Navigating MRCPsych Paper A and Paper B: Leveraging PassMRCPsych for Exam Success

  • July 11, 2023
 

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: 

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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! 
  4. 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

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

            

 

Relevant Jobs

99,532 - 131,964

An NHS Trust in the Midlands is in search of a Consultant Psychiatrist in Eating Disorders. The role is open to overseas consultants with experience or interest in Eating Disorders alongside UK middle grade doctors with S12 who have experience or interest in Easting Disorders. 

This role will primarily focus on the severe pathway. The appointed candidate will offer direct clinical care and clinical leadership to a diverse team, comprising specialist nurses, therapists, psychologists, dietitians, therapists, social workers, and peer support workers. Additionally, there will be occasional cross-cover duties for the inpatient consultants stationed at a 15-bed inpatient unit.

What is the NHS Foundation Trust like?
The NHS Trust serves a population of approximately 850,000 across several towns, provides comprehensive Mental Health Services. Alongside Learning Disability services for a significant region of the West Midlands, it offers tertiary services in Forensic and Child Psychiatry. Furthermore, it extends its reach to Community Health Services within its region. As a teaching Trust, it has strong ties with a university medical school, offering placements for medical students and engaging professionals in teaching and training. The Trust provides higher education facilities for continuous professional development and collaborates closely with the Academic Department of Psychiatry for research opportunities. 

What is the department & team like?

The Eating Disorders Service is a specialist, tertiary service staffed by 4.2 WTE Consultant Psychiatrists, 2.4 WTE specialty doctors, 1.0 WTE ST 4-6, 1.0 WTE CT3, and 1.0 WTE F2 doctor. This multidisciplinary team manages a range of complex cases, including patients with a BMI below 15, those with complex medical or psychiatric comorbidities, pregnant patients, and diabetic patients. Treatments provided encompass individual therapy based on psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioural, and systemic approaches. The service also offers specific pathways for patients transitioning from CAMHS, pregnant patients, and SEED patients, alongside a dedicated Clinic for Eating Disorders and Diabetes, with plans for an ARFID clinic.

Facilities include both an outpatient service and a 15-bed regional inpatient unit, all housed in a self-contained unit on a general hospital site. Annually, the service is expected to handle a caseload of approximately 230 patients, with around 360 new referrals. The team works closely with the Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Teams, the Crisis and Home Treatment Team, and the Gastroenterology Departments at the NHS Trust. This comprehensive service, supported by significant investment through the Community Mental Health Transformation Plan, aims to deliver high-quality, specialized care to patients with eating disorders across the town they service.

Career Development & Opportunities Available

The NHS Trust offers extensive career development opportunities, including CESR support for international doctors seeking specialist registration and access to specialty training. The Trust encourages the development of sub-specialties in areas like eating disorders and psychodynamic therapy.

The Trust is committed to service improvement and innovation through its transformation plan, which includes significant investment in services such as the new Community Eating Disorders Service. This dedication to growth and quality improvement creates an exciting environment for professionals aiming to contribute to meaningful changes in healthcare delivery.

Life like in the area

The town is an urban area with nearby rural settings, offering a diverse living environment for doctors. The city provides a mix of cultural activities, historic sites like a Cathedral, and scenic spots in the countryside. The area boasts a range of quality schools and universities. Excellent transportation links connect the city to major cities like Birmingham and London, with easy access to airports such as Birmingham Airport. The area offers a variety of housing options, from modern city apartments to charming rural homes, catering to different lifestyle preferences.

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR THIS ROLE?

EEA Candidates:

  • Experience of working in Eating Disorders Psychiatry (Desirable)
  • Board Certified Specialist in Adult Psychiatry 

Non-EEA Candidates:

  • Specialist / Consultant experience in General Adult Psychiatry
  • Experience of working in Eating Disorders Psychiatry (Desirable)
  • MRCPsych (Desirable)

UK based applicants

  • Experience of working in Eating Disorders Psychiatry (Desirable)
  • S12 (Desirable)
£83945 - £95275
An excellent opportunity has arisen for a Specialist Grade in General Adult Psychiatry to join a trust on the south coast of England. This is a high-performing and supportive department for overseas doctors new to NHS jobs or UK-based doctors looking to advance their careers in the UK. CESR support is available.

Requirements
MRCPsych - preferred 
S12 - preferred 
12 years post graduate experience with 6 years in psychiatry

What is the NHS Trust like?
The NHS Trust provides a range of high-quality specialist mental health, learning disability, and neurodiversity services, in the South West region. The Trust is passionate about promoting good mental health and wellbeing, striving to use the expertise and resources within the organization, and through partnerships, to deliver safe, high-quality services focused on people\'s recovery.

With an annual income exceeding £206 million, the Trust employs around 3,600 staff. Each year, it receives approximately 74,000 referrals and supports around 26,000 people every month. This passion and commitment shape the Trust\'s vision, mission, and strategy. The staff are pivotal in all activities, and the Trust is committed to fully involving them in the development of the organization and its services.

General Adult Psychiatry Department & Team

The Community Mental Health Services provide secondary care interventions for individuals referred by Mental Health Assessment workers and other teams, such as acute and inpatient services. The community teams manage caseloads that include individuals with a wide range of mental health difficulties and complexities, from those requiring intensive long-term care to those receiving short-term psycho-social interventions. The team collaborates constructively with various agencies within Torbay to ensure a coordinated approach to managing risk issues.

The team comprises a full-time Clinical Team Leader, Mental Health Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers, and Support Time and Recovery Workers. All three Community Mental Health Teams share an Accommodation Officer, a Personality Disorder Lead, and a Carers Support Team. The team employs a strong multidisciplinary approach, working cohesively to provide an effective and safe recovery-focused service to those referred. 

Life in South West


The South West of England offers both rural and urban settings, providing diverse living options. The region features stunning landscapes, including the Jurassic Coast, Dartmoor, and Exmoor, perfect for hiking and outdoor activities. There are high-quality schools and renowned universities, such as the University of Exeter and University of Bristol. Excellent transportation links include major motorways, rail services to London and other cities, and airports in Bristol and Exeter. Housing options range from urban apartments and suburban homes to countryside cottages, catering to a variety of lifestyles and preferences.

Am I eligible for this role?

MRCPsych - preferred
S12 - preferred 
12 years post graduate experience with 6 years in psychiatry - necesary 
51,000 - 83,000

This international psychiatry sponsorship scheme offers opportunity for experienced psychiatrists qualified abroad, who have already achieved higher postgraduate qualifications in psychiatry to be employed in a unique NHS job, and advance their career while employed within the NHS. Subject to GMC criteria this NHS Trust will sponsor eligible candidates for GMC registration and successful candidate will be employed on a health and care visa.

The programme is an innovative and structured sponsored scheme that supports suitably qualified international medical graduates (who do not have GMC registration) to be sponsored by the NHS Trust for GMC registration with a license to practice, and then be supported to advance their existing clinical and professional skills and receive valuable clinical experience with excellent supervised support.

Depending on your experience, interest and commitment, you will agree a personalised plan to support you to meet your training and development needs. This may be through supporting you to gain further qualifications like MRCPsych, entering UK higher training programme or pursuing CESR (Portfolio Pathway) route to gain specialist registration etc
You will be working at Specialty Doctor level and there are various opportunities across the Trust in specialties such as General Adult, Child & Adolescent (CAMHS), Learning Disabilities, and Older Adult Psychiatry. You will have the opportunity to work in either inpatient or community psychiatry clinics, and rotations can be arranged in various locations across the NHS Trust.

This programme is focused on doctors who do not have current registration with the GMC of the UK; however, it is not meant for doctors who have tried but have been unsuccessful in passing PLAB examination.

Person Specification

Qualifications

Essential

  • hold a primary medical qualification (PMQ) recognised by the UK General Medical Council (GMC).
  • acknowledge that, if I am successful in my application to join the EPUT Advanced Fellowship in Psychiatry scheme, you will need to seek verification of this primary medical qualification by the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) before the Trust can sponsor your registration to join the GMC medical register.
  • following undergraduate training, you completed an acceptable programme of practical training/internship (or equivalent) in Medicine of no less than 12 months.
  • you will have achieved a minimum overall score of 7.5 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) academic test, and at least 7.0 in each category OR have achieved a B in every category of the medical version of the Occupational English Test (OET).
  • have obtained a postgraduate qualification (PGQ) in psychiatry
Desirable
  • Pass in papers A and / or B of MRCPsych examination

Experience

Essential

  • Hold significant post-graduate experience in psychiatry, this will have been through specialist psychiatry training, and working at a speciality doctor or consultant level. 
51,000  - 131,964

An outstanding NHS Trust are seeking experienced Child & Adolescent Psychiatrists to join the an NHS Trust that has been rated \"Outstanding\" overall by the CQC. This is a perfect time to join as the CAMHS is an award winning service. You will be working side by side with a team of driven and hardworking doctors. This is a great opportunity for overseas Psychiatrists who want to establish themselves in the NHS, and grow their consultant or specialist grade career.

The post is suitable for candidates holding specialisation in the EEA, or for experienced IMGs looking to complete CESR.

WHAT IS THE NHS TRUST LIKE? 

The NHS Foundation Trust provide health and social care for over 400,000 people with mental ill health, physical ill health and learning disabilities across four cities. They employ over 3,500 staff who deliver these services within the community as well inpatient settings. They also deliver a range of nationally commissioned specialist services including Tier 4 services for children and young people, perinatal services and medium and low secure learning disabilities services.

They have operated as an NHS Foundation Trust since our authorisation in August 2007, which gave them opportunities to further build upon and improve the services for their community. Benefits include a stronger involvement with local communities through their members and Council of Governors and the ability to borrow finance to support their capital investment programme. Over the years the quality of the mental health services and the achievements of the staff have been recognised nationally including the “Mental Health Trust of The Year Award” for 2020 at the Health Service Journal Awards.

In a recent NHS Staff Survey the trust achieved the best score for safety culture amongst mental health and learning disabilities trusts throughout the country. The staff have also said that they would recommend the trust as a place to work and as a place for their friends and family to receive care. They are driven by our values. If you believe in Respect, Kindness and a Positive outlook then you\'ll be right at home.

WHAT IS THE DEPARTMENT & TEAM LIKE? 

The Trusts Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) is an award winning service and has received specific CQC recognition as being outstanding in 3 categories (Caring, responsive and well-led) they credit this to the outstanding people we have delivering care to our service users. It is a busy team covering 2 sites, and the team works on an outpatient model. The caseload for this post is estimated to be 120. The CAMHS department is part of the East and North Strategic Business Unit in the NHS Foundation Trust. CAMHS is divided into 5 service divisions. 

The CAMHS Community Eating Disorders Service is a newly expanded, multi-disciplinary team which provides specialist CAMHS input to children and young people with eating disorders. It provides home-based treatment, out-patient treatment and gate-keeps referrals to in-patient services. The team has a very positive reputation and the ED practitioners have won numerous Trust wide and national awards. The team has been successful in attracting Government funding to allow service expansion.

The post holder is Providing consultation, advice and appropriate support to professionals in the wider network of the young person and/or family. The post holder is expected to contribute to the supervision of the trainees and the specialty doctor allocated to the service. The post holder is expected to provide opportunities for case based discussion and teaching to the MDT.

WHAT IS LIFE LIKE IN THE REGION?

Whether you want to live in London and commute, live in the country or small towns, working in this trust has something to offer. The Trust covers a mixed rural and urban area, including large and smaller towns. The area has excellent connections to London and the rest of the country. A large number of psychiatrists working in the trust choose to commute from London, some locations can be reached from London in 17 – 30 minutes depending on the locality. By car from several parts of North London the commute is under 30 mins.

The trust is a situated in beautiful county with picturesque, rural villages and a number of lovely, vibrant towns and garden cities. Ranked in 2016, by uSwitch Better Family Life Index, as the best place to raise a family, The region scored highly on top exam results, good pay prospects, high employment rates, fast broadband and better weather than other towns in the Index! It is also well known for its excellent schools, stunning countryside and fantastic local facilities which provide plenty of opportunities to relax and enjoy yourself away from work.

There are three major roads going North-South (the M1, the A1 and the A10). In addition the M25 passes through. Train services are also excellent with the journey time to London from some towns is less than 20 - 30 minutes. Education is of a high standard. Currently more than 160,000 children are educated in the county’s network of 566 schools made up of 17 nursery schools, 426 primary schools, 9 middle schools, 78 secondary schools, 27 Special Schools and 8 Education Support Centres. Exam results and SATs continue to be above the national average and the ration of pupils to teachers is among the best in the shire counties. There is also a wide range of public/private schools to choose from.

WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE TO YOU?

The combination of clinical practice and first-class academic connections means that medical professionals have a wide range of opportunities to develop their careers and achieve their aspirations. You will have access to leadership, teaching, educational and research opportunities for Continued Professional Develop (CPD).

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.

In addition to the generous pension and annual leave that comes with NHS employment, the trust offers additional benefits to our staff including a salary sacrifice scheme enabling staff to drive a brand new car or purchase a new bike as well as an HMRC scheme enabling savings on registered childcare costs.

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR THIS ROLE?

EEA Candidates:

  • Experience of working in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Board Certified Specialist in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Non-EEA Candidates:

  • MRCPsych
  • Experience of working in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

UK based applicants

  • Experience of working in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Within 6 - 12 months of completing CCT
52,530 - 82,240

An outstanding opportunity for a psychiatrist to join Forensic Psychiatry Department as Specialty Doctor that has received outstanding ratings from the CQC on three occasions. You will offer psychiatric input and conduct assessments, both psychiatric and physical, for patients on two wards. One ward is a self-contained low secure rehabilitation unit situated away from the main hospital premises, while the other is a medium secure rehabilitation ward. This role offers exposure to a broad spectrum of clinical presentations, including personality, affective, anxiety, psychotic, neurodevelopmental, and substance-related disorders. Moreover, it provides a platform for developing knowledge and understanding of forensic mental health sections. This position also offers CESR support for those seeking progression within the UK NHS Jobs system.

This is a great opportunity for overseas Specialty Doctors who want to establish themselves in the NHS, and grow their career. The post is suitable for candidates holding specialisation in the EEA, or for experienced IMGs looking to complete CESR.

What is the NHS Trust like?

The Mental Health NHS Trust is a leading provider of mental health service serving a population of 1.2 million. With five main inpatient sites and 25 community locations, they offer comprehensive support for both mental and physical health needs, catering to young people and adults alike. From managing phobias and anxiety to addressing conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, their services are diverse and inclusive. They integrate community health services with mental health care, enabling simultaneous treatment of conditions such as diabetes and mental health issues, promoting holistic patient care.

Forensic Psychiatry Team & Department

The Forensic Service enjoys a stellar reputation, earning an \'Outstanding\' rating from the Care Quality Commission. The Forensic Service delivers care in low and medium secure environments, featuring specialized facilities such as the National Stalking Clinic and the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (FTAC). These services focus on evaluating and managing risks for prominent individuals. 

The inpatient service consists of one acute assessment and treatment medium secure male 4 4 ward, four treatment and intervention medium secure male wards, one female medium secure ward, one medium secure and one low secure male learning disability ward, one low secure male FICU ward and 4 low secure male wards. There are currently 25 Consultant Forensic Psychiatrists in post, working with 5 senior psychiatric trainees who rotate with posts at other forensic psychiatric services in the region. There are 5 junior psychiatric trainees, coming from the UCH training schemes. The service currently employs 10 specialty doctors, working in the prisons and in the rehabilitation parts of the service.

Life in the area

The area offers a blend of urban and suburban living, providing both rural escapes and city conveniences. Residents can explore scenic parks or enjoy activities at different parks. The area boasts a range of quality schools and easy access to universities like Middlesex University. Transport links are excellent, with frequent trains to central London and nearby cities, as well as efficient connections to major airports. Housing options vary from historic cottages to modern apartments, catering to diverse preferences and lifestyles.

Career Development and Opportunities Available

With an extremely active education/teaching programme supported by the consultant team, there is opportunity to work towards and complete CESR, RCPsych exams, get involved in active research and many aspects of CPD. 

Participation in research and educational activities will be encouraged.

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR THIS ROLE?
EEA Candidates:

  • Experience of working in Forensic Psychiatry (Desirable)

Non-EEA Candidates:

  • MRCPsych
  • Experience of working in Forensic Psychiatry (Desirable)

UK based applicants

  • Experience of working in Forensic Psychiatry (Desirable)

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