Seasonal timing of the Royal College examination in general paediatrics: A survey of residents' preferences
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BACKGROUND: Currently, the general paediatrics examination administered by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada is offered annually in the spring. Controversy exists regarding its seasonal timing. Assessing the views of residents anticipating the examination is relevant to examination administrators. OBJECTIVE: To determine paediatric residents' opinions regarding the timing of the general paediatrics examination. METHODOLOGY: A survey was electronically distributed to all resident members of the Canadian Paediatric Society with an e-mail reminder after one week. Responses were collected independently, forwarded to the authors and summarized using descriptive statistics. Multinomial regression identified predictors of examination preference and estimated prediction value. RESULTS: One hundred sixty-four of 585 surveys (28%) were returned. Common preferences included 'spring of 4th year' (42%) and 'fall of 4th year' (22%). Respondents intending four years of general paediatrics demonstrated a 55% preference for 'spring of 4th year' and 11% for 'fall of 4th year', compared with preferences of 29% and 34%, respectively, for respondents intending three years of general paediatrics followed by subspecialty training (P<0.001). This was confirmed by multinomial regression (OR 2.49; P<0.0001). Increasing training year was associated with increasing support for examination in the fall relative to the spring of 4th year (OR 1.37; P=0.019). CONCLUSIONS: Residents' preferences for the timing of the examination are varied, with 'spring of 4th year' being most preferred. Residents demonstrated stronger support for 'fall of 4th year' with increasing years of training, and if planning to pursue subspecialty training after three years of general paediatrics.
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