Viva preparation

Last revised by Joshua Yap on 14 Oct 2023

Viva preparation is key to successful completion of professional exams. It is really important to think about the types of cases that you will be shown in the viva and prepare orally for them.

So, rather than learning sitting with your books, get a set of films or use the Radiopaedia quiz mode and describe the images that are presented. It is highly favorable to be articulate in the viva and examiners would much prefer to hear somebody who can string a sentence together.

The problem is that good viva technique does not come easily to people who sit in dark rooms for a living - so you need to practice.

You can use a number of systems to help you prepare for the viva (and they will also help for rapid reporting and long case examinations as well as in real life too).

  • consider common pathology

    • for any particular film that is shown, there will be a list of common pathologies that get shown in the exam - make sure you have thought about what they are

  • prepare exam set-pieces

    • if the film goes up and you know what it is without thinking, it looks a lot better if you describe what it is succinctly and offer a differential rather than just saying the diagnosis - it's harder than it sounds!

  • practice systematic reporting

    • be systematic in how you report - it will stand you in good stead when you look at a film and see nothing obvious

  • use pathology checklists

    • in real life, many films are normal but this is not the case in the exam; an apparently normal film usually has some hidden pathology and having a checklist of these is very helpful

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