MRCP Part 2 Written Examination
A brief overview of the MRCP examination is already been shared. In this article, we will try to cover the MRCP Part 2 written examination under the following headings:
- What is MRCP part 2 written examination
- How you can exempt MRCP part 1 and sit for MRCP part 2 written examination
- How to Prepare for the MRCP part 2 examination
- What to expect on the exam day
Before you read this article, it is recommended for you to go through the general overview of the MRCSP examinations:
What is MRCP part 2 Written Exam
The MRCP Part 2 written examination is to be taken by the physicians in training who have passed their MRCP Part 1 examination. The part 2 written exam is about to move to a single-day format from the beginning of March 2018. The new exam will consist of two, 3 hours of papers with 100 MCQs each.
The MRCP part 2 examination is set to test the ability to apply clinical understanding, make clinical judgments, and take responsibility for:
- prioritizing diagnostic or problem lists
- planning investigation
- selecting a plan for immediate management
- selecting a plan for long-term management
- Assessing prognosis.
Once you have passed the MRCP part 1 exam, you have made a start on the long journey of MRCP glory. The MRCP part 2 is less random and more clinically relevant than Part 1. You will enjoy studying for this exam, and this exam will make you a better doctor. The truth is that many hospitals only have medical registrars who have only completed Part 2, indicating how relevant it is on a daily basis. The passing rate for MRCP Part 2 Written exam is also higher (around 60%) which is also encouraging.
Although the passing rate is high for the Part 2 exam, still is very difficult for the Part 1 exam. You need to have a massive depth and breadth of clinical knowledge, as well as an ability to think laterally and meticulously analyze the investigation results.
Time management is the key to success in the MRCP part 2 written exam. You will be tested to your limits. The questions in the Part 2 written exam are long and time is very limited. The higher passing rate is attributed to the higher proportion of ‘serious MRCP applicants. Many candidates who sit Part 1 do so to ‘have a go’ at the MRCP, and abandon it after failing.
MRCP Part 2 Written examination in a Nutshell:
- three papers have to be taken over two days
- papers last three hours
- 270 multiple-choice questions (BOF)
- questions include images
- Sat in an examination hall
A brief overview of the MRCP Part 2 written examination is given below:
What is asked? Part 2 written exam is aimed to test your ability to apply clinical understanding, make clinical judgments, and take responsibility for:
- Planning investigation
- Prioritizing diagnostic lists
- Selecting an immediate management plan
- Selecting a long0term management plan
- Assessing prognosis
The format of the Exam:
|Old Pattern||New Pattern|
|Part 2 written examination consists of 270 MCQ and there are 3 separate papers, each containing 90 MCQs||The part 2 written exam will move to a single-day format in March 2018. The new pattern will consist of 2-three to hour papers with 100 MCQs each.
Division of the Questions
|Specialty||NO. of Questions asked||Percentage (%)|
Endocrinology and metabolic medicine
Infectious Diseases and GUM
Therapeutic and Toxicology
25 questions from each of these specialties
Oncology and Palliative medicine
13 questions from each specialty
|Geriatric Medicine||10 questions only||3.7%|
|4 questions from each specialty||3%|
The content of the questions
In MRCP Part 2 written examination, the question will usually have clinical scenarios, may include the results of investigations, and may be illustrated with images such as clinical photographs, pathology slides, inheritance trees, ECGs, X-Rays, CT and MRI Scans. And echo-diagrams.
Questions are also asked about the diagnosis, investigation, management, and prognosis of patients using MCQs in the ‘Best of Five” format. This format is aimed to test core knowledge and comprehension, and also to assess the ability to interpret information and solve clinical problems.
There will be five options: one correct answer and 4 alternatives to the correct answer. The four distractors will be closely related to the preferred option but less correct, therefore acting as plausible alternatives. The candidate chooses the best answer from the five possible answers. Each correct answer is awarded one mark; there is no negative marking.
Length of the Exam: Unlike the part 1 exam, the Part 2 exam is a two-day long exam. There are a total of 3 different papers, each with a length of 3 hours (total=9hours), and have 90 MCQs.
When to take it? Usually after passing the MRCP part 1 examination.
Test Centers: the test centers which conduct MRCP part 1 examination are also devised to conduct the MRCP part 2 written examination. The international test centers for the MRCP part 2 written exam are:
- Bahrain (Manama)
- Bangladesh (Dhaka)
- Egypt (Cairo)
- Ghana (Accra)
- Hong Kong
- Iceland (Reykjavik)
- India (Chennai)
- Iraq (Baghdad)
- Jordan (Amman)
- Kuwait (Kuwait City)
- Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur)
- Nepal (Kathmandu)
- Oman (Muscat)
- Pakistan (Karachi)
- Pakistan (Lahore)
- Qatar (Doha)
- Saudi Arabia (Jeddah)
- Sri Lanka
- Sudan (Khartoum)
- United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi)
- West Indies (Barbados)
- Zimbabwe (Harare)
Eligibility Criteria: The only eligibility criterion to take the MRCP part 2 written examination is:
- Passing MRCP part 1 examination.
In the MRCP part 2 written exam, each question is usually consists of a scenario, often similar to what you may encounter whilst take. The scenarios in this exam are long, followed by extensive investigation results. There may be usually numerical blood tests, occasionally blood films, echo diagrams, and ECGs. There is also a fair amount of radiology, consisting of CT and MRI scans, and often more complex things like barium studies.
Exemption from MRCP part 1 and Sitting for MRCP part 2
To be eligible for the MRCP Part 2 written examination, you should have passed your MRCP Part 1 examination within the preceding 7 years, unless you can claim the exemption from the MRCP Part 1 examination.
If you are a graduate with a Postgraduate Diploma which is recognized by the Royal Colleges of Physicians and that requires a comparable period of training, then you can be admitted to the MRCP part 2 written examinations with exemption from the MRCP part 1 examination without a need for further training.
Holders of the following diplomas may apply for exemption from the MRCP Part 1 Examination (providing that they have obtained the exempting qualification within the seven-year period before sitting the MRCP Part 2 Written Examination):
- Membership of the Royal College of Pathologists
- Membership of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland
- Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians
- Fellowship of the College of Medicine of South Africa
- Fellowship of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan – Medicine
- Clinical MD in Internal Medicine (Khartoum)
- Master of Medicine (Khartoum)
- Master of Medicine (Singapore) – Internal Medicine
- Doctor of Medicine (Colombo) – Medicine
- Doctor of Medicine (West Indies) – Internal Medicine
- Fellowship of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Bangladesh.
Members and Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and those who have passed the FRACP Examination may apply for exemption from the MRCP Part 1 and MRCP Part 2 Written examinations.
How to claim exemption from the MRCP Part 1 Examination?
Unless full details of their qualifications appear in the current (annual) edition of the Medical Register of the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom (GMC), holders of the diplomas listed above must submit, the appropriate application form and other documentation
- Your original Medical Registration Certificate or their Diplomas of Primary Medical
- Your postgraduate diplomas
Irish Medical Registration Certificates do not give sufficient details of qualifications held and are therefore not acceptable.
Candidates, particularly those based outside the UK, are recommended to provide attested copies of any original documentation. Original documents will be returned as soon as possible after receipt but the MRCP Examinations Office cannot take responsibility for any items lost in transit.
Photocopies of certificates and/or official translations will only be accepted if they have been prepared and/or authenticated by one of the following:
- The issuing University or Medical School
- A British Consulate or British Council outside the UK
- The British Embassy
- The British High Commission
- The candidate’s own Embassy or High Commission in the United Kingdom
- A Fellow or Member of the College or a Chair of the Examining Board of the awarding body
Candidates wishing to claim exemption from the MRCP Part 1 Examination must submit a paper application form.
How to prepare MRCP part 2 written exam
This section is concerned with the Study Material/Content for the MRCP Part 2 Written examination.
MRCP Part 2 written exam is considered very difficult to pass, so you have to prepare for it very hard.
STUDY MATERIAL/CONTENT FOR MRCP PART 2 WRITTEN EXAMINATION
The study material for the MRCP Part 2 written is tabulated below:
|Question Banks (Q-Banks)||Books/Notes||Revision Courses|
· Online Q-Bank
· Reasonably good coverage of topics
· Wide variety of questions
· Can be bought from official website
· Explanations are not as comprehensive as provided by other sources
· The scenarios are generally brief than in the real exam
|Rapid Review of Clinical Medicine
· Covers the main topics with up to 400 questions
· Can be used as revision notes
· Very similar to the exam format
· Suitable to be used as a central book for preps.
· Can be found free from some websites in pdf. Format
|Pastest 5 day Course
· Cost around £600
· A very good and must course
· Comprehensive coverage of all major topics
· Very useful near to exam
· Online Q-bank
· A vast pool of questions, bigger than any popular website
· Broad coverage of all important topics
· Comprehensive explanations which are useful
|Essential Lists for MRCP
· A fantastic book which covers almost all the topics
· A very easily readable format
· Easily digestible
· Very useful for part 2 paces as well
· Cost is around £20
|Medibyte Course (over 3 weekends)
· Cost around £750
· This course has a legendary reputation
· Covers the vast majority of the common part 2 topics
· Very, very close to the real exam
· Must be taken
· Online Q-Bank
· A very large pool of questions
· Can be bought online
· Focused and relevant topics
· Excellent explanations
· Very useful
· Very close to the real exam
· Questions are free if you attend the course
|Mnemonics for MRCP
· Contains a number of mnemonics that could be helpful for you
· Geared towards the MRCP as a whole
· Highlights which part of the exam each mnemonic is most likely to be useful for
|MRCP Part 2: Best of Five Illustrated questions and answers
· A very decent book
· Comprehensive answers
· Wide variety of pictures and illustrations
· Very useful book
|Self-assessment for the MRCP Part 2 Written Paper: Data Interpretation Vol 3
· This book is a must for all MRCP candidates
· It is actually a comprehensive guide to the MRCP part 2 written paper
· Contains 100 essential questions
|1oo disease for the MRCP: Part 2
· Provides information on 100 diseases that crop up frequently in the exam
· Highly structured format
· Easily readable
· Relevant questions
· Easy source of information
|Photographic Interpretation Questions: MRCP Part 2
· the complete MRCP is a series of 3 books
· covers the whole of the written section
· written by members of royal colleges of physicians
· regarded as one of the best book series for the exam
Unlike in Part 1, there is no real consensus about the number of questions that you should aim to do before hitting the exam. The questions take much longer, and you will find it difficult to vast numbers. Anything between 1000 and 3000 is probably reasonable, although the quality of the questions is much more important than the quantity.
How much time is needed for MRCP part 2 written exam preparation?
- To pass comfortably: start around 3-4 months in advance.
- If you’re a crammer: you need 2 months at the very least- this exam is significantly tougher than Part 1.
How to prepare for the exam?
Most of the candidates do not follow a proper way to prepare for the exam and of course, there is no proper way. There are some points that can be kept in the mind:
- Never ever go for lengthy books like Harrisons and Oxford Textbook of Clinical Medicine, you can use them for references purposes only.
- Give a must-read to important Q-banks to equip yourself with all the facts required to pass the exam
- Build a pool of your own ‘BOF’ so that you can revise them later easily
- Do as many BOFs as you can. Revise the questions again and again
- Be realistic in the exam
- You can study for 2 hours a day for at least 8 weeks to clear the MRCP part 2 written exam easily
- Use a strategy in which you focus 80% on critical thinking and solving problems and 20% to watch videos.
Some Tips Regarding Preparation:
- Do some reading. The randomness of Part 1 makes it difficult to base your revision on reading any ‘core’ textbook. However Part 2 is based on realistic clinical scenarios, so it’s advisable to read a clinical medicine textbook to build up your background knowledge.
- Practice, practice, practice. This will help you familiarize yourself with the structure of the questions, and topics that frequently appear will also be highlighted. Later in your revision make sure that you do the questions in the time allowed and practice pacing yourself. Interestingly, the similarity of online practice questions to the real exam in Part 1 is not repeated in Part 2- so it is probably not worth rote-learning questions.
- Learn from your patients. Start treating every post-take wards round case like a Part 2 scenario. Be active in asking your consultant questions about the cases, and reflect on the investigations and management you have done. Slowly but surely you will find that your performance as a medical SHO also improves as your revision progresses.
What to expect from the exam?
Before the examination day:
- To go to bed early (10 Pm – 6 AM)
- Take your breakfast
- Take some drinks, snacks with you
- Check the location of your venue as per mentioned in your admission document
- Plan a route, leaving plenty of time for any inconvenience
- Check your name for any mistakes
- Must go through the MRCP regulations
On The Exam Day:
- Arrive at least 30 minutes earlier
- Be back to your desk 15 minutes before your paper 2 is due to start
- Bring enough food and drinks (Except for students sitting in the Lahore, Pakistan venue)
- Bring appropriate warm clothes
- Bring your own lunch
- Be ready for everything
- Come prepared to show your ID
- Bring your admission document
- Do not bring any stationary or calculators with you
- Do not write notes on the admission document
- Do not wear hoods
Also on the examination day:
- Relax: This exam requires an ability to carefully and meticulously take in and process large amounts of information quickly and decisively. Excessive anxiety will slow you down and cloud your judgment, so do whatever you can to relax.
- Pace yourself: Don’t mull over questions for too long. Before you start, calculate how much time you have per question, and don’t exceed it. Your time if too limited to spend ages on an intriguing question, as tempting as it may be. If you aren’t making any headway on a question, just guess as intelligently as possible and move on.
- De-stress during your breaks: Nine hours of exams divided among three papers over two days is stressful. Make sure you eat and sleep well in so that you are alert and focused. Don’t use the break periods to cram at the last minute- ensuring your mental faculties are in good shape is much more important than the few bits of knowledge you may gain at this time.
The scoring method which is used to calculate the score of a candidate in the MRCP Part 2 Written examination is called ‘Equating’. This is a statistical technique to ensure parity in the exam.
- A score of 454 or above is considered passing
- There is no negative marking
- Mark zero is given for missing responses
To register for the MRCP Part 2 Written exams, follow these steps:
- Make your account at the MRCP (UK)’s official website
- Apply for the MRCP examinations
- Have your MBBS certificate ready
- Pay with a credit/debit card
- Do not go for the check payment method as it may cause some issues for you
Follow the following tips to save your precious time:
- Learn Vocabulary
- Study in groups
- Memorize Basics again and again
- Make flashcards
- Look for patterns
- Connect all the information
- Do ask for help from others
- Highlight the important topics
- Attach paper tags
- Take active notes from the videos
- Pause the video when necessary
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A Word From The Author
Passing the MRCP part 2 Written is quite a task, however proper planning combined with hard work can make even impossible things happen, and definitely, this exam is much less than impossible. Indeed, what complicates matters for doctors is the difficult conditions in which they have to prepare for the exam and it makes proper planning all the more important and a more practical way of actually preparing for the exam an absolute essential.
I hope the little information, which I have managed to gather here will be helpful to you. Good Luck.
If there is anything missing mention it below in the comment box. Feel free to drop an email at email@example.com for any queries and questions.