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Preparing for MRCPSCYH B

  • December 22, 2021

MRCPsych Paper B is the second part of the three MRCPsych examination series. More specifically, it is a written paper which assesses critical review and the clinical topics in psychiatry.

How long is the exam and what are the questions?

Paper B is a three-hour exam worth 150 marks, comprised of 150 questions.

It is made up of approximately two-thirds multiple-choice questions (MCQ) and one-third extended matching item questions (EMI).

  • One-third of the paper covers critical review.
  • Two-thirds of the paper covers clinical topics.

What does it cover?

Paper B covers the following sections of the syllabus:

  1. Organisation and Delivery of Psychiatric Services
  2. General Adult Psychiatry
  3. Old Age Psychiatry
  4. Psychotherapy
  5. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  6. Substance Misuse/Addictions
  7. Forensic Psychiatry
  8. Psychiatry of Learning Disability
  9. Critical Review

On Paper B the percentage split/marks on a 150 mark exam is/would be:

Organisation and delivery - 5.50% / 8

General Adult - 20.00% / 30

Old Age - 9.00% / 14


Child & Adolescent - 9.00% / 14

Substance misuse - 6.50% / 10

Forensic - 5.50% / 8

Learning disability - 5.50% / 8

Critical Review - 33.5% / 50

What should I revise for each section of the syllabus?

Below we have listed the different areas it is suggested that your revise for each of the 9 components of the MRCPSYCH B paper. In addition to your revision of the below subjects, Members of the Royal College of Psychiatrists can log in and access sample questions from this link. Non-members should email the Examinations team and request them on [email protected]

1) Organisation and Delivery of Psychiatric Services  

You will need to demonstrate knowledge of the core aspects of service delivery. This knowledge shall include:

  • Nature and process of Psychiatric Services
  • Preventative Strategies
  • Provision of treatments
  • Assessment for need of Psychiatric services
  • Components of rehabilitation services
  • Cultural Settings and the presentation of cultural settings

2) General Adult Psychiatry

You shall need to demonstrate a general knowledge of General Adult Psychiatry. This includes knowledge of the assessment and treatment of disorders presenting in adulthood including subspecialist areas. In particular:  

  • General Hospital Psychiatry
  • Emergency Psychiatry
  • Eating Disorders
  • Psycho-Sexual Disorders

3) Old Age Psychiatry

You will demonstrate knowledge of the particular aspects of psychiatric disorders, their presentation and treatment in late life. This will include:

  • Demographic population changes
  • District Service provision
  • Specialist aspects of Old Age Psychiatry
  • Psychological aspects of physical disease
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Bereavement and Adjustment
  • Psychosexual old age disorders

4) Psychotherapy 

You will be able to understand the principles and techniques of psychosocial therapies sufficient to treat patients using brief and supportive therapies and to know when and how to make a referral that is indicated. You they will be able to:

  • State the characteristics and techniques of, and common indications for psychodynamic psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, supportive psychotherapy, cognitive and behavioural therapies, group therapies, couples and family therapies and psychoeducational interventions.
  • State the indications for and techniques of combining psychotherapy with psychopharmacology
  • Describe behavioural interventions (e.g. relaxation training, assertiveness training, relapse prevention) and know for which problems they are indicated or contraindicated.

You will need to have a thorough understanding of:

  • Dynamic Psychotherapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapies
  • Therapeutic Models
  • Effectiveness of Psychotherapy
  • Group Therapy

5) Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

You shall demonstrate a general knowledge of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. This includes knowledge of the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents, knowledge of disorders that are usually first diagnosed in infancy, childhood or adolescence and developmental disabilities.

You will need to have a thorough understanding of:

  • Effects of adult mental illness on children
  • Effects on maternal mental health on children
  • Short/Long term effects of negative life events on development
  • Typical child mental health services
  • Child protection
  • Evidence based interventions in developmental conditions

6) Substance Misuse/Addictions

You will need to have a thorough understanding of:

  • Basic Pharmacology and epidemiology of alcohol, cannabis and other drugs
  • Arguments for/against types of prescribing and treatment modalities
  • Cause, consequences and recognition of heavy drinking
  • Who uses which drugs and why
  • Interacting of drug and alcohol use with psychiatric illness
  • Assessment and management of drug and misusers

7) Forensic Psychiatry

You will need to have an understanding of:

  • The relationship between crime and mental disorders
  • Psychiatry and the criminal justice system
  • Practicing psychiatry in a secure setting
  • Human rights legislation as it effects patients and psychiatric practice

8) Learning Disabilities

The topics suggested should complement those topics which will be covered in other areas of psychiatry, particularly neuropsychiatry and child psychiatry. You will need to have an understanding of:

  • Services for people with an intellectual disability.
  • Epidemiology – prevalence/incidence of intellectual disability in the general population
  • Aetiology – biological causes of intellectual disability

9) Research Methods, Statistics, Critical Review and Evidence-Based Practice

You will need to also be able to demonstrate knowledge of the principles of research methods, statistics, epidemiology and evidence-based practice.

Relocation/Finding a Job

If you are an international Psychiatrist who would like to relocate to the UK , email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS post and on your relocation journey to the UK. You will need your GMC Registration in order to qualify for an NHS job, so either through completion of the full MRCPsych suite or via PLAB.

Are you a member of our Facebook group? When you join IMG Advisor, you join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs to the group each day. We will also be on hand to answer all of your relocation queries.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 60 videos covering everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS.

Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go with IMG Advisor the Podcast! You can listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Buzzsprout. We have a number of episodes with tips and advice on relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this.

Finally, we also have Instagram, so if you are a member, feel free to follow us to view our posts and IGTV: @bdiresourcing


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