My experience of MRCPsych Paper B - Dr Praveen Kumar

  • November 15, 2021
 

Are you an overseas psychiatrist taking the postgraduate route to GMC registration through the MRCPsych exams? Are you interested in sitting the exams in the future?

As part of IMG Stories, we introduce to you Dr Praveen Kumar, a psychiatrist who has recently sat and passed the MRCPsych Paper B exam. Praveen will be sharing with you his experiences of the second of the Royal College of Psychiatrists exams, taking you through his preparation, experience of sitting the exam and sharing some hot tips for international MRCPsych aspirants.


1. Tell us about yourself... what should the IMG Community know about Praveen Kumar?

I'm a Malaysian psychiatrist and I completed most of my training as an Ob-Gyn in Borneo. I originally came to the UK for the PLAB 2 exam, with my ultimate aim being to relocate to Australia. I had planned on spending a few weeks in the UK as a vacation, as it was my first time flying to the west. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was stuck in the UK for some time.

I decided to enter the psychiatry training programme in Inverness, Scotland (CT1) just out of curiosity, because mental health was hardly spoken about in rural Malaysia, so I knew little about it. This was my main plan while I waited for restrictions to ease in Malaysia so I could return home, however plans changed, and I've been here ever since.

2. What motivated you to sit the MRCPsych exams?

I had no experience in psychiatry before starting my training in February 2021, but I felt I owed it to my patients to have at least some basic knowledge. I felt studying for MRCPsych would prepare me for the role, so I took Part A and B early on.

3. At what point in your career and training did you sit the MRCPsych Paper B exam?

I sat Paper A in December 2020 and Paper A in October 2021, so this was quite early on in my training. 

4. How far in advance did you start preparing for the MRCPsych Paper B and how much time did you spend on revision?

I began preparing around 6 months before the exam. I'd have 8-20 hours of zoom study sessions weekly for the 6 months, studying around 4-6 days a week.

5. Did you benefit from speaking to senior colleagues or peers about the exam? Did you study with other candidates?

I relied on study groups via a WhatsApp group for discussions and attended weekly zoom study sessions. I formed a study group by seeking out other candidates after posting a message on MRCPsych groups on Facebook.

6. Have you already completed MRCPsych Paper A and how do you feel it prepared you for the Paper B exam?

I completed MRCPsych A on Dec 2020. By then I had already conducted many group studies and had 117 group study mates that continued with me into part B. We did the same format of group study that I hosted before.

7. How did you manage to juggle other commitments whilst studying for the exam (without panicking)?

Since I am on my own here in the UK, I was able to invest a lot of time and energy in hosting daily study sessions because at the start, it kept me grounded while I was stuck in a foreign country. It gave me the opportunity to communicate with so many people in a setting other than my workplace. It was fairly challenging initially while I moved between Airbnbs (7 in total!) while waiting for flights back home. It was only when I was accepted into a psychiatry training programme in Inverness and acquired stable accommodation that things became a lot easier.

8. What resources did you use to prepare and practice for the MRCPsych Paper B exam?

The hardest part was actually statistics which took up 1/3rd of the exam questions, so the goal was to complete the statistics syllabus, then move on to cover clinicals, repeat statistics again, then finally start mocks before the exam. This was the process that was recommended to me by some friends who passed the exam before me.

The SPMM mocks and high yield questions were most helpful for clinical and stats, but the Psychmentor notes were also really good with the questions and mocks helping to fortify our knowledge.

The Statistics and Research Methods (Cambridge Crash Course) by Dr Paul Wilkinson helped loads with statistics near the end.

I didn’t use any notes or SPMM videos, but I’ve heard they helped others quite a lot.

9. Let's face it, exams are not everyone's favourite day out... so on the day of the exam, what did you do to relax?

I prepped by reassuring myself that I did practice and study as best I could. I was ultimately looking to gather knowledge that would allow me to better help my patients. Whatever else came out of the process was secondary.

10. What was your experience like on the day?

I felt like I could hear the voices of my study mates as I did the exam. It didn't feel particularly difficult to be honest, because I'd had lots of practice sessions.

11. What was the most challenging part of the exam?

There were some tricky bits, for example being asked the percentage of patients who have a particular illness!

12. Now that the MRCPsych exam is provided online, how (if at all) was the test different to exams sat in person?

I didn't see it as much different to be honest.

13. In hindsight, would you have done anything differently?

Nothing really. I genuinely enjoyed the study sessions and I hope others did too.

14. What nugget of advice would you give to any MRCPsych Paper B aspirants?

Form or join a study group with people from various backgrounds. Mine had folks from around the globe with psychiatry experience ranging from none at all to 12 years. Their input was gold - more so since the exam is very relevant to our day-to-day practice.

15. What are your plans going forward?

I’m actually doing a couple of diplomas at the moment. I plan to collaborate with some people on some research/publication opportunities. This is mostly to bide time during CT2 as I am only allowed to sit the CASC exam during CT3 after 2 years psychiatry experience.


The postgraduate route to GMC registration, whilst not the fastest, can be the most rewarding in the long run. The MRCPsych exams are the central components of psychiatry training in the UK, and as an international psychiatrist, this is the route that allows you to most closely align your qualifications with the requirements of more senior roles in the NHS.


Join the IMG Psychiatrists Facebook group for access to a community of like-minded overseas MRCPsych aspirants and dedicated psychiatry recruiters.

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

            

 

Relevant Jobs

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We are looking to recruit a Consultant Psychiatrist to a Crisis & Assessment Team role in the Channel Islands, a UK territory sitting off the coast of France and just a 1 hour flight from London. This job presents a great opportunity to advance your medical career in the UK.

The health service, separate from the NHS, is an integrated, taxation-funded system, free at the point of delivery, managed by the Health and Community Services Department on the island. Key benefits of working there are higher salaries than the NHS, lower taxes and sunnier weather.

Consultant Pay range - £110,257 to £164,372
Single rate of tax - 20%.

The Department & Team

The Crisis and Assessment Team (CAT) serves as the primary gateway to adult and older people\'s mental health services, conducting assessments in the community and emergency settings, alongside medical reviews. They collaborate closely with law enforcement, responding to Adult Protection Notices and coordinating mental health law assessments. This role within the CAT focuses on streamlining referrals, providing short-term crisis interventions, and ensuring individuals receive appropriate ongoing care. You\'ll engage with both working-age adults and older adults, with responsibilities extending to police referrals and mental health law assessments during standard working hours, with on-call commitments.

Continued Professional Development

Professional development is integral to their ethos, offering CESR Portfolio Pathway support, access to specialty training, and opportunities for sub-specialist development. They prioritize ongoing learning through conferences, local CME events, and a generous study leave allowance.

Life in the area

Living in this location offers significant financial benefits. The flat income tax rate of 20% is notably advantageous compared to the UK, and a generous public sector pension scheme is provided, not constrained by UK lifetime or annual contribution limits. The consultant contract closely mirrors the UK model but offers higher incremental levels starting at £110,257 and with a top basic salary of £164,372.


Am I eligible for this role?

UK based candidates:

  • Experience in General Adult Psychiatry
  • Specialist Registration or locum consultant experience

EEA candidates: 

  • Experience in General Adult Psychiatry
  • European Specialist Qualification


Non-EEA candidates:

  • MRCPsych
  • Experience in General Adult Psychiatry
110,257 - 164,372

We are looking to recruit a Consultant Psychiatrist to an Old Age role in the Channel Islands, a UK territory sitting off the coast of France and just a 1 hour flight from London. This job presents a great opportunity to advance your medical career in the UK.

The health service, separate from the NHS, is an integrated, taxation-funded system, free at the point of delivery, managed by the Health and Community Services Department on the island. Key benefits of working there are higher salaries than the NHS, lower taxes and sunnier weather.

Consultant Pay range - £110,257 to £164,372
Single rate of tax - 20%.

 

What is the health & community service like?

Working in this location is professionally rewarding, offering high-quality, patient-centered care. Clinicians lead in developing and managing services, supported by strong links with UK specialists. With a generous study leave budget, doctors are encouraged to pursue further education. Exciting developments include a new general hospital and a new mental health inpatient unit. The service fosters strong relationships between mental health, primary, and secondary care, promoting joint learning and teaching in a modern education center.

What is the department & team like?

The inpatient services are currently undergoing extensive refurbishment, including two wards for older adults. One ward offers 14 assessment beds for individuals over 65 experiencing functional mental health issues, with some flexibility for those under 65. The other ward provides 10 assessment beds for patients with dementia. Following the refurbishment, the latter ward will feature 8 acute assessment beds and 8 transitional/step-down beds for those with dementia or enduring mental health problems who cannot be supported in local nursing or residential homes.

The Older Adults Community Mental Health Team (OACMHT) manages a caseload of about 300 patients, including new referrals triaged by the Crisis and Assessment team, providing both short-term treatment and long-term care coordination. The role involves providing medical support to the OACMHT alongside two other consultants and a staff grade doctor.

The post holder will join an established team, comprising 2 WTE older adult consultants, 1.0 WTE Associate Specialist (Memory Assessment Service), 2.0 WTE staff grades (inpatient and community), and 1.0 WTE F1 doctor (inpatients and community). Dedicated administrative support includes a 0.5 WTE medical secretary and ward and team secretarial support.

Continued Professional Development

This position offers further training and accreditation within psychiatry, including CESR Portfolio Pathway support, access to specialty training, and the opportunity to develop sub-specialist interests. The post holder will have ample opportunities to develop knowledge, skills, and experience through attendance at relevant courses, conferences, and locally organized CME events. The organization supports Continuing Medical Education with time and financial support, offering study leave of 30 days in 3 years and an annual study leave allowance. Regular case discussions, teaching sessions, and MDT supervision ensure ongoing professional development, meeting the Royal College of Psychiatrists\' CPD requirements.

Living in the Area

Living in this location offers significant financial benefits. The flat income tax rate of 20% is notably advantageous compared to the UK, and a generous public sector pension scheme is provided, not constrained by UK lifetime or annual contribution limits. The consultant contract closely mirrors the UK model but offers higher incremental levels starting at £110,257 and with a top basic salary of £164,372.

Am I eligible for this role?Am I eligible for this role?

UK based candidates:

  • Experience in Old Age Psychiatry
  • Specialist Registration or locum Consultant Experience
EEA candidates: 
  • Experience in Old Age Psychiatry
  • European Specialist Qualification
Non-EEA candidates:
  • MRCPsych
  • Consultant experience in Old Age Psychiatry
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We are looking to recruit a Consultant Psychiatrist to a General Adult role in the Channel Islands, a UK territory sitting off the coast of France and just a 1 hour flight from London. This job presents a great opportunity to advance your medical career in the UK.

The health service, separate from the NHS, is an integrated, taxation-funded system, free at the point of delivery, managed by the Health and Community Services Department on the island. Key benefits of working there are higher salaries than the NHS, lower taxes and sunnier weather. 

Consultant Pay range - £110,257 to £164,372
Single rate of tax - 20%

General Adult Psychiatry Department & Team

The inpatient service features 17 adult acute beds, including an extra-care area, for individuals aged 18 to 65 with severe mental illness requiring admission. The goal is to promote recovery and well-being, helping service users achieve their potential. The service caters to a diverse population with complex needs. The multidisciplinary inpatient team includes doctors (two part-time consultants, staff grade/clinical fellow, and F2), a clinical psychologist, nurses, a social worker, occupational therapists, an art therapist, healthcare assistants, and administrative staff.

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Continued Professional Development

This position offers further training and accreditation within psychiatry, including CESR Portfolio Pathway support, access to specialty training, and the opportunity to develop sub-specialist interests. The post holder will have ample opportunities to develop knowledge, skills, and experience through attendance at relevant courses, conferences, and locally organized CME events. The organization supports Continuing Medical Education with time and financial support, offering study leave of 30 days in three years and an annual study leave allowance. Regular case discussions, teaching sessions, and MDT supervision ensure ongoing professional development, meeting the Royal College of Psychiatrists\' CPD requirements.

Living in the Area

Living in this location offers significant financial benefits. The flat income tax rate of 20% is notably advantageous compared to the UK, and a generous public sector pension scheme is provided, not constrained by UK lifetime or annual contribution limits. The consultant contract closely mirrors the UK model but offers higher incremental levels starting at £110,257 and with a top basic salary of £164,372.

Am I eligible for this role?

UK based candidates:

  • Experience in Adult Psychiatry
  • Specialist Registration or locum Consultant Experience

EEA candidates: 

  • Experience in Adult Psychiatry
  • European Specialist Qualification

Non-EEA candidates:

  • MRCPsych
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The health service, separate from the NHS, is an integrated, taxation-funded system, free at the point of delivery, managed by the Health and Community Services Department on the island. Key benefits of working there are higher salaries than the NHS, lower taxes and sunnier weather.

Consultant Pay range - £110,257 to £164,372
Single rate of tax - 20%.

The post holder will be expected to take on the full range of duties including the routine and emergency diagnosis and management of children and young people with significant mental health problems (up to the age of 18), the support of other team members, and providing consultation and advice to other agencies. Successful applicants will be encouraged to develop a special interest and take a clinical lead in one of the following areas: Eating Disorders, Crisis Intervention, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, or Transition.

The Health Service

Working for this service is professionally rewarding, offering high-quality, patient-centered care. Their clinicians lead in developing and managing services, supported by strong links with UK specialists. With a generous study leave budget, doctors are encouraged to pursue further education. Exciting developments include a new general hospital and a new mental health inpatient unit. They foster strong relationships between mental health, primary, and secondary care, promoting joint learning and teaching in their modern education centre.

Department & Team

The Mental Health Service is staffed by a dedicated multi-disciplinary team, supported by secretarial and administrative staff. The service provides comprehensive assessment, treatment, and therapeutic interventions for a wide range of developmental, behavioral, emotional, and psychiatric issues in children and young people up to their 18th birthday.

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Continued Professional Development

The health service offers further training & accreditation within psychiatry, including CESR Portfolio Pathway Support, access to specialty training, and the opportunity to develop sub-specialist interest. The post holder will have ample opportunities to develop knowledge, skills, and experience through attendance at relevant courses, conferences, and locally organized CME events. Health & Community Services supports Continuing Medical Education with time and financial support, offering study leave of 30 days in 3 years, and an annual study leave allowance. Regular case discussions, teaching sessions, and MDT supervision ensure ongoing professional development, meeting the Royal College of Psychiatrists\' CPD requirements.

Living in the Area

Living in this location offers significant financial benefits. The flat income tax rate of 20% is notably advantageous compared to the UK, and a generous public sector pension scheme is provided, not constrained by UK lifetime or annual contribution limits. The consultant contract closely mirrors the UK model but offers higher incremental levels starting at £110,257 and with a top basic salary of £164,372.

Am I eligible for this role?

UK based candidates:
  • Experience in Child & Adolescent  Psychiatry
  • Specialist Registration or locum Consultant Experience
EEA candidates: 
  • Experience in Child & Adolescent  Psychiatry
  • European Specialist Qualification
Non-EEA candidates:
  • MRCPsych
  • Consultant experience in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
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A prime opportunity awaits a dedicated Specialty Doctor in Psychiatry to join the Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team (CRHTT) for a NHS job in the UK, with CESR support. Located at Eaglestone Health Centre on Milton Keynes Hospital Campus, you\'ll provide top-tier assessment, consultation, and treatment for individuals in mental health crises, with office space and administrative support.

As part of a medical team with a Consultant Psychiatrist and Trainee Doctor, you\'ll demonstrate motivation, energy, and a fervent commitment to exceptional patient care. Strong teamwork, organizational skills, initiative, effective communication, and empathy are key. Operated by an NHS Foundation Trust that is known for excellence locally, nationally, and internationally, this role offers professional growth opportunities for EU-trained specialists and experienced IMGs seeking CESR completion.

What is the NHS Foundation Trust like?

Established in 2002 through the merger of several trusts, this NHS Foundation Trust is among the UK\'s largest. With about 7,000 staff, they serve a third of London\'s population and extend services to areas like Milton Keynes, Kent, Surrey, and Hampshire.

Their focus is on delivering patient-centered, safe, and effective care across various settings, from hospitals to community clinics and even patients\' homes. They emphasize community-based services, aligning with the NHS\'s modernization goals. They prioritize recruiting exceptional individuals who support patients and colleagues alike, offering opportunities for career development. The role entails participating in clinical supervision sessions with the team\'s consultant psychiatrist.

What is the Department & Team like?

The Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team (CRHTT) comprises a multi-disciplinary group of mental health professionals delivering a 7-day service for individuals in acute psychiatric crises. They offer intensive community-based interventions as an alternative to hospitalization and support early discharge, facilitating the transition back to the community. The team triages referrals, deciding on home treatment or admission, aiming to provide less restrictive alternatives to hospitalization when feasible.

The Team is composed of:

  • 1.0 wte Consultant Psychiatrist
  • 1.0 wte Specialty Doctor
  • 1.0 wte Core Trainee / equivalent
  • 1.0 wte Team Manager
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  • 14.5 wte Mental Health Practitioner Band 6
  • 2.6 wte Occupational Therapist Band 6
  • 2 wte Therapy Support Staff Band 4
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Career Development & Opportunities Available

There is real opportunity to progress through CESR at pace at this trust, with a strong desire for newly-qualified consultants to develop their specialty areas of interest and undertake in various cancer trials and research projects where possible. Research is encouraged here, particularly when this is appropriate to professional development and to the service development of the department. 

If you are a new consultant you will receive mentoring and support from medical leads as well as access to a large peer group of enthusiastic and high-caliber Consultants. 

Life in South East

South East, a vibrant urban area in Buckinghamshire, offers a blend of city amenities and rural charm. Residents enjoy scenic parks & perfect for outdoor activities. The area boasts excellent schools and universities. Transportation links are convenient, with easy access to major cities like London and Birmingham via train and nearby airports like Luton and Birmingham. Housing options range from modern apartments in the city center to spacious suburban homes, catering to diverse preferences and lifestyles.

Am I eligible for this role?
UK based candidates:

  • Experience in General Adult Psychiatry - Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team
EEA candidates: 
  • Experience in General Adult Psychiatry - Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team
Non-EEA candidates:
  • MRCPsych
  • Experience in General Adult Psychiatry - Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team

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