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Study Resources

Here are some resources I have used and would recommend for your study for the CCFP Exam, roughly in order of how effective I feel they are:

  1. Swanson's Family Medicine Review — My favourite study resource bar none! An American textbook (although I've been told Swanson himself was Canadian) focused on the AAFP examinations, but nonetheless broad enough in scope to touch on most if not all of what we need to know for the CCFP exam.

    Why do I love it? It's case-based: it holds my attention as I work through a presenting complaint, differential, management, and then I come out on the other side knowing more about a particular condition. Highly recommended, and a good resource that can hold your attention when you're burnt out from learning "bullet point medicine".

  2. The Practice Based Small Group (PBSG) Learning Program (a.k.a. "The McMaster PBLs") — The McMaster PBLs are a good resource for the CCFP, and useful for Mainpro credit once you're out into solo practice. If your Department doesn't provide you access, then beg them to get it. The University of Saskatchewan academic half-days usually include at least one of these. Each PBL works through a topic in great detail, with 2-3 cases, questions to prompt learning, as well as thoroughly-referenced and researched explanations.

  3. Dr. Mike Kirlew’s CCFP podcasts (iTunes) — Dr. Mike Kirlew practices in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, and his lectures are mostly focused on OSCE content rather than the 99 Topics, which I think complements this podcast nicely. I find his lecture style a tad scattered, and unfortunately the lectures don't have an accompanying description at this time (to match up to particular topics), but the content is fantastic, and he has a knack for simplifying complex content. Highly recommended.

  4. The Guide to the Canadian Family Medicine Examination — Published in 2013, it was created as an initiative of the University of Saskatchewan Family Medicine Residents at the time, along with faculty support. I think this book is great, although it's getting a bit out of date. It is brief but thorough — if you read through it from cover to cover, which won't take you very long, you'll have a great idea of what you know and what you don't, and where you need to focus your studies.

  5. Family Medicine Notes by Dr. Danielle O'Toole — These are compiled study notes from Dr. Danielle O'Toole, a former Family Medicine Resident, now practicing in Academic Family Medicine at McMaster. They are updated yearly, and comprehensive in scope. These study notes are quite condensed, but fairly comprehensively cover the topics. She has sample pages available on her website — have a look and see what you think.

  6. Bates' Guide to Physical Examination and History-Taking — Last but not least, if you need to brush up on your physical examination skills, which are a core component of both the MCCQE2 and CCFP examinations (but are generally considered prior knowledge from medical school), this is the book for you. Everything you need to know, with lots of pictures.

Do you have study resources that I haven't covered here that you think are awesome? Let me know via email or Twitter.