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rajeevkrishnadas

Why was the Paper 1/2 exam difficult?

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I think it is time we thought about why most people found the exam difficult?

I must admit I am going to play the devil's advocate here... But I am trying to take it from a point of view of someone who did not take the exam and who has taken a few other exams (Indian MD and DNB - utterly ridiculous exams) and passed them... including the old style MRCPsych...

I think now that we have passed through the phase of Shock and Anger, it is time to see what went wrong and where?

I went through a few of the American board exam question and found similar questions that are posted in the threads here in the superego...

From this, it is fairly clear that the standards of exams is quite difficult in the US... and possibly the RCPsych is moving in that direction... (cf: WPBA was an american idea according to my college tutor).

So why did our colleagues find it difficult??? that is the most important

1. Inadequate preparation????

it depends on what is adequate....

Adequate will be: reading the right material for the appropriate amount of time so as to gain a sound adequate knowledge...

I am sure most people spend a lot of time reading...

But my guess is what went wrong is with the 'material'...

What I have found where I work among trainees is... the tendency to stick to course notes and exam materials...

True it is important... BUT..

My own idea is there is no point in going thru this without reading standard textbooks cover to cover...

I think 4 books are a must read cover to cover

1. Sims or Fish - [highlight]18 £[/highlight] for Fish latest edition

2. Stephen Stahl - [highlight]43 £[/highlight] for 2008 edition

3. Shorter Oxford textbook - with the reference given in each section.. ( 'further reading' bit or 'for more details... refer to') - [highlight]48 £[/highlight] for the 2006 edition _ i got it free from Wyeth rep

4. A standard text for Psychology - I read a fantastic book called themes and variations by a guy called Weyne Weiten - simple language and very easy to understand - bit expensive - less expensive than courses - [highlight]42 £[/highlight]

To supplement this, a good MCQ book costs about 30£

[highlight]Thats a total of less than 200£; cheaper than any course to date...[/highlight]

I have been surprised by people going for their exams just reading Manchester notes to go for the exam... that proved a disaster the last time (old format) for some people... unfortunately not many questions were from Manch notes...

In other exams (other than RCPsych exams) , it is natural for them to ask findings from landmark studies..  it is a standard to ask about culture bound syndromes like Koro and Piblokto...

(I was asked about DOSMED, ISOS, IPSS studies in my MD and DNB exams; asked about existential logotherapy!!!!!) however ridiculous these may seem...  ( I was asked about expression of cfos and cjun genes in my practical)

With the role of a doctor blurring so much with the new ways of working and stuff...  this kind of knowledge is what will seperate us from other mental health professionals.. the ability to give evidence for what we speak... otherwise we will be no different from being a glorified SW if at all...

I apologise if I sound paternalistic/ pedantic or holier than thou...

and I am not on an ego trip like Indian examiners...

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In other exams (other than RCPsych exams) , it is natural for them to ask findings from landmark studies..  it is a standard to ask about culture bound syndromes like Koro and Piblokto...

(I was asked about DOSMED, ISOS, IPSS studies in my MD and DNB exams; asked about existential logotherapy!!!!!) however ridiculous these may seem...  ( I was asked about expression of cfos and cjun genes in my practical)

Dorian, u know why they ask such questions in MD/DNB exams don't u. Highly egoistic examiners who r out to prove that their knowledge is infinitely greater than yours, and if u don't answer them u don't deserve to pass, and if at all u pass, it is because they took pity on u, and not because u will be making a good psychiatrist!

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In other exams (other than RCPsych exams) , it is natural for them to ask findings from landmark studies..  it is a standard to ask about culture bound syndromes like Koro and Piblokto...

(I was asked about DOSMED, ISOS, IPSS studies in my MD and DNB exams; asked about existential logotherapy!!!!!) however ridiculous these may seem...  ( I was asked about expression of cfos and cjun genes in my practical)

Dorian, u know why they ask such questions in MD/DNB exams don't u. Highly egoistic examiners who r out to prove that their knowledge is infinitely greater than yours, and if u don't answer them u don't deserve to pass, and if at all u pass it is because they took pity on u, and not because u will be making a good psychiatrist!

I agree about that in India...  :)...

But I doubt that is the reason why they ask these questions in the american and RCPsych exams... which are supposedly standardissed...

Sands... I must say my Part 2 long case exam was so much sensible compared to the Indian exams I had taken (atleast the DNB - which was a big ego trip for the examiners)

Moreover why I started this thread is... because there were a lot of people asking for course materials and sources for MCQs... most people seemed lost without those... Somehow that doesnt seem right to me...

I think a lot of courses etc.. make use of these uncertainties... But one thing is certain... reading standard books cant go wrong.... can it????

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Dorian please dont think that I am beiing negative or pessimistic. Even if one had read all the books that you mentioned inside out still they would not have been able to answer many if not most of the questions that were in paper 2 this time.Your advice stands good for the old styled mrcpsych papers.but unfortunately its not to be the case in the new style at least paper 2.if others have different opinion more than welcome.

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I must admit I am going to play the devil's advocate here... But I am trying to take it from a point of view of someone who did not take the exam and who has taken a few other exams (Indian MD and DNB - utterly ridiculous exams) and passed them... including the old style MRCPsych...

i understand ur point of view of someone who didnot take the exam......................but someone has to take this exam before they understand how one feels/or experienced...!!!!!!!! :P :P

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I think 4 books are a must read cover to cover

1. Sims or Fish - [highlight]18 £[/highlight] for Fish latest edition

2. Stephen Stahl - [highlight]43 £[/highlight] for 2008 edition

3. Shorter Oxford textbook - with the reference given in each section.. ( 'further reading' bit or 'for more details... refer to') - [highlight]48 £[/highlight] for the 2006 edition _ i got it free from Wyeth rep

4. A standard text for Psychology - I read a fantastic book called themes and variations by a guy called Weyne Weiten - simple language and very easy to understand - bit expensive - less expensive than courses - [highlight]42 £[/highlight]

To supplement this, a good MCQ book costs about 30£

[highlight]Thats a total of less than 200£; cheaper than any course to date...[/highlight]

i do still wonder reading these books would answer the question.................how many females in the world have undergone genital mutilation?

a.1/2 million

b.1million

c.2million

d.5million

e.10million

well ..........there r so many questions like these .............!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

iam not being negative...........still undergoing shock/denial(.....abnormal grief reaction...!!??)

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But one thing is certain... reading standard books cant go wrong.... can it????

Dorian, you have no idea what the paper 2 was like.

I pray and sincerely hope that you do not face a similar paper in your pap 3 today.

Reading standard books and journals and landmark trials is one thing; what we faced in the paper 2 is another.

The reason for the outcry towards the pap 2 was not because the questions were new (ie. not from Manch notes, etc.) but because you would not get answers to those questions even if you had Kaplan and Oxford textbooks open in front of you.

A geneticist would have struggled to answer its genetics questions

and a statistician wopuld have no clue with its statistics questions.

As for epidemiology, unless u set the question, you won't even know where the sources of these data are!

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I think it is time we thought about why most people found the exam difficult?

I must admit I am going to play the devil's advocate here... But I am trying to take it from a point of view of someone who did not take the exam and who has taken a few other exams (Indian MD and DNB - utterly ridiculous exams) and passed them... including the old style MRCPsych...

I think now that we have passed through the phase of Shock and Anger, it is time to see what went wrong and where?

I went through a few of the American board exam question and found similar questions that are posted in the threads here in the superego...

From this, it is fairly clear that the standards of exams is quite difficult in the US... and possibly the RCPsych is moving in that direction... (cf: WPBA was an american idea according to my college tutor).

So why did our colleagues find it difficult??? that is the most important

1. Inadequate preparation????

it depends on what is adequate....

Adequate will be: reading the right material for the appropriate amount of time so as to gain a sound adequate knowledge...

I am sure most people spend a lot of time reading...

But my guess is what went wrong is with the 'material'...

What I have found where I work among trainees is... the tendency to stick to course notes and exam materials...

True it is important... BUT..

My own idea is there is no point in going thru this without reading standard textbooks cover to cover...

I think 4 books are a must read cover to cover

1. Sims or Fish - [highlight]18 £[/highlight] for Fish latest edition

2. Stephen Stahl - [highlight]43 £[/highlight] for 2008 edition

3. Shorter Oxford textbook - with the reference given in each section.. ( 'further reading' bit or 'for more details... refer to') - [highlight]48 £[/highlight] for the 2006 edition _ i got it free from Wyeth rep

4. A standard text for Psychology - I read a fantastic book called themes and variations by a guy called Weyne Weiten - simple language and very easy to understand - bit expensive - less expensive than courses - [highlight]42 £[/highlight]

To supplement this, a good MCQ book costs about 30£

[highlight]Thats a total of less than 200£; cheaper than any course to date...[/highlight]

I have been surprised by people going for their exams just reading Manchester notes to go for the exam... that proved a disaster the last time (old format) for some people... unfortunately not many questions were from Manch notes...

In other exams (other than RCPsych exams) , it is natural for them to ask findings from landmark studies.. it is a standard to ask about culture bound syndromes like Koro and Piblokto...

(I was asked about DOSMED, ISOS, IPSS studies in my MD and DNB exams; asked about existential logotherapy!!!!!) however ridiculous these may seem... ( I was asked about expression of cfos and cjun genes in my practical)

With the role of a doctor blurring so much with the new ways of working and stuff... this kind of knowledge is what will seperate us from other mental health professionals.. the ability to give evidence for what we speak... otherwise we will be no different from being a glorified SW if at all...

I apologise if I sound paternalistic/ pedantic or holier than thou...

and I am not on an ego trip like Indian examiners...

Do you know what kind of questions came in the paper 2, obviously not

people like you have no work than making crap assumptions.

I apologise if I sound paternalistic/ pedantic or holier than thou.

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I understand the frustration... and I sincerely empathise with you guys...

What we shud be aware of is...

very few people would have answered those questions... and hopefully the cut off score will be decided on the number of candidates who have crossed a particular score... percentile basis...

The point being... if you mark a simple question wrong... you stand a chance of failing... rather than getting a difficult question wrong...

The same concept of an entrance exam... so to reach a minimum standard, we have to read the standard textbooks...

What I have seen is... (including for the last exam - old style), people would turn up without reading standard textbooks... and expect to pass (which is not right)

To tell you the truth... Please dont think I am boasting.... This is reality...

In India (I did my PG in Bombay)... we were asked to read Kaplan Comprehensive textbook (2 volume) atleast twice before going for the exam... We had the time... We got 3 months of study leave for that... (we could glub all our study leave till the end of 3 years)...

We were expected to finish reading synopsis and sims the first year and keep refreshing...

I know in the UK we dont get that much time with so many other things to take care of...

But I guess thats the level of reading they do in the US as well ( I have a couple of friends doing residency there)...

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I understand the frustration... and I sincerely empathise with you guys...

What we shud be aware of is...

very few people would have answered those questions... and hopefully the cut off score will be decided on the number of candidates who have crossed a particular score... percentile basis...

The point being... if you mark a simple question wrong... you stand a chance of failing... rather than getting a difficult question wrong...

The same concept of an entrance exam... so to reach a minimum standard, we have to read the standard textbooks...

What I have seen is... (including for the last exam - old style), people would turn up without reading standard textbooks... and expect to pass (which is not right)

To tell you the truth... Please dont think I am boasting.... This is reality...

In India (I did my PG in Bombay)... we were asked to read Kaplan Comprehensive textbook (2 volume) atleast twice before going for the exam... We had the time... We got 3 months of study leave for that... (we could glub all our study leave till the end of 3 years)...

We were expected to finish reading synopsis and sims the first year and keep refreshing...

I know in the UK we dont get that much time with so many other things to take care of...

But I guess thats the level of reading they do in the US as well ( I have a couple of friends doing residency there)...

I understand the frustration... and I sincerely empathise with you ...

I can understand how it feels, after doing PG in India, reading all what you have described above and then work as SHO in the begining.a couple of my friends have faced it.you can also try to start a rehablitation centre and course for people who appeared in paper 2

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I can understand how it feels, after doing PG in India, reading all what you have described above and then work as SHO in the begining.a couple of my friends have faced it.you can also try to start a rehablitation centre and course for people who appeared in paper 2

Yes, Dear Dorian!

You can may be publish a course book or organise a coaching class, and we'll expect all the questions to come out from your couse materials!

(Only joking!)

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Do you know what kind of questions came in the paper 2, obviously not

people like you have no work than making crap assumptions.

Now that was wholly uncalled for. I'm not a great friend of dorian, but I have read enough of his posts to confirm that 'making crap assumptions' is not his pastime.

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Do you know what kind of questions came in the paper 2, obviously not

people like you have no work than making crap assumptions.

Now that was wholly uncalled for. I'm not a great friend of dorian, but I have read enough of his posts to confirm that 'making crap assumptions' is not his pastime.

Thanks Archer...

I knew a few people would react this way to this post... No apologies and God help...

This post was obviously for people who could handle the anxiety...

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I can understand how it feels, after doing PG in India, reading all what you have described above and then work as SHO in the begining.a couple of my friends have faced it.you can also try to start a rehablitation centre and course for people who appeared in paper 2

Yes, Dear Dorian!

You can may be publish a course book or organise a coaching class, and we'll expect all the questions to come out from your couse materials!

(Only joking!)

Rani has made a good point nocturnal...

First of all... I am a disillusioned soul (disillusioned by the system)...

Moreover... There are some people beyond rehab...

They tried to make me go to rehab

I said no, no, no. ;) ;) ;)

... Courtesy : Amy Winehouse

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Dorian u seem a kind of person who never challenge authority wether they r right or wrong,,,,,i think if u gain sufficient knowledge by notes etc for the standard of exam then why not.......would you read kaplan saddock or sims cover to cover if u didnt have to pass exams......so passing exams is what matters.....i think people found exam difficult including me because of lack of clarity in curriculum by college ...it said genetics(basic) epidemology(basic) and basic genetics would mean mendelian genetics and syndromes...which wasnt the case....basic epidemology means mean mode median standard deviation etc....which wasnt the case..........knowing about studies etc should be paper 3.....and that too distribution of marks was published 2 weeks before exam.....problem is ppl up there know it cant be challenged in court of law hence they do whatever they like

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Dorian u seem a kind of person who never challenge authority wether they r right or wrong,,,,,i think if u gain sufficient knowledge by notes etc for the standard of exam then why not.......would you read kaplan saddock or sims cover to cover if u didnt have to pass exams......so passing exams is what matters.....

i think people found exam difficult including me because of lack of clarity in curriculum by college  ...it said genetics(basic) epidemology(basic)   and basic genetics would mean mendelian genetics and syndromes...which wasnt the case....basic epidemology means mean mode median standard deviation etc....which wasnt the case..........knowing about studies etc should be paper 3.....and that too distribution of marks  was published 2 weeks before exam.....problem is ppl up there know it cant be challenged in court of law hence they do whatever they like

Dingdong... doesnt matter what kind of a person I am...

I beg to differ (challenge the authority)... Reading Kaplan cover to cover is not for just passing exams... just how do you think you can gain a basic knowledge of the scientific basis of psychiatry without reading a standard book ?

And that is what will differentiate you and me from a nurse or a social worker or a psychologist... your knowledge of psychiatry... especially with the new ways of working, when there is going to be significant role blurring, that will be the only difference... Your and my knowledge of the subject...

You are right... passing exam is very important... no one denied that...

In Malayalam (its a south Indian language, my mother toungue) there is a saying... There is no use in whispering the vedas into the buffalo's ear... ( bad translation -  that the buffalo will not understand and it is not going to learn and recite the vedas...)

The point being... dont try to change the buffalo...

College, DOH, and the government are not going to change...

The only thing we can change is our attitude... this post was intended for those who did not read a standard text...

those who have sincerely done that will reap the benefits... there is no doubt...

And I think when the results come, it will not be as bad as most people expect it to be... a lot of people in the forum will pass.. I am sure...

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Having  now seen the feedback of paper 1,2 and 3

People were not able to recall sufficient questions(not even few) from the paper 2 which gives indication of how difficult/irrevalent the paper 2 might have been. This might also say about the questions itself which might have been never heard concepts from std textbooks.

But paper 1 and 3 ,atleast many remembered questions have been posted and people are having reasonable discussion about the questions which was not possible for paper 2.

It will be interesting to see the pass mark of individual papers.

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Well if u r talking of NWW and future ...i think having some sort of managerial Skills and knowledge will be more important ....as u might be aware that in USA they do have a combine MD/MBA degree now....because that is the way forward......knowing genetics and epidemology is more of academic importance than anything we use in real life ......i think not having an opinion against authority just because u cant change it is learned helplessness

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Ding dong...

People are  finding reading books for psychiatry so difficult...

I wonder how many of them will read books for MBA now...  

or... for all you know Manch course will start a course for passing MBA as well... and suddenly the MBA will change its exam style... and we will start crying foul again... (cycle continues)

And... in a few years time, all nurses/psychologists and SW will have an MBA...

Unfortunately learned helplessness is totally out of my control...

As a doctor, we will all attain that stage (learned helplessness)... if not we would not have bend down and let MMC the biggest farce, shaft us all royally.....

See dingdong... frankly nobody cares about anything... do you think your college tutor looses his sleep thinking about his SHO's part 2 exam going haywire... All he needs to do is to act out some empathy... same will be done at all levels... thats what we are being taught... how to reject diplomatically... Only the trainee looses his sleep...

Just wait and watch... the people who will pass will not utter a word after they have done so... some of them would have been the loudest to cry out foul now soon after the exam... but once thats done... everything is ok...

Sure...

It is also likely that most people just recalled the difficult questions, and actually dont remember the easy ones... (emotionally etched memories)...

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I do agree with you Doianne.

The only way forward is having a good core textbook knowledge.

And the new format proved it.

And not knowledge through notes or past questions.

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Thats what exactly i was trying to say dorian..that nobody cares its only trainees who suffer......the fact that we re being shafted doesnt mean that we justify it....dont u think that with new exams once they have run for some time manchester notes and past exam papers will again become invaluable......passing exams and having vast knowledge is different....i have colleagues who have done their MD have read Kaplan Saddock ,,,,Sims many times,,,,,but couldnt pass theory even once ......because their revision wasnt exam focussed ......

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Reading Kaplan cover to cover is not for just passing exams... just how do you think you can gain a basic knowledge of the scientific basis of psychiatry without reading a standard book ?

Agree with that bit. One can pass exams without reading any standard text book- but if we r going to be psychiatrists lifelong, there is no replacement for standard books

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People are  finding reading books for psychiatry so difficult...

I wonder how many of them will read books for MBA now...  

or... for all you know Manch course will start a course for passing MBA as well... and suddenly the MBA will change its exam style... and we will start crying foul again... (cycle continues)

Just wait and watch... the people who will pass will not utter a word after they have done so... some of them would have been the loudest to cry out foul now soon after the exam... but once thats done... everything is ok...

Sure...

It is also likely that most people just recalled the difficult questions, and actually dont remember the easy ones... (emotionally etched memories)...

Dorian you had started with a good note but maybe being provoked by some others you are beginning to lose the plot (not in an offensive mannner) :).  You emphasise the importnace of core knowledge and no one disagrees to that.But that is for us to become better psychiatrists. Passing exams is a totally different ballgame and one does not really need indepth knowledge to do that but more exam focussed strategies.

When you say that people are recalling only difficult questions you have completely got it wrong.the questions that are being mentioned here are the easy ones that are humanly possible to remember.but you have no idea what the difficult ones were like cos its not humanly possible to remember such paragraphs of statistical and epidemiological bullshit that too seeing them just once under exam conditions.I repeat again people who didnt sit the exam will never understand how the questions were like.and we are not talking about landmark studies like catie or anything here nothing but pure bullshit which will never enter textbooks and no matter how many hundreds of times one reads kaplan and sadocks will not be able to answer.

But your other points are well taken like the importance of core knowldge and having a broad based knowledge of psychiatric conditions which should differentiate us in the NWW settings.Its a good debating topic started by you cheers. :)

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there's a rumour that the college made a mistake!

they 'swapped' paper 3 with paper 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Any possibilities??

Meanwhile, why are people unable to remember the questions in paper 2??

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there's a rumour that the college made a mistake!

they 'swapped' paper 3 with paper 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Any possibilities??

Meanwhile, why are people unable to remember the questions in paper 2??

I think so. Paper 2 was like paper3 level.

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