How to prepare for MRCP Part 1 (Written Exam)

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

The Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians in the United Kingdom (MRCP UK) develops and delivers examinations and qualifications around the world. Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians (UK) Diploma consists of the MRCP(UK) Part 1, MRCP(UK) Part 2 and PACES examinations. It is designed to test the skills, knowledge and behaviour of doctors in training. 

You need to pass MRCP Part 1 and 2 to become a Member of the Royal College of Physicians. In addition, passing all three parts of the MRCP(UK) examination is now a requirement for entry into specialist training in the UK.

Who is eligible for MRCP Part 1?

The MRCP(UK) Part 1 is the entry-level exam accessible to doctors with a minimum of 12 months' postgraduate experience in medical employment. The assessment is designed to assess your knowledge and understanding of the clinical sciences relevant to medical practice and common or important disorders to a level appropriate for entry to specialist training.

What is the format of the exam?

The exam, which can be taken online or in an exam centre, has a two-paper format. Each paper is 3 hours in duration and contains 100 multiple choice questions in the 'best of five' format. This format means there will be five options, one correct answer and four alternatives. The alternatives will be close enough to the correct answer to be plausible, but you will need to choose the best answer of the five possible options to be awarded one point. In 2020, an online version of the part 1 exam was introduced and is available for candidates within the UK and the Republic of Ireland. All other candidates will be tested in test centres.

How much does it cost?

At the time of writing this article, the exam is priced at £448 for UK-based candidates and £608 for International candidates.

How do I register?

You will need to apply through your MRCP (UK) account. Please make sure you read all of the information and criteria on the website before applying and paying for the exam.

How to revise for MRCP Part 1

How can I prepare?

There are numerous resources available online and printed for free and some paid services. We have researched the official MRCP recommended resources, asked our doctors and read anecdotes from doctors who have completed MRCP Part 1 and which resources they found most useful and similar to the exam. Here are some of the best resources we came across:

Clinical Preparation

MRCP recommend that all candidates prepare for the examinations by gaining clinical experience in hospital posts involving the care of emergency medical patients, whether adults or children and by studying up-to-date postgraduate clinical textbooks and current medical journals.

The examinations are mapped to the UK core medical training curriculum / internal medicine training and knowledge of this and UK national guidelines should form part of your preparation for the examinations.

Courses

There are several courses available that are designed to help you prepare for the MRCP(UK) examinations. These preparation courses are run by the three Colleges that make up the Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom and are delivered in a range of formats. Whilst the content in these courses is valuable, it is worth mentioning that numerous doctors have passed MRCP Part 1 without paying for these courses. You can learn more about the courses available here.

Time

Most doctors who passed MRCP Part 1 on their first attempt recommended dedicating 3-4 months of revision before the exam including daily question banks or mock paper questions of 30-100 questions daily. Allow time towards the end of your study period to revisit any of the questions you got wrong on your first try.

Books

Whilst most doctors have indicated they spent more time practicing with question banks, the below books were recommended on multiple occasions to map out your revision.

  • MRCP Part 1 book by Pastest
  • Essential Notes for MRCP by P. Kalra

Question Banks

There are quite a few excellent MRCP Part 1 Question Banks including PassMedicine, Pastest, and BMJ OnExamination. Most of the testimonials from doctors who have passed MRCP Part 1 recommend PassMedicine due to the excellent bank of information, the questions and format being relevant to the exam and the value for money.

Practice MRCP Part 1 Exam

You can review sample questions here

You can take a practice test here, but the answers will not be supplied at the end.

Top tips for revision

  • Most doctors who have passed cited question banks as their number one resource when revising and preparing for the MRCP Part 1 exam.
  • Map out your revision topics ahead of time so you can allocate time to spend on each area and any subspecialties within that topic.
  • Make notes as you go through to digest the information and then refer back to your notes when refreshing your mind on topics already covered.

Resources

1, M., 2022. MRCP Part 1. [online] Sidukjourney.blogspot.com. Available at: <https://sidukjourney.blogspot.com/p/mrcp_27.html> [Accessed 1 February 2022].

Mrcpuk.org. 2022. Advice, guidance and preparation | MRCPUK. [online] Available at: <https://www.mrcpuk.org/mrcpuk-examinations/advice-guidance-and-preparation> [Accessed 1 February 2022].

Mrcpuk.org. 2022. [online] Available at: <https://www.mrcpuk.org/examinations/part-1/htmldelivery/launch_html_delivery.html> [Accessed 1 February 2022].

Dr. Matthew Lee. 2022. How I ranked top 10% in MRCP Part 1: Study Methods and Resources. [online] Available at: <https://mbklee.com/blog/mrcp1studymethod/#pastest-mrcp-part-1-book> [Accessed 1 February 2022].

Mrcpuk.org. 2022. Part 1 sample questions | MRCPUK. [online] Available at: <https://www.mrcpuk.org/mrcpuk-examinations/part-1/part-1-sample-questions> [Accessed 1 February 2022].

Mrcpuk.org. 2022. Part 1 | MRCPUK. [online] Available at: <https://www.mrcpuk.org/mrcpuk-examinations/part-1> [Accessed 1 February 2022].

The Student Room. 2022. The postgraduate exams thread. [online] Available at: <https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=5202178&page=5> [Accessed 1 February 2022].