Complete Video Guide to MRCP for IMGs24 August, 2023
The Royal College of Physicians examinations are a three part series of exams that NHS doctors sit prior to entering their ST3 Level training. IMGs ...
The Royal College of Physicians examinations are a three part series of exams that NHS doctors sit prior to entering their ST3 Level training. IMGs can also sit the exams to gain access to GMC Registration when used alongside IELTS or OET.
In this video we explain the pros and cons of sitting MRCP vs PLAB as well as explaining the eligibility and stages of the exams, the structure for each exam, pass rates, top tips for passing and guidance on how to use MRCP to get GMC Registration.
You can skip ahead using the below chapters:
- 00:00 - Introduction
- 00:38 - Should I sit MRCP or PLAB?
- 01:57 - Eligibility and Stages of MRCP
- 04:26 - How much does MRCP Cost?
- 05:23 - Structure and Pass Rates of MRCP Part 1
- 07:06 - Structure and Pass Rates of MRCP Part 2
- 08:11 - Structure and Pass Rates of MRCP PACES
- 09:38 - Top Tips for Passing MRCP
- 11:25 - How to Get GMC Registration with MRCP
- 13:55 - Summary
00:10 Today we're going to talk to you about the MRCP.
00:12 We're going to do a full overview of
00:15 everything you can expect from the MRCP.
00:17 For those of you that don't know, it's the
00:19 Royal College of Physicians set of examinations that lots
00:22 of IMG doctors use to join the GMC register.
00:26 And it's particularly valuable if you're looking to
00:28 come in as a senior registrar or a
00:31 consultant in medicine or acute medicine or elderly
00:34 care, any of the allied medicine specialisms.
00:43 You might be wondering whether it's worthwhile
00:45 sitting MRCP over the PLAB exams.
00:49 And in order to work out whether
00:51 it's right for you, I think it's
00:52 important to make an assessment between them.
00:54 So PLAB is a two part examination, which
00:57 is aimed at assessing the clinical knowledge and
01:00 skills of a doctor entering FY2 level,
01:03 whereas MRCP includes three parts of an examination.
01:07 So there's two theory parts, part one and
01:10 two, and then a clinical assessments part called PACES.
01:14 So it's assessing a doctor who in the UK would
01:18 be equivalent to someone coming into the ST3 level.
01:22 ST3 for those of you that don't know, is
01:25 registrar or resident or senior trainee, that kind of grade.
01:29 So I think the main distinction to make
01:31 between the two is if you're looking to
01:33 sit the PLAB exams, you're probably going to
01:35 be aiming yourself at a more junior level.
01:37 Whereas if you're willing to sit the three parts
01:39 of MRCP, then you're looking at a more senior
01:42 level when you come into the NHS.
01:44 Obviously, a more senior exam is going to be trickier.
01:47 It takes a bit longer, it is a bit more
01:49 expensive, but of course, it means you get access to
01:52 those higher level positions once you get into the NHS.
02:02 The timing of the examinations is really
02:04 important and lots of doctors actually.
02:06 If you're serious about moving to the UK as
02:09 your long term career goal, it's probably worth starting
02:12 to prepare for them before you even graduate your
02:14 MBBS, or at least in your internship year.
02:18 So in order to qualify or to be eligible
02:21 for MRCP Part One, the very first part, you're
02:25 going to need that primary medical qualification.
02:27 So it's got to be MBBS or MD and it's
02:30 got to be on the GMC's recognized institutions list.
02:35 We'll put a link to that up so you can see it.
02:38 So basically, you need a degree in
02:39 medicine from one of those recognized bodies.
02:42 You'll also need to have completed
02:44 at least one year post graduation.
02:46 So that can be your internship year, it can be
02:48 your first year out of med school, and at that
02:52 point you'll be eligible to sit MRCP Part One.
02:56 Gather your notes during that first
02:58 year, start doing your revision.
03:00 If you're serious about coming as quickly as possible,
03:03 in theory, you could pass that exam the moment
03:05 that you've finished your first year of medical practice.
03:10 It's important to note that once you move
03:12 on to Part Two, you can't have had
03:15 more than six failed attempts at Part One.
03:19 So it is important to try and
03:20 get it right as early as possible.
03:22 We're going to talk a bit later in the
03:23 video about the pass rates for Part One, Two
03:26 and PACES, but they are quite high.
03:29 So it's important to know that if you fail Part One,
03:33 then it's going to be hard to move on to Part
03:35 Two, particularly if you're going to fail more than six times.
03:38 Might seem like a lot, but it's a tough exam.
03:40 It's exactly the same moving then
03:43 from Part Two onto completing.
03:45 So, important to note, you can
03:47 actually sit these in any order.
03:49 You could sit paces before Part Two if you
03:52 wanted to, though it is generally recommended that you
03:55 do Part Two first and then PACES.
03:57 And the MRCP advise that you get at least
04:01 three years of clinical experience before sitting PACES itself.
04:06 So in theory, after one year of medical practice,
04:09 you could do Part One, then perhaps two years
04:11 in, you'd do Part Two, and then three years
04:13 in, you'd be eligible to complete and sit PACES.
04:17 So it's a long process, it's going to
04:19 take you a long time to get there.
04:21 And if you're serious about it,
04:22 start preparing really, really early on.
04:31 Before we get on to the actual structure of the
04:33 exams and the pass rates of each individual section, it's
04:37 important to note the prices of the exams.
04:39 They are expensive, so it's important to think about your
04:43 financial situation well in advance and prepare yourself for the
04:46 amount it's going to cost over the two or three
04:49 years that it's going to take to pass the exams.
04:52 Current prices are £616 for part 1, £616 again
04:57 for part two and £1,202 for PACES itself.
05:01 It's 2023 at the moment, but we will try and
05:04 keep the prices updated as this video gets older.
05:07 In time we'll write them in the notes, but
05:10 collectively there you're looking at about £2,500 to sit the exams.
05:14 So they are very costly and you should
05:16 think about that long in advance before you're
05:19 preparing to study and set them.
05:27 So the structure of the Part one examination is that
05:31 you are going to do it all in one day.
05:34 You're going to be given two exam papers, each with 100
05:38 questions, and you're given 3 hours to sit each paper.
05:42 So, very challenging exam, you're in
05:45 for a long and tough day.
05:46 When you do sit it, you'll be pleased
05:49 to know though, that it is multiple choice,
05:51 which might make things slightly easier.
05:54 You're given five options for each question and
05:57 there's no negative markings, so it's important to
06:00 answer every question because you won't be scored
06:02 negatively if you provide a wrong answer.
06:06 The exams themselves are testing your knowledge
06:09 of clinical sciences and medical disorders.
06:13 So it's all of the usual stuff that
06:15 you would have learned at medical school and
06:17 in your first year of medical practice.
06:20 And it covers a wide range
06:21 of topics cardiology, neurology, geriatrics, psychiatry,
06:25 the whole field of medicine spectrum.
06:28 So lots of questions, lots of
06:30 things to study up and revise.
06:32 The pass rates for the MRCP Part One are
06:36 actually only 40% to 50%, which may be reflective
06:39 of the kind of lower level of experience that
06:42 you're coming in with at that point in time.
06:44 But keep that in mind, it's actually a surprisingly
06:47 low pass rate, so you might want to think
06:50 about studying very hard for these exams.
06:52 Don't take them lightly.
06:53 You might think, yes, they'll be
06:55 easy, I can sit through these.
06:56 It's only part one.
06:58 But actually take them really seriously because keep in
07:00 mind you've only got six attempts before you've got
07:02 to get through to Part two and PACES.
07:10 There's a lot of similarities in part two to part one.
07:14 So you're still going to sit two exams,
07:17 two test papers on one single day, each
07:20 with 100 questions and each multiple choice answers.
07:24 You're going to be assessed on
07:25 your clinical knowledge and skills.
07:28 However, this time, you're going to be
07:30 given several clinical images as well.
07:33 So you might be given MRI scans or
07:36 X rays or anything along those lines.
07:39 The recommendation is that you've sat at least 36
07:43 months of clinical experience before you sit part two.
07:46 So the pass rate is actually a little bit higher at
07:49 this point in time, so you're looking at 60% to 70%.
07:52 Now, just because that pass rate is higher
07:54 doesn't mean you shouldn't take the exam seriously.
07:56 Obviously, you're going to do lots and lots
07:58 of preparation, but hopefully, with three years of
08:01 medical practice behind you, you will have actually
08:03 faced a lot of the scenarios that you're
08:05 contending with in the exam itself.
08:07 So it should be, in theory, a little bit easier.
08:15 So the final part, the PACES exam, this is
08:19 actually a lot more complicated and that's why there's
08:21 a really low availability for seats at the moment.
08:25 You've probably heard about this, there seems to be
08:27 a massive backlog since COVID and it is tricky
08:31 to get PACES seats outside of the UK.
08:33 And obviously the ones in the UK are often
08:35 for doctors who are coming through UK training systems.
08:38 So very hard to get onto.
08:39 And we would really recommend registering
08:42 very, very early for that.
08:44 As soon as you possibly can, and obviously as
08:46 soon as you've got your part two results.
08:49 Now, the structure of the exam itself is actually set.
08:52 It's a clinical assessment, so you
08:55 are in a practical environment.
08:56 You're given five stations and in 2023,
09:00 the MRCP have introduced a new carousel.
09:03 So it's five stations.
09:05 You're still seeing eight patients across those stations,
09:08 but you're being assessed far more in your
09:10 communication and consultation skills as well.
09:13 So it still includes the neurological, cardiovascular, respiratory
09:18 and abdominal assessments, but also several stations or
09:22 half stations that are testing your communication skills
09:26 and your consultation skills as well.
09:28 So have a look at the new PACES carousel, because
09:30 it has changed just this year and it's a little
09:33 bit different in its layout to the old system.
09:42 So in terms of tips for preparing for
09:44 the MRCP exams, this might all sound quite
09:48 elementary, but it's all about practice, practice, practice.
09:52 Devise a study plan really early on.
09:55 So get stuck into your studying for PACES right
09:58 at the point that you pass your MBBS, if
10:00 you can get started as early as you can.
10:03 There's loads of textbooks out there and there's loads
10:06 of past papers to have a look at.
10:08 So I think that's probably the easiest point
10:11 to start with, particularly for part one and
10:13 part two is to revise the MCQ questions.
10:17 There's loads that you can download on the internet, so
10:19 take a look at those and get preparing early.
10:22 Get a study partner, someone to test you.
10:24 That's always a great plan as well.
10:26 And in terms of the paces set up, obviously it's
10:30 a little bit trickier to prepare for because it is
10:32 a clinical assessment, but hopefully you'll be doing a lot
10:34 of it in your day to day practice as you
10:37 work through your first few years in medical practice.
10:40 So, great idea to kind of be implementing all the
10:43 skills day to day and then hopefully the exam will
10:46 be an absolute breeze for you as well.
10:49 Be familiar with the marking schemes, be
10:51 familiar with all the exam regulations before
10:53 you start the preparation for the exams.
10:56 Obviously, if you know how you're going to be
10:57 assessed, there'll be no surprises on the day.
11:00 Speaking of which, on the day itself, be
11:04 prepared, get there nice and early, arrive with
11:07 plenty of time to spare, pack everything you
11:09 need the night before and make sure that
11:11 you're feeling safe and comfortable for your arrival.
11:14 Obviously it's going to be a stressful day, so bring
11:17 lots of snacks and be prepared for a long, long
11:20 day and, and make sure you've got everything with you.
11:29 It's up to you whether you sit the MRCP first or
11:33 whether you choose to do your English language exams before.
11:36 That entirely your choice.
11:38 Obviously you might want to do them earlier on, but keep
11:40 in mind that the English language exams are going to be
11:43 valid for two years, so you might want to think about
11:47 passing them around the same time as your paces, perhaps your
11:50 part two, so that they coincide and you can get ready
11:54 registered with the GMC at that point.
11:56 Those are the two main things that you're
11:58 going to need for your GMC registration, or
12:00 certainly the two that are going to require
12:01 some work from you, some input from you.
12:04 So make sure you've got either OET with all B's or
12:07 IELTS with a 7.5 and minimum sevens in each element.
12:12 Alongside what we've discussed MRCP, there's a few
12:15 other documents that the GMC will need.
12:17 So your certificates of good standing, copy of
12:20 your passport, your primary medical qualification, of course.
12:23 So once you've got all of that together, you
12:26 can make the application online to the GMC.
12:28 It's quite straightforward and you should
12:30 be invited to an ID check.
12:32 You don't have to go in person to do
12:33 an ID check anymore, they're all done online.
12:35 So hopefully that's a quite straightforward process.
12:39 And I suppose the beautiful thing at this point
12:41 in time is that once you've got MRCP, you've
12:44 completed your OET and IELTS and you've got your
12:46 GMC registration, you're then open to lots and lots
12:50 of opportunity within the NHS.
12:53 There's such a big demand for
12:54 doctors at the moment in medicine.
12:57 The kind of standard starting point is for
13:00 doctors to come in and do either acute,
13:03 general or geriatric medicine, depending on their background.
13:06 If you've worked in a busier
13:07 inpatient facing setting, it's probably acute.
13:10 If it's more an outpatient facing general medicine
13:13 type area that you've worked in, you might
13:16 want to consider something in general or geriatrics.
13:19 And then, of course, you've got
13:20 all of the Allied specialisms.
13:23 Most seem to come in through the route of doing a
13:25 bit of general first and then pursuing a specialist field.
13:29 But it's up to you if you've got lots of
13:30 experience in a specialist field, it is an option and
13:34 the demand is so high at the moment.
13:37 BDI resource in our company help doctors from
13:40 all around the world into the NHS, and
13:42 we've literally got hundreds of medicine doctors taking
13:46 jobs in the NHS every single year.
13:49 So it's a really exciting time to sit
13:51 the MRCP exams and to join the NHS.
13:59 I hope this video has been interesting and useful
14:02 to doctors who are thinking about sitting MRCP or
14:05 who are maybe partway through the exam process.
14:08 If it's your ambition to come to the
14:10 NHS, we'd love to hear from you.
14:12 So please do drop us some comments.
14:14 Please do send your
14:15 CV across to email@example.com.
14:19 We'll put the contact details up
14:20 at the end of the video.
14:21 We welcome any questions.
Thanks for Watching
If you are an international doctor with MRCP or a UK experienced doctor already working in a medicine specialism then BDI Resourcing can help. We have placed more than 1500 medical doctor in to over 100 NHS Trusts and have a wealth of vacancies that you should find interesting. You can email us and we'll be happy to help.