ANSWER: Go, no contest.
I probably could have answered this before meeting with the study group, just because I personally find that practice is always a good thing, but today confirmed my suspicions. I met with a group of really awesome individuals that I found through the FSOA yahoo group (who uses yahoo anymore?) and we went through a Group Exam practice and it was hands down the most useful prepping that I've done so far. We had a participant who has passed the oral before and wants to get a better score, so there was an added bonus of getting feedback from an 'expert'. But even more than that, it helped to see how I would perform under time pressure, with a group of strangers, with a major case of nerves.
And how did I do?
Well, no grade obviously, but better than I thought. My initial assumption was that I would pass case management, fail the group exercise and cut it really close (one way or the other) on the structured interview. -This is just based on my own assessment of my strengths.- Now, I think I might actually have a shot at passing the Group Exercise. I should have spoken up more, and spoken a bit slower, but overall, it wasn't half bad. Who knew?
So, for all you potential Pickering fellows out there, join a study group (the sooner the better) because it is likely the best practice you have for the real thing.
I'll try to include some more posts about studying in the next couple weeks, since right now that's basically all I have time for.