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Guest eoinwilson

Ways to pass part II

8 posts in this topic

I have just passed part II. When I was revising, I found it helpful to ask people who had passed how they did it. Obviously there are various routes to passing for different people, but perhaps it would help those currently revising to read about other's experiences?

I would classify my revision style as a crammer who was attempting to reform and extend the revision period so as not to destroy my home life (married, no children) in the month before the exam. Social life will inevitably suffer, but does not need to be completely abandoned. I did not write any notes and would have needed more time if working this way.

I don't think 10 months of work is required, as was recently suggested in a psych. bulletin article. I began to seriously contemplate the exam when I started my penultimate SHO post in Feb. 2003. At this time I was occaisionally reading chapters of the companion or the Oxford textbook. With hindsight, sticking to one text and reading it twice would probably have been better.

For the first few months of the job, I continued to read intermittently (perhaps 4-5 hours/week on average.) I began to half-heartedly print out MCQs from linked sites (eg: and essays (trickcyclists.) If I were doing it again, I would reduce stress later on by making sure I had collected most of my revision material by this time (eg: college past papers, photocopied guildford notes, critical appraisal texts.)

I went on a 2 week holiday last week of May/first week of June and did no work during this time.

I was determined to begin work in earnest after my break. This didn't quite happen, but I did start reading the material I had most evenings for 1-2 hours and whenever I could at work (I had a busy job at the time.)

This continued until I started my current job. Unfortunately, I continued to acquire new material during this time, which made me worry that I should have done so already. I was still photocopying 2 weeks before the written. I borrowed and read Guildford handouts and the handouts from my own day release course. I read Malhi examination notes in psychiatry (read this twice if you can, but don't worry about the neuroanatomy too much.)

I couldn't do anything during the heatwave in August for 9 days.

I went on the NB course (late August) as the Manchester course was full (book early!) Some parts were useful, and you were forced to spend 2 full weekends working. If very disciplined, copying the notes and reading them would achieve the same result.

After this, my revision became very exam focussed. I went over the NB and superego MCQs repeatedly. We formed a group to look up the answers to the superego MCQs (remembered from the exam.) Some were unanswerable, but many did come up in the exam. The NB ones also covered areas which came up again.

I read the trickcyclist essays 4-5 times each and did essay plans for the college past papers. I don't think it's necessary to write full length essays under exam conditions unless you are very nervous about writing. You should develop a sense of structure, however.

I spotted asylum / PTSD / community treatment (which came up) / cannabis / liaison and alzheimers.

I also read the essay book by Trigwell et al. This was anxiolytic, but I'm not sure it helped.

I worked through the college critical review book once. Then I got Lawson (with 4 weeks to go) and wished I'd got it earlier. I read and worked through the exercises in the last 2 chapters. I repeated this 2 weeks later.

I had 5 days study leave and 2 days annual leave to give me a clear 12 days off before the written. During this time I worked through the guildford critical appraisal and MCQ papers, the college critical review papers and reviewed MCQs, NB notes (esp. 'hot topics') and essay plans, etc. Average probably 5-6 hours per day.

After the written exam, I had 3 weeks off. I began asking SpRs, etc, if they would be available for PMPs and case presentations.

Once I got the result, I began practising for clinicals. I read the 2 Albert Michael PMP books. One other colleague had passed where I work and we practised with CAMHS, LD, Old Age, General and forensic SpRs. I went through 30-40 PMPs and 5 long cases.

I also practised with another colleague, doing 3 PMPs at a time to mimic the exam. A group of us also got together the weekend before the exam to practice observed interviews on each other.

I was very nervous during the PMPs (1120) and felt I had failed afterwards. I was much more relaxed for the Long case (1400) as I felt I had nothing to lose. I don't know my scores but I think I may have got 8 for PMPs and 14 for long case. The month of waiting for the results was torture.

My main recommendations would be to make sure you have all your material 3 months before the exam (apart from courses you are still to go on.

Get Lawrie for critical review, read and work through it at least 2 months before the exam, and use the college book (Brown & Wilkinson AFTER this - it will make more sense.) Do as many guildford/college papers as you can under strict time limits. Twice if you have time (once was enough.)

Read the superego MCQs (once you have answers) as many times as you can. They will come up again. NB likewise.

Believe people when they say neuroanatomy is a waste of time. (I didn't, and I should have.)

Stick to one textbook and one set of notes/handouts for each topic.

Good luck!

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I wold entirely agree with you monstermunch on the tips you have given I was going to type the lot thanks you saved my fingers!!!!

Folks believe me and monster sapending too much time like 10 months is absolute waste of your Life

I agree that 2 to 3 months would be sufficient if you are as monster puts it 'crammer'

points to add are

dont get carried away in reading a specific topic ang go into molecular level and know nothing about several others

keep it simple and broad

i ahve seen people discussing topic as if they have just arrived after presenting a paper on an intenational conference

belive me however many number of references you memorise you will not get the right one at the right time best is to stick to common simple and widely used references

and same in MCQs if u can not find the answer no body could so do not waste a whole hour searching for the right answer

i did manchester course and the super ego mcqs they were more than sufficient you will not escape from the baboons!!!!! but most are reapeated

I did put in more effort on appraisal. the conclusion is u need the basic knowledge but in actual exam they are testing your frontal lobes (ablity to shift sets!!!!) and your handwriting speed so spees speed speed is the motto

u aim to finish mock papers from royal college on time other papers are good but royal college papers are real ones(better simulation)

FINAL CLINCHER IF YOU HAVE DETERMINED TO PASS NOBODY CAN STOP YOU (I know luck etc but do not worry about them until you finish doing it)

Good luck folks

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on my first go at the part II i intended to revise, but kept putting off starting then we had a baby 2 months before the exam and so i hardly opened a book. i passed written but failed clinicals on PMPs.

on my second go i intended to work at it but again didn't get round to doing much for the written, though i passed it again. then i practiced PMPs with lots of people and i passed.

i know people who did lots more work than me and knew more but unfortunatley failed. i believe there is a lot of luck to this exam which is why i don't think it is fair.

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i think luck plays a very important part in ur exams.where ur centre is,ur examiners,other colleagues and their standard at that particular centre---

secondly--u need to practice the pmp's so that u get into the frame of mind as to how to approach any one pmp.

other things regarding ur knowledge,the books that u read--come third.

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I forgot to say - BBR clinical course was hit and miss and probably won't make you pass if you weren't going to anyway. The long case sessions made up half the course and were spectacularly useless.

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Merry X mas Folks

I just wanted to add thepoint to mcqcrap i entirely agree about pmps

try and do as many as possible with super ego in hand you will have no short supply of pmps as i can recall before webmaster compiled them i my self compiled them and got about 90 different ones

take each one seriously and do like exam 10 mins with clear focus on issues rathr than a happy waffle

and i did it with as many different ppl as possible so u get into the drill of focussing and analysing quickly and like critical appraisal time factor plays a role so u need to sell yourself in 10 mins in each pmp

good luck

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