7 Tips to Succeed at your OSCE

Hey future RMTs! I see your OSCEs are FINALLY coming up! About time. So, I’m here to go over some ways I studied and prepared for the OSCES. I hope this helps!

  1. First, head on over to the CMTO website and look at the content that is going to be assessed during your OSCE. Here’s the link. Read it over and in your head either go ” yes, I know that stuff” or “no, I need to refresh my brain on that stuff” . From here, write down what you need to review and spend about 60% of your time reviewing for the material that you don’t know as well. Once more of that information becomes common knowledge, you can narrow down your list of what you need to review.

2. Practice all the different forms of treatments that may be assessed. Practice saying what you are doing for all the treatments and the reasons why. Remember, they may not ask you to do that during the OSCE, but it’s good practice. Next, if you don’t have anyone to practice on, don’t worry. I wish I was kidding, but when I was preparing for the OSCEs, I set up my massage table and put my teddy bear on it and used that. You can even go into your inner mime and mime out the actions.

3. Remember to go over your anatomy and all the landmarks associated. If you have cue cards for this, randomly choose a card and if you can name everything the muscle does, where it’s located, preform the action and name the landmarks near by, then you know that muscle. Same goes for the boney landmarks. If you know where the boney landmark is and you can palpate it on yourself or a friend, you know your stuff. Doing it at random, cemented the fact that I knew where something was and what it did. Bonus, if you know all the answers to the randomly pulled cue card, you can toss it to the side and focus on the muscles or areas that take a bit more thinking power to get through.

4. Go over the trigger points, but don’t spend too much time on them. That’s not where the majority of your assessment is going to come from, but it’s easy points. Understand the general area of the trigger points associated with common muscle pain, like the upper traps, scalenes and QL muscles. Also fun thing I think about often is, while in school we were taught to memorize and understand where trigger points were for a ton of muscles, which is important, don’t get me wrong! But it has the same vibe as teachers saying back in the day “you have to know how to do this math problem without a calculator because you won’t always have one in real life”. I say that because majority of treatment rooms have trigger point posters hanging up, so you can use it as a quick reference for real-life treatment. Okay, rant over about that.

5. Set specific times for you to study and go over the material. I say this as someone who can get obsessive over something. I would find I was trying to relax, I had finished studying for the day and then my brain would randomly go ” how do you treat lymphedema?” and I felt the urge to go through all the steps. If this happens, remind yourself it’s okay to relax and you can study that during your specified study time.

6. Focus on one station when studying at a time. For example, don’t study for both the interview station and treatment station during the same study block. Work on the interview station, once you have LORDFICARA down pat, then move on. You won’t be doing two stations at once, so why study more than one at once?

7. Be confident. One of the most impactful things a teacher said to me at the end of my last outreach was ” be more confident, you know what you are doing.” I took that piece of advice and ran with it, because I did know what I was doing. I went into the school’s OSCEs with a confidence that helped me. Also, if you passed your college’s OSCEs and MCQ, you’re going to pass the provincial exams. The college and teachers in the Massage Therapy program wouldn’t pass you if they didn’t think you were ready, and this is for your benefit. So, if you’re graduated, which I’m assuming you are because you’re eligible to take the OSCEs, then you know your stuff.

Let’s recap here! How to succeed for your OSCEs :

  • Be confident, you know your stuff
  • Spend more time on reviewing the things that aren’t sticking in your brain, and move on once something makes 100% sense
  • Focus on studying for one station at a time and have set study times for each station.
    • Try not to study for 8 hours straight as well, your brain needs a break. I like setting a timer for 1 hour. Stopping at that hour, taking a 30 minute break and getting back into it.
  • Get into the mindset of an actor and practice doing and talking through all the different possible treatments and techniques they may ask for.

Finally, if you need scripts or guidelines for specific treatments or anatomy review, it’s all under the FUTURE RMTs.

Good luck and reach out if you need any other help or guidance!

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