FRCPath Part 1 - preparation, revision and resources
July 03, 2022
The first exam in the FRCPath Histopathology series...
Overseas histopathologists may have questions about the best ways to prepare for the FRCPath Part 1 exam. With so many resources available online, but many of them geared towards UK trainees, it can be difficult to know what is best suited to you as an international candidate.
In this blog we have compiled some of the best resources and guidance for FRCPath Part 1 aspirants. We will also quickly cover some of the recent changes to the exam regarding its delivery and availability in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here we’ll take a closer look into these and other important questions through the following topics:
Skip ahead to the relevant section if you know what you’re looking for.
FRCPath Part 1
FRCPath Histopathology Part 1 is the first exam in the two-part examination series, administered by the Royal College of Pathologists. The content of the exam can be broken down into three sections:
The three-hour exam is designed to assess candidates’ overall knowledge and understanding of histopathology or cytopathology, including the full range of autopsy practices undertaken in a district general hospital in the UK and the basic science underpinning pathology, including molecular biology.
Please note that only full FRCPath satisfies the GMC’s postgraduate requirements for overseas doctors.
How to get started with preparation for FRCPath Part 1
The best way for IMGs to begin their exam preparation is with the Royal College website and resources. The FRCPath Histopathology exams are based on the Curriculum for Specialty Training in Histopathology and as a rule, this should always be the starting point for your revision. This will ensure you are focusing on the exam material that will feature in your exam – knowing the curriculum is key! You can find this on the Royal College website here.
Royal College resources include:
Regulations and guidelines – before applying for FRCPath exams, the College recommends you read both the general and specialty-specific regulations and guidelines, found below:
This is a 4-day, exam-oriented online revision course. The course includes live streamed lectures across four days and covers all the major topics of the examination syllabus. The speakers have knowledge of the Royal College exam - some of them are examiners, and all are experienced teachers. The course can be found here.
This is a preparatory course aimed at overseas candidates. The course includes an introduction to the exam, including a mock exam with a detailed discussion of answers and exam tips. The course can be found here.
This is a preparatory course aimed at non-UK candidates. including particularly basic and extended questions on the UK system. The course covers topics which are unique to the UK system and includes a one-hour practice mock similar to the exam format and a detailed discussion of the answers with feedback. The course can be found here.
Next start date
There is no set reading list or official course for FRCPath Part 1 in Histopathology, however the following books come highly recommended by IMGs who have passed the Part 1 exam:
In response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Royal College of Pathologists has migrated the FRCPath Part 1 exam online.
Candidates all over the world are now able to take the exam from their home countries. This development allows the College to continue to offer the FRCPath Part 1 exam to both UK trainees and overseas pathologists, with minimal disruptions to the exam schedule.
For full details about the online FRCPath Part 1 exam, please see our blog here.
Prepare early – getting your revision going as soon as possible will help you avoid those last-minute cramming sessions and increase your chances of passing first time.
Speak to your colleagues and peers – there are so many study materials to choose from - who better to ask for recommendations than histopathologists who have been through the process or are going through it with you?
Familiarise yourself with the curriculum – we cannot stress this enough! Every country’s qualification and practice differ, so being well-versed in the curriculum is the first step on your path to success in the exam.
Prepare for the online format in advance – make sure to fully complete your IT checks well in advance to avoid tech issues on the day (and save yourself an unnecessary headache).
Find a support network – a great way to do this is to join IMG Histopathologists, an online pathology community of UK and NHS histopathology aspirants and dedicated histopathology recruiters. You’ll find advice, guidance and updates about all things histopathology for IMGs. Join the conversation here.
For regular news and updates, follow IMG Connect on social media using the links below:
I’ve passed the FRCPath Part 1 exam, what’s next?
Great stuff! This is a massive achievement, and you deserve to treat yourself after all your hard work. With a pass in hand, it's time to look ahead to FRCPath Part 2. For more information on the final exam in the examination series, take a look at our blogwhere we explore the FRCPath Part 2, including how to sit the final exam, fees and preparation and results.
Head to our IMG library for more useful articles on the FRCPath exams, GMC registration and qualifications you need to help you find your dream job in the NHS.
Don’t forget to share your progress and successes with us using the hashtag #imgstories on social media, we love to hear from you.