This week almost 300 psychiatric trainees have been sitting our first ever online diet of the CASC, in what is believed to be the largest scale fully-remote OSCE run by a UK medical royal college.
In total, 495 candidates are due to sit the College’s CASC this September – which has been put onto a digital platform in response to the unprecedented challenges created by the pandemic.
While almost all the candidates sitting the CASC have been able to complete the exam, from remote locations, some people have encountered delays and technical issues – which we are working hard to rectify.
Delivering an online CASC has required hundreds of College examiners to volunteer their time to examine candidates via a new online platform, and we are very grateful to them all.
One of the challenges for the College has been that in order to enable candidates progress to national recruitment in time, we had just five months to migrate the CASC online in a project that, in normal times, would have taken up to two years to complete.
Many other colleges had been hoping to run face to face clinical exams at exam centres this autumn, but they are now having to contemplate cancelling their exams due to concerns about a second wave.
The CASC is a very complex operation that requires an examiner, invigilator and role player aligned in the system before we can start each station, which means for every eight candidates, we need an additional 24 people moving through the system in synchronicity.
Arranging it in a physical setting is incredibly complex, but bringing it together online has introduced extra challenges – and the project to rapidly deliver an online CASC has been complex and required the input of a huge team, comprised of members and staff.
Chief Examiner Ian Hall said: “We are very conscious of the importance of this exam to enable people to progress with their training. We are immensely grateful to our examiners and candidates for working with us, as we deliver what has necessarily been a very different sort of CASC, due to the restrictions imposed on us all by the pandemic.”
The exam will continue until 18 September, and we wish all candidates the best of luck.