One of the things you may not have been expecting when writing for Passmedicine is having to submit the 'concepts' of the question, prior to starting the actual question writing.

We introduced this requirement following our many years of experience in writing and commission content. Concepts can be thought of as the 'take away point' or 'learning point' from the question. Users of Passmedicine may be aware of the 'key points' that appear in the green boxes below each question. Concepts are an evolution of key points.

As well as being displayed to users directly above your question, the act of thinking about the concept introduces a discipline to question writing that we've found results in better questions. Is the question that I'm writing interesting, relevant and challenging to users?

Concepts should be a sentence or two at most. They should be short and too point. Succinct. Concise. Unlike in the main questions, you're allowed to use commonly accepted abbrevations (e.g. T2DM) without explanation.

Tips for getting your concepts accepted

Increases likelihood of acceptance Likely to be rejected


Examples of good concepts

Please remember that the examples below may not be relevant to each exam.

Proposed concept Comment
A short, clinically relevant statement which is not obvious
Whilst this is guideline based, this has been a central tenant of type 2 diabetes mellitus management for many years and is unlikely to change any time soon. Note the use of abbreviations without prior expansion - acceptable in concepts but not questions. Clearly such a concept may not be suitable for post-graduate exams as it is so widely known
This relates to neuro signs being one of the ways of differentiating haemolytic uraemic syndrome form thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Short and to the point. Carefully worded - "point towards" being more accurate than "means". Likely to be useful to a user who comes across a HUS vs TTP question in the future
Short, to the point and likely to be tested
Clopidogrel is a mainstream drug that is likely to be with us for many years. Knowing it's mechanism of action is therefore important. The added detail at the end reminds us how all the detail relates to how we all know clopidogrel, as an "antiplatelet"


Examples of bad concepts

Proposed concept Comment
This is not a concept but instead an outline of the question. Remember the concepts will be displayed underneath your question after a user has answered it. A better wording would be "Diverticulitis is a key differential in patients with LIF pain"
Again, this is not a concept, rather the start of a question. Question writing comes later!
The wording is fine (see above!) but the concept is far too easy, even for pre-clinical students. The vast majority of non-medical patients will be aware of this association
The second part of the concept has been cut and pasted from the NICE guidance (always a bad start) on UTI in children < 16 years. Whilst this represents good practice, what is a user meant to take from this? If asked "should childen with a high risk of serious illness should be referred urgently to the care of a paediatric specialist?", who would answer no?
This is true and the concept is well-worded but it is too small print and unlikely to be tested in exams
Clearly cut and paste from the DVLA guidelines. Too small print. Too long for a concept.
Is it? Says who? NICE published guidelines in October 2017 advocating the use of co-amoxiclav and only then after a period of several days...etc
Several problems. 1. Pioglitazone is not commonly started now as there are better drugs with fewer side-effects - the question is likely to be redundant soon. 2. Why monitor the LFTs? 3? How often? 4. Too abrupt