Medical Education

Reflections on the RACP Exam Failure

This week, there was a large and very costly technology failure during the Royal Australian College of Physicians exam. The costs from this, aside from the financial have become very apparent. I’ve been observing social media and the fallout from this exam technology failure has exposed a few very important points for medical education.

  1. The amount of distress that delegates appear to be experiencing both leading up to and after the exam should not be acceptable. I’ve read descriptions of the way people have moulded their lives, made sacrifices, and very often appear to be incredibly tightly wound due to the immense tension the exam preparation places on them. I recall running into a friend last year before her exam preparation for the same college, and to see a woman of great strength, grace, intelligence and wisdom become reduced to someone resembling one of the ‘poor unfortunate souls’ from the Little Mermaid – in order to become someone of apparently more intelligence and qualification, simply does not make sense, and should not be happening.

This really struck a chord with me.

Why are we allowing exam processes such as these, and the tension that comes with them to dominate our lives?
Why have we not as a collective said that this is enough already?

As medicos, we simply seem to accept that life is crap when we are studying and doing exams. What if it didn’t need to be this way? From the voicing I’m hearing, this well could be the point that we have come to from the exposure of this technology failure.