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advise on prep for MRCPsych part 2 - mar 06

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hi there

I will be eligible for part 2 in march 06 next year.any advise how to start studying ?what should i study now?how to read journals for essay purpose as i am very new to all this & don't have much idea about it.

thanx.

nam

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Hi nam,

I posted some general advice on another section of this forum. I am copying it with this post and adding some other stuff.

General stuff - No one can tell you how soon or late to start. Depends whether ure the steady runner or the last minute sprinter. I basically let my inner anxiety guide me and when it said 'start now or else' i started!

The regualr fellas start usually aroung 6 months b4 the exam while I started 2 months b4 (but then did nothing else but study in my waking hours - ahem aside from work of course!). Try and go for a job thats not too busy in your feb allocation even if it means taking up a relatively heavy post now - youll need the time. My approaches and suggestions for individual sections of the paper are given below.

1. Essay - Manchester notes (know them inside out, read re-read and re-re-read them); APT; BJP (reviews and editorials) and suggest having a look at any text ure comfortable with for the major disorders (if uve got the time, but the manchester notes are key - loads of information, reallly really condensed).

2. Critical Appraisal - I used Steven Lawrie (starts to make some sense in the second reading); The college critical appraisal book (extremely essential as these are exactly the kind of questions that are gonna be asked int he actual exam); if ure really up for it a stats book but the lawrie stats section was enough; manchester course practice papers. The key is practice practice under exam conditions...the more u do the better ur chances are. I think everyone sitting the exam knows enough to pass but those who can do it in the time allotted are the ones who do.

3. MCQ's - Manchester course, past papers (on this website) as many of the questions are repeated. If ure really efficient then the royal college mcq`s and puri and hall for the psychology bits. The basic sciences paper was a blur and i felt no point reading for it - except thepast papers - do them; you`ll kick yourself if you dont.

4. Clinical - practice, practice and did i say practice?

Hope this helps

All the best

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Reading journals for essay purposes -

Be wary about guessing questions. You may srike it rich but then again u may not. Assume you wont, and try to develop plans that would allow you to attempt any question.

Select what ure gonna read. Reading the whole journal blindly will leave you both confused and feeling that uve not actually learnt anything useful. By useful i mean for the exam - thats what you need to concentrate on. This is NOT unfortunately a test of how good a doctor one is (though it should be). If you get an article which covers one topic partially e.g. psychotherapy for PD; read up the other stuff from a text book; as in any question one would expect to have a fuller rounded knowledge about various therapeutic modalities.

How -

Go through an article and make notes. This is how i did it. So once youve finished with it you should only need your notes, and your little black book or your huge folder (as the case may be) is all that you should need by the time the exam comes around. Aim to collect ALL relevant information in one place by the end. Youre not going to be able to revise journals at the end - your own notes though are a different story. So make notes and read them.

Suggestions -

APT - the whole journal consists of review papers. Try reading the last 18 months or so. Some reviews seem, well inconcievable as exam questions so one can afford to be a little selective even here,

BJP - Read Editorials and Review papers. Editorials are specially important as they tell you what the college are thinking. I did not find reading any of the other research papers useful.

Ppl have read and suggested other journals - BMJ, AJP, Acta - what I would say is be pragmatic and practical about what you read. If one looks there is a 100% chance that an essay question may have turned up in one of the hundreds of psychiatry journals arounds. That is not the point of this exercise. Focus, discuss with your study group what is relevant and read it.

All the best.

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nam,

i think that was a good advice, there are few more people who have posted similar answers and there are no right or wrong answers and some style that suited me may not suit others. check out the other people's info as well. cheers.

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thanx for your prompt replies.

its hard to start studying but atleast your advise has given me some direction to start something.

thanx again.

nam

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I'm doing part 2 in spring as well. Guess I ought to start revising soon!

Will see you on here over next few months!

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Hi there,

I am just about to start preparing for my part 2 and i am sitting in march 06. I wonder if there is a essay bank or something to look upto for topics. I read blah_blah's posts which are very useful. Would appreciate any suggestions.

Thanks with anticipation

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Thanks for the advice.

I'm starting to 'panic' now. I am a certified crammer though, but I don't want to be through the experience of Part 1 when I just revised 1 month before the exam, and telling myself, I've got all myself to blame should I fail this one. It was totally emotionally draining - but I was fortunate to pass it for the first time.

I've started reading about core topics now and taking down notes, but I think I need to have a strategy. I am very much tempted to just read and read and read, and I have a very strong feeling that it would just be vain. Having said that, I am still very lazy. I couldn't make myself do readings during the evening.

Oh well. I wish there was a pill for motivation.

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thanks for the info.. im taking part two in march 06 as well.. bit scared about essay preparation and c.a.p

will see you around guys..

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I'll be working on reorganising the website in the next few weeks and updating bits such as the library.

What do people want to see? In particular, any ideas on using the forum for revision are welcome. The ISQ Club posts worked well and will return in late January. Is there a format we can try for critical appraisal and the essay?

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Hi,

It's a very well organised and useful platform for psychiatric trainee.

I'll be eligeble for part II in Mar 06, but I find myself to be very 'new' to the subject.

Can anyone please advice or list those 'must know' Professor/person in various topics in psychiatry, and their 'must know' theory/view/paper/review article/even book?

Thank you!

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Hi Guys,

There are some brill tips in this section on essays. I've read some journals for most of the major topics. In summarising 18 months worth of journals, I've discovered three things:

1. current studies have methodological flaws and better ones are needed.

2. Our training lacks diversity.

3. that's it.

how the hell am I supposed to write an essay on a topic if that's all I have to say. Surely references are not compulsory. Is it just a balance of adopting both a broad and focused approach to the question, as well as knowing stuff, without necessarily resorting to published studies. Please help!

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Hi Webmaster - great job so far in anycase ...

but for a wish list:

- harvesting the isqs for a pdf past paper would be helpful.

- more essays maybe 'ideas-based' discussions would be good ...slightly more broad, something for people to discuss further and also that one can learn from -as opposed to trying to predict a specific title which may or may not ever appear.

- for critical appraisal posting various parts of questions from past papers would also be handy for discussion around partiuclar topics (eg NNT or OR etc).

-any plans for a downloadable area for more pda friendly docs?

cheers again.

o

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Agree with that Maverick!! well except the thing about diversity ...unless u were being a bit cynical ;)

An examiner at our scheme said that references are certainly not compulsory but if you do add them make sure they amount an actual paper - eg NOT writing say R Murray et al and invent a year for a discussion about schizophrenia.

Other thing she said is:

-write legibly

-write to the point (ie answer the question)

-write with a little structure (a plan wont harm).

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I agree with Omer. I passed the writtens but failed the clinicals in Autumn 2005. I did not read a single journal before the exam. I did some reading for critical appraisal, mainly Lawrie's book, the College Seminar series (3rd edition) and the notes from my MRCPsych course. I thought most of the MCQs were a complete joke. My marks breakdown was 12, 12 and 6 (for the MCQs) each one out of 20.

I basically 'risked it' when going in to the exam. For the essay I planned to do an intro, put in some definitions, argue the case for and against and come out one way or the other. This is what I ended up doing, for a question about multiaxial classification in autism. I knew what multiaxial classification was, I knew what autism was and the rest I wrote from common sense. I purposely didn't try to remember any references because I couldn't see the point. I had heard of several people passing who hadn't quoted any references.

I have to say I find the whole exam concept very weird. A lot of it isn't knowledge as I understand it. Knowledge equals facts. The essay I think is testing your ability to express yourself as a psychiatrist. I can see the point of the critical appraisal paper but it's changed since its inception in 1999 - you no longer get bog standard questions on specificity and sensitivity - perhaps they're now too 'obvious'. As for the MCQs, I just felt I'd never 'know' the answers to them even if I read the entire library beforehand.

I just think this exam is testing how you think. I think there's little point in cramming beforehand, I didn't, and I doubt I will this time.

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Elton road,

I cant agree with you...

I failed the clinical as well this time (autumn 2005). I got 13 for mcqs and i dont think i did a lot of work. I think it is easier to get marks in the mcqs than in the essay. Especially if english is not your first language. It seems to me that the essay is more about the way you express yourself in english. I practised a lot but never seemed to improve (I got 8).

Good luck 4 next time.

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Cambridge course runs a day programme for essay writing ususally 2/3 weeks before the exam date. check it out on their website www.cambridgecourse.com. the first part is by an english teacher and it's really good for people for who english is the second language. second part is by a local spr and discussion is around current topics and management issues. handout is very useful. the best thing is that they make you write an essay there and then under exam condition, mark it for you and return it with useful comments. that was my expereince last year and i guess it's still the same if not better.

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another useful course is birmingham revision course. it's not the birmingham course with the website. it is confusing but for your info, there are 2 different birmingham courses. this one is one day course for all 3 components of the theory paper and some of the speakers are college examiners. it doesn't give out flashy course notes but attending it and absorbing the info yourself do make a difference. i'm not their agent, by the way  ::) their contact email is Amanda.Barber@bsmht.nhs.uk. good luck!

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i found the cambridge course 'piddle'

a waste of time and effort frankly

and wished i had stayed at home and watched the rugby!

I thought they were going to kinda give a brief synopsis of recent articles etc that might come up in the essay but that didnt happen..

just my opinion..

last time i did the essay paper i felt the examiners didnt really read my essay despite in my opinion it being a rather clever slant on the title..

i think they just read a list of what they want to see and if it isnt there they just give u either a basic pass or a fail

its not rocket science.. after all this is the college of corduroy jackets and inferior personalitys were dealing with..

sadly :-[

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Sorry to hear you didn't find the Cambridge Essay Course helpful - the feedback we have received from the days has been overwhelmingly positive.

In addition the format of the Essay Day changed considerably in Autumn 05 so you may have attended an earlier version.

In our experience the problem people have with the essay paper isn't that they don't know psychiatry (everyone's got pretty much 3 years experience and has been hard at work for the other papers anyway) but rather that they haven't written an essay for many years and have difficulty getting their thoughts on paper in an appropriate way.

Giving brief synopses of recent papers would be a waste of everyone's time because:

1.  Question spotting is so unreliable

2.  There are so many papers written since the last exam

3.  Papers have abstracts at the beginning which mean you don't need anyone else to do this for you anyway !

On the other hand, techniques for writing essays, structuring and planning and covering some recent controversies we think is useful, as are the many practical tasks during the day and the marked essay returned by post.

A list of the Cambridge MRCPsych course weekend crash courses can be found at www.cambridgecourse.com if anyone is interested.

Thanks

[ It should be pretty obvious but just to make absolutely clear (in terms of Conflicts of Interest etc.) ... this post was written by one of the Cambridge Course Essay Day organizers ]

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I'll be working on reorganising the website in the next few weeks and updating bits such as the library.

What do people want to see? In particular, any ideas on using the forum for revision are welcome. The ISQ Club posts worked well and will return in late January. Is there a format we can try for critical appraisal and the essay?

Hi I think we need 1- good quality answers for the exam pmps

2- summaries of major and important studies

thank you

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