Examination Emergency Medicine

Examination Emergency Medicine is a detailed fellowship exam guide to assist emergency medicine trainees; it is intended as a guide to supplement material available from ACEM and covers the preferred nature and format of question types that has evolved – for example a shift towards using photos that show clinical problems, rather than equipment or therapies in the VAQ section. Available in kindle edition or paperback edition.



  • Garry Wilkes, Bronwyn Peirce, Carole Foot and Joseph Ting

Table of Contents:

  • Chapter 1: Preparation for the Fellowship Examination
  • Chapter 2: Multiple Choice Questions
  • Chapter 3: Short Answer Questions
  • Chapter 4: Visual Aid Questions
  • Chapter 5: Long Cases
  • Chapter 6: Short Cases
  • Chapter 7: Structured Clinical Examination (SCE)
  • Chapter 8: Publication / Presentation Requirement
  • Chapter 9: The Medical Literature
    • Part A – The Emergency Physician’s Guide to Basic Statistics
    • Part B – An Overview of EBM
    • Part C – Important Papers

Examination Emergency Medicine is the first textbook to directly address the practical aspects of passing the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) Fellowship examination will quickly become a ‘must read’ for all potential candidates.

This is a short book, easily digested in a couple of sessions if you don’t do the practice questions.  It contains very practical advice on general preparation for the exam as well as detailed discussions and tips on each of the 6 individual components of the exam.

Particular emphasis is placed on the Visual Aid Question (VAQ) and Short Answer Question (SAQ) components, with a large number of sample questions provided for both sections, most of which have clearly laid out model answers. The model answer templates highlight specific areas of knowledge that candidates should include in their responses to demonstrate understanding of the more practical aspects of emergency care (eg ‘prepare the department’, ‘monitoring and supportive care’, ‘obtain more information from patient records’) as well as (examinable) administrative topics such as how to deal with complaints that are not included in most standard textbooks.

Unfortunately, the book is far from perfect. There are a number of fairly basic errors, including factual (incorrect description of an ECG – VAQ 4.34) as well as errors of omission (management of a paediatric fracture with no mention of psychological aspects or involvement of a parent – VAQ 4.39). Some sections are ambiguous (do you need to pass four stations or five to pass the SCE – p3?) and the short chapter on statistics goes contrary to conventional teaching by stating that sensitivity refers to ‘rule in’ (p190).

The overall quality of the image reproductions, especially the XR’s, is poor and the book could have benefited from either a CD ROM or password protected access to a web page with clearer and, perhaps, changing, questions and answers.  Like all textbooks, it is dated as soon as it hits the press and readers would be wise to check the College guidelines for changes to the examination process.

As the authors state, this book is designed to complement rather than substitute for a well designed and supervised study program run by a DEMT.  As a candidate preparing for the exams in February 2009, I have found it a useful ‘primer’ for study preparation and I would not be surprised if all DEMT’s recommend a copy to their trainees.


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