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amygdala1

journey through Part II

8 posts in this topic

Despite having passed this exam, I can not give advice on 'how to pass the exam', but I thought it may be of interest to people to share some of the things that made this attempt different from my previous attempts and the advice I had from experienced colleagues.

1) This time round, I stayed determinedly positive, not cocky or arrogant but positive. This was hard work but I forbade myself to sink into the converstaions around ' Oh , I've hardly done any revision', 'Well, see you next attempt!', 'I'm so crap at this '..etc

2) Manchester course, Dublin course, Birmingham course, BAP course and Oxford Crit appraisal. I have been on the Manchester one last time and it is excellent. I know courses are not everyones cup of tea but I enjoy them and find them useful.

3) I booked PMP's and long cases with consultants and SpR's before I took the written paper and started the week following the written paper. this meant that I was forced to get into the clinical bit early and saw lots of cases. I find this part stressful and tend to avoid it but I aimed to do 2 long cases per week.

4) After loads of presentations, I presented what I thought was a rather good long case to one of the senior Spr's. He said to me that it was a very good Part I presentation. I was gutted and said 'but what am I doing wrong?' He told me that I was effectively giving a verbatim account of the assessment giving all the symptoms in the patients words and that the way i should go about it was to give symptoms in short , sharp lists according to ICD10 or DSM IV with no 'he said...', 'she told me that..'.

For me, this piece of advice revolutionised my presentations.

4) for all PMP's consider- What are they asking, differential diagnosis, info needed to establish this,risk.

This time I was encouraged to start with a differential Diagnosis where appropriate and take it from there.

5) On previous attempts I was seriously let down by my anxiety and panic and inability to see myself as a person who could pass this exam. One thing I did to address this was to have a couple of sessions with an NLP therapist. This is probably not everyones choice, but again I personally found it helped with my confidence and to keep me focussed under stress.

6) ICD10- I made myself go through this in some detail and then for each main diagnosis to come up with 3 (occasionaly4) characteristic features/symptoms and got my husband to test me over and over until I had them off pat. The general idea was to always have something I could say, in the hope that once I got going I could keep going.

7) Stop myself getting superstitious- wearing the same blouse as last time will not make me fail!!

8)Sticking to what works for ME and not chopping and changing according to what everyone else is doing.

9) Keep remembering and MAKING MYSELF BELIEVE, I passed my Alevels, I got in to medical school, I passed finals, I passed part I ergo I cannot be stupid and I am capable of jumping this hoop. That I AM a good psychiatrist despite having failed the exam previously.

Good luck to all on your own journey through this!

The irony is that now I am MRCPsych, SpR-to-be and consultant-to-be etc, there is absolutely no guarantee that were I to take the exam tommorrow I would pass! So much for reliability and validity!

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Neuro Linguistic Programming- you can find therapists either online or (as I did) via the yellow pages (under psychotherapy). Do check the background and credentials of anyone you see.

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Thanks amygdala for the initial message.There is no one formula for passing the exam but getting ideas from everyone in the cafe would surely help people get through.

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Thanks amygdala for the initial message.There is no one formula for passing the exam but getting ideas from everyone in the cafe would surely help people get through.

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Amygdala1,

from ur various posts in the forum it was understandable that the past attempts were particularly disheartening for you. this is something i have myself experienced.

however i am glad that we have managed to rid ourselves of the self doubt and achieve the success of passing. though as you point out, if we were to give the exam again tomorrow, we may not clear and thats an indicator of the exam system and not our potential.

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As amygdala has said, you need to work out your own way. That said, I really concentrated on the critical appraisal and essay papers. With these a relatively small amount of time invested brings the biggest return. You caould work for months and months trying to cover the basic sciences, and still only get a mediocre result.

I dreaded critical appraisal as I have a deep seated fear and loathing of anything vaguely mathematical. Having read a few books and after a few intensive tutorials it became one of my strengths. So many people fail on this part of the exam and it really isn't that difficult, certainly when compared to the MCQ's.

With the essay, concentrate on how to structure an essay. Content does not need to be triple referenced. You just need to present an argument. Draw on your experience and reading. One of the main themes in my essay came from a supplement in a Sunday newspaper!

I hope this doesn't seem trite, this is just my observation of my own journey through part 2.

Above all keep calm, anxiety containment seemed to be a very important aspect, and good luck.

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