The aim of this blog is to provide some degree of support to candidates in the College of Intensive Care Medicine Primary Exam. I sat the exam in the March-May 2012 and the site represents the notes that I developed and the answers that I generated for the previous SAQs and VIVAs. At the time of publishing there is a paucity of clear information for CICM candidates (which has encouraged many to sit the ACEM or ANZCA exams). I hope that in the future the college will address this need more robustly.

This site should not act as a substitute for the reference texts and I would like to acknowledge the references used in the generation of these notes. The notes were developed mostly from the textbooks that I have listed in the left hand column. I bought my books mainly from amazon and the book depository. I also used a couple of websites extensively. Kerry Brandis’ website http://www.anaesthesiamcq.com/ is excellent, especially for the past SAQs and his acid base tutorial is very good. Dr Brandis also has a book which he self publishes and is definitely worth purchasing. Amanda Diaz developed a similar website to this for ANZCA candidates in 2008 which served as an inspiration for this website http://primarysaqs.wordpress.com/  The intensive care network is also developing web-based resources worth reviewing. http://www.intensivecarenetwork.com/

This website is not designed to generate any revenue but if there are any concerns regarding copyright please drop me an email and I will happily remove/modify/acknowledge. I am also keen to get feedback on any inaccuracies, some of these notes were put together after studying for 10+ hrs and there is more than likely errors that need to be addressed, especially if they pertain to content.

26 responses to “About

  1. Great site Chris, there seems to be a paucity of primary exam material for other specialties too, especially ED, so well done for taking up the cause for the ICU trainees. (I’m guilty, my site is for ACEM Fellowship candidates!). All the best & I hope your site’s a success.

  2. Chris thanks a lot for this resource. Am currently planning to undertake the CICM primary March 2012 and have been finding it difficult to prepare a study plan as no one can give me a good idea of the level knowledge expected and the way they want questions answered. This site has already been very useful

  3. Hi Chris,
    This is a truly outstanding effort – one that trainees from ALL critical care specialties will benefit greatly from. The way you’ve included all your (meticulously-presented) notes along with the worked answers is a testament to the immense amount of work you must have done in preparation. Kudos!
    And the pharmacopeia – holy crapballs! You just saved me countless hours of collation time right there!
    Not sure what I can offer, but would be very keen to help add to the site once I’ve finished my quiz… (Maybe more worked answers, pharm comparison tables for each class, etc.)
    Many, many, many thanks for this awesome resource, and good luck with “ICUFellowshipPrep.wordpress.com”!
    Cheers, Josh P.

  4. Thanks for your kind comments!

    I think that despite it being a pretty huge hurdle I am really glad that I chose to sit the CICM Primary. The best advice I got from one of the consultants was that if you put in the work you will pass, and I stuck by this mantra throughout. I think that it is really important to read widely as you prepare and get a feel for the length and breadth of the topics, then practice sitting the SAQs under exam conditions (it is surprisingly difficult to get all the info down in 10 minutes).

    I will add the rest of what I thought were reasonable SAQ Answers in time, I switched from digital to hand writing in the last few weeks before the exam and have to transcribe these into PDFs.

    cheers, chris

  5. Hi Chris,
    I miraculously found your website on Amanda Diaz’s site where I often lurk to find inspiration as I am currently “studying” for the CICM primary exam with all the “resources” that I can get a hold of. I have a feeling that I have stumbled across something truly great and I am certain that the legacy of your dedication to this website will live on for years to come. Karma looks after all those with selfless acts. I look forward to crossing paths with you one day as I am sure we will.

    primary with as many “resources as I can find.

  6. Hi Chris,
    Brilliant resource! Your site will be a lifesaver!
    I’m planning to give the exams in March 2013. Was wondering if there was anyone from Melbourne preparing for the primary? Would love to have a group study session. It’s been pretty difficult to get any group studies done. Most of the anesthetic trainees I know already have their groups for a while now.

    • Hi Anoushka, I’m currently in training in Melbourne and preparing for the primaries in 2013 too.we formed a study study group and your welcome to join.Pl email me on nrjayarat@hotmail.com

      • Hi Nirusha,
        I sent u an email but wasn’t sure if you received it. Where do u catch up for study sessions? I would love to join in if that would be possible. Please do send me an email on anoushkakrishnan@gmail.com.

  7. Chris, your site is absolutely fantastic and a great contribution to specialty training, but also very inspiring, seeing the sheer amount of effort you’ve obviously put in is very motivating. Thanks very much!

    • Hi Sonia,

      The textbooks that I found most useful (and used as source material for my notes) are listed in the left hand column under the goodreads banner. I have added my reviews of the books in terms of what i found particularly useful etc as well.

      good luck with study!

      • Hi Chris,
        Thanks for putting together this website! I was wondering how long it took you to prepare for this exam?

      • Hi Carol, I started in Feb 2011 for the March 2012 exam. I spent roughly 1000-1500 hours actually studying. Due to my work situation I wasn’t able to study group much which was a problem, but I did get along to the Adelaide Prep Course and the Christchurch anaesthetic prep course. Good luck with your preparation.

  8. Hello Chris,

    I am using one of your diagrams for an essay of mine and am not allowed to reference websites however yours is the most appropriate diagram to use. This is the diagram of the kidney and nephron in the renal physiology page. Could you give me the references/books you used to either make/copy that diagram from so that I may reference my work correctly.


    • hi maz,

      i created the diagram myself using Adobe Illustrator. I used some textbooks for inspiration (Ganong, Vander, Netters) but there is a fair bit of artistic licence involved as I was only interested in specific components for my notes. Happy for you to use it in your essay.

      cheers, chris

      • Hi Chris,
        Just wanted to get your opinion on the Christchufch course. I don’t know anyone who has been (being such a competitive course to get in to) and just wanted to get an idea of what it was like.
        Thanks! S.

      • Hi S,

        I found the Christchurch week one of the most humiliating weeks of my life. I had spent a lot of time learning the syllabus and nowhere near enough time getting my exam technique sorted. The candidates at the course were just about to sit the anaesthetic primary whilst I still had about six weeks. The anaesthetic primary is also quite different to the CICM primary despite a lot of syllabus overlap. I felt like i was clearly the most inferior candidate there and got some push back from a couple of type-A anaesthetic trainees from Melbourne who were annoyed at me attending (and felt that my spot was more deserving for their friend who missed out). You do plenty of vivas in front of an audience and I was like a deer in the spotlights.

        Despite all this it gave me enormous focus for the final six weeks. I got a feel for constructing an answer to an SAQ and how important it is to get as many points in each answer. What I did after the course is focus exclusively on preparing answers for past papers. I pretty much stopped looking at textbooks and trying to increase my understanding of concepts. By the time I sat the exam I was feeling very relaxed and confident and was completely ready to sit. I would not have been in that state had it not been for the Christchurch course.

  9. Hi Chris,
    thanks a lot for sharing your summaries, it really helps me getting an overview on some topics although I am a biochemist now training in medical biology. I very much appreciate it. Keep going!
    Best, Laura

  10. hi,
    i am sitting the primary in september.
    please get in touch if you are interested in some group work

  11. Hey do any of you guys at RNSH have the Feb 2015 SAQs? If so, our study group 2 hours north would dearly love to get our paws on them (and would buy you a round at the next conference).

  12. Hi Chris,
    Thank you so much for this website – it was incredibly helpful! I sat the CICM Primary last September, and as part of my study, I wrote answers to all of the previous SAQs. Given how much I used your website, I would be very happy to contribute newer SAQs, or any that are missing. Please email me if you would like any answers.

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