Critical Appraisal Skills Programme
CASP News

Critical Appraisal for the ISFE Dental Examinations


Dental professionals often attend our critical appraisal courses & workshops, and CASP has also been delivering bespoke critical appraisal workshops for Health Education England West Midlands & East Midlands for several years to specifically train Dental Core Trainees in the fundamentals of critical appraisal. As well as going through the material common to all healthcare professionals, these workshops were tailored to appraise published dental research.

Increasingly we have had more requests to tailor our workshops to the focus of the ‘Intercollegiate Specialty Fellowship Examination’ or ‘ISFE’. This is a rigorous examination taken by medical professionals seeking advanced specialty training in their field of interest. The ISFE tests the individual's knowledge and skills in their chosen specialty and assesses their readiness to undertake advanced specialty training.

This exam has a proponent dedicated to the evaluation of critical appraisal competencies for dental practitioners.

What is the ISFE dental examination?

Part A of the ISFE exam concentrates on critical appraisal skills. It is a written paper lasting 3 hours, designed to test the knowledge and skills required for evidence-based practice. Candidates will receive three extracts from published research and other scientific publications, along with questions to answer on each extract. Two of the extracts will be appropriate to the exam specialty and the third will be appropriate to all specialties.

Part B of the ISFE exam focusses on management of health care delivery section. Candidates will be presented with six scenarios about management issues. Each scenario will last a total of 25 minutes comprising a 10-minute assimilation followed by a 15-minute structured oral examination. During assimilation, candidates will review the scenario and make notes before entering the structured oral.

Passing the ISFE is a significant achievement and often serves as a stepping-stone to advanced training and ultimately becoming a certified medical specialist. It requires significant preparation, dedication, and a strong commitment to continuous learning.

Need help with critical appraisal training?

CASP can help you prepare for Part A of this exam. Critical appraisal skills enable you to systematically assess the trustworthiness and relevance of results in published research. Students undertaking the ISFE exam are expected to know and fully understand the fundamentals of:

  • Concepts of evidence-based practice
  • Study type and study design
  • Concepts of bias and confounding
  • Basic statistical concepts
  • Evaluation of research findings

CASP’s online training offers the opportunity to learn at your own pace and revise ahead of taking the ISFE exam.

Alternatively, CASP provides training to organisations or groups of professionals. Bespoke courses are tailor-made to your exact requirements. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to organise a workshop or get more information.

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