MRCEM is a postgraduate qualification that will typically allow you to work at ST3 level within the field of Emergency Medicine. MRCEM OSCE (formerly known as MRCEM Part C), is one of three exams you will need to pass in order to complete MRCEM. In this article we will explain the necessary requirements needed to take MRCEM OSCE, what you can expect from the examination, and we will offer you some revision tips and resources to give you the best opportunity of passing.
In order to be eligible to take the exam:
You will have a maximum of six opportunities to attempt the exam. Previous attempts of MRCEM Part C will not count towards the number of times you can take MRCEM OSCE.
MRCEM OSCE currently costs £450 and can be sat at test centres in London or India.
This exam will be conducted in English, even if you are taking the test in India and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine has stated that to successfully pass the exam, you will need a high level of English which could be compared to IETLS level 7. However, it is not a requirement to sit IELTS/OET before applying for your MRCEM OSCE exam.
The goal of the MRCEM OSCE exam is to assess how you would deal with real life situations in an emergency environment and how you would diagnose and treat patients. Although the situations and patients will not be real in the examination, you will be expected to behave as if they are. You will not only be tested on your medical knowledge, but the way in which you interact with patients, so communication and body language will be important factors in this examination.
The exam consists of eighteen stations, and you will spend seven minutes in each station dealing with a different clinical scenario in each. Of these eighteen stations, there will be sixteen patient encounters and two rest stations. You will also be given an additional minute between each scenario to read any instructions for the next section.
In this assessment, you will be presented with common clinical conditions and scenarios that you would encounter in a real emergency department, stations will feature situations including both adults and children so you should be prepared to deal with a variety of patients and conditions.
Please email us at [email protected] for a list of clinical scenarios to use for your MRCEM revision and your NHS interview.
We would recommend that you give yourself at least three months to prepare, but if you are able to spend longer on the preparation process, that’s advisable. The Royal College of Emergency Medicine website strongly endorses familiarising yourself with the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Curriculum 2015 as the examination will test the competencies covered in years 1-3 of the curriculum. Doing this initial research could be the difference between passing and failing.
Work with Colleagues
The IMG Connect website recommends starting a study group with other doctors planning to take their MRCEM OSCE exam, this will allow you to practice mock, timed scenarios, where you take turns in the role of the doctor, patient and examiner. In the position of the examiner, you can take notes regarding the doctor’s performance, which will give you greater insight into how you can approach scenarios yourself. Timing yourselves will also help you to get an idea of what the actual exam will be like and should hopefully help you to work efficiently in the seven minutes you will have in each station.
Practicing with others will also help you to work on communication skills, which, as we mentioned earlier, will be vital in this particular examination. Try to be aware of your body language as well as your speaking and listening skills, as the examiner will be evaluating this too.
It may also be worth speaking to more senior doctors in your department and asking them to assess your performance. They may be able to observe you at work and offer feedback on any areas you could improve on.
An obvious resource for exam preparation, but a great option if you aren’t in a position to practice with others. The best way to succeed in any exam is to study as much as you possibly can well in advance of stepping into the test centre.
Make the most of Facebook groups, there are many groups online where you can talk to other doctors in the same situation as you, allowing you to ask questions and find the best study resources.
There are plenty of examples of what the clinical scenarios will be like on YouTube. Watch these to familiarise yourself with the way the stations will be set up, and how you should go about dealing with them.
If possible, we would highly recommend completing a preparation course. These will usually either take place face to face or online but are well known for helping doctors to pass more quickly than those who do not complete a course. The main downside to this study method is finding one that you are able to attend, and the cost of completing them. However, if it is at all possible, we would recommend that these courses are worth the cost.
Many IMGs who have taken MRCEM OSCE have strongly advised that you utilise the minute of reading time between stations to really understand any instructions you have been given.
Try to remember to be friendly, be aware of your body language and keep your posture open. The examiner will take into account the fact that you’re nervous but try to be aware of these things.
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has stated that it should take approximately 4 weeks from the week of your examination for the results to be released, and an additional four weeks for letters and feedback to be posted.
If you are unsuccessful, try not to be discouraged. It can be disheartening but failing can actually be a valuable learning experience. Take on the feedback you are given, and work hard to improve on those areas in preparation for the next time you attempt the exam. If there were any areas that you couldn’t study, or perhaps neglected to for whatever reason, make sure that you really focus on these areas in preparation for your next exam. If there were any study techniques you found particularly helpful previously, try to utilise these where possible, or if you felt that your techniques weren’t working for you, explore some new study techniques until you find the ones that are right for you.
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Rcem.ac.uk. (2019). Dates and Fees. [online] Available at: https://www.rcem.ac.uk/RCEM/Exams_Training/Exams/Dates_Fees/RCEM/Exams_Training/Exams/Dates_and_Fees.aspx [Accessed 12 Nov. 2019].
IMG Connect. (2019). MRCEM OSCE (Part C) – preparation, revision, resources and courses | IMG Connect. [online] Available at: https://www.imgconnect.co.uk/news/2019/10/mrcem-osce-part-c-preparation-revision-resources-and-courses/217 [Accessed 12 Nov. 2019].
Rcem.ac.uk. (2019). Regulations & Info Packs. [online] Available at: https://www.rcem.ac.uk/RCEM/Exams_Training/Exams/Regulations_Info_Packs.aspx [Accessed 12 Nov. 2019].