This is an offering by James Malycha, an intensivist who has passed this insane exam using a revolutionary learning aid which he has graciously shared with me, and with the broad community of ICU trainees. The Anki package he laboriously assembled is hosted here at DerangedPhysiology, and you are all welcome to it, courtesy of James.
Download it by clicking on this link.
For those morituro, James has some words of wisdom:
"1. To those embarking on this exam - best of luck. It is a huge undertaking but one that is ultimately rewarding once achieved. It also makes us better doctors. Be encouraged by the fact that it is achievable, it just might take a few goes.
1. This is a memory base study aid. Downloadable from here https://apps.ankiweb.net/. It is usable on all platforms (phones, iPads, computers and laptops) and syncs between all your devices at the end of each session. You can therefor use it easily on commutes or during boring tutorials.
2. It is based on the Memory Decay Theory https://www.42designsquare.com/elearning-blog/?cat=5. This theory may or may not be true but in my experience repeated exposure to information helps with retention.
3. These cards are based on the past exam questions (roughly the last 12 years) but also information I included as I went along. You’ll note that there are some random bits and pieces in the microbiology section. This was because my micro was poor and I needed to fill in a lot of gaps when I began. Likewise haematology. Despite the random nature of some of the questions I included, I was surprised at how often they came up in the exams. If you adopt Anki, you’ll add things as you move through your study program. Likewise, you can delete cards easily in isolation or en masse. My method was to make notes during ICU ward rounds on things I needed to learn, then go home and imagine what kinds of questions might be asked about them and then make a series of cards. These then formed part of my ongoing revision.
4. The order of the cards is based on the subject headings from Crit-iq. However, these also evolved over time. Once you get a handle on the software you will be able to move the cards around to suit your own preferences. You’ll also note that all the subject heading (or ‘sub-decks’) are under the main card deck ‘CICM’. This is so that you can study them all together, in which case they’ll be thrown at you at random, or in their own specific groups, should you so choose to study them that way. I found studying them at random most useful because it replicated the exam.
5. Many of the answers are screen shots from the CICM website, Deranged Physiology, Chris Anderson’s brilliant exam notes (available here https://icuprimaryprep.com/2016/06/03/fellowship-study-material/), Venkatesh’s slightly-old-school-but-still-useful investigation text book, Medscape, Life in the Fast Lane and Google.
6. I could manage about 20-30 cards/hour. The software calculates your accuracy and time taken so you can then calculate how you need to study to get through the curriculum in a timely fashion. I should also add that doing regular practice exams every 2-3 weeks, where you do past exam questions to a time limit, is very important. For that I used Crit-iq ‘exam mode’. I’ll leave it to smarter people to explain further but structure is all in this exam and without it you will not pass. I aimed to structure my answers but you may wish to alter these as you move through them.
7. There are presumably many errors in this collection. Correct them as you see fit. I encourage people to send in their updated collections to Deranged Physiology to continue to assist each wave of candidates as they come through. This deck of cards will of course become quickly out of date.
8. Feel free to contact me should you have any questions. I am a person of very moderate abilities with regards ICU but can say that they got me through the exam. I hope they can do the same for you. Best of luck.
In the original version of this blurb James bravely offered his email address as contact details. Instead of exposing his inbox to malicious robots, I proposed that some sort of filtering should take place. Thus, please feel free to send your pornographic spam using the usual contact forms of this website, and anything addressed to James will be forwarded.