Australian Medical Council Exam: How Hard? Preparing for AMC Exam
Being an IMG means you need to be well informed of the latest and most important Career Pathways in Australia.
And if you are savvy enough, you will readily find tons of information and “expert” opinions about the Australian Medical Council Examination – some are quite informative, while others are fluff.
But given that many of the IMG are ardent followers of this blog, we are going to answer the questions that keep re-occurring. The question goes thus “How hard is the Australian Medical Council?
In order to give an answer to that, there are many factors to be considered, one of which includes how much time you are willing to put into preparing for the exam, how effective your reading/learning process is, and how similar is your own medical school training to the Australian context.
The first thing to do is to attempt two separate AMC exams – Part One is the Multiple Choice Exam while Part 2 is the Clinical exam.
According to the latest report from the AMC in one year, there were 2663 AMC MCQ (Part 1 Exams) sat with 1,559 candidates passing.
That’s a pass rate of about 58%. For the AMC Clinical Exam 597 candidates passed out of 2,165 candidates assessed. That’s less than a 28% pass rate.
So this means that the first part of the AMC is fairly hard compared to the second part which is extremely hard.
To sum it up, if you want to know more about the process of the AMC Exam, including how best to prepare, read on to find out more.
Eligibility Requirements for the AMC
For an IMG to be able to sit for the AMC you must first establish what is called a portfolio
Firstly, there is a need to create a registration with the AMC website. Plus, check the AMC site for the eligibility of your medical school. The AMC recpgnises most but not all of them.
You must then also create an EPIC account and confirm your identity with the ECFMG.
Once EPIC reports back in the affirmative to the AMC you will be allowed to request to sit for the AMC Part 1 Examinations.
There is no actual work experience requirement to sit the AMC Part 1 Examination and you can, in fact, start preparing for this whenever you like.
The Part 1 MCQ Examination
The AMC Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) MCQ Examination plays a vital role in the scrutiny of IMG’s looking to become a doctor in Australia. It is a computer-administered multi-choice question examination that can be taken in one sitting that lasts about 3 and a half hours.
The examination itself consists of 150 “A-type MCQs”. You must select the one correct response from amongst five options. 120 of the questions count towards your score.
The remaining 30 questions are being piloted and don’t count towards your final score. You do not know which questions are being piloted so you have to give your best for all 150.
You are expected to complete all 150 items and must complete the 120 scored items.
Failure to complete all 120 scored items in the examination may lead to insufficient information for a reliable determination of your ability and therefore a result on the AMC adaptive scale.
There are many different books you can study to pass the exam but there is no right or wrong answer to which book needs to be studied. The AMC has a long list of books and other sources that they recommend for the examination some of which can only be bought in the AMC bookstore.
Many candidates are currently preferring to study John Murtagh’s General Practice book. Along with this it is very important to be practising examination questions. So you really should study the Handbook of Multiple Choice Questions with explanations and try to do as many past papers as possible.
Some candidates still prefer to do Kaplan USMLE Step 2 lecture notes in place of John Murtagh. The advantage of Murtagh over Kaplan notes is that Murtagh can be studied for the clinical exam also.
There is also an official online practice exam through the AMC website and peruse through various options. Pick one and stick with it.
Additional Note on AMC MCQ Exam
There are strict rules for the MCQ exam which you must abide by. You should always read all the official instructions carefully.
In the examination hall, you are not allowed to bring tissues (e.g. Kleenex), paper of any kind, pens/pencils, or rulers. Your mobile phone must be switched off and placed in an allocated area of the room. Bags are also placed in the allocated area of the room. Food and drinks are not allowed in the computer examination room.
All students are provided with a whiteboard and pen for making notes. The whiteboard is collected by examination supervisors at the completion of the examination.
Family members are not allowed to wait in the examination venue. They must wait outside the building of the examination venue.
In about 4 weeks, you will receive your result because the MCQ exam is computerized.
And to pass the exam, you need to score 250 or more. Less than 60% of candidates pass. Although this score is probably depressed somewhat by those candidates sitting more than once.
To sit for MCQ exams, It currently costs $2,720.
The AMC Clinical Examination Part 2
Upon passing the AMC MCQ exam, you are expected to appear for the AMC Clinical exam. These are all held in Melbourne at the AMC’s purpose built examination centre.
Clinical Exam Format
The Clinical exam format is a 20-station structured clinical exam which assesses your skills in Medicine, Surgery, Gynecology and Obstetrics, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry.
There are 14 scored stations, 2 pilot (non-scored) stations and 4 rest (non-scored) stations.
It is required that you pass 10 or more of the stations to pass the exam. The pass rate is incredibly low -about 28%.
It is recommended that you not only study the Handbook of Clinical Assessment but also practice as much role plays as you can.
You may want to form a study group and there, you can practice what is called “recalls”, which is when a candidate who has previously sat the exam attempts to reconstruct the station.
The cost of sitting the Clinical Examination is currently $3,530.
Do you need to clear the AMC Clinical Exam Part 2 to apply for Job position?
No you don’t. But if you get a position prior to completing your Part 2, you will have to clear it as part of your provisional registration before you can apply for general registration. Generally speaking candidates with both AMC Part 1 and 2 are preferred by employers. over just Part 1.
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