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  • The Review Course in Family Medicine

BREAKING NEWS for CCFP EXAM - SAMPs Instructions Just Changed

"CPR" is NOT ALLOWED – New List of Answers Always Marked Wrong

The CFPC has just posted several changes to the Short Answer Management Problems (SAMPs) section of the CCFP exam, including a revised list of items that are always marked incorrect.

Though no formal announcement has been disseminated, the new SAMPs Instructions to the Candidate document was recently obtained by The Review Course faculty. The list has increased to 15 Candidate Instructions, compared to previous versions with either 9 or 10 items.

There is no specific mention of an implementation or publication date, and the document also lacks a version number. However, the new version of the document has only been made available in recent days. As well, old versions of the document are still available in other locations on the CFPC’s website, suggesting the changes are in effect for the Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 CCFP exam.

Residents and practice-eligible candidates writing the CCFP exam SAMPs should be aware of the following changes:

1. NEW - “Drug screen” is NOT ALLOWED as an answer The new version states “For example, CBC, electrolytes, drug screen, and arterial blood gases are not acceptable answers”

2. NEW – "CPR" is NOT ALLOWED The new document states, “‘ABC’ or ‘CPR’ as a management option is not acceptable”. But wait - it’s not because every patient on the exam is DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) – they go on to clarify, “The specific maneuvers should be listed if appropriate, e.g., intubation, chest compressions, defibrillation.”

3. NEW – “Lipid Profile” & “Cultures and sensitivities” are ALLOWED as answers The older version of the SAMPs instructions states, “lipid profile and arterial blood gases are not acceptable.” The new document states, “The following three grouped tests are the only allowable exceptions on this examination. Urinalysis, Cultures and sensitivities, and Lipid profile.”

4. O2 is NOT A DRUG

“Oxygen (O2) and IV fluids are treatment or management options. They are NOT considered medications”

5. Avoid zebras - list common diagnoses first New on this list is the guidance that “when providing a differential diagnosis, consider the more likely, important, or life-threatening diagnoses rather than potentially rare or unlikely conditions.”

Several items on the list are still unchanged. You should still be specific when ordering imaging, as you must list the body part (“Abdominal Ultrasound,” not “Ultrasound”, for example).

It can be a challenge to keep up with the exam changes and recent guideline updates on all of The 105 Topics.

That’s why The Review Course two-day events are packed full of Exam Habits, which are tips and tricks that have helped thousands of exam candidates easily remember what’s OK to write, and what will cost you marks on your exam.

In other words, don’t write your exam without knowing The Review Course Exam Habits, which are like the ABCs of the CCFP exam… especially the fact that you can’t write “ABCs” on the CCFP exam!

To read the full version of the newest document from the CFPC’s website, head to and click on SAMPS Instructions to the Candidate.

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