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MSRA Exam: Instant Insights
  • 25 Mar 2022
  • GP

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Pastest uncovers instant insights from a recent MSRA exam

Following the January/February 2022 MSRA exam (Round 1), we worked with our users and exam candidates to understand the differences and nuances that defined this sitting. We’re using this research to improve our MSRA resource, but that’s not all!

Read a summary of everything that we know so far below…

The exam centre

- The registration process was very quick, very similar to sitting your driving theory test (and the centres are used for this too!).

- The exam was split into two 90-minute exams with a 5-minute rest period in between.

- The day ran smoothly for most candidates, with one commenting that it was “reassuringly boring”.

The papers

- The exam screen is split in two, with questions on one side and answers on the other.

- There were a small number of dummy questions to prepare you for the interface. EMQs would often present with a topic on the left (e.g. Management of Headaches), then the vignette and question on the right. After answering one, the vignette often changed by a word – e.g. the difference between diagnosing dermatological issues in a care home resident to someone who lives alone.

- The difference in patient circumstances changed the main differential, but other than that the vignette was the same. The questions frequently followed the structure of Investigations > Diagnosis > Meds/Side Effects. 

- No images were included in the exam, nor were any negatively phrased questions.

- A few questions were considered quite "off-piste", most notably one concerning how nurses would react to hearing about a patient who has terminal cancer but refuses to tell their close family.

- Areas that were considered "tricky" in the exam paper included: Dermatology (especially childhood rashes and Lyme Disease), Endocrinology, and Sexual Health including Male Infertility and Erectile Dysfunction.

Customer Comments

Here's a selection of comments and advice from candidates who sat the MSRA in 2022:

- Focus on the core, common topics e.g. Diabetes, CHF etc as there are only a few very niche subjects. Mainly focuses on the main medical and surgical issues.

- Study for the SJTs in particular - a little difference in choice marking can make a huge change in your overall rank.

- Prepare well for SJT. The musculoskeletal component is very confusing. Learn more about the technicalities that may come with different clinical scenarios.

- Start revising as soon as possible, Pastest was very similar to the exam in my opinion especially the clinical part - do as many questions as possible ideally try to finish all the questions - if you start early this should be possible and then focus on the questions you did wrong.

Common topics

According to Pastest users, questions on the following topics have appeared in the last two MSRA sittings:

- Paediatric rashes.

- Side effects of antibiotics.

- Abnormal vaginal bleeding.

- Thyroid disorders.

- Gestational hypertension.

- Neonatal jaundice.

- Kawasaki disease.

- Erectile dysfunction.

- Knee injury.

Pastest statistics (2021 feedback)

- The exam was once only available to GPs but in recent years it has been used as part of a larger number of training pathways. Based on our most recent survey, here's the average score per specialty:

Anaesthetics: 571.54
Psychiatry: 567.67
Ophthalmology: 552.67
Obstetrics & Gynaecology: 551.64
Radiology: 549.68
General Practice: 549.65
Emergency Medicine: 540.23
Clinical Radiology: 524.86

- Cardiovascular was the most popular category for users answering questions, closely followed Paediatrics.

- 3.4 million questions were answered for this exam sitting, with desktop and app users each answering 1220 questions on average. 

- The three areas Pastest users scored highly in were: Psychiatry (71.4% correct), Gastroenterology (70.6%) and Respiratory Medicine (69.4%). 

- The three areas Pastest users struggled with were: Reproductive Medicine (50.2% correct), Professional Dilemmas (53.3%) and Neurology (56.1%). 

Are you preparing for the MSRA exam? We can help! Take out our free MSRA trial today, and see what it’s like to get the Pastest Advantage.

  • 25 Mar 2022
  • GP