You’ve passed your MRCOG Part 1, MRCOG Part 2 and Assessment of Training (AoT) and now you’re looking for the best ways to prepare for MRCOG Part 3. We have searched the internet and spoken to former candidates to create this guide for all of your MRCOG resources and guidance. MRCOG Part 3 is a clinical assessment of knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies. Passing this final exam leads to the award of the membership of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (MRCOG). With the membership, UK trainees can pass from core training to higher training (ST6 and ST7).
If you are a doctor and looking for Obstetrics and Gynaecology locum or permanent opportunities, you can browse our O&G vacancies.
All you need to know about MRCOG Part 3 (Clinical Exam)
To sit the MRCOG Part 3 exam, you must have completed and passed MRCOG Part 2 and also had your Assessment of training (AoT) approved.
What is the format of the exam?
The MRCOG Part 3 Clinical Assessment consists of 14 tasks in a circuit, each task based on one of the 14 core knowledge areas in the syllabus. The tasks will either involve a simulated colleague or a simulated patient. In some of the simulated colleague tasks the examiner may play a consultant who has a structured discussion with the candidate about a project or case. Each task will assess up to four of the core skill domains using both clinical and lay examiners. The curriculum and knowledge requirements that underpin the knowledge are contained in the MRCOG Syllabus Curriculum 2019 document.
MRCOG tests a wide variety of Capabilities in Practice (CiP) over the same 15 knowledge areas. The below capabilities are reviewed in this exam:
- CiP 1 - The doctor is able to apply medical knowledge, clinical skills and professional values for the provision of high-quality and safe patient-centred care
- CiP 8 - The doctor is effective as a teacher and supervisor of healthcare professionals
- CiP13 - The doctor is able to champion the healthcare needs of people from all groups within society
- CiP14 - The doctor takes an active role in implementing public health priorities for women and works within local, national and international structures to promote health and prevent disease
Each of the MRCOG Part 3 modules is assessed in the context of five domains:
- Patient safety
- Communication with patients and their relatives
- Communication with colleagues
- Information gathering
- Applied clinical knowledge
Each task is 12 minutes in length, which includes two minutes of initial reading time.
There are two types of tasks in the MRCOG Part 3:
Simulated patient/colleague tasks involve interacting with an actor who has been trained and fully briefed in the role they will play. The actor will know all the relevant details pertaining to the case and will have some scripted questions to prompt you if needed.
Structured discussion tasks involve the candidate interacting directly with a clinical examiner. The examiner will have detailed instructions about the task and a list of questions that they can use to prompt the candidate or to move the task on to ensure that the candidate does not run out of time. The examiner may give the candidate further information as the scenario evolves and then ask further questions.
The circuit may contain linked tasks where the second task is connected to the previous to allow you to build on the knowledge in the first. There may be stations where you are required to undertake a writing task.
How much does MRCOG Part 3 cost?
At the time of writing this book, the price of the exam was as follows:
UK and Republic of Ireland
How do I register?
All candidates will need to make sure their home and email addresses are up to date and AoT is either submitted or approved by the deadline. Shortly after booking tokens will be sent out to priority and eligible candidates to book respectively.
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How can I prepare?
Whilst books and question banks will have supported you through MRCOG Part 1 and 2, Part 3 is all about practical assessment and clinical examination. The best preparation is lots of practice. All candidates need to master fundamental communication skills that incorporate a clear understanding of culture and systems in the UK. This exam cannot be prepared by reading books and guidelines alone and this makes it particularly challenging for non UK-based candidates.
Tell your supervisor that you are sitting MRCOG Part 3, find the consultants within your hospital who are examiners or registrars who have passed recently so they can observe and comment on your history taking and exam skills. Form a group with other doctors who are sitting their MRCOG Part 3 exam so you can share patients and practice delivering your findings out loud. This process won’t only enable you to pass but provide you with confidence in your examinations, be thoughtful when diagnosing and be clear in your communication with patients and colleagues.
The most common question doctors ask is how soon to take MRCOG Part 3 after passing MRCOG Part 2. Providing you have had your AoT approved, former candidates, have suggested attempting MRCOG Part 3 as soon as possible so that you are still fresh with the guidelines and don’t have to revise again them plus any amendments and additions.
That being said you need to start your preparation as soon as possible which includes practicing history taking and delivering your findings out loud. If you start with 3 or 4 patients per shift, you should be able to run through the most likely scenarios within a month. Confidence is key so you should allow enough time to practice with a variety of people covering as many scenarios as possible so that you feel prepared.
A resource which is repeatedly mentioned and a welcome change of pace from the guidelines in MRCOG Part 2, is the patient information leaflets. These are available on the RCOG website are based on up-to-date guidance for doctors but are written in a way which is easy for everyone to understand. This not only refreshes your knowledge in line with the latest guidance but gives you an opportunity to understand the best terminology to communicate with patients and their relatives.
Review the patient information leaflets
A lot of the MRCOG Part 1 and 2 revision guidance advises utilising printed books cautiously as they might have out of date information. MRCOG Part is more about the practical skills required in delivering the information so this revision guide came highly recommended. It was developed by two experienced RCOG examiners, both of whom were involved in the development of the new Part 3 MRCOG examination.
- Part 3 MRCOG: Your Essential Revision Guide by Lisa Joel and Edmund Neale
Review further recommended reading from RCOG
Revision courses can be expensive, and it can be overwhelming with so many options to choose from. Whilst it’s not imperative to do a revision course but with some courses offering real examiners and role players, it can be a valuable investment – particularly if it means you pass your exam on the first try and don’t have to pay for a resit.
RCOG course – this course is run by the Royal College and includes real examiners and role players. Some previous candidates have reported 2 to 3 of the scenarios from the course coming up on the day. They have described this particular course as a must-do. Due to the reputation of how beneficial this course is difficult to secure a place. Slots are booked up quicky and usually fully booked within a half a day.
Sign up for events and courses via the RCOG website
RCOG eLearning (StratOG) offers a Part 3 MRCOG online resource tutorial. This includes an eTutor profile, interactive videos, tips for candidates and user feedback. There is a free sample video you can access before buying the course to get a flavour of what the resource includes.
The sample video shows two examples of candidates exploring concerns and dealing with anxiety surrounding instrumental delivery. Both candidates have the correct knowledge, but this station is scored on professional behaviours of negotiation, information giving and gathering and developing a management plan. Despite the knowledge being the same, one candidate clearly offers a more clear and empathic discussion to support the patient.
Watch the free sample video or buy Part 3 MRCOG online resource
- Practice, practice, practice. Start with at least practising at least 3-4 scenarios a day and try to move up to 9-10 as your exam moves closer. Practice with colleagues, consultants, friends, family and anyone who will listen.
- Use your reading time before each station to make sure you fully understand the task, objective and scoring on each station.
- Make sure you memorise a set history taking proforma. You should be able to take detailed history in less than 3 minutes. This way you can discuss treatment, investigation, concerns etc with confidence that you’ve obtained all the information you need.
- Ask open-ended questions so that the patient can give you all the information they need rather than closed questions where they just answer yes or no to the problem you are presenting.
- Arrive on the day dressed smartly as you would at work and present yourself well. Not only do first impressions count but you will feel more confident as you walk into the scenario.
We are continually talking to doctors about their exam experiences and career goals to ensure we are creating up to date, valuable, credible and educational material for you. We’re passionate about the quality of our people and proud of the services we provide. Our team are here to help doctors find great work opportunities in the UK. We want to wish you the best of luck with your MRCOG exams. If you have any questions or if there is something you'd like us to cover in our next series, please let us know what you want to see next.
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