logo logo



Preparing for the PACES exam requires a comprehensive and structured approach. Here are some steps to help you prepare effectively:

Understand the exam format: Familiarize yourself with the structure and format of the PACES exam. Understand the different stations, time allocations, and the skills assessed in each station. This will help you tailor your preparation accordingly.

Review clinical knowledge: Refresh your clinical knowledge across various medical specialties. Ensure you have a solid foundation in general medicine, surgery, neurology, and other relevant areas. Review common medical conditions, their presentations, investigations, and management.

Practice clinical skills: Develop and refine your clinical skills, including history-taking and physical examination techniques. Practice different examination manoeuvres, such as auscultation, palpation, and neurological assessments. Focus on accuracy, thoroughness, and efficient time management.

Enhance communication skills: Effective communication is crucial for success in the PACES exam. Practice active listening, empathy, and clear, concise communication. Learn how to explain medical concepts to patients using plain language and how to handle difficult conversations.

Familiarize yourself with ethical principles: Understand the ethical principles guiding medical practice, such as autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice. Learn how to apply these principles to resolve ethical dilemmas and make ethically sound decisions.

Utilize study resources: Utilize reputable study resources to aid your preparation. These may include textbooks, online resources, question banks, and PACES-specific study guides. Choose resources that align with the exam format and cover a wide range of clinical scenarios.

Join study groups or courses: Consider joining study groups or enrolling in PACES preparation courses. Collaborating with peers and receiving guidance from experienced instructors can provide valuable insights, opportunities for practice, and feedback on your performance.

Practice mock stations: Mock stations are invaluable for PACES preparation. Seek out opportunities to participate in mock exams that simulate the PACES format. These mock stations allow you to practice your clinical skills, communication, and decision-making under exam conditions. Analyze your performance and seek feedback to identify areas for improvement.

Time management and exam strategy: Develop effective time management strategies to ensure you complete each station within the allocated time. Prioritize important tasks, make efficient use of available resources, and practice decision-making in time-limited scenarios.

Stay updated and motivated: Keep up with recent advances in medical practice, guidelines, and relevant research. Stay motivated throughout your preparation journey by setting realistic goals, maintaining a study schedule, and seeking support from peers and mentors.

Remember that consistent practice, self-reflection, and continuous improvement are key to succeeding in the PACES exam. Stay focused, maintain a positive mindset, and approach each station with confidence and professionalism. Good luck with your PACES preparation!


Dealing with the Ethics and Communication station in PACES requires a thoughtful and systematic approach. Here's a strategy that can help you navigate this station effectively:

Read the instructions carefully: Begin by reading the instructions provided for the station. Understand the ethical dilemma or communication scenario presented and identify the key issues involved.

Identify the ethical principles: Analyze the scenario to identify the relevant ethical principles at play. Consider autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice. Assess how these principles should guide your approach to the situation.

Take a structured approach: Organize your thoughts and communication by following a structured framework. One commonly used framework is the four-box approach, which involves addressing the patient's feelings, concerns, expectations, and exploring the medical facts. This structured approach can help you cover all important aspects of the communication.

Active listening and empathy: Demonstrate active listening skills by giving the patient your full attention. Show empathy and validate their feelings and concerns. Reflect back their emotions and concerns to ensure that you understand them accurately.

Explain and educate: Provide clear and concise explanations of medical information, procedures, risks, and benefits. Use non-technical language and avoid jargon. Ensure that the patient understands the information by encouraging them to ask questions and checking for their comprehension.

Respect cultural and religious beliefs: Consider the patient's cultural and religious background and how it may influence their values, preferences, and decision-making. Respect diversity and adapt your communication style accordingly. Be sensitive to any cultural or religious considerations that may affect the management or decision-making process.

Shared decision-making: Involve the patient in the decision-making process by discussing available options, their benefits, risks, and alternatives. Respect the patient's autonomy and preferences while providing them with the necessary information to make informed decisions. Seek their input and involve them in the development of a management plan.

Professionalism and closure: Maintain a professional demeanor throughout the station, including body language, eye contact, and tone of voice. Summarize the key points discussed, address any remaining questions or concerns, and ensure that the patient feels supported and informed. Thank them for their time and ask if they have any final questions.

Remember, ethics and communication are intertwined, and your ability to demonstrate ethical considerations while communicating effectively is crucial. Practicing ethical scenarios, seeking feedback from peers or mentors, and familiarizing yourself with ethical guidelines can help you develop a strong strategy for this station.


To effectively handle the Brief Consultation Skills station in PACES, it is important to approach the station with a structured and systematic strategy. Here's a recommended strategy to help you succeed in this station:

Introduction and establishing rapport: Begin by introducing yourself to the patient and confirming their identity. Use a professional and friendly tone to establish a rapport. Make the patient feel comfortable and create a conducive environment for open communication.

Open-ended questions: Start the consultation by asking open-ended questions to allow the patient to express their concerns and provide detailed information. This helps you gather comprehensive information and understand the patient's perspective.

Active listening: Practice active listening skills by giving your full attention to the patient. Maintain eye contact, nod, and use verbal cues to show that you are engaged and interested in what the patient is saying. Avoid interrupting and allow the patient to speak uninterrupted.

Summarization and clarification: Summarize the information provided by the patient to ensure that you have understood their concerns accurately. Repeat or paraphrase their key points and ask for confirmation or additional details if needed. This demonstrates your active listening skills and ensures that you have a clear understanding of the patient's concerns.

Exploration and focused questioning: Ask specific questions to explore the relevant aspects of the patient's concerns. Use focused questioning to gather additional information that may help in the diagnosis or management of the case.

Explanation and reassurance: Use clear and concise language to explain medical information or concepts to the patient. Avoid using jargon and ensure that the patient understands the information provided. Address any concerns or anxieties the patient may have and offer appropriate reassurance.

Empathy and patient-centered approach: Show empathy towards the patient's concerns and emotions. Acknowledge their feelings and demonstrate that you are taking their concerns seriously. Involve the patient in the decision-making process, considering their preferences and values, and explain the reasoning behind your recommendations.

Closure and summary: Summarize the key points discussed during the consultation, including the patient's concerns, relevant findings, and the proposed plan of action. Check if the patient has any further questions or concerns and provide appropriate closure to the consultation.

Professionalism: Maintain a professional demeanor throughout the station, including body language, eye contact, and tone of voice. Respect patient confidentiality and ensure that you handle sensitive information appropriately.

Time management: Keep track of time during the consultation and ensure that you address the patient's concerns effectively within the allocated time frame. Strive for a balanced approach that allows you to gather necessary information, communicate effectively, and manage the consultation efficiently.

Practicing consultation scenarios, receiving feedback, and seeking guidance from mentors can further enhance your performance in the Brief Consultation Skills station. Remember to incorporate ethical considerations and patient-centered care into your approach to showcase your competence in patient interactions.


To pass this career defining exam, it is important to have a well-rounded approach that combines both knowledge and skills. Here are some tips to help you prepare and increase your chances of success:

Understand the exam format: Familiarize yourself with the structure, stations, and expectations of the PACES exam. Understand the time limits for each station and the skills being assessed in each.

Study and revise: Review and consolidate your medical knowledge across various specialties, as the exam covers a wide range of clinical areas. Focus on common conditions and presentations encountered in clinical practice.

Practice clinical skills: Regularly practice and refine your clinical examination skills, such as cardiovascular, respiratory, abdominal, and neurological examinations. Pay attention to accuracy, technique, and the ability to identify abnormalities.

Master communication skills: Develop effective communication and consultation skills. Practice active listening, empathy, and clear explanation of medical information. Consider cultural and ethical aspects of patient care.

Practice with role-play: Engage in role-play scenarios with colleagues or mentors to simulate patient encounters. Practice taking histories, performing examinations, and communicating diagnoses and management plans effectively.

Work on time management: Develop efficient time management skills to ensure that you can gather relevant information, communicate effectively, and complete tasks within the allocated time for each station.

Attend PACES courses: Consider attending dedicated PACES courses or workshops that provide structured training and guidance. These courses often include mock stations and feedback to help you identify areas for improvement.

Seek feedback: Regularly seek feedback from supervisors, mentors, or colleagues. They can provide valuable insights into your strengths and areas that need improvement.

Study in groups: Collaborate with peers for group study sessions, case discussions, and practice sessions. Sharing knowledge, discussing cases, and providing feedback to one another can enhance learning and preparation.

Simulate exam conditions: Practice under exam-like conditions to familiarize yourself with the pressure and time constraints. Use mock exams and timed practice sessions to replicate the exam environment.

Stay organized and manage stress: Develop a study plan, set goals, and allocate time for revision, practice, and self-care. Take breaks, exercise, and maintain a balanced lifestyle to manage stress effectively.

Stay updated and revise recent guidelines: Ensure that your knowledge is up to date by referring to recent guidelines, research articles, and advancements in medical practice.

Remember that success in PACES requires both knowledge and skills. Balancing thorough preparation with effective communication and clinical examination skills is key. Practice regularly, seek feedback, and remain confident in your abilities.