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MRCP (UK)

May 13, 2024

14 Min Read

MRCP Part 1: A Complete Guide For IMGs

The MRCP (UK) is like a cornucopia - a degree with plenty of benefits. Once you successfully pass the MRCP (UK) exam

  1. You become eligible to file for GMC* registration.
  2. You get a degree certificate, which is equivalent to an MD in India.
  3. You can register for speciality training in the UK (no entrance exam required).
  4. You are eligible to apply for an ST3+ level role in the UK (of course, after GMC registration), including in the National Healthcare System (NHS). It’s a well-recognised standard of excellence in medical knowledge and practice. 
  5. Your CV also becomes a highly preferred one for medical employment in countries like Canada, the USA, Gulf countries, and the UK. 

The prestigious Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom (MRCP (UK)) is conducted in three parts, and to get the diploma, you need to clear all three parts of the MRCP examination: 

  • MRCP Part 1 - A written exam conducted to examine your basic understanding and knowledge of medicine. 
  • MRCP Part 2 - A written exam that assesses clinical skills and application of knowledge to patient management.
  • PACES - Also called MRCP Part 2 Clinical, it is a practical exam that tests your clinical knowledge and skills. You have to examine patients, also called surrogates, in a medical setup.

The exam is conducted by the Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom. In our previous article, we covered everything about the MRCP (UK) examination. Today, we will cover everything you need to know about MRCP (UK) Part 1, right from when it is conducted to how to prepare for it. Let’s start!

* The General Medical Council (GMC) is a public body in the UK responsible for maintaining the official register of medical practitioners. Whether you are a medical graduate from the UK or an International Medical Graduate (IMG), you must have a GMC registration to practice medicine legally in the UK.

What is the MRCP (UK) Part 1?

MRCP Part 1 is an entry-level examination conducted by the Federation of the Royal Colleges of Physicians, which includes the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. 

MRCP Part 1 is the first of three MRCP examinations. It assesses your knowledge and understanding of clinical sciences relevant to medical practice and common or important disorders. International Medical Graduates (IMGs) like yourself must successfully complete MRCP Part 1 before applying to MRCP Part 2 (Written) and the PACES examination. After completing all three exams, medical professionals can apply for GMC registration. 

The journey from MRCP to GMC

What is the difference between MRCP Part 1 and Part 2? 

MRCP Part 1 and MRCP Part 2 (Written) are essential steps in the journey toward becoming a medical professional in the UK. However, they differ in their format, focus, and purpose:

Feature

MRCP Part 1

MRCP Part 2

Aim

To test your understanding of common disorders, clinical sciences, and national guidelines of the UK. 

To test your practical knowledge of common disorders, clinical sciences, and national guidelines of the UK. 

Format

Two papers of 100 questions each. You will get 3 hours for each paper.

There are no images in the questions.

Two papers of 100 questions each. You will get 3 hours for each paper.

The questions include images and medical scenarios.

Assess

Your fundamental knowledge and skills in medicine.

Your clinical reasoning skills and knowledge to practice medicine safely and effectively in a specialist role.

Can you get a job after completing MRCP Part 1? 

Attempting and clearing MRCP Part 1 is an important and essential part of the MRCP (UK) Diploma degree examination. 

Passing MRCP Part 1 enables you to take MRCP Part 2 and PACES. Once you clear all the examinations and get your GMC registration, you can apply for doctors’ jobs in the UK, including ST3+ level posts, in prestigious UK healthcare systems, including the National Healthcare System (NHS). 

Doctor Grades in the UK

Who is eligible to take the MRCP (UK) part 1 examination?

If you are a medical graduate who has completed a GMC-recognized primary medical degree can apply for MRCP (UK) Part 1 after completing 12 months ( one year) of internship in a hospital or a clinic. 

MRCP Part 1 syllabus, questions, and format 

Even though it is considered an entry-level exam, the MRCP Part 1 isn’t less challenging. You will be tested on your in-depth knowledge of medical science, and ability to apply that in challenging clinical situations.

MRCP Part 1 course

The MRCP Part 1 syllabus covers a wide range of topics relevant to internal medicine. Here's a breakdown of the syllabus, including the main topics and number of questions:

Speciality

Numbers of questions (Approx.)

Cardiology

14

Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics

15

Cell, Molecular, and Membrane Biology

2

Clinical Anatomy

3

Clinical Biochemistry and Metabolism

4

Clinical Physiology

4

Genetics

3

Immunology

4

Statistics, Epidemiology, and Evidence-based Medicine

5

Dermatology

8

Endocrinology, Diabetes, and metabolic medicine

14

Gastroenterology and Hepatology

14

Geriatric Medicine

8

Haematology

10

Infectious Diseases

14

Neurology

14

Oncology

5

Medical Ophthalmology

4

Palliative Medicine and End of Life Care

4

Psychiatry

9

Renal Medicine

14

Respiratory Medicine

14

Rheumatology

14

MRCP Part 1 questions and format

You will have to take two papers on the above-discussed topics.

  • It is a one-day exam.
  • There are two papers of a hundred questions each. Both papers are conducted on the same day.
  • Each paper is of three hours. You will get a break between the two papers. 
  • There are multiple-choice questions. Each question has five correct or relatively correct answers. You are supposed to select the best answer. 
  • You will be awarded one mark for each number of correct answers.
  • There are no image-based questions.
  • There is no negative marking.

More details can be found on their official website.

Pass Mark

The scaled ability score or pass mark is 540. Your performance is evaluated using a scaled score, which takes into account the number of questions answered correctly across the two exam papers and the relative difficulty of each exam.

You will receive an "overall scaled score," which typically ranges between 200 and 800. As per numerous reports, if you score around 57% on a moderately difficult exam or around 63% on an easier exam might translate to a passing scaled score.

The examination’s pass rates are made publicly available on the Exam pass rates page.

Attempts

You are given six attempts to clear the MRCP Part 1 exam. An exceptional additional attempt is also awarded after one is able to submit additional educational experience relevant to the exam. 

After clearing MRCP Part 1, you have seven years to clear MRCP Part 2 Written and PACES. Once the window is closed without successful completion, you will need to take the Part 1 exam again. 

Another point to note is that if you register for the exam but withdraw the application before taking the exam, then that would not be counted as an attempt. 

The best time to apply

It is recommended to take the MRCP Part 1 exam just after you finish your one-year clinical internship after college. The recommendation is backed by data released by MRCP (UK). You can check out the recent candidate performance report by MRCP. This will give you a fair idea of the competition and will help you self-evaluate. 

MRCP Part 1 application and result dates 2024

MRCP exams are conducted four times a year. Here are the exam dates for 2024

Application Period

Adjustment Deadline

Exam Date

Results By

06 November - 13 November 2023 (Closed)

20 November 2023

24 January 2024

23 February 2024

05 February - 12 February 2024 (Closed)

19 February 2024

17 April 2024

17 May 2024

03 June- 10 June 2024

17 June 2024

14 August 2024

13 September 2024

05 August -12 August 2024

19 August 2024

16 October 2024

15 November 2024

Things you need to be careful about: 

1. Submit your application by 11:55 PM (GMT) on the closing date mentioned. Late applications will not be accepted.

2. Ensure you pay the fees and complete the application before the deadline. This includes full payment and, for Part 1, a verified primary medical qualification (PMQ).

3. You cannot take the exam unless your PMQ is verified and fees are paid in full.

4. Missing the deadline for payment and PMQ verification leads to application rejection.

5. Rejected applications cannot be reinstated.

6. Incomplete applications incur a 10% administration fee and prevent reapplication until the fee is paid.

7. Applications submitted through third parties are not accepted.

8. You must submit scanned copies of your original documents, including your PMQ and internship certificates. 

MRCP Part 1 centres for international candidates

The exam is accessible to International Medical Graduates (IMGs) in over 40 countries worldwide, including the UK, USA, UAE, and India. For Indian medical graduates, it is conveniently offered in six major cities: New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kerala

MRCP Part 1 Test Centres (India)

The MRCP Part 1 Exam Fees: How much does it cost? 

As per the MRCP (UK) new website, the examination fee for the MRCP (UK) Diploma fee will increase starting July 2024. Here’s a detailed list - 

For

Current Fee
(Great British Pound)

Updated Fee from July 2024
(Great British Pound)

UK medical graduates 

£460

£489

International medical graduates

£616

£655

How to apply for the MRCP (UK) Exam? 

Here's a breakdown of the application process:

1. The first step is to ensure that you have completed your primary medical qualification. Ensure that the 12 months of mandatory professional experience (internship) is complete or will be complete by the day of application.

2. Create your account on the MRCP (UK) through their online portal. They have also provided a video on their website to guide IMGs looking for MRCP exams. 

3. Once the account is created, log into your My MRCP (UK) account.

4. Navigate to the section dedicated to applying for exams. Choose the specific part you wish to apply for (e.g., Part 1). Carefully complete the online application form, ensuring all information is accurate and current.

5. Fill in details about whether you are training in the UK or not.

6. Choose a centre where you would like to take the examination.

7. Pay the relevant application fee using the designated methods.

8. Once you have created your account and applied for an examination, you will be provided an RCP number. Save it for all future communications.

9. When you apply for the Part 1 examination for the first time, you will be required to submit evidence of your primary medical qualification. Submit a correctly attested copy of your PMQ. Also, submit proof of additional training or experience when asked.

10. Carefully check everything and submit your application. 

Tips for MRCP Part 1 preparation

Let’s explore how to prepare for the exam.

Start at an appropriate time: If you start preparing too early, you might risk demotivation and distractions. And, if you start too late, you might not be able to complete the whole subject. As a rule of thumb, we suggest starting your preparation six to seven months before the examination date. It creates plenty of time for preparation and revision. Also, be frequent with your revisions. 

Create a study plan: Start by creating a detailed study plan with a realistic timeline. Break down the syllabus into manageable sections and allocate time for each based on your strengths and weaknesses. Revisiting topics periodically can significantly improve retention and understanding.

Develop a solid foundation: Understand your syllabus thoroughly and aim for comprehensive coverage. Plan and divide study hours to each subject based on your interest, subjects’ difficulty, and weightage in the examination. Utilise core textbooks and online resources that are highly recommended and focus on materials that provide a good mix of theory and practice questions.

"Essential Revision Notes for MRCP" by Philip A. Karla is considered a good resource. You can also find good resources on Google and YouTube. You can also use the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine as a reference book.

Try the sample questions and mock exams available on the MRCP official website. Engage with as many online practice tests as possible. Opt for preparation courses like Pastest and PassMedicine. You can prepare well with the Pastest question bank and PassMedicine question bank. 

Engage in effective study techniques: Aim to grasp the core concepts behind each topic rather than simply rote memorizing facts. This will help you apply your knowledge effectively to answer even unfamiliar questions.

We suggest creating mind maps, flashcards, pointers for diagrams, or teaching concepts to peers. These blueprints are more effective than passive reading. Another must-do is regularly practising questions under timed conditions to improve your speed and accuracy.

Join groups: Consider joining study groups and being frequent on channels like Reddit. Discussing topics with peers can offer new insights and enhance your understanding of complex subjects. You can also seek mentorship from doctors who have successfully passed Part 1. Their experience can provide valuable tips and motivation. You can find their interactive videos on YouTube.

Prioritize your health: Do not compromise your health. Get adequate sleep in the days leading up to the exam and practice relaxation techniques to manage test anxiety. A well-rested and calm mind is crucial for optimal performance.

Reserve the last few weeks : Keep the last few weeks just for revision. Double down on mock exams and give as many as possible. It’s the perfect time to use your flashcards and mind maps—memorise them. 

What to do after the MRCP Part 1 result 

Once you clear Part 1, you will get the next seven years to appear in and clear Part 2 Written and Part 2 Clinical, also called PACES. Although you can attend any of these Part 2 exams, it is recommended to attempt the Written part before appearing for PACES.

It is also recommended that you attempt Part 2 Written within 36 months of graduation. You should attempt PACES 36 months after graduation.

If you are unable to clear any of the Part 2 exams (Written or Clinical), you will be required to clear them within the attempt limit (6). So, if someone fails to clear PACES, they will have to take the exam again. Likewise, for MRCP Part 2, you will have to clear both these exams within seven years of passing MRCP Part 1. Failing to do so will require you to clear Part 1 again.

If someone fails to clear MRCP Part 1, they will get further attempts to do so. Remember, you have only six attempts to clear the exam. If you fail in your MRCP attempt, review the breakdown of their performance across different sections. This will help them identify areas requiring additional focus and prepare better for their next attempt. 

How TERN can help you with healthcare recruitment in the UK

MRCP (UK) Part 1 is your stepping stone towards success. Once you clear this exam, it builds your confidence, and you can prepare and clear the next two exams as well. All the best for that.

Once you have cleared MRCP (UK) Diploma, you can file registration for GMC, and start looking out for jobs in the UK. This can be daunting, but not when you have TERN by your side. 

If you're a medical professional looking to advance your career in the UK, TERN offers an unparalleled platform to help you achieve your goals. Using AI and with the help of our exceptional team, we simplify the complex process of relocating and finding prestigious positions in the healthcare sector. 

With TERN, you gain access to recruitment opportunities from leading healthcare institutions in the UK. We actively work to pair you with positions that align with your qualifications and career goals.

Right from creating an impactful CV to getting you your dream job, assisting you in your Visa procedure, and seamless relocation, we take care of everything. With TERN, you gain a supportive ally committed to your professional success and personal well-being in a new country.

Want to know more about us or need help with healthcare jobs in the UK? We are just a click away. 

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