One of the most effective ways of learning material and preparing for exams is by practicing similar or past paper questions.
There are numerous books and websites dedicated to providing these questions for a considerable range of exams. One of the popular organizations in the UK, OnExamination has recently released a free universal app which allows access to their considerable question bank (the app is downloadable in the US as well).
OnExamination is a subgroup of the BMJ group which have released other impressive apps including the BMJ journal app and Best Practice amongst others.
OnExamination provides medical questions that reflect the core curriculum for a large range of postgraduate exams not limited to the ones shown in the screenshot below.
The app itself is free and currently limited to the MRCP Part 1 (Membership of Royal College of Physicians) although the developers note that they plan to add more sets of questions shortly.
Opening the app presents the user with the opportunity to try the demo questions or login using their subscriber details. Questions are presented in a clear multiple choice format in both portrait and landscape mode. There are also options to skip the question or review your revision session to date.
There is a helpful explanation that thoroughly explains the answer (whether you got it wrong or not) which helps you build your understanding. A fantastic addition is the ability to access further reading through hyperlinks.
Unfortunately, not all of the links had been added but this a great resource if you don’t understand a challenging question.
At the end of the session, you can review your results, although it is not possible to go back and review the questions you got wrong.
Similarly, if you skip a question, there is no way to go back to it later. One feature which could be useful is the ability to mark questions as “complete” i.e. you know the correct answer and you no longer need them to appear. One OnExamination website feature which does not appear to have made the transfer to the app is the ability to select the difficulty level of questions.
A feature which I couldn’t test was whether the app requires an internet connection to work when you have a subscription. I have reached out to the developers to find out more and will update the comments when I get a response. This is provided in the iTunes info section:
If you are a current onExamination subscriber you will be able to download further questions while online, to revise when you wish with or without a data connection. All scores will be fully synchronised back to your account when you are back online.
- Free, although the app only includes 25 demo questions. Subscribe to OnExamination for access to more.
- Simple easy to use user interface
- Excellent explanations given for each answer
- Ability to review question accuracy at the end of each revision session
- Hyperlinks for further reading
- Not all the useful OnExamination website features have transferred across to the mobile app
- Content obviously currently limited to one exam (MRCP Part 1) although hopefully more soon
- It is great to see a well designed informative practice question resource available for the iPad/iPhone. Time and thought has gone into providing a high quality and simple user interface which helps transfer important information effectively. The current limitation of questions purely for the MRCP Part 1 will (hopefully) be lifted soon and then this app will have considerably more useful applications for healthcare professionals at any stage of their career.