These are the steps I took to pass my WACP primaries in 2012. Wow! Can’t believe it is 3 years already!?

  1. Revision/update course: I made out time to attend the 5-day update course in University College Hospital [UCH], Ibadan. I learnt a lot and the lecturers directed us to the high yield sections that we should particularly focus on when reading.
  2. Past question papers. During my time at the update course, I bought a booklet of these. I can’t remember how much it cost but I must tell you that these booklets are a business venture for some people over there! 🙂
  3. Kaplan’s USMLE Step 1 lecture notes. I bought these books because a friend of mine who had passed the primaries told me that these were the only study materials she had prepared with.
  4. I studied 4 – 5 hours a day for about 3 months.
  5. I met up with a friend and we did a little revision and discussion the night before the exam. I think this helped a lot and thanks to God, she also passed the primaries!

On the exam day, it started promptly and I must tell you that my heart skipped a beat the first time I read throughout the question paper. There were 100 questions with each having 5 sub-answers. It was in a negative marking format. What this means is that one point is subtracted from your score every time you choose a wrong answer. For example, if you had 350 right and you chose 150 wrong, your final score becomes 200. (i.e 350 – 150).

I went through the question paper the first time and answered only the questions I was absolutely sure of. On my second round of going through the question paper, I took my time and answered only the ones I was about 80% sure of. I went through the question a final third time and tried to make ‘intelligent guesses’. I took special care not to choose answers I was unsure of. Said a prayer and waited for my answer booklet to be taken away from me.

2 weeks later, I received my results in the post and I was so excited I passed!!


I was finally on my way to starting residency in internal medicine in Nigeria. All I had to do was to wait for Lagos University Teaching Hospital to announce openings for new residents. Alas! This was not to be….my story continues.

By the way, the period of validity for the results of the West African College of Physicians primary examination is 5 years. Visit their website to learn more about the exam by clicking HERE.