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Final tips for the exam
More than 2 months before the exam
Read this book!
Read the Refraction Certificate Examination application details very carefully and contact the Royal College if you have any uncertainties about what is expected of you.
Consider attending a course on refraction. This will no doubt be helpful, but they are expensive and absolutely no substitute for refracting yourself.
Get study leave – not just for the exam but for the week before the exam, during which time you must refract intensively.
Get refracting! Print out Appendix 1, ‘Typical refractive recording sheet’, and fill in for each person you refract. Keep all these sheets so you can keep a record of how many you have done and what you have learnt from each one.
Ideally, get your own retinoscope and borrow a decent trial frame and JCCs so that you are familiar with the equipment that you will use in the examination.
One month before the exam
By now, you will probably have realised that the main limitation to practising is obtaining a free room and a subject to refract. It does not take long to refract everybody in the department, so you will need to look elsewhere.
Try all staff – this includes medical, nursing, health care assistants, students and administrative staff. Another option is to refract patients whilst they are waiting to be seen during clinic.
Aim to refract patients of all ages (children, pre-presbyopic adults, presbyopic adults) and with different characteristics (high myopia, high hypermetropia or aphakia, those with significant astigmatism, those that need prismatic control, small pupils, clear phakic lenses, those with cataract and pseudophakic patients).
Remember to practice both non-cycloplegic and cycloplegic refraction.
Finally, consider booking people in advance into 30-minute slots to refract during your study week to ensure a final burst of resources!
One week before the exam
Concentrate on getting your numbers up by refracting the people that you have booked into your free study week.
Re-confirm that you understand the examination format.
Check you have all the things you will need for the examination:
- your own retinoscope (place fresh batteries in this and take a spare pair)
- a borrowed trial frame and JCCs
- an occluder, rule and pen torch (for the cover test)
- your passport or driving licence (required by examiners to confirm your identity)
- all the examination, accommodation and travel details