Navigating MRCPsych Paper A and Paper B: Leveraging PassMRCPsych for Exam Success
Guest blog, written by Dr Jon Turvey, Core Psychiatry Trainee, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust
Dreams of providing quality psychiatric care within the dynamic medical landscape of a job in the NHS, often lead overseas psychiatrists from healthcare systems around the world to embark on the journey towards Membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (MRCPsych).
As a crucial milestone on the path to a career in psychiatry within the UK, the MRCPsych examinations provide an internationally recognised credential that sets the bar for clinical excellence, comprehensive medical knowledge and training, and confident decision-making skills in the field.
In this blog, we’ll be covering some of the key aspects of the Paper A and B exams, as well as introducing you to PassMRCPsych, an online learning and resources platform for MRCPsych aspirants, summarised in the headings below:
Why does MRCPsych Matter?
The value of holding MRCPsych cannot be understated, serving as both a symbol of your medical competence as a psychiatrist and giving you a competitive edge in the NHS job market. Attaining full MRCPsych demonstrates to potential employers that you have the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to provide high-quality care to patients.
MRCPsych also provides a steppingstone for further specialist training and can significantly enhance career prospects for international psychiatrists, more easily facilitating entry into more senior positions in the NHS, such as specialty doctor, the new specialist grade and consultant roles.
An overview of MRCPsych Paper A
Paper A is a written exam comprising 150 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and extended-matching questions (EMQs), sat over 3 hours and now held online, through test centres. Paper A forms the foundation of the MRCPsych and focuses on the basic sciences that underline psychiatric practice. It touches on areas such as neurosciences, psychology, and social sciences, which are the cornerstone of psychiatry and set the scene for more advanced topics.
The average pass mark is typically around 60-70%, although this varies slightly depending on the difficulty of the paper for each diet. As per the latest statistics from the Royal College website, approximately 65% of candidates pass Paper A each diet.
You can find a detailed breakdown of the Paper A exam here.
Unpacking MRCPsych Paper B
Similarly to Paper A, Paper B comprises 150 MCQs and EMQs sat over 3 hours through a remote test centre. Paper B requires an understanding of more nuanced clinical topics like psychopathology, treatment protocols, and management strategies for psychiatric disorders. It's about applying your foundational knowledge to real-world scenarios and demonstrating effective clinical decision-making.
For Paper B, the average pass mark usually ranges around 65-70%, with a pass rate of approximately 60%.
See here for an in-depth overview of the Paper B exam.
Partnering with PassMRCPsych
As an exciting development in our provision of medical education, IMG Connect and PassMRCPsych have forged a partnership to offer extensive support to overseas doctors preparing for the MRCPsych exams. This collaboration aims to ensure your exam success through a series of exam-focused webinars and a continuously evolving and up-to-date revision resource to keep pace with the demands of the MRCPsych exams, along with discounts on revision course subscriptions.
Mapping Your Journey: A 4-Month Study Plan
Navigating the MRCPsych exams is no easy feat. It demands rigorous and methodical preparation for UK trainees and IMGs alike. Here's a 4-month study plan for each exam to keep your preparation on track:
- Month 1: Get to Grips with the Syllabus - Familiarise yourself with the syllabus and identify key areas that you need to focus on (these may be areas you are less familiar with or those not covered by your current practice). Use this month to dive into the revision notes on PassMRCPsych. Join the IMG Psychiatrists Facebook group for access to Paper A and Paper B study courses to support your study alongside your PassMRCPsych resources.
- Month 2: Deep Dive into Topics - In this month, start working on each topic systematically. Use the revision notes to ensure you cover every aspect and create your own short notes for quick revision closer to the exam date.
- Month 3: Challenge Yourself - This is the month to test your knowledge. Attempt the MCQs in the question bank regularly. This will help you gauge your understanding and identify areas of weakness. Don’t forget to read the explanations when you get the answers wrong!
- Month 4: Revise and Review - Revision is the key to retaining information. Revisit your short notes, attempt more MCQs, and make full use of the PassMRCPsych mock tests to familiarise yourself with the exam pattern. This final month should be dedicated to reinforcing your learning, particularly on topics which you need to keep in your short-term memory.
Remember, while this study plan serves as a roadmap, you should adapt it to suit your personal learning style and pace e.g., time available to prepare and external commitments. The aim is to ensure comprehensive understanding and effective retention of knowledge.
PassMRCPsych - Your Companion in Success
The seemingly vast MRCPsych syllabus might appear intimidating, but with the right guidance and resources, passing Paper A and Paper B can transform from an uphill task into an achievable goal. Here's where PassMRCPsych comes into play.
The online platform is armed with resources tailored specifically to the MRCPsych syllabus, from comprehensive revision notes that decode every topic in the syllabus, to an MCQ question bank with over 5000 questions, and mock exams providing the perfect opportunity to test your knowledge under timed conditions.
Better still, PassMRCPsych can also be used through a mobile app (on both iOS and Android), ensuring that your study materials are just a tap away and facilitating the seamless switch from studying at your desk to revising on-the-go.
It’s important to acknowledge that the MRCPsych exams come with a not insignificant cost. Understanding the financial constraints that often accompany rigorous exam preparations, PassMRCPsych offers highly competitively priced subscriptions which ensure that every aspirant, regardless of their budget, has access to top-notch preparation resources.
Dr Aisha, a satisfied user, shared her experience:
"PassMRCPsych.com was instrumental in my MRCPsych journey. The meticulous revision notes, the challenging MCQs, and the realistic mock exams provided an unparalleled learning experience. The convenience of a mobile app made it possible for me to study anywhere, anytime. And the affordable subscription didn't put a dent in my pocket while offering unparalleled resources."
Your Future Awaits
With your career goals within reach, embark on your journey towards conquering the MRCPsych exams by subscribing to PassMRCPsych for Paper A and Paper B. Utilise their exhaustive resources and mock exams, and watch your preparation transform into success!
For a walkthrough of the PassMRCPsych platform and resources, join the IMG Psychiatrists Facebook group.
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