Instant Insights: MRCPCH FOP/TAS exam, Oct 2018

The October 2018 MRCPCH FOP/TAS exam is done and dusted and we’ve been busy asking hundreds of our customers how they found the two papers. A more detailed analysis will follow shortly after results are released but in the meantime here’s our brief synopsis of what we’ve discovered.

The long arm of the law

After the exam we asked all our October 2018 FOP users which specialties they found most difficult in the exam. Ethics and Law came top of the pile, the main reason being the difference between UK and overseas laws. If you’re based outside of the UK ensure that you’re familiar with UK law so you’re not caught out in the exam. Here's an example of an Ethics and Law question taken from our MRCPCH FOP/TAS Qbank:

Trick or treat?

Several candidates mentioned that the FOP paper contained a number of particularly tricky Best of Five questions, where a number of options could quite easily have been correct. Look for the clues within the question to whittle it down to the right answer by process of elimination. Customers also referenced "red herring" style questions, where the main vignette led them in one direction only for the last line to then ask something different. Don’t rush to choose your answer!

Every second counts

Keep an eye on the clock; each exam is 150 minutes long with 70 Best of Five questions and 10 Extended Matching Questions (EMQs). This may seem like plenty of time however many candidates told us the exam flew by and that they struggled to answer all the questions with the EMQs in particular taking a long time to work through. Take timed tests during your revision to try and get into the mindset of flagging a tricky question to come back to later rather than letting it eat into your time. 

Back to Basics in TAS

Candidates reported that the TAS paper contained several Basic Sciences questions that took them back to the early years of medical school, so dust off those old notebooks to refresh your memory. Pharmacology was considered the most difficult specialty in the TAS paper, with one candidate commenting that:   

There was a lot on the mechanism of action of immunosuppresives, immunomodulators, ADHD drugs, antihistamines and beta blockers, to the point where they asked which receptor they work on, where the receptor is and which neurotransmitters are blocked.

Look out for more exam insights in the coming weeks!
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