MRCP Part 1 Exam – 5 Tips To Pass First Time

Jo is a Gastroenterology Clinical Fellow working in the South West of England. She managed to nail her MRCP Part 1 first time during her F2 year.

What will we cover?

It turns out that sitting an exam whilst you have a full-time job is entirely different from sitting exams at medical school. Who would have thought? It can be pretty hard to balance a day on the wards and then come home to revise when really, you want to put your feet up and watch TV. I wish that someone had given me the heads up, so I’m going to give you my 5 top tips for sitting & passing MRCP part 1 first time.

Even if you’re not dead set on medicine as a career, MRCP part 1 always looks great on an application, no matter what speciality you are applying for. It can give you a point on your application for various specialities, and it shows dedication to furthering your knowledge beyond audits and QI projects.

No right time

  • You’ll keep putting it off if you say your job is too busy or you won’t have enough time.
  • It’s often quite sensible to sit it as close to finishing medical school as possible, but I would wait till F2. During F1, you should try to focus on just making it through your first year of being a doctor rather than trying to cram in exams. A little bit of clinical knowledge and real-life experience is also helpful to relate the questions to something to help you remember.
  • To see the dates and application process, visit the MRCP website.

Get a passmed subscription

  • Don’t bother trawling through your mountain of medical school notes.                        
  • Number one, you just won’t have time to sift through that content and number two, the questions on passmed are enough. All the topics you need to know are covered and summarised well by the website. You’ll start to notice recurring question themes and answers which are seen throughout the actual exam. I found the questions very similar to the real exam paper.
  • The notes on passmed are ace, and you can search through the embedded textbook for specific topics.
  • You could access their website through this link. 

Start early & go low and slow

  • Do a few questions every night, so you’re not left cramming closer to the time whilst trying to fit in on calls and nights.
  • You don’t get study leave to revise for the exam, but you do for the day of the exam itself. Bear this in mind when planning your annual leave as I would recommend a couple of days off prior to the exam if possible, even if it’s just to get some good sleep and relax before your exam.

Do the passtest past papers around 1-2 weeks before the exam date

  • Again, there are recurring question themes throughout these that come up in the actual exam.
  • It’s also useful to just get a ballpark of where you’re sitting percentage-wise and if there are any specific areas you need to focus on running up to the exam date.
  • This website could be accessed through this link.

Accept that you cannot know it all

  • There will be some questions you just never know the answer to, and that’s okay – you just need to pass the exam, no one ever looks at your mark.
  • When I accepted this, it was a significant turning point in my attitude to the exam. It takes the pressure off and makes the journey a whole lot easier.
  • No fails appear on any portfolios or CVs, and nor does your mark or percentage.

These essential tips should get you that elusive pass. Just a note, when it comes to results, you don’t get notified when they are put on the MRCP website on your account, so it’s worth checking from 4 weeks, but they usually come out at around six weeks.

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