FPM Exam Handbook

Published: 19/05/2022

Guidance interviews for candidates

The concept of guidance interviews is likely to be well known to candidates for this exam.  The following guidance has some similarities to established RCoA guidance. 

Guidance interviews for the faculty of Pain Medicine Examination are to be offered on request to any candidate who has successfully passed the MCQ part of the examination, but who fails at one or more attempts of the SOE part.  

In addition, the offer of a guidance interview will be sent automatically to all candidates who fail the SOE part of the examination twice.  

It is anticipated that FPM candidates may wish to take up the offer of a guidance interview, as it is a process designed to assist candidates gain insight into reasons for examination failure, and to allow them to adopt whatever remedial action as recommended to increase their chances of passing on the next attempt.  

The guidance interview will be conducted by a Faculty of Pain Medicine examiner. The candidate should choose a College representative from their locality who is well known to them, and will assist in adding extra information which will be useful to the candidate, and in addition may be in a position to positively influence the candidate’s  preparation for the next exam. The College representative can be drawn from the following: Regional Advisor, Regional Advisor in Pain Medicine, College Tutor, Local Pain Medicine Educational Supervisor, Educational Supervisor.

The guidance interview is NOT designed to remark the examination paper.  The interview is NOT designed to allow the candidate to challenge the marks given, or comments made by individual examiners. This would undermine the examination process which is delivered to a very high standard, with the most robust quality assurance measures available.

The aim of the guidance interview is to give the candidate the opportunity to review their scores for individual questions, and with the assistance of an examiner and their own representative, to identify common themes such as deficits in knowledge, poor understanding, or specific performance issues such as lack of fluency, or excessive prompting and to allow the candidate to draw up remedial action. 

The candidate can usefully prepare for the interview by reflecting on their performance in the light of their preparation for the examination, considering study effectiveness, time spent studying, time spent in pain medicine training, and any external issues which may impact on their ability to train, study, or perform at the exam.

The candidate is encouraged to discuss their examination preparation and performance with the College representative in advance of the interview.

The guidance interview may be held at a location close to the candidate, however it is possible that some travelling will be required to the interview, which will be held at a location and in a room consistent with the confidential nature of the interview.

The candidate should be reassured that any issues that arise will be treated in a confidential manner, and the primary aim of the interview is to assist the candidate in identifying deficiencies and correcting them. Candidates have found such guidance very useful in the past.