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Refraction Certificate – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How are marks awarded for Retinoscopy stations?
  2. How are marks awarded for the Subjective Refraction: Cylinder station?
  3. How are marks awarded for the Subjective Refraction: Sphere station?
  4. How are marks awarded for the Subjective Refraction: Binocular Balance station?
  5. How are marks awarded for the Near Addition station?
  6. Do I have to use the focimeter in the lens neutralisation station?
  7. VA / IPD / Trial frame fitting – loading / BVD:
  8. Are the tasks in each station the same for each candidate?
  9. Prior to examining the Refraction Certificate, are the examiners offered specific training?
  10. Why were there more than 2 examiners in my OSCE?
  11. Are the examiners given guidance on how to mark?
  12. Will the reading charts at the exam venue be given in Snellen or LogMAR?
  13. What equipment do you provide?
  14. Can I bring my own equipment?
  15. Will the lenses be organised before I start the station?
  16. How is the OSCE timed?
  17. Can I use a watch or my phone to time each station?
  18. What if my handwriting is poor?

 

1. How are marks awarded for Retinoscopy stations?

The marks for retinoscopy are awarded for your refraction only and this is performed completely objectively by a computer algorithm which analyses the residual refractive error i.e. that existing between your refraction answer and the correct refraction. Please note that the refractions for all retinoscopy, subjective refractions (sphere or cylinder) and the focimetry station in this examination are marked in this manner. However, not all are worth the same number of marks.

Please note that the computer marking is performed after the OSCE is complete and NOT by the examiners present at the time of the OSCE.

Please note that there is no mark in the retinoscopy stations for technique per-se. However, all examiners are expected to record feedback for the candidate e.g. candidates sometimes record a working distance which they clearly haven’t been working at.

 

2. How are marks awarded for the Subjective Refraction: Cylinder station?

The marks awarded for your refraction are calculated objectively by a computer algorithm which analyses the residual refractive error i.e. that existing between your refraction answer and the correct refraction. Please note that the refractions for all retinoscopy, subjective refractions (sphere or cylinder) and the focimetry station in this examination are marked in this manner. However, not all are worth the same number of marks.

 

3. How are marks awarded for the Subjective Refraction: Sphere station?

Please note that we provide you with the cylinder power and axis for this OSCE so you will not score marks for merely writing this down correctly.

The marks awarded for your refraction are calculated objectively by a computer algorithm which analyses the residual refractive error i.e. that existing between your refraction answer and the correct refraction. Please note that the refractions for all retinoscopy, subjective refractions (sphere or cylinder) and the focimetry station in this examination are marked in this manner. However, not all are worth the same number of marks.

 

4. How are marks awarded for the Subjective Refraction: Binocular Balance station?

Please note that we provide you with the cylinder power and axis for this OSCE so you will not score marks for merely writing this down correctly.

The marks awarded for your refraction are calculated objectively by a computer algorithm which analyses the residual refractive error i.e. that existing between your refraction answer and the correct refraction. Please note that the refractions for all retinoscopy, subjective refractions (sphere or cylinder) and the focimetry station in this examination are marked in this manner. However, not all are worth the same number of marks.

 

5. How are marks awarded for the Near Addition station?

The marking guide separately scores both your near addition error and the acuity achieved. Please note that your marks reflect how close your near addition was to that which was required. You will not score marks for merely writing down the correct distance refraction as this is provided for you on the patient information sheet.

 

6. Do I have to use the focimeter in the lens neutralisation station?

You do not have to use the focimeter and a trial lens tray is available for neutralisation. If you require a cross for lens neutralisation you will need to draw your own on a piece of paper.

 

7. VA / IPD / Trial frame fitting – loading / BVD:

This OSCE can be performed in the order of the candidate’s choosing.

 

8. Are the tasks in each station the same for each candidate?

Candidates are set approximately the same tasks to perform. However, different candidates will find some tasks more challenging and others easier than fellow candidates. This is a reflection of the real world and is taken into consideration during the marking and standard setting.

 

9. Prior to examining the Refraction Certificate, are the examiners offered specific training?

All examiners are provided with detailed, explicit instructions in preparation for the examination. They attend training at the college and have observed or examined in the examination previously. They receive an examination presentation briefing immediately before the examination. All this is in an effort to ensure that they are completely prepared for the OSCE.

 

10. Why were there more than 2 examiners in my OSCE?

It is necessary to have both observer examiners and assessor examiners present in these examinations to train future examiners, and for quality assessment. You may therefore be aware that for some OSCEs there may be 2 examiners present. They do not make marking recommendations to examiners and their presence will not affect the marks awarded.

 

11. Are the examiners given guidance on how to mark?

In OSCEs where the examiner is required to mark technique, detailed marking guides are provided both before the examination and hard copy for use during the examination.

 

12. Will the reading charts at the exam venue be given in Snellen or LogMAR?

As is mentioned in the Instructions to Candidates document on the college website, you should be familiar with Snellen/logMAR nomenclature.

 

13. What equipment do you provide?

In OSCEs where specific equipment is required, this will be provided e.g. retinoscopes (streak), trial lenses, cross-cylinders, trial frames, pinholes, occluders, fixation targets / vision charts and a focimeter. However, we do not provide tape measures and it is best to bring your own ruler. It is important that you ensure that you leave any equipment which is not your own behind – failing to do so may inadvertently delay the examination or make a fellow candidate’s experience less favourable. It is not infrequent that, despite the vigilance of the examiner, for candidates to remove items which are not theirs.

Inevitably, examination venues vary. However, the equipment provided is of the standard required to conduct these examinations.

 

14. Can I bring my own equipment?

Yes within reason you can bring anything you wish provided that it is not judged to be likely to interfere with the running of the examination or be to the detriment of other candidates. Retinoscopes, trial frames, rulers, tape-measures will be allowed, however a phoropter head or large lens box will not be permitted.

 

15. Will the lenses be organised before I start the station?

The examiners and examination helpers have instructions to ensure that each OSCE is set up identically for each candidate. However, inevitably you have to accept that occasionally a lens may be misfiled in the trail lens tray and that occasionally if they are not handled correctly fingerprints can get on them. It is beholden of the candidate to check the lens they have selected and that it is clean, to handle them and replace them correctly, as in normal practice.

 

16. How is the OSCE timed?

Please note that during the examination there are usually 2 carousels of candidates being examined contemporaneously. However, in order to keep the overall examination running approximately to time the 2 carousels are NOT synchronised. Whilst they usually start at the same time, the carousels often desynchronise slightly as the examination progresses for examination related issues. There are therefore 2 sets of invigilators and therefore there is not a single timing signal. Each OSCE will receive a bespoke signal to indicate a “1 minute to go” and then a “cease writing” at the end. The invigilators timings are absolute.

 

17. Can I use a watch or my phone to time each station?

You may wish to use a regular watch or your phone on AIRPLANE mode to help you manage your own time. Otherwise your phone should be left in your bag. Examiners have been instructed not to provide time updates to candidates.

 

18. What if my handwriting is poor?

It is beholden upon the candidate to communicate effectively with the examiners.

If the examiners / markers have trouble deciding what you have written they will usually record this on your answer-sheet with an indication of what they have decided should be marked e.g. “mark this ->”, the decision will be final.

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