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  • Writer's pictureThe Review Course in Family Medicine

How To Get Top Marks In Canada On The CCFP Exam

Over the past few years, several attendees of The Review Course in Family Medicine have received the top mark on the CCFP Exam!

We’re proud that we could be a part of their journey to success. To help YOU prepare, we have asked them for their top tips and thoughts on studying for the SAMPS and how they approached the 99 topics (now the 105 Topics in Family Medicine) and have summarized some of their thoughts below.

Preparing for the Short Answer Management Problems (SAMPs)

Q: When should you start studying for the CCFP exam?

Most people will start intensive studying in January before the spring examination. Study groups are essential, and they should be formed before January. Make sure you and your group stick to a set written schedule. Most people in Residency programs will start some review sessions or start changing your thinking to “What in this patient interaction could be a SAMP question” for every patient you see in clinic.

Q: What is the best CCFP exam study schedule?

Intensive study usually means a set time per day (at least 1 hour) along with at least one day completely off from studying to rest and recharge. Think about your clinical requirements and build a schedule early on that will let you cover the 105 Topics (plus our exclusive resource The Other 105 Topics) to ensure you cover everything that could come up on the exam.

Q: What books should you use to prepare for the CCFP exam?

Different resources work for different people. The Review Course in Family Medicine completed a peer reviewed study of the top study resources available to exam candidates and the results of that study (including links to all the resources) is available here. Most people end up using the Danielle O’Toole Guide to Family Medicine as the backbone to their study. Thousands have attended The Review Course in Family Medicine and consistently say that The Review Course provides “a great study framework” and helps organize your studying on the most important points.

Q: Should you read medical journals to prepare for the CCFP exam?

The Review Course in Family Medicine faculty stay up to date on the Family Practice primary literature, including reading the CFP journal cover to cover every month. CFP journal summaries are through the CFP Distilled email list and the CFP Distilled YouTube channel. Make sure you are signed up and reviewing this great exam-relevant summary every month. ​

Q: Is there anything else useful to prepare for the SAMPs? Every year our faculty create a practice National SAMP Examination with SAMP questions from the CFP Journal articles published that year. What does that mean? That means you can sit and write our practice examination and at the same time have done a complete review of the CFP Journal for that year! You can download one of our Practice SAMP Exams for free.​

Q: What is the most effective CCFP exam study tactic?

Make a study group with no more than 3-4 people. More than that will turn into a social event. Ensure you pick people in your study group that you are comfortable with to challenge you and really push you to know your stuff. ​

Q: Anything else you want to add?

There are a TON of blog posts on The Review Course in Family Medicine website, all available FREE; these are great to quickly review topics on the fly. Also don’t forget to set aside at least 2 3 hour sessions where you sit and force yourself to write a practice examination from The Review Course to build up your stamina for the examination.

Preparing for the Simulated Office Orals

Q: How should you prepare for the SOOs?

The CCFP has a pause on the SOOs for 2021 but they will be back in a different format in the future. We teach specific strategies for SOO preparation at the live in-person course.

Q: How do you recommend practicing for the SOO exam?

Find different people to practice with and being an actor (the patient) is just as important as practicing your interview skills. Ensure you review all of the old examples on the SOO Video Library on the CFPC website early in January and February when the SOOs return.

Q: Do you have any final study tips for the SOOs?

Practice, practice, practice! Repetition will build that mental muscle memory for the real thing. Remember to practice online on Zoom as well and that everything you see or hear in a SOO is a CLUE!


I hope that this page has answered your questions about how to ace your CCFP exam! To ensure all your bases are covered for your CCFP exam, join us for one of our CCFP exam prep courses in 2021.

Registration for 2021 courses is now open! Don’t wait – previous courses have 100% sold out! We have included the option to re-stream the course if you want for 2021 and also have Vital FM Episode 5 with all the latest updates to have you ready for the exam in 2021.



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