Dr Holly Bannon-Murphy & Dr Luke Phillips

Welcome to our Unlocking the ACEM Exams blog posts where we unlock the key study habits, resources and top tips from recent successful exam candidates.  This week we go to to sit down with Dr Holly Bannon-Murphy who recently completed a successful sitting of the ACEM fellowship written exam (2022.1). Holly outlines some of her key tips to success in the post below.
Dr Holly Bannon-Murphy

Dr Holly Bannon-Murphy

Emergency Registrar

Holly  is a dual emergency and ICU registrar. She has an interest in prehospital and global emergency medicine, and enjoys working in diverse places such as the Royal flying doctor service in central Australia and teaching trauma assessment in Chennai, India. She is an assistant editor for the Global emergency literature review and for the trainee edition of Emergency Medicine Australia journals. She loves travel, mountain biking, ski mountaineering and trail running.

“How did you prepare for the exam?”

I initially started just choosing a topic a week and reading through Dunn’s and Cameron’s texbooks and summarising them. I would recommend against this as a single tactic as I found it really ineffective.

I changed tact around 4 weeks in and looked at the Geelong syllabus who do SAQs weekly. I did each of those every week and read around what I didn’t know. I also did a topic a week of Dunn’s but instead of summarising loads, I made Anki deck flashcards.

I then started doing the Anki flash cards daily to revise as I went along for spaced repetition.

“What are your top tips for success?”

Continuity of study but have days off for the eventual fatigue. Factor in a week here and there to be a human being so you don’t peak too early.

“Do you have any pearls about refining your exam technique?”

Just do a billion exam questions. You can find at least 80 past papers on doctors writing website. Do the questions and exam to time always from the beginning and learn to ditch superfluous words early.

Make sure you keep up with your hospitals fellowship questions/programs and get them marked by experienced consultants. The more marked papers the better!

Do lots of recall MCQs, they’re always in the exam.

Any resources you would recommend?