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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: January 2010

1 - Preparation for the Clinical Viva


Examination format

You need to be aware of the format of the vivas.

The day consists of two viva sessions:

The clinical viva

This lasts 50 minutes and consists of a long case and three short cases or scenarios. During the first 10 minutes, you will have the opportunity to view clinical information related to the long case consisting of history, examination findings and investigations, e.g. ECG, chest X-ray, pulmonary function tests and blood results. This is followed by 20 minutes of questioning related to this case. During the final 20 minutes, the examiners will question you on three further unrelated topics.

2. The clinical science viva

This is a 30-minute viva consisting of 4 questions on applied pharmacology, anatomy, physiology and physics. This viva is not within the scope of this book.

An approach to revision for the clinical vivas

The period between the written paper and viva examination is a stressful time. For the first 2 weeks you do not even know if you have a viva. This makes it difficult to find the motivation to carry on working until the results are posted. The last thing you want to do is continue the cold, factual learning that has made your life such a misery over the last few weeks. You want to go to the pub instead! However, if you are ‘invited’ to attend for the vivas, you will find yourself wishing you had worked solidly for the 2 weeks since the written paper! What is needed is a change of tack in order to sustain the flagging momentum.

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