Now, I know you probably want a blow by blow account of the OSCEs. I know I’d want to read that, if I was awaiting my own exams or starting my pre-reg but the College are very strict about posting details on social media or even chatting about the contents of the stations (as they reuse the stations).  So I’ll talk generally about my experience of the exams.

I’m not giving much away by reminding you there are 17 stations (made up of one rest station, two pilot stations and fourteen “real” stations).  To pass the OSCEs, you need to pass 10/14 “real” stations.

The rest station came towards the end of my OSCEs (it was fifth from the end and, sigh, the water cooler was empty when I got there).  It was the longest 5 minutes of my life.  I just wanted to get the experience over and done with and sitting twiddling my thumbs for 5 mins was just as stressful as being examined.

Each exam sitting has one Volk station and it was during this that I realised how nervous I actually was.  Although I’m comfortable with Volk, I made a really silly mistake but only spotted it in the last 30 seconds (I had mirrored but not inverted the symbols).  Making a stupid error on something as bread and butter as indirect ophthalmoscopy shook me a little.  I made me wonder what I’d missed on the previous stations.

I was relieved disappointed that I didn’t get to use my mad focimetry skills (I went into uni on Friday and sat for an hour practising my focimetry on the giant boxes of glasses Caley’s Ophthalmic Materials lecturer hoards).

There were a couple of stations where it was obvious what was happening from the instructions on the door.  It’s nice to walk into a room already formulating your answer.  I also got to share my love of contact lenses in one station – my enthusiasm had my assessor smiling, which was nice.

The actors in the communication stations were really good.  It felt quite natural speaking to them.  One of them struggled a little with my accent, although, for a Glaswegian, I feel I’m pretty clear.

I knew three of my assessors but managed not to chat to them (something I was told off for during my mocks).

The OSCEs were over in under 2 hours.  I still don’t feel that it’s really over.  I left the building, went for a coffee with one of the other pre-regs to catch up on gossip and then I got on a train and came home.  It was all very anti-climactic.

On the train home, I started doubting myself.  I kept remembering little bits and pieces that I should have said or things that I could’ve explained better.  My management for one station still has me a little worried – it was something I’d never come across before, that didn’t feature on my referral guidelines, so I was unsure about whether to refer or not.  In the end, I referred to the GP.  I really hope that one’s a pilot!

Anyway, good luck to everyone who is sitting theirs in the next week.  Revise your referral guidelines (use the ones on the College website instead of your local ones), there are no trick questions and try to relax.