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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Core Skills for the CASC

James Woollard and Josie Jenkinson

Price: £15.00

Members' discount available

Published: Mar 2016

Format: Paperback

Number of pages: 80

ISBN: 9781909726543

Core Skills for the CASC

Core Skills for the CASC gives practical advice on how to prepare thoroughly for the Clinical Assessment of Skills and Competencies (CASC) exam. It introduces and explains a range of communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal, and outlines how they can be practised and mastered: developing rapport, body language, vocal matching, and different types of questioning. Advanced methods for managing the clinical encounter in the short time allowed for each station are presented, plus advice on how and when to use a more structured approach.

Detailed advice is given on exam preparation from 4–6 months beforehand, both as an individual and through group work, including development of a knowledge base, psychological preparation, reviewing videos of performance and using verbal and written feedback, plus practical advice for the day of the exam.

In addition, the book presents 12 mock stations to enable trainees to put their new techniques into practice - each gives instructions for candidate and actor on how to play out the scenario. These have been written so that the skills presented earlier in the book must be used.


  • Essential primer for anyone preparing for the CASC.
  • Concise guide to clinical communication skills.

Readership: Core (basic) psychiatry trainees.

About the authors:

Dr James Woollard is a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist. He has held national policy development roles, and has taught and presented widely on technology in mental healthcare. From early career training in neuro-linguistic programming, he has developed an interest in advanced communication skills and the link with therapeutic techniques.

Dr Josie Jenkinson is currently a higher specialist trainee in old age psychiatry. She is a past Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Psychiatric Trainees’ Committee and is currently completing a PhD in service evaluation. She has taught extensively at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

James and Josie developed the ‘Core Adaptive Skills for CASC’ course currently run at the College.

"A useful resource for people who plan to sit the examination. ...The contents of the book are comprehensive, practical, concise, and easy to read. The book consists of just 80 pages so it should not take long to grasp the essence of the examination."
- East Asian Archives of Psychiatry (Hong Kong College of Psychiatrists)




Part 1: Core Skills

1. Core communication skills

2. Verbal communication skills

3. Taking control

4. Structured presentations

5. Physical examination skills, investigations and cognitive examination


Part 2: Planning Your Preparation

6. Developing the right knowledge

7. Individual preparation

8. Group preparation

9. The day of the exam


Part 3: Putting Skills into Practice - Mock Stations

10. Mock session 1: Finding your voice

11. Mock session 2: Talking techniques

12. Mock session 3: Taking control

13. Mock session 4: Structured stations






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