MRCPsych Paper B – a detailed breakdown for overseas psychiatrists
The MRCPsych exams can be overwhelming for overseas Psychiatrists and UK trainees alike.
Where do you turn for study materials? How do you prepare for the exams? What are the exams dates and fees? Where can I sit the exam? How can I find support online?
In this blog we will explore MRCPsych Paper B and everything that you need to know about how to sit the exam, taking a detailed look at the following topics:
Skip to the relevant section if you know what you’re looking for.
An overview of MRCPsych
The MRCPsych exams are the central components of psychiatry training in the UK. The examination series is designed to test the candidate’s knowledge of basic medical sciences as well as the clinical skills needed for diagnosis and management within psychiatry.
For IMGs taking this route, full MRCPsych satisfies the postgraduate requirements for full GMC registration.
The exams within the series are as follows:
- MRCPsych Paper A
- MRCPsych Paper B
- MRCPsych CASC
For a more general overview of the MRCPsych examinations via our IMG Resources, please click here.
MRCPsych Paper B
Paper B is a three-hour written exam which asses critical review and the clinical topics in psychiatry.
Each questions is worth 150 marks, comprised of 150 questions:
- One third - critical review
- Two thirds - clinical topics
Exam structure and marking
Paper B will cover the following sections of the syllabus:
- Organisation and Delivery of Psychiatric Services
- General Adult Psychiatry
- Old Age Psychiatry
- Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
- Substance Misuse/Addictions
- Forensic Psychiatry
- Psychiatry of Learning Disability
- Critical Review
In Paper B, the percentage split, and marks allocation for the 150-mark exam will be approximately:
Trainees from any country in the world can sit the MRCPsych Examinations providing that they meet the eligibility requirements.
You are eligible to sit Paper B if you are a fully registered medical practitioner. It is also recommended that you have 12 months experience in Psychiatry before attempting Paper B.
Exam locations and dates
Good news – in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Royal College of Psychiatrists has made the decision to move all MRCPsych exams online! This means you can sit the MRCPsych exams from your home country with submission and preparation details available on the Royal College website.
This change makes it much easier for international psychiatrists to complete their Royal College exams and work towards GMC registration within a normal timeframe and with reduced disruptions.
Exams are usually held three times a year – you will find the most up-to-date information on exam and application dates on the Royal College website.
To apply you’ll need to complete the Royal College online application form. The form is only available during the published application dates and must be submitted prior to the closing date. If you miss the cut-off date, your application will not be considered.
For new overseas candidates, you will need to register for a Royal College login first.
You will need to provide the following:
- Personal details
- Primary Medical Qualifications & Registration
- Written paper selection
At the end of your application, you will be directed to an online payment system where you can pay by credit or debit card, so make sure you have your details ready.
Once your application is complete you will receive two confirmation emails, one to confirm receipt of the application and one to confirm the payment has been received.
See below for MRCPsych Paper B fees for 2022:
- PMPT Trainees and Affiliates (UK & Ireland Centres) - £446
- Non-PMPT Trainees and Affiliates (UK & Ireland Centres) - £495
With lots of materials online, we have discussed with our community of international psychiatrists as to the best resources and materials relating to the exams. Most IMGs recommended starting with the Royal College, who have created useful resources to help you to prepare for the exams. See below:
Syllabus: We always suggest that this is the best place to start – plan your study around the curriculum topics and make a road map to your success in the exams. You can find this here.
Current critical review syllabus: For Paper B, candidates will need to ensure that they make optimal use of the MRCPsych Paper B critical review - evidence-based practice syllabic content, available here.
Sample Papers: These will help you polish your exam techniques and are a good way to regularly benchmark your knowledge against the syllabus. Additionally, they will help you work quickly on the day as you will already know what to expect. The samples can be found here.
Marking schemes: Candidates pass or fail the written papers based on their performance, and not how well you perform against other candidates. As such, it is a good idea to understand how the exam is worked, so you can maximise your exam skills, giving you the best chance of a pass. These can be accessed here.
Sample exam: These can help you understand the exact format of the exam and to familiarise yourself with the online exam environment. This is available here.
Online exam guidance: Detailed guidance written specifically to guide candidates in preparing for an sitting an online exam, including technology checks and timings. The guidance can be accessed here.
The Royal College also suggest taking a look at Passing the MRCPsych - an insider’s guide - a useful resource to help you to get over the first steps. This is available here.
- Start your revision early – preparation is key, and what better way to avoid last-minute stress?
- Choose the best resources for you – whether it’s the Royal College materials, online courses or flash cards, try to figure out what works best for you.
- Join our online support community – why not be part of a community of like-minded psychiatrists and MRCPsych aspirants? Join IMG Connect on social media for a place to ask questions and share resources.
Passed? What next?
Now that you have passed Paper A and B you are now eligible to sit the CASC exam. For more information take a look at our blog we will explore MRCPsych CASC and everything that you need to know about how to sit the exam, including syllabus, dates, results, fees and preparation.
For more useful blogs & articles on exams, registrations & qualifications to help you find your dream job in the NHS - take a look at our IMG library.