- 26 Oct 2022
I was chuffed to be asked to write this because Pastest worked really well for me. The MSRA was developed for GP applicants and expanded to multiple specialties. It consists of a clinical knowledge and situational judgement component, neither of which is specific to the specialty you’re applying to. This is very useful if, like most Foundation trainees, you’re so busy doing the actual medical bit of your job that you don’t have time to gain expert knowledge in the field you’re hoping to go into.
I found Pastest helpful for applying to O&G for the following reasons:
Obstetrics & Gynaecology has an interview bypass score
Quite a few specialties have this built into their application process, but I was really keen to get a job without having to go to interview first. I didn’t have an O&G rotation, and I hadn’t managed to get a taster week organised due to working through COVID and recovering after COVID, so I was genuinely worried about proving how passionate I was about O&G with my med school achievements alone. It’s hard sometimes to know how specifically to answer interview questions or which extracurriculars are relevant; having such massive clinical and situational judgement question banks available gave me more than enough material to work through in the run up to the exam.
You’re an obstetrician, a gynaecologist, a medic, a surgeon, a pharmacist…
As with most first-year trainees, a lot of my day-to-day is more holistic than specialist medicine, by which I mean I’m both learning how to be an obstetrician gynaecologist and reading ECGs, diagnosing non-pregnancy related conditions, triaging patients and making sure the right meds get prescribed. You need to have good general clinical knowledge, especially at the beginning. Preparing for the MSRA was a great way to refresh myself on topics I hadn’t touched since med school, because – and I cannot stress this enough for anyone applying to O&G – pregnant people get sick too, and it’s for exactly the same reasons as non-pregnant people.
Double the patients, double the ethical issues
All specialties come with their own ethical and legal conundrums, but I’d argue that’s magnified in specialties like paediatrics and O&G. Patient safety is always imperative, but you only have to look at the news to see just how imperative it is to consider the safety of patients who are gestating tiny patients, to assess their risk individually and as a unit. You have to have good situational judgement. You have to be able to create a hierarchy of options, to think critically, to maximise the patient’s well-being, and consider your own. You need to have proven your sound decision-making both to pass the MSRA and to be a good doctor, regardless of which specialty you choose.
I think Pastest has some things other question banks I’ve used are lacking: a bright, easy-to-use interface, breakdowns of your areas of strength and weakness, and thorough explanations of why an answer is right or wrong, which has always been my biggest bugbear with other sites. You can tailor the topics and questions to how much time you have or what you want to study.
I was in the top 35 applicants for O&G this year, and I get to see the patient group I care so deeply about daily (and nightly, and weekend-ly, but let’s not dwell). That’s thanks to a strong MSRA score, my slightly obsessive work ethic, and Pastest. Cheers guys.
- 26 Oct 2022