ACEM Fellowship Examination

Trainees complete the Fellowship Exam during Advanced Training. The exam consists of a written component and a clinical component; candidates are examined at consultant level, with a focus on knowledge-application. 

Eligibility & Application
Dates and Fees
Structure
Resources
Contact
& Help
Image: clinical assessment

The Application Process

To apply for the Fellowship examination, you will need to complete and return the forms by the relevant application closing date. 

The application must reach the College by close of business on the closing date specified. An application must be made using the Application Form (applications are now closed).

Unacceptable Applications

An application will NOT be accepted in the following circumstances:
  • If it is not received at the College by close of business on the specified closing date; or
  • If it is incomplete in any way (including hand signatures where indicated); or
  • If, at the application closing date for the examination in question, any outstanding fees of whatsoever nature have not been paid in full.

Eligibility Requirements (Written):

Candidates for the FEx (Written) must meet the following criteria:
  • They must be a registered and financial trainee of the College
  • They must hold current registration to practice medicine in Australia or in New Zealand
  • They must have progressed to Late Phase Advanced Training in the ACEM training program, having successfully completed the 'Early-Phase' WBA requirements, which includes completion of at least 12 months (of the 30 month minimum) of accredited ED time in Advanced Training (excluding any required remediation time).
Candidates must have met these eligibility criteria, as per official College records, by the relevant application closing date.
 

Eligibility Requirements (Clinical):

Candidates for the FEx (Clinical) must meet all of the following criteria:
  • They must be a registered and financial trainee of the College
  • They must hold current registration to practice medicine in Australia or in New Zealand
  • They must have completed at least 36 months of the 48 months of accredited Advanced Training time prior to the relevant examination application closing date (not including any required remediation time)
  • They must have satisfied the trainee research requirement
  • They must have successfully completed the FEx (Written)
Candidates must met these eligibility criteria, as per official College records, by the relevant application closing date.
 

Withdrawal / Termination of candidature

Notification of withdrawal from an examination must be made to the College in writing using the withdrawal form below. Provided that written notice of withdrawal is received prior to the application closing date as specified on the application form, a refund of the examination fee may be requested. To withdraw from the Fellowship Exam, please complete the Withdrawal Form.

Late withdrawal

A candidate who withdraws from the examination after the application closing date, or who fails to present for any part of the examination, is not entitled to a refund of the examination fee.

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Examination Applications Open Application Closing
Date and Withdrawal
Deadline
Examination
Date

 
Examination 
Location
Examination
Fee (AUD)
FEx
(Written)
2017.1
25 Nov 2016 20 Jan 2017 24 Feb 2017 All regions $1850
FEx
(Clinical)
2017.1A
27 Feb 2017 7 April 2017 15-20 May 2017*
 
Melbourne $2655
FEx
(Clinical)
2017.1B
27 Feb 2017 7 April 2017 17-22 Jul 2017* Melbourne $2655
FEx
(Written)
2017.2
29 May 2017 7 July 2017 18 Aug 2017 All regions $1850
FEx
(Clinical)
2017.2
21 Aug 2017 2 Oct 2017 30 Oct - 4 Nov 2017* Melbourne $2655

*Please note clinical examination dates are subject to change within these dates dependent on candidate numbers.

The written and clinical components of the Fellowship Exam (FEx) are divided into separate, stand-alone assessments. All components of the FEx are assessed at consultant level. These two assessments are summarised in the table below:

 
Fellowship Examination Item format Total testing time Number of items
Written Select Choice Questions:
  • Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • Extended Matching Questions (EMQs)
180 minutes Up to 120 questions
Short Answer Questions (SAQs) 180 minutes Up to 30 questions
Clinical Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) 180 minutes Up to 16 stations


Fellowship Examination (FEx) - Written

Focus:
The FEx (Written) will:
  • Examine at consultant level, with a focus on knowledge-application
  • Be a separate assessment from the FEx (Clinical)
Format:
The FEx (Written) will comprise two components:

1. Select-choice Question
  • Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) - Each MCQ comprises a stem (i.e. a short lead-in phrase) and a number of alternative options for response. The correct response is presented, along with a number of plausible distractors. The MCQs will be written to current best-practice guidelines. In the ACEM format, trainees select one best option from four options.
  • Extended Matching Questions (EMQs) - Each set of EMQs comprise a theme (e.g. a particular presentation, investigation, diagnosis, or treatment); a list of possible options (i.e. options related to the theme), and a number of stems requiring a response chosen from the list.  In the ACEM format, trainees select one best option from the options provided (which could be up to 25 options).
The proportion of MCQs to EMQs in each paper is not fixed. It is likely that the proportion of EMQs will expand over time. The total number of items in each exam will remain constant.  The select-choice question component of the written exam will be undertaken online.

2. Short Answer Question (SAQ)

The SAQ component will use questions that are highly structured and specific, with responses that will require single words or short phrases, rather than mini-essays.  The key feature of SAQs is that they allow the trainee to demonstrate the integration of their knowledge and application of this knowledge to clinical scenarios. SAQs will generally be of the format where the candidate is given a clinical or ED related scenario, followed by specific related questions that can be answered using relatively few words or short statements. When asked for a defined number of answers, additional marks will not be given for additional responses. The most relevant/highest priority responses should be listed.
 
The written examination will be held on a single day and comprise 2 x 180 minutes papers with a break in between. There will be no designated reading time for either parts of the Fellowship Exam (written). Each format of the paper (MCQ/ EMQ) and SAQ has been designed to incorporate the need to read the questions.

Example Fellowship Exam (written) questions are available in the Resource tab. 
 

Fellowship Examination (FEx) Clinical

Focus:
The FEx (Clinical) will:
  • Examine at consultant-level, with a focus on knowledge-application, skills and attributes
  • Be a separate assessment from the FEx (written)
Format:
The FEx (Clinical) will comprise one component:

1. Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
A set of clinical examination stations. The OSCE stations may include standardised patients, observation stations, clinical scenarios, communication scenarios and simulations of management of critically ill patients.

Most stations will be of ten minutes duration. Where appropriate, there may be ‘double length’ OSCEs allowing assessment of more complex competencies such as a simulated resuscitation station or sequential management aspects of the same clinical scenario. The administration of the test may include rest stations. 

There will be either one or two examiners in each station appropriate to the case. Where an examiner is required to role play, the other examiner will be present to observe and assess. The format of the OSCEs will involve candidates moving sequentially from one station to another in a timed fashion.

OSCE example stations and videos are available in the Resources tab.
 

What to wear and what to bring to the ACEM Fellowship Exam (Clinical)

What to wear
In the OSCE exam, candidates will be expected to perform tasks (including physical examinations and procedures) as you would at work. You should dress appropriately. Wear something that you would feel comfortable in during a clinical shift and that you consider would be acceptable to all patients you might encounter in such a shift in a mixed adult/paediatric department.
 
The following guidelines should help you to decide how to dress for the exam:
  • If you elect to wear scrubs you should ensure that they do not have any identifying information on them (e.g. name of trainee or name of hospital)
  • Please note that there are no changing facilities at the exam centre. If you want to wear scrubs you will need to arrive at the exam centre wearing them
  • The most important thing to remember is that you need to be able to perform as you would at work (e.g. able to comfortably examine patients, conduct a resus, perform a procedure etc.)
  •  It is considered sensible to follow the following guidelines:
    • Wear closed shoes that protect your feet.
    • Do not wear high heels.
    • Do not wear jeans or ripped /scruffy clothes.
What should I bring?
Please bring the stethoscope you use at work to the exam.
Any other equipment needed at the exam will be provided for you.
No food or drink permitted in the exam room except for water in clear, plastic, non-spill bottles.
 

Fellowship Exam Standard Setting 

The examination pass mark for each examination will be set by formal standard setting processes by a panel of experts (consultant emergency medicine physicians). The standard setting processes enable a consistent standard to be set across different examinations, ensuring the examination is maintained at the level of consultant, and that an appropriate pass standard is applied to all trainees irrespective of the difficulty of the particular exam they attempt.
 
There are different methods for standard setting, each described in educational literature. A standard setting workshop is held for each examination to determine the ‘cut score’ (or pass mark) for that exam. This ensures that, over time, the same standard is required to pass each examination, and therefore, trainees are not disadvantaged when, by chance, the questions in an individual examination are easier or harder, than in other sittings. For the MCQs, EMQs and SAQs, ACEM has selected a modified Angoff method. In this method, a panel of subject matter experts collaborate to make a judgement of the expected performance of a borderline candidate for each exam question. These judgements are then combined to calculate a cut score for each paper.
 
There is no pre-determined pass mark for the exam and there is also no specified number of questions to ‘pass’. Candidates are required to ‘pass’ each paper as determined by the standard setting process.  The pass mark cannot be released before an exam but candidates will be able to review their score and the score required to pass on completion of the exam. 
 

Candidate Feedback

Examination questions will not be made available following each examination sitting.  The Fellowship Examination content will be used to create robust and validated item banks for the examination use. There will be a timely and detailed examination report released after each examination. Candidates who were unsucessful will have access to this report and their results. This should be used to assist candidates in developing a learning plan with their DEMT. To assist with exam preparation, the practice of providing example questions will be ongoing.

Need further information?
You can download a copy of the ACEM Exam Writing Guide.  

All Trainees and Fellows are invited to submit Fellowship Exam example questions using the template provided in this guide to the Assessment Team at E: Fellowship.Exam@acem.org.au  

Contact the Assessment Team at E: Fellowship.Exam@acem.org.au  

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Preparing for the Fellowship Exam 

The following PDF documents have been created to help you prepare for the exam, the resources contain information on the code of conduct, marking scheme and results. Candidates are requested to fully familiarise themselves with the information contained in each PDF. Information on what to wear and what to bring is on the Structure tab. 

Important notices

August
ESCommunication

May
ESCommunication 
Changes to Number of Exam Attempts
Fellowship Exam SAQ Paper Process

January
AttentionTrainees - Additional OSCE Announcement

2015
November
SAQ Paper Development Update

Resources to Help You Prepare

ACEM has developed a range of resources to help candidates prepare for the Fellowship Exam. The following resources are located within this page:
In addition to the above resources, the following links will redirect you to other pages on the ACEM website:

FEx (Written) Example Questions:

  • Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • Extended Matching Questions (EMQs)
  • Short Answer Questions (SAQs) *NEW items added*

FEx (Clinical) Example Questions:

OSCE Example Videos:

ACEM Assessors and trainees can watch the 3 videos below to prepare for the FEx (Clinical) format from 2015. Two example OSCE scenarios are provided – ECG and Acute Asthma Management. You can use these to familiarise yourself with ACEM OSCEs.

How to review each video scenario
1.       Read “Instructions given to the candidate”
2.       Watch video example
3.       Read “Examiner assessment criteria”
4.       Compare your ratings with your colleagues.

OSCE SCENARIO – ECG
For this scenario examples of 2 levels of performance are provided for the same OSCE.

OSCE Example 1 – ECG SCENARIO
This is the first example of an ECG scenario. In the “instructions to candidates” you will find more information about this scenario including the clinical context. Read the instructions, watch the video, and compare your ratings with your colleagues. 

1. Instructions to candidate (PDF)
2. ECG Video example 1 

3. Examiner Assessment Criteria (PDF)
4. How did your colleagues rate this scenario? What feedback did they provide the candidate?


OSCE Example 2 – ECG SCENARIO
This is the second example of an ECG scenario showing a different performance to Example 1. In the “instructions to candidates” you can view the information about this scenario given to the candidate, including the clinical context. Read the instructions, watch the video, and compare your ratings with your colleagues. 

1. Instructions to candidate (PDF)
2. ECG Video example 2

3. Examiner Assessment Criteria (PDF)
4. How did your colleagues rate this scenario? What feedback did they provide the candidate?

OSCE – ASTHMA MANAGEMENT SCENARIO
This scenario is about asthma management. In the “instructions to candidates” you can see the information about this scenario given to the candidate, including the clinical context. Read the instructions, watch the video, and compare your ratings with your colleagues. 

1. Instructions to candidate (PDF)
2. Asthma Management Video
 

3. Examiner Assessment Criteria (PDF)
4. How did your colleagues rate this scenario? What feedback did they provide the candidate?

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Best of Web EM Reviewed Resources 

The following resources have been reviewed by at least two ACEM members for clinical accuracy, educational merit and technical competency. They have been recommended for exam preparation and self-directed learning.

Website icon  EDExam
  Andy Buck, Australia
  Free
 
Reviewer 1, FACEM, NT-
 "Website specifically devoted to the ACEM Fellowship exam. Multiple resources available but podcasts are the hidden gems for exam candidates."


Reviewer 2, FACEM, NZ-Ratings 4.4.5
"Great Fellowship exam resource. Multiple links worth exploring."

VIEW RESOURCE 

Target audience: Advanced Trainees
Educational use: Exam preparation (Fellowship), Self-directed learning, Teaching resource
Curriculum domain: Scholarship and Teaching, Medical Expertise 

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Icon videoEric's Medical Lectures 
Eric Strong, YouTube Channel, USA
Free

Reviewer 1, FACEM, QLD-Image: 3.4.4 rating
"Information given in easy to follow manner. Learning objectives discussed at the beginning. Youtube based - easy to navigate. Able to discuss and ask questions at the bottom." 

Reviewer 2, FACEM, VIC-Image: 4.3.4
"Good review source for Fellowship candidates, and refreshing update for a wide range of College members."

VIEW RESOURCE

Target audience: FACEMs and Trainees
Educational use: Exam preparation (Fellowship), Exam Preparation (Primary) Self-directed learning, Teaching resource
Curriculum domain: Medical Expertise, Scholarship and Teaching

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Website iconFellowship Exams Page (FACEM and FCEM)
EmergencyPedia, Dr Andrew Coggins, Australia
Free

Reviewer 1, FACEM, VIC-
"Great resource for Fellowship Examination candidates. I think this will benefit them greatly."

Area of concern
The information contained is current and extensive, however, with a change to the FACEM Fellowship Examination in 2014, these notes may be less beneficial to Advanced Trainees. The concepts and learning practices are sound though.

Reviewer 2, Advanced Trainee, VIC-
"Helpful for ACEM Fellowship exam preparation. Many helpful tips and tricks!"

VIEW RESOURCE

Target audience: Advanced Trainees
Educational use: Exam preparation (Fellowship), Self-directed learning, Teaching resource
Curriculum domain:  Medical Expertise, Scholarship and Teaching

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Icon: websiteLife in the Fast Lane
Website, Australia, free

Reviewer 1, FACEM, QLD-Image: 5 star rating
""The BEST resource that I have come across in the recent past. Well maintained, user friendly website with EXCELLENT structure. Highly recommended to ALL Emergency/critical care doctors, nurses & students."

Area of concern
Some content may be opinion based.

 Reviewer 2, FACEM, WA- Ratings 5.4.4
"A very useful resource particularly for exam preparation for FACEM Fellowship. Good ECG section. Clinical cases are useful for review and self-directed learning."

→VIEW RESOURCE

Target audience: All ACEM members 
Educational use: Self-directed learning, Exam preparation (Primary and Fellowship), Teaching resource
Curriculum domain: Medical Expertise, Communication, Scholarship and Teaching

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App iconPractice Exams in Emergency Medicine 
Elsevier Australia, Waruna De Alwis and Yolande Weiner
Australia, $50

Reviewer 1, FACEM, VIC-Image: 4.5.5 rating
"This app can be used offline also, and has a wealth of questions and referenced discussions. Really useful for ACEM Exam preparation once a knowledge base has been developed."

Area of concern
Some minor typographical and layout issues but overall a really useful app.

Reviewer 2- FACEM, VIC-
"Great app for preparation of the written exams. The timed exams are useful to simulate the examination scenario." 

VIEW RESOURCE

Target audience: Advanced Trainees
Educational use: Exam preparation (Fellowship), Self-directed learning, Teaching resource
Curriculum domain: Scholarship and Teaching, Medical Expertise 

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App iconLoggED
Kishan Ajjampur, Australia, $10
Reviewer 1, FACEM, NSW-Rating 5.5.4
"Very good smart-phone editable resource for recording clinical procedures and patient follow-up. Exports to excel and backups to dropbox. With a couple of tweaks, it could be perfect. I loved the patient following capacity."

Area of concern 
On the whole this is a great resource, but there are a few bugs / deficiencies (in this android version): 
  • Deficiencies: It would have been handy to have an opportunity to have distinct fields - where procedure was done i.e Hospital name / Pre-hospital; whether a WBA was done for the procedure. Developer response: this will be implemented in the next update (approx: Sept 2014) 
  • Suggestion: Sync both ways with dropbox. For example, if we have excel records of procedures, it would be handy to import into this app to make it a stand alone app, instead of a data entry device for viewing in excel at a later date. Developer response: currently in development 
  • Suggestion: The procedure & diagnosis list have a few obvious omissions (sepsis, shock, cardiac arrest, STEMI) but did include some that I would not immediately think would need procedures (eg. haemorrhoid, DVT, anal fissure). Developer response: the app has been designed to be flexible, anyone can add or delete procedures
  • Bugs: The sorting of procedures by procedure type and supervisor did not seem very slick for the few examples I tried it with. Developer response: this will be fixed in the next update
Reviewer 2, FACEM, NSW-Rating 4.4.4
“Excellent app!! efficient and user-friendly. I would think it is very useful to trainees (cataloging paediatric encounters for ACEM) and FACEMs (logging USS information required for CCPU Credentialing) as examples. Every Emergency Physician should have some process of self audit and this app simply makes the process go mobile!”

Area of concern
There is probably a level of concern dealing with how and where the patient information is stored. 

Developer response: The patient information is stored on the phone and is password protected. Information can not be accessed without first unlocking the phone and then unlocking the app. No information is stored online or with the developer. 

Editor note: for any technical concerns, please email the developer.

VIEW RESOURCE

Target audience: All ACEM members 
Educational use: Immediate reference, Teaching resource
Curriculum domains: Medical Expertise, Scholarship & Teaching 

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More Best of Web EM resources  

If you would like more information about the ACEM Fellowship Examination contact the Assessment Team at E: Fellowship.Exam@acem.org.au