MRCPsych exams are the most important exams a psychiatry trainee in the UK will sit during his or her career. Passing the MRCPsych is the most perceptible of the criteria that demonstrate the achievement of a number of competencies during the training. The details are clearly given in the Royal College website. They are summarized below for quick reference. Please note that these are subject to change and so we recommend checking with information at http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk before you apply. Candidates must have completed the mandatory training period of 12 months of post foundation training in psychiatry by the date of sitting the written exams. The recommended time frame for attempting Paper 2 is when the candidate is 18 to 24 months into his or her training. Posts must be part of a programme of training approved by PMETB or recognized by the Hospital or Trusts as having specific time, programme (journal clubs, grand rounds, teaching, supervision, etc.) and funds allocated for training. Individual posts can be of either 4 or 6 months’ duration. In addition, the college also has placed emphasis on successful completion of the annual review of competency progression (ARCP) and other work place based assessments (WPBA) to be eligible for training. The exact details need be confirmed from the college website as they are subject to regular reviews. The MRCPsych Paper 2 is 3 hours long and contains 200 questions. The paper consists of multiple choice questions (MCQ = 75%) and extended matching items (EMI = 25%). MCQs are in the ‘best of five’ (BOF) format. A best of five MCQ comprises a question stem of varying length, followed by a list of five options. Candidates should choose the single best option that answers the question. The college has retained the EMI format from the previous pattern in the new format. An EMI comprises a specific theme (sometimes with a short description), followed by a set of answer choices (often in an alphabetical order) and a lead-in statement explaining what the candidate is being asked to do. This lead-in statement is then followed by a question list, set out in a logical order. The questions may be asked in form of clinical vignettes.
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