Frequently Asked Questions
Who is this course for?

The course is structured in a manner as to help the psychiatry trainees planning to attempt the Royal College of Psychiatry CASC examination. However, its principles and methodology are so very robust and scientific that its benefits are far more generalised if you want it to be.

Therefore, this course would also be suitable for anyone wishing to improve their verbal and non-verbal communication skills both in a clinical and non-clinical setting such as core or specialist training job interviews and psychiatry trainees at any level who feel a need to improve any of the skills taught in this programme. For example, the skills focused on during day two of the programme can be very useful while preparing for the theory papers. The earlier you learn and start practicing the techniques taught, the higher your chances of passing all your exams (theory and clinical) in the first attempt.

Is this a mock CASC examination?

No, it is much more. This is a completely new approach to the CASC examination which incorporates mock CASC sessions and much more thus giving you greater benefit with significantly higher chances of passing the CASC examination than a mock CASC examination on its own. In fact, this course is the first of its kind in the UK…and yes, you will have loads of CASC practice sessions.

How and why is this course different?

The scoring in CASC examination is fairly subjective. It is also well known that there are clear differences in the pass rates between those who graduated in the UK and those who didn’t. Furthermore, these differences are most pronounced for the clinical examination, suggesting that it is not simply a knowledge issue (Oyebode & Furlong, 2007). Candidates’ “knowledge” would have already been tested in the written papers.

Different cultures can interpret different aspects of body language in different ways. Candidates will therefore need to have an understanding of the body language applicable in the UK and also be able to identify and override their own natural tendencies if they appear to be different. As it is a psychiatry examination, subtleties in language are very important. Sometimes candidates use linguistic styles that reflect their own cultural expectations.

Thus, communication skills (both verbal and non-verbal) appear to be the most significant aspect of the CASC examination. Although the CASC blueprint states that stations will assess different aspects such as history, MSE, risk assessment, cognitive examination, physical examination, case discussion and difficult communication, it is well known that it can be difficult to pass any of these without good communication skills.

Added to this, can be the problems faced in reading, comprehending and retaining the task to be done (sometimes for two consecutive stations) while effectively managing time and anxiety levels throughout. The ability to manage stress/anxiety during stations so as not to be affected by it or project it on to the role player or examiner is as crucial as being able to “switch off anxiety” from one station and be effective in the next even in linked stations.

The two day CASC Coaching programme focuses precisely on these issues and aims to train candidates preparing for the CASC exam on these subtle but crucial skills that are absolutely essential to pass the exam.

Why is this course so early?

Studies show that these skills that are absolutely essential for the exam can be taught and learnt. However, you would require as much practice as you can get so that such skills become “natural” for you and you don’t have to stress yourself by trying to learn them a few weeks before the examination and “remember to act in a certain way”. Evidence suggests that you need to consistently practice between 3 to 6 months for good outcomes. So why not practice in the right way and make it a habit?

Which do I choose? This course or a mock CASC examination?

If you are confident that you have a good knowledge of and use the above mentioned skills regularly and in your exam; you might benefit from a mock CASC examination a few weeks prior to the actual exam which you would basically use to perhaps measure your core knowledge of the subject matter and to boost your confidence prior to the exam.

However, you would benefit more from this course in the following instances:

  • There is a chance that you may not use your knowledge appropriately (either by forgetting to explore a certain area due to stress or other various reasons mentioned above) in the exam when compared to another person with the same or lesser knowledge than you
  • You feel the need to have the best level of communication skills and other related soft skills mentioned above so as not to disadvantage yourself when compared to others attempting the same exam as the scoring is based on the Borderline Regression Method
  • You are confident that you can improve your clinical skills needed for the exam on your own but would like to know the scientific methods of learning these essential soft skills. In fact, evidence also proves that by developing the above soft skills your clinical efficiency increases.

Of course, you could still attend a mock CASC examination prior to the actual examination to self assess your improvement and brush up on minor aspects if you want to.

How do you offer personal and unique support for each delegate till they sit their next CASC examination?

In addition to the benefits of the high quality course and its fantastic “take away” content, we aim to continue supporting you till you sit your next CASC examination.

  • Soon after the course, you will be given access to your personal video recordings.
  • You will have the opportunity to provide us with video recordings of your CASC practice up to three months following the course in order to get expert feedback on your progress made along with areas of improvement and suggestions on how to improve.
If you have further questions, please contact us