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General Advice for Part A

Tips to help you prepare for the Part A Membership Exam of the Faculty of Public Health

  1. Start your preparation early.
  2. Be prepared to do more work than you think!
  3. Work through the syllabus in a systematic way ensuring you know something about everything listed in the syllabus. Use the information supplied on the Faculty website at: http://www.fph.org.uk/exams/part_1/default.asp
  4. If you tackle one major topic a week over 6 months you will easily have covered everything you need to know and have a month to revise everything a second time!
  5. This exam is all about FRAMEWORKS, learn the Frameworks and use these to structure your answers to questions.
  6. Practising past-questions:
    • think logically - answer using common-sense
    • underline all the key words in the question and then define them, this will help you decide which framework to use
    • Use the model answers of old questions as a revision aid
    • Make notes from old questions as this will increase your knowledge base
    • Don't worry when you think you don't know much about a subject, others will be feeling exactly the same!
  7. Small group working for practising past questions:
    • read up on a topic area and have a vague idea about which frameworks to use
    • select a question
    • cover up the answer and in 5 minutes jot down a skeleton answer
    • then compare with the rest of your study group and finally compare to the Faculty's model answer.
  8. Ensure you read the following regularly:
    • BMJ
    • Health Service Journal
    • Bandolier
    • Journal of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine
  9. With the BMJ and Health Service Journal start from 1 year before you sit your exam. The reason for this is questions cover the most relevant up to date Public Health issues and these often appear in the questions. With regard to the BMJ read 'This Week', the editorial section, 'News' and any papers relevant to public health.
  10. General sources of information
    • Essential Public health - Donaldson and Donaldson: a core text
    • Public Health Practice Resource Pack - Department of Health, 2000: a brief summary of PH
    • Past FPH Exam Questions - available on website (see below)
    • Any notes you may have from a previous MSc
  11. Use the internet, it's an excellent way to gain up-to-date information:
  12. DFPH final tips for the written exam
    • Answer the Question!
    • But also put in as much as you know about the topic
    • STRUCTURE is as important as knowledge
    • PLAN answer carefully
    • CIRCLE all major words in the question
    • Then BRAINSTORM on major words using frameworks & plans
    • Define all terms in title or question
    • Use your common sense
    • State obvious: e.g.: osteoporosis - common problem, more common in women than men, high cost if no prevention...
    • If can't answer, think 'what is the Public Health issue behind this question'
    • SHOW as much knowledge as you can
    • Use numbering and lists if appropriate
    • Use capitals, subheadings and underlining to assist examiner through your answer
    • Re-read questions as you answer them, to check answering correctly
    • Mention examples & government papers/policies - OHN, Acheson Report etc
    • Allow yourself 10-15 minutes at the end to check answered all questions and all parts correctly i.e. 3 out of 5 parts...