12 May

As promised but a bit later: some tips about how to prepare for the AMC multiple choice exam. Other / practical information about the exam you can find on the website The reason I want to share this information is that it worked for me, and I am not a quick learner, do not have an excellent memory and to be honest: I did not even recognise a lot of the basic stuff anymore, which I studied more than 13 years ago. So, it was a challenge for me.

The AMC recommends a few books to study before you sit the exam. The most important two are ‘Anthology of medical conditions’, which is basically a very big book full of DD’s. I tried to use it but failed. It could be used as a study guide however, if you have a lot of time to prepare. The other one is the ‘Handbook of multiple choice questions’, with a few hundred questions to practise. They also made a long ‘suggested readings’ list, with books covering all relevant specialties. That means you have to choose yourself what you need to study.

After spending 3 weeks on Dermatology in the Anthology of Medical Conditions (a specialty that I have very little knowledge of), I decided that that was not the best way to prepare in the 3 months time before my exam. So I changed my plan and started practising with the multiple choice questions from the above mentioned Handbook, but also from the amcqbank, an online database of questions, which you can use for 90 dollar in 3 months. The answers provided are elaborate, and helpful in defining your lack of knowledge. The Handbook of MCQs is the most useful however. With the MCQs as a guide I studied a few other readings.

  • The single most important, especially for Dutch doctors, is The Red Book, a small online booklet about preventive medicine, vaccinations, risk groups etc. This one you have to know by heart, because a few good answered questions can save your exam. Besides: you really want to know this, working abroad.
  • The other two specialties that get a lot of attention is obstetrics (incl. antenatal tests)+ gynaecology and psychiatry. I chose to study the Llewyn Jones, which was really useful during the exam, but maybe not even detailed enough, and Oxford textbook of psychiatry: only the relevant chapters.
  • Another recommendation from my side (but plan some time to get to read it) is Murtagh, General Practice. This book gives an overview of all the medical, social and mental disorders that can be encountered, without a very detailed pathofysiology, very practical. It’s a big one, but covers it all.
  • You also have to study is auto-immune diseases. For this I used UptoDate. These diseases get a lot of attention, which you will experience practising the Handbook of MCQs. Do not try to ignore these questions, thinking you will be able to cover that gap in knowledge up with the other questions, because there are not a lot of easy ones (in my perspective).
  • Last but not least: pharmacology is very important. Especially psychiatric medications. You will encounter these questions in the above suggested readings, and the answers provided are of good quality, but they do not cover everything they expect you to know, like the side effects of psychofarmaca and to which medication you should switch. I have no good suggestion yet which book is the most complete for this matter. Didn’t find it.

Expect to be studying 10-20 hours a week, if you only have a few months to prepare, unless you have a very good memory or are just graduated from medical school and you still remember all the basics.

The exam itself felt like a marathon. 150 Questions in 3.5 hours. 120 Questions are scored, and 30 pilot questions. They are mixed in a computer adaptive test. Even having entered the exam room fully prepared, it was still stressful to complete the exam in time.

Having said al this: I loved it. Planning my study time was the biggest challenge, working a lot, but the moment you are sitting in front of your desk, allowing yourself 1-2-3 hours of undisturbed study, it is really rewarding. A lot of this knowledge is useful in the ED and for education purposes. My family and friends didn’t like it that much, but hey: everyone can survive a few months without attention.

So… I hope it is still a tiny little bit inspiring. If not: I am happy to convince you if needed. Just send a text using the contact form.



6 Responses to “AMC MCQ”

  1. smitshj May 12, 2015 at 23:53 #

    Very good advise, thorough, practical and inspiring

  2. Abhi Gotadki January 7, 2016 at 02:19 #

    Hi, i really need some advise. I am working fulltime and have responsibilities as a 1 year old..I sat AMC MCQ once…can I get more advise.

  3. Prepengo November 10, 2016 at 11:37 #

    Prepengo is an easy to use online tool for the preparation of Australian Medical Council (AMC) CAT MCQ Examination having high-quality MCQs and test material.visit For More Details

  4. Martin March 17, 2017 at 16:56 #

    Could you please provide a link for the red book? The one I can find is 1100 pages and if that is “a small booklet” I need to know by heart the AMC is a lot scarier than I thought…

  5. Seema April 18, 2017 at 01:49 #

    Hi, I sat the MCQ exam once and failed. I studied Murtagh thoroughly, AMC Handbook, Annonated MCQs, and Anthology of Medical conditions. The only thing I did not do is go through recalls as a lot of people suggested it was a waste of time. At the exam centre, after the exam, a candidate told me she got 95% questions from the recalls. I now realise I should have seen the recall questions as well. Anyways, I have scheduled my MCG again after 2 months. In this two months I am planning to do only recalls and questions from AMCQBank website.
    Any more suggestions, I am really desperate to pass this time.

  6. Fatima May 27, 2017 at 14:40 #

    Your blog was no doubt very interesting
    I have 4 months to prepare for amc mcq
    i guess Ive got all the important material that you’ve mentioned ( imp books red book few past recalls )
    But I dont know how should I plan my study as I am doing internship ( working 8 hours per day) as well.

    Could you please suggest any flexible smart study schedule and time management??

    Looking forward to your response.
    Thanks in advance.

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