The Royal College of Anaesthetists announced the introduction of the Single Best Answer (SBA) Questions in the Final FRCA written examination in accordance with PMETB standards. Following this SBA questions were introduced in September 2010.
SBA questions are widely used in the UK to assess undergraduate medical students and to assess poorly performing doctors by GMC. Outside the UK, it is used in Final FANZCA and American board exams.
SBA questions is an assessment tool to know whether a candidate can apply his/her knowledge to solve clinical problems which are encountered in every day practice. SBA questions is currently being used in areas covering Clinical Anaesthesia, Intensive care and Pain medicine. The current written part of Final FRCA exam has an SBA section with 30 questions. Each correct response is awarded four marks with a total of 120 marks. In addition, the traditional MCQ assesses the candidate’s ability to recall essential knowledge. There will be 60 MCQ questions with five branches each carrying one mark to a total of 300 marks. The total time allotted for the candidates to complete this section of SBA questions and MCQs is three hours.
SBA has a stem presenting a clinical problem followed by a lead-in question and five options. Only one of all the five possible options will be the best response as agreed by the examiners.
This book, Single Best Answer MCQs in Anaesthesia was published in September 2010. It is an excellent practice guide to help with the new pattern of Final FRCA exam. It has six sets of SBA Question paper. Each paper is presented with 30 questions in a pattern similar to the Final FRCA exam. Each set of questions is immediately followed by answers.
The questions or the clinical problems are aimed at the right level with a good mixture of Clinical anaesthesia, Intensive care and Pain medicine. The content and the text are clear.
According to RCoA, the SBA stem is constructed with a maximum of 60 words. In this book, authors try to adhere to the ‘under 60 words’ rule. Although not too elaborate, the stem is still focussed on the clinical problem. The lead-in question is short and precise. Therefore, making it interesting to attempt at solving the problems.
The answer section has three parts, the correct or the best response, an explanation justifying the answer and also a useful list of references to aid further reading. The explanations provided are only brief, yet with necessary information making it easy to read.
When you solve the questions in this book, choosing the correct response could be very tricky sometimes. In some of the questions the best answer is prominent, so easy to score. In most of the questions, it is easy to rule out three of the given options. The remaining two responses are very close and leave you in a dilemma. It is difficult to choose the correct response as more than one option is possible for the given clinical problem. I feel the experience of the candidate in that particular questioned field can be an advantage in solving the problem rather just factual knowledge.
On the contrary, an experienced anaesthetist can approach a given clinical situation in a different manner compared to a trainee who might be at the start of their intermediate training. This makes it difficult for the experienced anaesthetist to score marks in some of the questions. So, it is good to remember that the exam is aimed at the trainee anaesthetist while reading this book. Solving this book in a group will promote discussions and arguments which is always a good way to prepare for any exam.
If you chose to revise this book just prior to the exam, the correct answers are highlighted separately before the explanation given therefore, you can cram through the set of questions and answers without having to read the explanations provided.
This book is an excellent resource of information as well as an invaluable exam preparatory aid.
This book will be of no doubt, a useful guide and a companion to candidates preparing for the Final FRCA examination. Good Luck!