Essential tips for the MRCPsych CASC exam - Dr Kevin Li

  • May 02, 2022

Are you a psychiatrist finalising your revision for the MRCPsych CASC exam?  Here are the tips you can't live without! 

As you've likely got months of dedicated study behind you already, in the final push to the exam, we’re sharing some of the essential tips from Dr Kevin Li (MRCPsych) for your final days of preparation for CASC. 

Mental state, history taking and risk assessment (8 stations)

It is important to demonstrate your clinical skills in assessing symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations.

Prepare for a cognitive examination station!

Management and counselling (8 stations)

Address any concerns or expectations early on in the station

Provide factual knowledge and information - some last minute reading up on topics such as ECT, psychiatric emergencies and ECG is very important!

For stations where you encounter angry patients or relatives, demonstrating good communication skills is more important than delivering lots of factual knowledge

Prepare stock phrases and questions

Empathetic statements

  • I can appreciate this must be very difficult for you
  • I understand that this must be quite concerning

Soft questions to elicit sensitive information

  • How are you coping with...?
  • Are you doing anything to manage the stress of the situation?

Phrases to manage angry situations

  • I appreciate your concerns and why you feel let down
  • We are all trying our best to help

Reflect on your manner and style of speaking

  • It is important to try and demonstrate genuine empathy!
  • Do not sound paternalistic or patronising
  • Take an MDT approach where necessary - the clinical team is good backup where you don't know what to do e.g. next steps like admissions
  • Always be courteous and do not show any anger or frustration
  • Always look at and address the actor

Time management

Get yourself an analogue countdown timer to allow you to properly manage your time during the stations

Look the part

Dress professionally, as if you were speaking to a real patient (pick your outfit at least the night before)


As much as it is important to practice a lot near the exam, it is equally important to relax the day before and morning of the exam. At that stage, try not to think about what you have not practiced or not read! You will have sufficient knowledge, it’s just about communicating it and executing it confidently.

We hope you find these tips helpful and wish you the best of luck in your exam. Don't forget to share your successes with us on social media using the hashtag #imgstories

For access to a community of likeminded MRCPsych aspirants and dedicated psychiatry recruiters, join the IMG Psychiatrists Facebook group.  

To receive the latest news and updates on all things psychiatry, including the Royal College, GMC registration and the NHS, follow us on social media and join the conversation. 


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Passed the MRCPsych CASC exam? Get in touch with one of our dedicated psychiatry recruitment specialists here to discuss your next steps towards GMC registration, finding work in the NHS and relocating to the UK. 


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