One of the most frequent topics between foreign medical doctors who are in the search of a better future in Germany is how to pass this holy exam in order to turn a new page in their professional lives. I feel privileged to share my story about passing my FSP from the first attempt and most of the good aspects regarding this exam to give my colleagues some positive energy and motivation. Here are some useful tips that helped me very much in accomplishing this part:
-My clinical case was a 50 y.o. woman with acute pancreatitis.
-The exam consists of three parts: 1. Taking notes from patient’s anamnesis, 2. Arztbrief 3. Communication with Head of the department. There are two examiners in the pannel (medical doctor and a linguist) and an actor who is assigned for patients role. Most of the questions were asked by doctors, very seldom by linguists (at least in my case).
-For the first part I have prepared my scheme of questions helping myself with the book “Deutsch für Ärztinnen und Ärzte” and questions that I frequently use at my work as a general practitioner/ER doctor. It saves time, leads one to an accurate diagnosis and this scheme gives one bonus point at the exam. When examiners ask about your current working status, do not hesitate to give them a good insight into what you do and how do things function in your country (they found my story very interesting as I have been working for nearly a decade in villages, on islands and areas of special needs in Croatia). The next part is interviewing the patient in which this wonderfully developed scheme of questions can be used. One hint: during the interview, speak loudly and clearly (diction is an additional point, trust me!). 20 minutes for this part is more than optimal, so no place for panic, indeed!
-For the second part it is extremely important to handle your limited time in order to write down all data using full sentences and correct grammatic construction. Learn to utilise Konjunktiv 1. in the indirect speech and try to write in one tense. In practising this part I used to prepare myself giving myself only 17 minutes to complete the letter, and at the exam, it truly worked out. I have completed this part half a minute before my time was out. Good tip: try not to use too complicated constructions, as the time is very limited, make the points clear and readable for your Oberarzt.
-For the third part, while in the waiting room after writing down my “Arztbrief” I was figuring out in my head how to give the best possible insight into my patient situation and further measures to be undertaken. At this point I felt quite exhausted, but determined to make all of this behind me in half an hour I said to myself- the show must go on! And it really went in the style of constructing a small libretto for a 20-minutes duration opera 🙂 In my situation, I have acted as a doctor who worked on an island (but I really worked on an island, haha) and telephoned the emergency department in a hospital in my hometown in Croatia. It was hilarious, but the panel like it. After we finished this part of the presentation that was not too long, the doctor asked me a few general questions regarding medical procedures in emergency and what I do before I send my patient on a helicopter for transport to the hospital. In this part, it is best to talk only from your own working experience. When one knows how to develop a good story, the pannel seem to be very satisfied. The last small fragment of this third part is questioning your vocabulary; you get 5 words in the medical language then you have to translate them or just explain in general German language what is it about. This was a small surprise for me as I did not expect this part but in the end, it really went very well.
-The panel were very pleasant during the exam, for me personally, I did not expect that people would be quite relaxed and nice towards us who have to deal with such an amount of stress. At a certain point, we were laughing as the pannel was really interested in my story about working in such isolated places that tend to be very challenging but also inspiring to write down a new libretto.
-I was lucky enough to find amazing German language teachers Frau Alexandra Marschner and Frau Dörte Deimig at the VHS Pankow in Berlin who prepared me for my B2 exam and C1 FSP, for better insight feel free to visit their website: https://wortsfremd.eu/intro-en . Thank you from my heart for your tremendous help, you are a true inspiration! I could not believe that I managed to get so fast to this level, only in a year and 2 months!! To be honest, it would not be possible without devoted teachers who are truly amazing!
-Learning material as “Deutsch für Ärztinnen und Ärzte”, a small Bible for doctors. In this book, one can find one of the best guidelines for taking anamnesis and writing all the necessary data for constructing “Arztbrief”. I focused myself on the main point of this book through these two crucial chapters about anamnesis and a few good samples of “Arztbrief”.
-There were so many questions about how to prepare oneself for the third part of the exam- discussion with the Head of the Clinic about the admitted patient. To be honest, I did not make any special preparatory rituals for this part, as many of my colleagues who went through this led by their experience said that this part of the exam was very spontaneous. A good thing would be to make a short, conscious statement about patients health and factors that are in correlation with the illness. Note that, even if one forgets something from the first part of the exam and has it in mind, one can mention this additionally in the third part. It would also be beneficial to mention this great book as an amazing repetitory for doctors.
-These advices may not be the best for very young doctors who have just obtained their working licence as they lack experience and the least attractive part of the medicine is Family/General Medicine and ER. My working experience dates since February 2010 and working in this kind of circumstances gave me a good insight not only in one medical field but nearly all of them. The same is in learning a new quite difficult language, focus not only on medical terminology but also do not be hesitant to read other literature from your favourite authors or even German authors from 18/19/20 th centuries, why not? It develops the way how one expresses himself and develops general knowledge to lead endless conversations 🙂
I hope that at least some of you found this post helpful, not only for the sake of learning for the exam but also for how to give your best and make good interaction with people. I wish you success and good memories from this exam!
For any questions and additional literature, feel free to e-mail me via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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