4 responses to “Renal, fluids and acid-base

  1. Dear Chris
    I’m an overseas trainned doctor currently workis as a GP In Melbourne Area . I did train in Anaesthesia and Critical care at South Africa and Canada But didn’t have my fellowship before relocating to Australia . The CICM credit me with 36 months Of Junior posting years But advsied me to do Primary exam before i can proceed toe advanace trainning year. I attempted the primary in 2009 and it was a disastrous experience . I have no idea how expansive the knowledge base requirment was . I prepared for both primary of CICM and FRACGP exam same time . I passed the FRACGP But failled the CICM woefully and Ithen decided to give up on critical care .But kept on coming back to me that I’m a failure professionally as i opted for an easy way out .I have recently revisted on my plan to still pursue a career in CICM that is how i got oit to your website . I will need a mentor to guide me thought the process and i want to ask you to oblige me this favour . i plan to put in 1500 hrs like you did towars March 2104 exam starting from now

    • Hi Toyin,

      Thank you for viewing my website, I am glad to hear that you are passionate about critical care and wish to continue your training in this area. I think the key to approaching this exam is to be systematic and get a good feel for what the examiners are looking for. You could read and study for the 1500 hrs but if it is not exam focussed then it may all be for naught. I would advise several things at this stage.

      Firstly read over the past papers and get some insight into the types of questions that are being asked of the candidates. It is important to remember that there is only 10 minutes per question and therefore you are only able to get a finite amount of information on the page. The better the organisation of your information – definitions for every important term in the question, normal physiological values, then dot points, lists etc the more you can get on the page. This will get you the marks. Remember the examiners have a check list of key factoids that acrue marks, and it is your job to get them on the page!

      With the structure of the information in mind, then approach the material. I had a systematic approach and the pdf notes are the result of that study. I went through respiratory first, then cardio, neuro, renal then others. For pharmacology I covered the basic pharm first and then was systematic in the drugs practicing the same structure over and over – brief description of the drug, pharmaceutical aspects, pharmacodynamics including side effects and then pharmacokinetics (following the absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion process).

      The most important aspect to passing however, and one which should whittle your time down significantly is attending courses. The RAH course run by Mark Finnis is excellent and although I was under prepared at that stage it set me on the right track. The anaesthetic courses are also very good – although may change in the setting of a changed environment for the anaesthetists. In Sydney the RPA course by Peter Kam is highly regarded and there are several others that you can search for. It is also important to look for study sessions and groups to join. I was not at formal a hospital setting because I was serving fulltime in the ADF so this was limited to me but did key into several hospital teaching sessions through friends. I am very grateful to POWH and RNSH for their kind support during my prep.

      Finally the most important thing to do prior to the exam is practice. I spent five weeks sitting practice exams under near exam conditions, focussing on getting the information out in 10 minutes. This is the key aspect of the study as I have encountered many people, especially in the anaesthetic exam who have great knowledge but dropped the ball on getting that onto paper in exam conditions.

      As I have said previously if you do the work then you will certainly pass the exam. Have a focussed preparation, attend prep courses, key into study groups in your local area and finally practice under exam conditions as much as you can.

      Good luck!


  2. Dear Chris,
    Thanks for providing such a great website.
    I have a question, I am IMG with master degree in critical care and got a training job in NSW to be started FEB 2017 I Planned to apply for CICM and I don`t really know what to do regarding studying for the exam in order to save time and start ASAP
    please advice.

    • Hi Ahmed,

      See my detailed response to Toyin below. It’s been some years since I sat the exam but that covered most of major points!

      Good luck with your new training post.

      All the best, Chris

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