019 it was in Kano the year before that it was in Abuja.
Hmmmm!! This exam needs dedicated attention, there are several stages to the exam starting from mentally preparing yourself to academically preparing yourself to spiritually preparing yourself.
The first step of the exam is registration which costs about 140 thousand Naira in total. After the registration your examination number will be given to you. For registration, it’s advisable to register with friends because that way your examination numbers will be close. Also, having friends around you during the exam will help you calm down to an extent on the D-day. The exam is usually in 2 parts on 2 different days that is objective(CBT) and OSCE( Objective structured clinical examination) to access you practically and orally. The CBT usually consist of 300 questions, 50 picture questions and 250 multiple choice questions. In total you’ll be given 180 minutes to attempt all questions and submit.
The OSCE has 10 stations, in every station you’re given 5 minutes to read and answer your questions correctly while an examiner scores you on every step you take. These 10 questions consist of clerking, counselling, physical examination, oral questions and answer ( usually community medicine), situational tasks and instrumental identification.
BEFORE A DATE WAS FIXED
While many people weren’t sure the exam would hold In November 2020 some had high hopes that the exam would take place. Most borders were not opened because of the pandemic and this made a lot of people panic because they had to travel back home to settle down. Mid September 2020 a date was released (25th November 2020) that was a shocker for many especially graduates of 2020. Normally, people take approximately 4 months to prepare for this exam and here we were about to use barely 2 months to prepare for this major exam. I was scared, mentally and emotionally stressed, studiously tired… the list goes on and on.
MAKING UP MY MIND
After many thinking and prayers I decided to take the exam, the next step was to decide how to prepare for the exam. I had always known there were different tutorials taking preparatory classes for the exam but I was certain of the one I wanted to enroll in. Every Doctor I knew that took the exam previous years before me told me about ACEMEDIX (a tutorial functioning online and in four different states in Nigeria Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt ) so I knew for sure that was the place I needed to be.
DURING THE TUTORIALS
I registered for the tutorials while I was still in Ukraine, I started online classes for 2 weeks before I went back to Nigeria to fully begin offline classes at the Abuja center. The tutorials cost about 70k. Joining Acemedix was one of the best decisions I made in 2020, their services were top notch! They basically prepared me adequately for the exam not only book wise but also emotionally. Anytime Dr Dozie comes to the center, he had one or two words of encouragement for us, he’ll always tell us not to spend time worry about the exam, instead we should channel every energy we had into studying and practicing for the exam.
The tutors were so kind and patient, they made sure no one was left behind. They were focused on us acing the exam so they made sure they put in their best to make it happen.
HOW I PREPARED
We had classes every day of the week except Sunday, 3 online classes and 3 offline classes every week. I stayed with 2 friends who were also preparing for the exam, this made studying fun and efficient. In October we would study individually and randomly throw questions to each other, our evenings were mostly for practicing clerking, counselling and physical examinations although some nights we’ll sleep off because of how tired we were. 3 weeks to the exam, we’ll stay back after every class to practice with the tutors and other members of the tutorial. This helped greatly especially with our physical examination, we aimed at finishing under 4 minutes ( the exam gives 5 minutes per station) we mastered different techniques, we tried to avoid little mistakes because we were not ready to take chances with any tiny mark. As the exam drew closer, we studied less, revised more, practiced more and prayed more.
One of the things I loved about being in Acemedix was being around likeminded people, when I see the effort people put into the exam, it makes me study hard and sometimes when I see some people’s performance it boots my confidence too.
Almost everyone I spoke to about the exam, recommended a study group. Well….. I had a study group but it was not functional so I was contented with studying with my gurllsss.
MY EXAM DAY
On the 25th of November 2020 was the first day of my exam, my heart couldn’t stop beating, I had different types of thoughts going through my head but through it all I didn’t allow it get the better side of me. I had arrived Ibadan( where the exam took place) few days before the exam, I attended all the revision classes organised by Acemedix, went to locate the exam center with my friends just to avoid any stress on the exam day. They shared us into morning and afternoon batches and I fell under the afternoon batch. We were asked to be at the center by 10am so we could start registration early and enter the hall immediately after the morning batch finishes. We started the exam at about 2pm and finished at about 5pm. While I was in the hall I made sure I attempted every question as fast as I could, I honestly didn’t know how time flew but I know it felt short. I made sure I submitted before time elapsed because sometimes when the system shuts down by itself it does not save your work but I don’t think that happened to anybody during my time.
After the exam I felt light and the only thing I wanted to do was sleep.
The next day 26th November 2020 was for OSCE and we were asked to be at the center by 7am, I and my friends got there early and we looked for a place to settle and continue with revision. At about 9am, the MDCN officials shared us into different groups and asked us to sit according to how we were arranged. The wait was endless!!!! I started feeling so weak because I had not eaten all day and I did not even have the appetite to eat. I took few gulps of soda and I felt better. The wait continued and by 12:50pm the first batch went in. At this moment my heart could not stop racing, it felt so real, the moment I’ve been waiting for has finally come and I did not know how to feel. After the first batch finished, the officials came to call in the next batch and I had to wait in tension till my batch was called in at about 3:40pm.
DURING THE EXAM
While walking into the exam hall, I could not stop praying in my heart. When I walked in, my group of 10 was taken to a carousel and asked to stand according to our numbers. We were asked to wait at a point while they arranged other candidates. The station where I was waiting was a clerking station, the Doctor(a middle aged lady) could see how tensed I was and she said “Doctor please sit down and calm down, you’ve prepared for this and I’m sure you’ll pass” I was shocked by her words because her face was not looking welcoming so those words coming out of her mouth was very shocking to me but I felt eased and I sat while I waited. A man climbed up the stage and started talking “ good afternoon all, it is time to begin your examination. When you hear the first bell ring, you move to the next station and wait, after 30 seconds you’ll hear another bell, you’re expected to use the 30 seconds given to you to read and understand your question so that immediately you hear the second bell you start answering your question” I was wowed because an extra 30 seconds was given to us, I mean I was not expecting that and after hearing the man speak I felt light and super ready to ace the exam. We were allowed to try the moving pattern twice before the exam properly started.
In my first station I was talking so loud the examiner had to ask me to calm down and reduce my voice, lol I said “ok” and continued but apparently I was still shouting. The doctor kept on repeating “I can hear you, calm down” but I was too tensed to know if I was shouting or not, all I wanted to do was answer my question audibly.
My best stations where the physical examination stations, I felt confident because I had practised over and over again and standing in that hall felt like I was in the room practicing with my friends.
50 minutes flew like 5 seconds and the exam came to an end. I stepped out feeling so light and all I wanted was food.
The result came out the next day 27th November 2020, my friends and I made it!!!
I still cannot find the right words to explain how I felt when I saw my name on the pass list, my heart was full of gratitude and I was 100% proud of myself.
MY ADVICE TO PROSPECTIVE CANDIDATES
Firstly, Tell yourself you want to write the exam once and put in all your best. Most importantly study hard and pray very hard because to be honest everyone taking that exam is as good as you are, they are ready to put in their best to pass just like you so the only thing that will distinguish you is Favor and God’s Grace which is obtained through prayer.
Secondly, do not be a loner! No matter how smart you think you are, please get someone to exchange information with. If being in a study group works for you, please go for it. If you do not fancy study groups have friends that keep you in check! Join a tutorial, being in a tutorial helped me in this exam, I was clueless about how the Nigerian medical system works before I joined Acemedix but after the time I spent with them I feel equipped even for my house job.
Lastly, please try to get some rest in between studying, if movies help you calm down, please watch movies, if scrolling through Instagram or Twitter helps, please do it as long as you do not sleep there lol. If you’re like me and you love to go to restaurants or cafes to cool off, please do that and get right back into studying.
Wow, this has to be the longest post I’ve made. If you got to this point you are amazing and I love you. Thank you so much for stopping by, till my next post remain FABULOUS!!!