Critical Appraisal Courses

Duncan Bootland, Evan Coughlan, Robert Galloway

Course directors 

Duncan Bootland (ED Consultant, Brighton and Sussex University NHS Trust) 
Evan Coughlan (ED Consultant, Brighton and Sussex University NHS Trust) 
Rob Galloway (ED Consultant, Brighton and Sussex University NHS Trust) 

Background information

Critical Appraisal is a part of the FRCEM examination that has always been challenging for trainees. 

We have written this critical appraisal course to make the confusing world of medical statistics understandable and clinically relevant. And most importantly help you to pass the exam.

We are three recent post CCST Emergency Medicine doctors, with an interest in clinical medicine and not in medical statistics. But we understand why it is needed and why it helps us to decide how to treat our patients. 

The course is exam focused; the two days have three practice papers and tips on how to pass the exam. However, we believe in teaching an understanding of critical appraisal, rather than rote learning of formulae.  

Although prior revision of critical appraisal will be valuable (as well as practice papers after the course), we aim to teach everything from basic principles up to a level necessary to pass the exam.  The course is of benefit for those in the final stages of their CCST or just embarking on higher training, and wanting to do the exam early. It is also relevant for those about to start work on their clinical topic review and want to know what to look for when reading papers. 

We have an over 85% pass rate. The course is approved by the College of Emergency Medicine and so if you do the course you may apply to do the exam early.  If you would like to do the course for a second time we would give you a 10% rebate when you come to the course.

Read more about the history of the Critical Appraisal for FRCEM course.

Course contents

The course is split into 4 sessions as shown below:
Session 1 – A Framework for the Exam

Part 1 - Structured approach to critical appraisal
Part 2 – Types of Papers
Part 3 – Dissecting the paper
Part 4 – Passing the exam
Session 2 – The Nitty Gritty of Papers

Part 5 – Understanding basic statistics
Part 6 – Using statistics when reading a paper
Part 7 – Statistical tests
Part 8 – The nitty gritty of methodology
Session 3 – Tackling Specific Papers

Part 9 – Diagnostic paper
Part 10 – Therapeutic papers
Part 11 – Meta-analysis
Session 4 – Practice papers

Practice Paper (prior to lectures) - therapeutic paper
Mock Exam 1 – therapeutic paper
Mock Exam 2 – Diagnostic paper