FRCPath 2 Histopathology - preparation, guidance and resources
September 15, 2021
Are you an overseas pathologist preparing for FRCPath Histopathology Part 2 exam?
Overseas doctors often wonder how to prepare for the FRCPath Part 2 examination, especially when so much content and advice online appears geared towards UK applicants and trainee. So what study courses, resources and support is available to an overseas histopathologists looking to take the test?
Here we have compiled some of our advice and resources available to help you prepare for the exam, whilst we also address some of the changes in availability of test centres and upcoming exams as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
What is FRCPath Part 2?
First a quick reminder of what the FRCPath Histopathology Part 2 is. The Part 2 exam consists of six components which are taken over two days. Each component comprises a different number of cases provided in 20-minute stations or slots. The components include both written and face-to-face elements with the examiner where candidates should demonstrate and discuss both clinical & practical knowledge as well as complex diagnoses and special techniques. This is done through elements of interpreting and writing reports, interpretation and OSPE. If you want to have a more detailed overview of the FRCPath exam then take a look through the article published in our online IMG Library here, or take a look through the Royay College of Pathologists website here.
So how do I get started with my preparation?
Starting is often the hardest thing to do, and as there are many resources available online, it's hard to tell where the best place is to start. After discussing this with consultants who've passed (both UK trainees and IMGs), most recommended starting with the Royal College, who have posted some useful resources on their website to aid in your preparation.
Curriculum: The exam questions are based on the Curriculum for Specialist Training in Histopathology. As a first step, we recommend becoming familiar with this curriculum as early as possible to reinforce your knowledge and to provide a solid foundation for your study plan. Knowing the curriculum is key - as this is what you will be tested on.
Regulations and guidelines: Ensure you have read both the general regulations and guidelines and the specialty specific regulations and guidelines.
Social Media study groups: There are many social media study groups available across various platforms. These include Telegram, Facebook, WhatsApp and to a lesser extent LinkedIn. IMG Connect hosts study groups for FRCPath 1 and 2 exams - these are forums that bring together international doctors from all over the world into one constructive, communicative and moderated space where you can share exam tips, stories and woes, and the opportunity to buddy-up with similar colleagues looking to pass the test.
If you think you would be interested in joining either the IMG Connect FRCPath 1 or Part 2 Telegram groups, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to speak to the histopathology specialist and request your admission.
Online Courses for FRCPath Histopathology: There are a few online courses which provide preparation, from full mock exams to individual component courses. We've spoken with some IMGs to understand which courses they favoured, and below we have summarised a few of these. With all courses, it is advised that you register your interest as early as possible as they are in high demand.
This is a complete mock exam course with interactive live discussion sessions and individual feedback for each participant. Sessions will be delivered by UK based pathologists with extensive experience of teaching for the FRCPath exam. Participants will be provided with the mock exam for all the 7 components of FRCPath 2 under strict timed conditions closely simulating the real exam.
Mock exam will include: Cytology, Short surgical cases, Long cases, Frozen section, Macroscopic examination, OSPE 1 Viva and OSPE 2 Written.
Live sessions will include: Exam format and tips on how to prepare with a structured study plan, Review and discussion of all mock exam answers, Group performance summary, Common pitfalls in exam and how to avoid them, and Tips on answering technique for exam.
£270 (£70 registration fee and £200 payable 8 weeks prior to course start date)
This is an online 2-day practical course with both a mock examination and seminars preparing trainees for the FRCPath Part 2 Examination. This is a unique course giving trainees that all important pre-exam Mock (under exam conditions) with the papers individually marked and scored in line with the actual exam. The course speakers have knowledge of the Royal College exam - some of them are examiners, and all are experienced teachers.
2 days (Day 1 = mock exam | Day 2 = review and preparation)
£300 (£75 registration fee and £225 payable 4 weeks prior to course start date)
This is an online 2-week Surgical Revision Course preparing trainees for the FRCPath Part 2 Examination and is exam oriented and includes surgical and cytology mock tests, live streamed lectures and feedback. The course aims to provide an approach to the part 2 examination, and to cover common exam cases, whilst the trainers have been selected for their expertise within their disciplines, both in their clinical acumen but also their teaching skills. The format of the course is intense and demanding but also rewarding.
2 weeks, intensive
£800 (£75 registration fee and £725 payable 4 weeks prior to course start date)
What other helpful FRCPath 2 resources are out there?
1. What I wish I'd known - A series of YouTube videos produced by the Royal College of Pathologists. The videos are interviews and advice from four pathologists sharing their experiences of the FRCPath Part 2 exam and what they wish they’d known before taking the exam.
How has COVID-19 affected FRCPath UK and Overseas test centres & upcoming exams?
The Spring session was postponed for international candidates in response to the pandemic, but discussions are taking place on the possibility of the FRCPath exam taking place at an overseas centre in Autumn 2021. Whilst the Royal College will try to accommodate as many international candidates as possible, priority will be given to candidates entering for the January sitting.
IMG Advice to FRCPath 2 Aspirants
Finding courses can be tricky and mock exams can cost a lot of money, so take your time to consider your options and what best suits your needs, whether that is a paid short course, or free materials which you can access whenever you need them. Speak to peers and supervisors - they may be able to offer advice based on first-hand experience of the courses or general preparation.
Of course, if you need further advice on choosing an FRCPath Part 2 online course, or on this stage of qualifying to work for the NHS, don’t hesitate to get in touch with IMG Connect and request to speak to our Histopathology specialist, Marcus Anderson. He'll be happy to help.
The team at IMG Connect hopes that this article and has been useful for any overseas histopathologists looking to take FRCPath Histopathology 2 - but are unsure on how to start their preparation and improve their chances of a pass in this summers upcoming exams. Good luck IMGs!