MRCPCH TAS Purgatory by Katie Rogerson
"The dreaded MRCPCH TAS. I loathed it.
Yep – it is that one right at the start of the paediatric exams (straight after the MRCPCH FOP). Easy peasy! Surely the hard ones come later? Not for me. I just COULD NOT get my head around the thing. And those close to me knew they should not utter its name in my presence.
It seemed to me, for a tremendously long while, to be an exam of spurious connections and tenuous links. And I might have taken it more than once. Certainly, I spent A LOT of cash, and I felt very sad. Oohh, soo sad. I still have the flashbacks.
Thinking back, the problem was that I did not properly commit. I felt it was inevitable that I was doomed to everlasting MRCPCH TAS purgatory. That I would die, frothing at the mouth, screaming and writhing in agony, ‘Noooooo! MRCPCH TAS!!!! Why? WHHYYYY??????’
You know what though? I got there in the end.
Finally, I realised that enough was enough. MRCPCH TAS didn’t need to control my existence - I needed to confront it. I had no choice except to pass it. Surely I was more than a MRCPCH TAS failure?
Finally, I sat alone in a room, took Facebook off my phone and did questions solidly for two weeks.
And…I scraped a pass by the skin of my teeth. A few marks over, but WHO CARES!! No one ever needs to know how close I came to being on the other side of the pass mark. I WAS A SUCCESS! Albeit a slightly slow moving one.
I am not convinced that MRCPCH TAS teaches you anything useful, whatsoever. And for me it nearly completely destroyed my confidence as a practicing doctor. NO ONE talks about it, so you do not know who failed and who passed.
As time went on, I realised that MRCPCH TAS was not connected to the good, or the bad doctors. In fact, my revelation was a conversation in which I discovered all my own personal ‘top-rated, prizewinning’ paediatric doctors/consultants etc. had also messed up MRCPCH TAS. Wahay! How liberating!
It is quite simply a hoop you have to jump through – as all these exams are. If you can forget about the scary, expensive part – they are quite good fun!"
Katie Rogerson is a Pastest customer and trainee paediatrician at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, London. She'll be taking her MRCPCH Clinical exam this year.
In Royal College Exams on Monday, 14th August, 2017