• Candidate Instructions
  • Actor Instructions
  • Mark Sheet
  • Score

Location: You are an F1 junior doctor in General Practice

Patient: Patient has presented to general practice with problems leaving the house

– Take a history focusing on anxiety symptoms
– After 6 minutes you will be asked a series of questions by the examiner.
– Answer any questions that the patient may have

Note to actor: Try to restrain yourself from volunteering to much information – you may do so when prompted (that is, by a specific question, not a general one). If a student is on the wrong line of clinical reasoning do not fuel this line of thinking, state no to the question as being ambiguous may prompt further questioning and does not allow the student to be appropriately tested. The aim of the exercise is to take a focused history; short answers are required.

You are a 21 year old student, you live with 3 other housemates.

Key details: you are anxious, keep playing with your fingers, have sweaty hands.

  • You used to go to University until a couple of months ago
  • You found when you went to university your heart was racing fast, you felt dizzy and your hands would be sweaty
  • When this became too much for you, you felt like you couldn’t breathe and had to go home immediately
  • You have upcoming exams and you are worried you will not be able to go and as a result will fail the year and be kicked out of uni
  • These symptoms have been getting worse over the past 2 months
  • You struggle to get to sleep and only sleep for about 3-4 hours a night
  • You feel down about all of this because you used to be a social person and this is not like you at all
  • Concentration, mood and energy is fine if you are at home

Past Medical History 

  • No ongoing medical problems
  • No mental health problems previously

Drug History

  • Not on any regular medications
  • NKDA

Social History

  • You have started smoking recently as this helps. Smoke about 25 cigarettes per day
  • You have started drinking more alcohol as you find after a few drinks the feeling start to melt away. You are currently having about a bottle of wine most evenings. You have no signs or symptoms of alcohol dependency if asked (not concerned about drinking, no craving, no early morning shakes)


  • No family history


  • You are not sure what is going on, you are willing to try what the doctor thinks is best

Category Question
Introduction Candidate appropriately introduced themselves with:
Full name
Clarifies who they are talking to
Asks patient for preferred name

PC Candidate establishes:
When symptoms first began
How this has changed over time
Triggers to symptoms

Psychological anxiety
Worries about attending university
Avoidance of stressor
Poor concentration

Physiological anxiety
Increased heart rate
Tingling in hands and feet
Dry mouth

Symptoms Elicits when symptoms are worse:
In public spaces
When crowded
Avoidance of situations (ordering food online)
Anticipatory anxiety (won’t leave the house as will be unwell)

Psychiatric history review:
Low mood
Hallucinations (visual / auditory / olfactory)
Paranoid thoughts
Harm to others
Patient ever been elated

PMH Past Medical History
Past psychiatric history
Past history of self harm

DH Drug History
No regular medications
No known drug allergies

SH Social History
Lives with uni friends
Smokes 25 per day
Drinks 1 bottle of wine a day
Does no illicit drugs

Ability to establish rapport with a distressed patient:
Candidate seems interested in how you feel
Responds to information you provide
Allows appropriate gaps and allows you to give information at your own pace
Conversation flows naturally / are not provided with a load of closed questions

Sensitively asks questions:
Appropriately asks questions
Avoids medical jargon
There are no instances where you find questions bizarre or inappropriately asked

Question What are your list of differentials?
Generalized anxiety disorder
Panic attack disorder
Social anxiety disorder
Agoraphobia with panic attacks
Obsessive compulsive disorder
Post traumatic stress disorder

Question What are the non-pharmacological treatment options for anxiety?
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Reduction in alcohol
Stopping smoking
Sleep hygiene