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Feedback regarding Paper II

Paper II 19 February 2008

The PTC has been contacted by a number of trainees who sat the Paper II exam on 19 February 2008. Many candidates have expressed concern that the paper was significantly more difficult than expected and have questioned its validity.

The PTC has raised this issue with the examinations department. The response from Professor Bateman, Chief Examiner, is below:

Thank you for raising these concerns as it is helpful to have the feedback. It is not and will never be our intention to set an exam that is not relevant to the knowledge required to practice psychiatry. The main issue seems to be the level of difficulty of the exam itself although I accept there are also concerns about how to revise for the exam. I would like to clarify one or two things for the PTC:

The new exam is not simply a replication of the old exam and it cannot be assumed by trainees that Paper I and II are linked in a straightforward way to the old Part 1.

All the questions are new and that itself raises a problem for trainees taking the exam (as well as for examiners setting the exam) as they are not aware of questions from past attempts and from other people who have taken the exam. Many trainees were part of a network who had a large number of representative questions from the old question bank which gave them some reassurance about the level of difficulty etc.

All the new questions were piloted with trainees who kindly took a mock exam so that we could look at the level of difficulty and reliability of many of the questions. These results informed us about the use of the questions and we discarded many and adapted some others.

The questions were standard set according to the Angoff Method. Further details can be obtained here.

The pilot and the standard setting inform us about the level of difficulty of the exam and we will be looking at the pass mark taking that into account along with other statistics about the pattern of correct answers and the reliability of each question etc.

The relevance of the questions is important and we have many discussions about that. We will continue to revisit this aspect and take into account this feedback.

I would like to reassure trainees that the difficulty of the exam is recognized and will be taken into account in setting a pass mark. We do not take into account a pass rate as the exam is standard set.

The exam department is unable to receive feedback or enter discussions directly from trainees but will continue to work with the PTC to ensure trainees’ views about the exams are represented. If you have any comments regarding the exams that you feel the PTC should be aware of then please contact you local PTC rep or email ptc@rcpsych.ac.uk

i've just sent them an email and i urge everyone who found this exam rubbish to do the same.

.......................We can change things if only we could be bothered to try .............................

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Just to add to teh above that i receievd a reply from them (that too within 14 mins !!!!!) saying that the issues raised would be forwarded to teh cheif examiner and co in their next meeting.

so again i urge everyone to do the same.

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Please everyone write to the trainee board.below is a copy of my letter which I sent.

Dear Sir,

This is to raise some concerns with the Paper II MRCPsych examination which I took in February.

First of all I have to report that the exam venue ie Hammersmith city towen hall London was not at all heated adequately and as a result we all had to take the exam in freezing cold conditions.

Secondly with Both Paper I and Paper II many questions were out of syllabus. Child and adolescent and old age psychiatry were not part of both papers but there were plenty of questions from both.

With Paper II the questions were not at a level expected from a trainee with 1 year experience in Psychiatry.Especially the questions in Statistics, Epidemiology and Genetics were so vague that after the exam many of us were wondering even if we had the question paper 2 days before the exam still we would not be able to answer many of them.

This is not just my personal opinion but the collective opinion of most of the candidates. I hope these issues are addressed to. Thanking you,

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and the mail id is ptc@rcpsych.ac.uk

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and the mail id is  ptc@rcpsych.ac.uk

hey gungho49, did u geta reply back from them? i received mine within 15 mins !!!

anyways i hope others do the same as we need to raise these issues before they can be used in the next exam, regardless of whether we pass or fail it .

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and the mail id is  ptc@rcpsych.ac.uk

hey gungho49, did u geta reply back from them? i received mine within 15 mins !!!

anyways i hope others do the same as we need to raise these issues before they can be used in the next exam, regardless of whether we pass or fail it .

yes i got a reply within few hours and is as follows

Thank you for your email. We have had similar concerns

from other trainees, including about the temperature of

the venue. We will raise your concerns with the chief

examiner when the PTC meet with him in the next couple of

weeks. Please keep an eye on the trainees pages of the

College website for further information as we get it.

Kind regards

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