Ten Tips for SOOs

Simulated Office Orals

These are a kind of OSCE and used in the CCFP Exam. As a resident, you should get lots of opportunities to practise these. Here are ten tips we have formulated over the years in working with SOOs.

  1. This is a simulation or game. Those who understand the rules of the game are more likely to “win”.  
  2. While it is the closest simulation of a clinical encounter that we have, forgetting the rules will lose you points.  
  3. Is there always a hidden problem? Usually but not always. Sometimes the secondary issue is more a subtle extension of the main problem.  
  4. Listen for the actor cues: you can ask them to repeat the statement if you did not quite catch it. Commonly around the 3-6 min mark.  
  5. Breadth matters more than depth: try to catch all the common areas that SOOs practice has revealed – social supports, job, other stressors such as finance or relationships, who is in the family, sexual history; even if they don’t seem that relevant to the case.  
  6. Avoid spending too much time on a topic that you know well. Showing off your expertise when you luckily come across an area that you know well can mess up your time allocation. Easy to score full marks on one section but then miss two whole sections altogether. This hurts your score.  
  7. Good flow helps and improves your score; but if you are running out of time, jump straight without finesse to areas that you have to cover e.g. sexual history 
  8. Remember to summarize your understanding of the case so far: around 10 min mark is ideal.  
  9. Always arrange a follow up visit: CFPC likes the premise of continuity. It never hurts.  
  10. Ok to scribble short notes and self-reminders; but don’t write all the time.