MRCP Part 2, Oct 2020 Exam: Instant Insights

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We’ve spent the last week gathering feedback about the October 2020 MRCP Part 2 exam, so that we can distil the key information, and help future candidates get The Pastest Advantage.

For the first time, some UK candidates had the option to sit the MRCP Part 2 exam online – and we’ve gathered some key insights about this new experience.

We’ll continue to update this blog as we find out more, but here’s what we know so far:

Content of the MRCP Part 2 exam:

  • The questions vary in length throughout the papers, some offer a couple of sentences whilst others were particularly long. As a result of this, some candidates struggled to keep a consistent pace and manage their time well.
  • Many candidates felt that dermatology was the trickiest of the specialities; citing difficulty recognising conditions and a number of slides that looked very similar.
  • Neurology was also mentioned frequently, including questions that required the candidate to differentiate between migraines, seizures, dissections and ICB.
  • Paper 2 was considered the harder paper with several red herring-style questions which led candidates in one direction with the vignette, before asking an unrelated question.

Attending the Exam Centre

Candidates reported that despite infection control measures being in place, this did not add any stress to the exam experience. Candidates were well spread out during the exam, and you could leave the exam hall once you were finished, which lessened the traffic filing out of the exam at the end.

Sitting the MRCP Part 2 Exam Online

As a contingency for last-minute exam centre closures, the RCP offered many UK candidates the opportunity to sit the exam online. Around 33% of our survey respondents told us that they sat the exam online.

Candidates opted to sit the exam online for a variety of reasons, including convenience and cost, concerns regarding COVID, and that the RCP had warned candidates that there may be last-minute cancellations at exam centres.

Most candidates who had previously attempted the exam in a test centre felt that the online remote experience was more convenient and less stressful than attending a physical exam centre. However, taking the exam at home didn't make for a perfect experience. Some candidates mentioned eye strain from staring at the screen all day, and distractions from their home environment. We've also had reports of inconsistencies between different proctors on whether you were allowed to have scrap paper to make notes.

A few technical issues were reported, ranging from the second paper failing to load for some candidates, to connection dropouts during the exam, to proctors taking a long time to reply regarding toilet breaks. When sitting the exam online, you may also have to deal with interruptions from the invigilators. Despite the difficulties, 69% of our survey respondents said that they would prefer to sit exams online in the future.

Advice from Exam Candidates

We asked our customers what advice they would give to future online candidates; here’s what they suggest:

  • Check you have stable internet – an ethernet cable helps with this.
  • Make sure that you won’t be disturbed during the exam.
  • Use the rear camera on your phone for the remote invigilation, so that you don’t get disturbed by the screen.
  • Ensure that you’ve checked your internet speed before registering for an online place.
  • Prepare for the exam in the same way you would normally, as the content is the same.
  • Get a good night's sleep beforehand, your eyes will get tired.
  • Check with the proctor regarding rules on toilet breaks and note taking on paper, this did vary.
  • Use Pastest to prepare, as the experience is very similar!

Ready to get started with your MRCP Part 2 study?

Why not take out our new FREE MRCP Part 2 trial, and sample all the great content that we have to offer! It only takes a few seconds to sign up, and we don't need your credit card details.

Keen to find out more about the exam? Read on for more insights from recent exams... 

Insights from the October 2019 sitting: 

  • A number of ‘niche’ subjects cropped up in the exam, questions on topics such as Hyper IgM syndrome and Chikungunya virus were included.

  • According to candidates, there were a few tricky questions where the vignette led you in one direction only for the question to then ask something else. Ensure you read everything carefully.

  • Many questions were detailed and lengthy; make sure you’re pacing yourself throughout the exam - time is of the essence!

  • Questions that include a country of origin or patient’s occupation tend to include these clues for a reason. They aren’t just peripheral facts, they may lead you to the correct answer!

  • Swot up on your Respiratory CT scans, being able to interpret these will certainly help.

Here’s another vital comment that one candidate mentioned:

"Ensure that the signature on your application matches your ID that you present on the day!" One candidate said that they were pulled up on this on the morning of the exam. Don’t let a simple admin faux-pas add to your pre-exam stress!

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