The ICU first part exam is relatively new and few practicing senior ICU clinicians have experience of preparing for and sitting the exam. The combination of this fact and the notable breadth of topics covered in the syllabus means that preparing for the exam can be a daunting prospect, particularly in terms of choosing which topics to focus on and the depth to which they should be studied. With this in mind the VPECC course fills a significant gap in provision of preparation courses for the ICU first part exam. The course focuses specifically on exam preparation and technique and does not seek to teach any specific exam topics didactically. The main strength of the course was that the organisers had arranged for a complete spectrum of staff to provide insight into the exam, from recent successful candidates to examiners and faculty members involved with developing and setting the questions themselves. The tone of the course was friendly yet to the point, topics were dealt with in a succinct manner but the atmosphere was informal enough to invite questions. Whole group lectures on general topics such as structuring short answer questions and exam preparation psychology were interspersed with smaller group teaching in the setting of mock Viva and written exams. Overall this course has proved hugely beneficial to my exam preparation, it has offered realistic and achievable parameters in terms of what needs to be learnt in order to pass the exam. It has made what had seemed to be an impossible task seem (at this stage anyway!) possible.