Passing Specialty exams is one of the hardest things I have encountered as part of adulting because it takes a lot of factors to pass these exams.
One thing I have learnt is that failing is a very much expected possibility. Therefore, one has to design a fool proof plan that will enable you to pass this exam.
It is for this reason I decided to share my experience in the hopes that it will help someone out there.
MRCPSYCH PAPER A.
I did this exam before I started training. I sat the exam on December 1st 2020.
I started preparing for this exam in September 2020. My reading plan was a combination of personal reading and discussion groups. I would invest about 2 hours of reading daily and then join the discussion in the evenings. The discussion group consisted of about 30 people plus. The discussion group would run for 2 to 3 hours.
Things that helped me pass this exam first time.
- My family had not joined me yet in the Uk therefore I had no other responsibilities or distractions.
- My work schedule was 1 week on, 1 week off therefore I had plenty of time to read.
- Discussion group
Resources I used
- Mrcpsychmentor question bank.
- SPMM mocks( I subscribed for these with a group of 4 friends from the discussion group). I never subscribed for SPMM high yield because of the cost but luckily other people in the discussion group had subscribed thus I benefitted from these.
I never attended any courses for this exam.
MRCPSYCH PAPER B FIRST ATTEMPT
I attempted this in September 2021 and unfortunately, I failed and below are my reflections on why I think I failed.
- My family was now around therefore I had other responsibilities to juggle.
- We were in the middle of moving home to join training so this was a major distraction by the time I settled properly to read it was 1 month to the exam
- I had just started a new training job therefore was still adjusting to this as well.
- I only subscribed to MRCPsyhmentor and SPMM mocks only. I never did any questions from high yield.
- Total actual preparation time was 1month ish.
Looking back, I wish I had pushed this exam, there were so many things going on and I thought my resilience would push me through but I was wrong.
MRCPSYCH PAPER B 2ND ATTEMPT
After failing I decided to reattempt in March 2021 as I still had a fresh memory of the last exam.
I started preparing for this exam in November 2021. I subscribed to Mrcpsychmentor first and went through it once then I subscribed to SPMM high yield question bank. 2 months before the exam I subscribed to SPMM mocks and bought one mock of Pschymentor.
Things that I believe helped me pass this exam/Resources
- Investing adequate time for personal reading. I used to wake up at 5 am every day and read for 2 hours before the rest of the house woke up.
- Discussing with a discussion partner daily from 7 pm to 9 pm. This time I chose to discuss with one person and I found that a big group can mislead you into thinking you know much when you don’t.
- On slow workdays, I would do some questions at work. My placement in old age psychiatry was less hectic than the previous general adult inpatient placement.
- I used Maudsley and NICE guidelines to familiarise myself with the management of common conditions. These also helped clarify confusing/conflicting information in the question banks.
This was my most feared section and these are resources I used to help me pass this section.
- SPMM videos. I found these videos really helpful. I would watch the video and then do questions in SPMM to assess my understanding.
- MRCPychmentor section- I went through this section as well.
- I bought a book that was useful in understanding the basics of research.( Making sense of Critical appraisal by Olajide Ajetunmobi. Below is the link and the picture attached. http://https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0340808128/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
- Random YouTube videos on topics I found tricky.
I hope you find this information useful and good luck with your exam.
Extra tip: Please consider splitting the cost of question banks with someone, it will help you save some pounds.
Happy to answer any questions.