- 23 Nov 2015
Recently-successful Part 1 candidate Emily MacGregor shares her insight on how to keep your revision interesting and check you're really learning the material that counts.
The MRCP Part 1 is an extremely challenging exam because the breadth AND depth of knowledge required is just so vast. A significant amount of preparation is necessary, especially if, like me, you are not naturally someone who loves the fine print and details! You cannot pass this exam by skimming through subjects; neither can you pass it by pattern recognition alone. My main advice for MRCP success would be not to underestimate it!
Here are some other tips that I picked up along the way:
Don’t skip a category
The list of subject categories is long and you may be tempted to skip your weakest and 'take the hit'. However, I found that in the exam the categories are not evenly represented. One topic might be very heavily represented and you can’t afford for this to be the one that you skipped (this includes statistics!).
Work it out
Pattern recognition can only get you so far. If you know WHAT the answer is but don’t fully understand WHY, then you are not in a position to be able to work out the answer to a similar but differently-worded question. There are key topics that come up repeatedly in the exam, but identical questions rarely appear.
Hide the answers
A simple way of testing your true knowledge as opposed to your deductive reasoning and pattern recognition skills is to cover the answers to the question. If you can answer it correctly without having to use the incorrect answers in a process of elimination, then you can be confident that you have the knowledge required.
Do mixed-category revision
Revising one category at a time gives you an untrue advantage. For example, a question about shortness of breath and chest pain could relate to either a cardiological or a respiratory disease. If you are going through the cardiology category rather than mixed category questions then this will influence your answer choice. Single category revision clearly has its advantages early on, but try to mix it up as soon as you can.
Don’t get bored!
You should be spending months and not weeks revising for this exam and so keeping things interesting is vital. Use as many different study modalities as possible to prevent that dreaded feeling of endless repetition. Videos are excellent resources; Pastest has some great ones (especially the statistics ones) and I also discovered that YouTube is full of useful material. I advise that you have a go at being creative – draw diagrams, write poems about ciclosporin and amyloidosis (MRCP favourites!), create a myotome dance – whatever it takes! And perhaps most important of all is to find some ‘revision buddies’ – whether you find group sessions useful for your learning or not, they definitely keep that all-important morale up!
- 23 Nov 2015