If you are an international doctor aspiring to practice as a Paediatrician or Neonatologist within the NHS, then MRCPCH is arguably the best route for you.
The MRCPCH has three theory exams, Foundation of Practice (FOP), Theory and Science (TAS), Applied Knowledge in Practice (AKP) and one clinical exam. This article outlines BDI Resourcing’s top tips for your studies, explaining the types of questions and the exam formats:
The aim of the FOP Exam is to assess basic paediatric knowledge, understanding and clinical decision making early in specialist training. The exam has 80 questions, formatted as follows:
In regard to revision and preparation tips, do try and use a variety of revision sources from books, websites and testing your knowledge with colleagues as reading a textbook from front to back will not help you pass the FOP Exam. Passing the exam is based on pattern recognition; the same areas come up again and again. The only way this can be learnt is by repeatedly practising questions and backing them up with solid grounding in each subject from book work. Please note, that there are no negative marks given in any of these exams, so make sure you answer all of the questions.
Make sure you cover certain fundamental topics extremely well, such as:
It is more important to cover all areas of the curriculum quite well than know some areas very well and others not at all. People often have a tendency to focus on areas they find interesting or good at – this approach may not be helpful for passing the exam. We recommend using all the resources available to you. The RCPCH have a variety of practice papers and answers which can be found here.
The aim of the TAS Exam is to test the basic scientific principles upon which clinical practice is based. The format of the exam is identical to that of the FOP, as follows:
The exam itself is considered to be one of the harder exams of MRCPCH as it involves more complex solving questions, requiring more complex and in-depth answers.
When revising for the TAS Exam, make sure you revise specifics including receptors and pathways that do not come up in more clinical based exams. Below is a list of common themes that come up in TAS, we advise that you do a set amount of revision on each:
The aim of the AKP Exam is to test clinical decision making and management, asking questions about differential diagnosis investigation and management decisions. The AKP is made up of two exams, each 2.5 hours in duration, both with 60 questions. There are a variety of question types within these exams, as follows:
Questions may be based on:
Before you start revising for this exam, consider printing the exam syllabus and working through the outcomes in topics. Additionally, print off a variety of examples of photographs, data and case histories. When answering the questions, eliminate answers that are definitely incorrect and you will probably be left with two or three answers.
The aim of the clinical exam is to test your ability to work at the level of a junior registrar. Candidates are expected to demonstrate proficiency in:
The best way to revise for this is to read through all of the guidance documents found on the RCPCH website, found here. Remember, the clinical examination stations and communication stations are 9 minutes long. BDI Resourcing’s top tips for the day of your Exam are as follows:
“What is the most Likely Diagnosis?”
“What is the next best step?”
“What is the most common cause of this?”
“What is the best advice to give to parents?”
“Choose the most likely diagnosis from the following results”
“Choose the organism which matches most closely each of the following case scenarios”
If you have just passed your MRCPCH or you are an international doctor 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 journey to relocate to the UK.
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Rob Primhak, A. (2020). Foundation of Practice (FOP) | MCQ writing for the MRCPCH. [online] Rcpch.ac.uk. Available at: https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/sites/default/files/rcpch/HTWQv8.4/foundation_of_practice_fop.html [Accessed 17 Feb. 2020].
AKP, M. (2020). MRCPCH: AKP. [online] BMJ OnExamination. Available at: https://www.onexamination.com/products/mrcpch-akp [Accessed 17 Feb. 2020].