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About vmpf amc MCQ bridging course?? - Medical Exams Forum
About vmpf amc MCQ bridging course??
  • tulip_girl April 2013

    Hi, is there anyone who is taking vmpf MCQ bridging courses? Anyone knows how is it? I have some queries. I am posting them here, because there is literally no information in their website.
    1. Where is the location in melbourne? Where do the classes take place?
    2. Time table? I know its for 6 weeks. I need to know how many days a week? Is there any clasa on the weekends too? When does it start in the morning and ends at what time?
    3. Do they give lectures or they just solve past recalls? Am i going to get past recalls from them??

    It would be really helpful if anyone comes up with some information here.

    Thanks a lot.

  • mariyaA April 2013

    which bridging course are you talking about? the mcq or the clinical?

  • tulip_girl April 2013

    Mcq. Did u take the course?

  • rodius April 2013

    Hello there, you are in luck since I can answer all of your questions and just today decided to return to this forum as Ive been away for a while now (though I probably wont be hanging around to answer more queries.... been too busy).

    First of all be sure you checked this link:
    because saying that "there is literally no information in their website" its a bit unfair to the VMPF website.

    The course is... hmmm good I would say. Not bad, not excellent.
    It depends a lot on what you make out of it and also a lot on what YOUR group makes out of it (by group I mean the people who you are taking the course with; sometimes groups get very hmm conflicting attitudes and that makes the whole thing hard for everyone taking the course... its a bit of luck though, some groups are amazingly lucky and they get along perfectly, some not so much).

    Like I've always said on this forum: if you can afford the course, I think there is no doubt about it, you should take it.

    The course happens in Melbourne, since VMPF (now called HEAL) is an organization working on the state of Victoria. The MCQ bridging course happens ONLY in Victoria (Melbourne), while the Clinical course happens both in Melbourne and also on Sydney (something new, as the VMPF is trying to extend beyond Victoria, hence the change in name to HEAL).

    The lectures take place on a very nice building on the corner of Spring St and Flinders St, from Monday to Saturday, 9am to 6pm. The hours vary for some 4 or 5 days of the course, when you will be asked to be at 7 or 7:30 at a different location (a hospital, Western Hospital or to some other location to do the simulated MCQ tests). For the rest the whole course happens at Spring St and Flinders.

    You'll get sundays off but it could happen that a tutor may ask you to come in on a Sunday (sometimes because the group of students wants to have more lectures, sometimes because of re-arranging of the lectures). The whole thing is kinda nice from the flexibility point of view, once you understand that you are doing NOTHING but the VMPF course during those 6 weeks. Its important to have this mindset, since it allows you to be flexible with the sometimes demanding hours of the course. Also, sometimes the lectures wont finish at 6 oclock. Furthermore, the groups usually form groups within and stay behind at the same venue of Spring st to do study group.

    The course is basically based on lectures. Solving recalls, like it was the past structure of the course, is not happening anymore; this is good and bad. For you tulip-girl, you could make this into an advantage and gain from it.

    I say its good because the recalls are NOT a way to study for this test. Its a necessary tool, yes, I agree, but the mistake people do nowdays is to try to cram up as many recalls as possible and I wont into the details of why this is dangerous (even though is kinda obvious). Then you will get topics in the lectures, which most of them are based on the recalls anyways, but you are learning all these topics that are the main topics asked on the exam. For example you will get not just the pancreatitis topic, both acute and chronic, but you wont get any info on the Ranson Criteria for pancreatitis, since its not an exam subtopic, or more specifically on how to treat pancreatitis other than the complications like pancreatic pseudocyst. This is juts to give you a very specific example.

    And the other hand is bad because at the end of the day, even though I hated the idea at the beginning, the recall system was kinda good. You kept repeating questions over and over and then we would also get topics. So this is where you can take the advantage I mentioned: DO RECALLS BEFORE coming to the course. And by DO RECALLS I dont just mean: study them, answer them or whatever people do with the recalls. No. Its not that.

    First of all, collect some recalls. You cant study what you dont have. And no, the VMPF will never give you recalls. That is illegal, since the AMC makes it so by forcing us to sign a non-disclosure clause right before you seat the AMCQ, like the USMLE or Canadian examiners do. How else would they stop the leakage of the exams to the public... and even so, the AMC I guess is finding that this doesn't work, and then they find the need to change the questions more frequently, then making it harder for the new test takers. Then the circle starts again. In my opinion that is making the test harder with the passing months/years. So at the end is a bit the effect of all those recalls "out in the wild" that is helping to make the test more challenging.

    OK, so you collected your recalls (a daunting task that I wont go into how to accomplish right now). I would advise you to print them (not very eco-friendly I know), but I think its the best strategy, trust me. Print them, organize them by month and year. Be sure to have at least the previous 3 years of recalls. If in word format I would advise to alter the margins to "narrow" and decrease the font, to make less pages of printing and more importantly to put a title on them so you know which MONTH/YEAR each paper is.

    The, and this is very important, seat, read them, try to grasp the mind of the people writing the questions and try to answer them, with PENCIL, so you can later change your answers. At this point DO NOT stop in each question and look for the proper answer because what you need is not to answer them as this time. You are doing reconnaissance, yea like in a war. So your worst enemy right now is getting fixated with ONE answer since this can send you looking for hours and even if not, at the end of the day you would have answer 10 questions after hours of "studying". Just see which topics are being asked, what information of those topics, how its being asked. Very importantly, see the trends on questions, the repeated questions, the repeated topics.

    This is where and when you can start to tailor your study. If you find a topic that you see is recurring and you are kinda bad on in, go and read it WELL. This is one of the few times when its advisable to actually grab a big book and read a good version of that topic because you identified is a recurring one and you dont know it well. Sometimes during the lectures in the VMPF the tutors wont stop long on a particular topic, because you are assumed to have an idea on them, so there you go, this is a way to prepare for the course.

  • rodius April 2013

    More important is the recall organization and reconnaissance strategy. Bring them to the course and roughly know them a bit. You can ask recall questions to the tutors and this is a very good way to make the most out of your VMPF course. The problem is people only grab recalls seriously once they are in the course, doing lectures from 9 to 6, staying over doing recalls with the group until 8 or 9 pm, and then feeling completely frustrated they cannot answer the recalls.

    In reality some recalls do get discussed on the lectures and I can assure you a lot of the lectures are based on recalls. So while you dont get a question answer, you get the answer on the lecture; is up to you then to match that information with the proper recall and answer it. For example, imagine the scenario where you have a child with petechiae and you think (because the stem presents it like that), this could be either Henoch Scholein purpura - HSP or Immune Thrombocytopaenia - IPT (and actual recall question from 2012). In the options you have both HSP & ITP, so how do you know which one is it???? This puzzles sometimes the people doing the course and start to blame the AMC (such a stupid question, this is illogical) or blame the recall (this is incomplete, there is probably more options, etc). In reality, you wouldnt need more information if you realized that you are being asked what is the MOST LIKELY diagnosis and if you go to your lecture on haematology, you would see that ITP is more frequent than HSP. So there you go, you dont need to be fed answers like we are monkeys who cant think in our own and worst to trust that the same exact question will come in the exam. You got a lecture on haematology and you should be able to answer your recalls with the lecture.

    Now on reality this doesnt always happens (being able to answer your recalls with the lecture). So the best safe policy you have here is yourself. Study the recalls BEFORE the course. Know them, and even better organize them by topic (obstetrics, surgery, peads, for internal medicine do specialty areas, since that is the way the lectures will happen, haemotology, gastro, psych, ophthalmo, cardio, neuro).

    By the way I know that answering recalls is a very frustrating exercise and sometimes its almost impossible not to get distracted searching the answers. Do it a bit but keep the eye on the objective. To read them (answer them with pencil). If you have questions that are to cryptic, post them here, or on a facebook group, and dont trust the answers into you have gone into the proper answering of the recalls, EVEN if the question looks straight forward, sometimes that is when we make the mistake.

    For example:
    34 year old lady presented to u n requested for ovarian cancer screening as her friend is just diagnosed with ovarian cancer. What will u advise her?
    A. Ultrasound
    B. CA125
    C. CA125 n U/S
    D. Laparoscopy
    E. Come back in 6 weeks times

    Most people answer anything from either A, B, C or D. The correct answer is E. Why I wont go into the details right now since I have to finish this incredibly long post and what Im trying to point out is that the answer you may feel is very obvious (either C or A or B usually) is not, so just circle your answer and then come into the course prepared with your questions, the ones you could answer, the ones you couldnt and even the ones you thought were unanswerable or incomplete or wrong, since sometimes you realize that is not the case (the HSP vs ITP question is an example). Knowing that E is the answer in here misses the whole idea on WHY!!! and what book reference we should read for this etc etc.

    Hope this helps.

  • tulip_girl April 2013

    HI Rodius, Thanks a lot. I went through the website. They have a course which will start from 29th April. few seats available. Now i have only 15 days in hand for preparing before the course starts. i have the books and few very past recalls (2007/2008).

    So i am really confused now at this point. I am kinda detached from studies for a year or two. Now if i dont enroll into this month's course, i think there is no other course in the following months. I am planning to sit for MCQ in August this year. so if i miss this 29th April course, i might not get any other change before siting for mcq. Should I go for this months course and utilize this 15 days by studying 16 hrs a day so that i can be a bit familial with murtagh and amc mcq/handbooks!! or is it gonna be a huge waste of money if i participate in the course with only 15 days weak preparation!!! may be with my weak and almost forgotten basic knowledge, i wont be able to make full use of the course!

    I think i dint open any anatomy/pathology/physiology book for 3/4 years. really have zero basic at this moment!

  • tulip_girl April 2013

    i think one MCQ Trial Exam Workshop will be held at the beggining of the course to identify the basic knowledge of the participants and the topics which we may require more intense studying. It will be humiliating too If I score too bad. I think most the participants will be well prepared before they enter the course!

    I really want to do the course but i dont know if it is the right time for me. If i miss this date, may be there wont be any more mcq courses taking place with year before August.

  • tulip_girl April 2013

    Hey, Just after reading your sample question ''34 year old lady presented to u n requested for ovarian cancer screening as her friend is just diagnosed with ovarian cancer. What will u advise her?'' i picked the answer E and its correct as u say. that gives a bit of hope :D

  • rodius April 2013

    You don't need physio, patho, anatomy for this exam. There are useful for understanding the pathologies of course, but you wont get asked anything and dont worry, almost everyone is lost on these areas when the course happens. Ideally you should know them yes, but that means your study plan takes 6 months. If you are taking the exam in Aug, maybe you are ready for the course right now (of course, you are the only one who can make that assessment).

  • rodius April 2013

    Good job on the answer by the way!

    The Trial Exam is a bit of a disaster to be honest. Dont worry about it. Its something the VMPF is re-designing but you wont see the new version of it. Not the strongest feature of the course... actually I would say its one of the weakest features. I know it shouldnt be but that is the fact.

  • rodius April 2013

    There would be another course after the one in April. However, probably not until July. Ask them, they should be able to tell you. If you do the course in April, you will finish in June and then you'll have 6 weeks to study. I think its a very good time frame. Most of the people who did the last course, which finished last Friday, will seat the test on May. Similarly to what you will be doing.

  • rahi April 2013

    Hi Rodius,At first I want to thank you.Though I am writing to you today for the first time but I have been reading your advices and comments for a few months and have always found those very helpful.I have received my result today that I have passed amc mcq exam.My joys know no bound as I had so much obstacles to overcome to achieve that but I know that its not the end but the beginning of my journey.
    Actually I have passed MBBS in 2011 and migrated in Australia just 1 day after passing so I couldn't do my internship in my country.Then I couldn't focus on my study of amc for a year as I had some family responsibility.Then cleared my mcq exam by a 4 months of preparation.
    Now I am really very confused, what to do next?I am now planning to take an IELTS exam soon.Is there any possibility to get a job after having a band score of 7 in IELTS or should I start taking the preparation for the clinical exam?Please give me some advice about what step should I take next?

  • rodius April 2013

    Hi Rahi, congrats on passing the exam.
    After passing AMCQ and IELTS (or OIT) you can look for an internship position. The interviews start in mid-year (around july I think), so there you could look for a position to do your 1 year internship. The positions are very scarce lately so it might prove difficult to find one. I cant help much in that area since I am on the same step. To put it bluntly, you and I will be competing" for the same positions on this mid-year and there aren't many. You best chance is on rather more rural areas than inside the cities.

    I am assuming you don't want to work as a GP, because if you do, then you shouldn't be doing internship but doing the OSCE exam so then you could work as a GP.

    At the same time you should apply for the clinical. It will take time for them to give you a date, so the will be in motion while you sort out your internship.

  • shima02_10 June 2013

    Hi rahi,
    Congratulation on your big news, your situation was quite similar with me, except still I couldn't pass.can u plz share with us your preparation tricks ? As I am really struggling with this study and family responsibilities .

  • Hi all,
    I'd appreciate any sort of feedback with regards to my queries.
    I gave my step 1 exam, but was not very fortunate.So, am considering the option of attending the bridging course, before I attempt the exam again.
    I'd like to know from someone who has attended the course; is it sufficient to read the bridging course notes, or is attending the lectures vital (apart from other material to be read)? I mean, is whatever discussed during the lectures the same as what is in their notes?

    Another query: Im considering VMPF or IMGSAS. would someone please help me decide?

    And as I am not residing in Melbourne, am concerned about the accommodation, as well. What kind of accommodation is usually available?


  • AngelaLei June 2013

    Hi Rodius,
    I started prepare for the MCQ for 2 months by reading the ppt from a online course called "everygo", however, since I find this forum, I found I was studied in a wrong way. I already bought Murtagh, Handbooks and some theory book. As the doctors in this forum says collecting recalls is so important, I found Dr.Ishfaq Jamal sells some recalls. But is he reliable?
    Would you have any suggestion about how to collecting recalls?
    Do you think Murtagh + Handbook + Annotated + recalls are enough for me at this stage?
    Thank you very much!

  • amrc June 2013

    Australian Medical Review Centre is a Sydney based Review Centre accredited by AMC which offers review for both the MCQ and Clinical Exams.

    If you're interested feel free to contact us at info@amrc.net.au or you can also browse our website www.amrc.net.au

    Thank you!

  • DrAli80 June 2013

    Hi Rodius,thanks for your valuable information about the vmpf course,i m planning to take the cousre in july n sit in the exam in november...do you think this time is suffient to prepare for exam...i m out of study for 5 yrs so dumb mind now...have started the handbooks only rt now.m also looking fwd to collect some some recalls as well...if you can help me in this,really appreciated.thnks for your help.

  • hi
    can anybody please suggest me which bridging course to opt for,VMPF or IMGSAS ?
    really confused.

  • sorry didnt make it clear above. i am asking about AMC mcq test.

  • rodius June 2013

    Its hard to choose, both places are running very similar courses and it has to do A LOT with the group of doctor you are actually taking the course with. If they are a bit hmmm let me be rude and say it bluntly, if the group is a bit bad, then you don't get as much from the bridging course, any, either VMPF or IMGSAS. Seen it enough times already.

    If I had to take the course today, I think I would still go for the VMPF but its a close call and like I say, sometimes one group seems to be getting more form the course than the other. Keep in mind that I have the luxury to say this because I give lectures on both places.

    As for sitting the course in July and doing the exam in November, yes that is more than enough time. Leave the handbooks aside for the time being, and collect 2011-2013 recalls. Print them, organize them. Read them all. DO NOT answer them since you will be doing that during the course. Get familiar with the recalls, the repeated questions, the repeated questions, and specially the variations. People sometimes are silly and still think that by learning a bunch of recalls they will pass the exam. Some succeed but I deem it too risk (and mediocre) to give this as an advise. Besides even the bridging course are not like that anymore, because it doesn't work that way anymore. The questions are changing too fast. And be careful because everyone is easy to give advises (even me) and sometimes what works for me maybe doesn't work for you, or my experience of the exam ends up being completely different from yours.

    Think of those people who get lots of ECG questions, or those who say I barely got 1 ECG. The same for ophthalmology, vaccination, obstetrics. Ask enough people around and eventually you realize you cannot make a predictable narrative of what will happen in the exam, so you have to "prepare" for all possible scenarios: know your recalls, know your topics, review stuff you are weak in, specially if its in the topics/recalls.

    Sorry I don't answer questions anymore around here. I come to the forum one every month or two months. I'm too busy with the bridging course, with life and well.... doing stuff :-) Good luck to everyone

  • Thanks for replying.

  • Nidhi October 2013

    I joined vmpf, and they suddenly postponed the course 2 weeks ahead and also said..the next date is also not confirmed and may get cancelled in the last moment.
    Is vmpf so unreliable? PlZZ Help :(

  • rahi October 2013

    Thank u very much Dr Rodius.

  • rahi October 2013

    Hi Shima,
    I think it's good to read the handbook of MCQ very well to make urself aware of their question pattern n then read the John murtagh for those relevant topics.There r few topics which is not found in details in John murtagh so u should go through the Oxford Books for those.Collect the recent recalls n solve them as well.wish u all the best

  • Afifahnadeem March 2014

    Hi there I am planning to appear for mcq exam in August -September 2014 . I am in Canberra. Can anybody tell me if there is any mcq preparation course in Canberra or any good online course. It's difficult for me to attend a full time course in Sydney are there any part time preparation courses for mcq exam near Canberra or in Sydney.

  • saim April 2014

    HI..... I am working in Saudiarabia and preparing for AMC clinical exam. I want to attend a good exam preparation full time course of 4 or 5 week duration in Australia. it's not possible for me to get vacations from my job for more that 6 week course. Please give me suggestions.

  • trowa April 2014


    I have AMC MCQ study material and past recall papers available for sale for a low price. If you are interested please contact me, I can send you the list of material thats available and also give you some sample questions to have a look. If you are interested please email me passamc2014@yahoo.com

  • dranandk April 2014

    hi guys...I'm from India...currenty doing my internship...ill be done with my graduation MBBS during september/october this year...im planning to study for AMC...i wanna know if reading indian pg books will help me...??? and what all should i be reading...??? at what position one has to work or study after clearing AMC and ielts...??? are there enough jobs available...??? are we paid enough to support ourself...??? how to start with residency/specialization

  • Suppi_k August 2015

    Hi, are there any good bridging courses available in Sidney? Cuz everything seems to be in Melbourne! Thanks.

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