It is important for a trainee not to sit an exam if they know they have not been able to put in the necessary revision, whatever the reason(s), to give a reasonable expectation of passing.

Not all trainees will pass their postgraduate exams on their first attempt, even if they have put every effort into preparing for them. Many trainees require further assistance to help them succeed. The first step to improving the chance of gaining a pass is to recognise the need for further support.

Exam support resources

The following videos have been created by Wessex PSW exam experts, to support trainees in passing exams:

The following resources have also proved to be useful to trainees who wish to explore a self-help route:

Exam Up-skilling masterclass

Wessex trainees who have yet to take their next postgraduate exam, or have had one failure, can attend a tailor-made masterclass. The exam up-skilling masterclass has been designed by the Wessex PSW, in collaboration with the Wessex Professional Development Unit (PDU), to help trainees develop their study and communication skills. This masterclass aims to improve the trainee’s chances of passing at the next attempt.

How to book

Bookings are processed via the Wessex Intrepid Course Manager system. Trainees wishing to attend should click ‘Courses’ and search for ‘exam’ in the Course/Conference field. Anyone who has not yet registered as a user with the Wessex system, must do so before booking their place on this masterclass. For further booking assistance, please contact PDU.WX@hee.nhs.uk

1:1 exam support


Wessex trainees (from any specialty) who have not been successful in passing an individual postgraduate exam on two or more occasions, whether written or orals, can be referred (via their educational supervisor or Wessex PSW case manager) for formal 1:1 exam support.

Restructuring a revision approach takes time, and trainees should be seen at least six weeks before their next examination attempt. Referrers must allow a minimum of eight weeks prior to any exams when requesting exam support.

Dyslexia screening

As part of the referral process, trainees will be asked to complete a screening test to investigate whether there is any evidence of dyslexia. If it transpires that a trainee does have dyslexia, reasonable adjustments (such as extra time) can be arranged, which make a real difference to the chances of exam success. 

Support meetings

Once the referral and screening processes have been completed, the trainee will be offered individual exam support meetings with an exam expert, to enable them to explore the trainee’s examination history, study skills, exam technique and any communication difficulties encountered. Further exploration will include some of the theory of ‘knowledge and knowing’. 

Finally, the exam expert will offer suggestions for alternative revision approaches, which have been shown to be effective. Each meeting normally last an hour, and trainees will be sent a summary plan of recommendations to help. 

Wessex PSW exam experts

The exam experts working in the Wessex PSW are:

Contact us

01962 690309