The Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) is a clinical test held over two consecutive days. The examination consists of a variety of clinical stations based on scenarios that candidates would expect to see as part of their work in the Emergency Department – history taking, physical examinations, communication, procedural skills, simulations, resuscitation, teaching, managing the ED, team work, case synthesis, creating management plans and interpreting investigation results. Video and written examples of OSCE stations are available on the ACEM website.
Each of the 12 OSCE stations are 11 minutes duration. This will include four minutes of reading time followed by seven minutes of assessment. In any OSCE you are likely to undertake at least one of each of the following station types: history taking, physical examination, communication, team-based simulation and teaching, as well as two or three standardised case-based discussion stations (SCBD).
The OSCE assesses the application of knowledge, skills and abilities detailed in the eight domains of the ACEM Curriculum Framework, to clinical scenarios that candidates would expect to see as part of their work.
The eight curriculum domains are:
Prioritisation and Decision Making
Teamwork and Collaboration
Leadership and Management
Scholarship and Teaching
The examination will include stations that involve the candidate interacting with and/or talking to actors/simulated patients, nurses, medical students or to FACEM Confederates or examiners, who may play the role of junior or senior colleagues.
The exam is held at the AMC National Test Centre in Melbourne. This facility is purpose built for medical OSCEs. There are multiple adjacent rooms about the size of an outpatient consulting room each with digital displays and video monitoring equipment. You can familiarise yourself with the environment and the layout of the examination venue at https://ntc.org.au/
You will have four minutes of reading time. An electronic screen will display information about the station and the situation you can expect, the tasks you will be expected to perform and the relative weighting of the domains that will be tested. There may also be props such as ECGs, imaging, pathology results, observation charts etc. The same information will also be displayed inside the station. You will not be able to take notes during reading time.
Don’t be concerned about rushing – 4 minutes is a long time to prepare!
Who is in the OSCE station?
The Examiners - At least two examiners will usually be present in the OSCE station. In some stations, one examiner may interact with you, such as in an SCBD station or in a physical examination station.
The Role Players - these may be trained actors, medical students, nursing staff or FACEMs. They are given specific instructions about their role and what they can say is limited so pay attention to what they are saying and how they are saying it. They are trying to help you progress through all of the OSCE. They are helpful but will show no initiative.