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  • Dr. Atef Tanious MD CCFP with Dr. Simon Moore MD

How I got the top mark in Canada on the CCFP Exam

UPDATE December 2018: Yet again we have been approached by an attendee of The Review Course who told us that she obtained the Top Mark in Canada for practice-eligible candidates in 2018! See her in the video above - Congratulations Dr. Botto!

Original Post - We were thrilled to learn that Dr. Atef Tanious, who attended The Review Course in Vancouver this past February, is receiving the CFPC's Irwin Bean Award. This award is given to the practice-eligible candidate who received the top mark in all of Canada for the Fall and Spring CCFP examinations this year.

We reached out to Dr. Tanious and asked if he would be willing to share how he prepared. Many thanks to Dr. Tanious who agreed to be interviewed and share this information with you!

PART 1: The Short Answer Management Problems (SAMPs)


TRC: What books did you use to prepare for the CCFP exam?

AT: I used Toronto Notes as a reference. I also went through the Red Book and Family Medicine Notes. I wouldn’t recommend relying on these alone; I found that both of these books cover less than everything you should know for the exam.


TRC: What about journals?

AT: I studied the CFP Journals and CMAJ for the year preceding the exam. (Editor's note - sign up for The Review Course Free Exam Study Tips Newsletter and receive the highlights of each month's CFP journal in our CFP: Distilled feature!)

I also reviewed the CFPC's Self Learning from the past 3-5 years.

The Review Course

TRC: Was there anything else you found useful to prepare for the SAMPs?

AT: Attending The Review Course was very valuable. I found it to be an intensive review of the 99 topics, and high yield. At The Review Course I learned how to answer questions and how to prepare for the exam.

When to Start Studying

TRC: When did you start studying for the exam?

AT: I started to prepare in May 2015, and my studying gradually increased until it reached a peak between January and April 2016. I studied the full month before the exam.

TRC: You took off a whole month before the exam to study?

AT: This is my golden advice: I found it was worthwhile to sacrifice my income for the month prior to the exam and take a study leave for a full month before the exam. I thought this was worth it because that way, once I passed the exam, I was able to avoid being on a provisional license under supervision, and I now have the freedom to practice independently.

TRC: Thanks Dr. Tanious! Anything else you want to add?

AT: I would suggest to not rely on your clinical experience; this exam requires studying.

PART 2: The Simulated Office Orals (SOOs)

SOO Preparation

TRC: How did you prepare for the SOOs?

AT: I attended a SOO prep course in Toronto to practice in a real exam setting. The BCCFP mock exam (Editor note: scroll down to BCCFP Exam Practice Sessions) was very good.

TRC: How do you recommend practicing?

AT: I think it is invaluable to practice with a friend on a weekly basis.

Study Tips

TRC: Thanks again for joining us and sharing your helpful tips for people preparing for the CCFP exam. Do you have any final study tips for the SOOs?

AT: The mnemonic I learned at The Review Course, NOPQRST, was easy to memorize for the most important last step in SOOs exam: the plan. The tools I learned at The Review Course gave me more confidence to manage SOO cases in the real exam.

REGISTRATION OPEN! The Review Course Winter 2017 is open now and selling fast! See our registration page for more details.

The products and resources above have not been reviewed by nor endorsed by The Review Course and have not solicited a paid endorsement from The Review Course or Dr. Atef Tanious. The opinions above do not necessarily reflect those of The Review Course in Family Medicine.

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