Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit

MRCP (UK)

May 13, 2024

14 Min Read

MRCP Part 2: The Definitive Guide for Overseas Medicine Practitioners

If you've passed MRCP Part 1, congratulations! You're one step closer to becoming an ST3+ doctor in the UK. However, you still need to pass the MRCP Part 2 exam, which is more challenging than Part 1. 

While the MRCP Part 1 exam tested your standard clinical knowledge, MRCP Part 2 challenges you to apply that knowledge in clinical scenarios; it is also trickier than Part 1. You'll be making sense of clinical images in the context of specific scenarios, wading through lengthier questions, and choosing from answer options that all seem like the right choice.

Part 2 is going to be harder to crack. So, let's get you prepped for the challenge with this guide, where you'll learn more about the exam format, scoring methods and benchmarks, areas tested, application process, and tips to prepare. Read on! 

What is the MRCP UK Part 2?

As the name suggests, MRCP Part 2 is the second exam in the MRCP (UK) series of tests. 

Part 2 is further divided into two parts: a computer-based theory exam and a practical assessment of clinical examination skills (PACES). You have the option to attempt either of these first, though it’s recommended you start with the theoretical exam since that’s relatively easier.

The MRCP exam process explained 

While MRCP Part 1 was what you’d call a knowledge-based exam, i.e., testing your ability to recall facts, MRCP Part 2 tests your ability to apply that knowledge to complex clinical scenarios.

  • The MRCP Part 2 is a computer-based exam conducted over one day
  • It’s a two-paper test, with each paper comprising 100 multiple-choice questions (MCQs)
  • Answers to MCQs are in a best-of-five pattern. This means you’ll be presented with five options, with four distractors that are less correct than the preferred option. You need to choose the best possible answer from all the listed options
  • You get three hours for each paper, totalling six hours of examination time
  • Each correct answer is awarded one mark. There is no negative marking

When compared with MRCP Part 1, one of the biggest differences you’ll find in the questions is the inclusion of clinical images: X-rays, ECGs, CT scans, audiograms, etc. The questions are also lengthier, given that they’re focused on describing clinical scenarios.

Why should you choose MRCP over PLAB? 

If you’re new to the process of becoming eligible to practice in the UK, here’s a quick primer — you can take one of two routes (exams) to register with the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC):

  1. Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test
  2. Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians (MRCP) test

Between the two, we recommend you take the MRCP test. Here’s why.

  • Qualification: PLAB is simply a licensing examination. MRCP leads you to a postgraduate medical diploma.
  • Training: With MRCP, you’re eligible for GMC and specialist training. With PLAB, you’re eligible for GMC only.
  • Seniority: Clearing PLAB only lets you apply for junior positions. Whereas clearing MRCP opens up doors to ST3+ positions.
  • Recognition: PLAB is recognised only in the UK. MRCP is internationally recognised.

Who is eligible to take the MRCP UK Part 2?

You can only appear for MRCP Part 2 (Written and Clinical) once you’ve cleared MRCP Part 1 with a score of 540 or more.

Don’t forget: You can only appear for MRCP Part 2 within seven years of clearing Part 1, beyond which you’ll have to appear for Part 1 again and repeat the process.

If you haven’t appeared for MRCP Part 1 yet, remember you’re only eligible to take the exam if you meet the following criteria:

  • A primary medical qualification (MBBS) recognised by the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC)
  • 12 months of post-grad work experience. This is your internship period after graduation.

What is tested on the MRCP Part 2 written exam? 

Questions on the MRCP Part 2 exam are typically focused on disease diagnosis, investigation, management, and prognosis of patients. These questions are structured as clinical scenarios and may also include investigation results. 

You can also expect to find supporting illustrations like clinical photographs, pathology slides, inheritance trees, ECGs, X-rays, CT and MR scans, and echocardiograms.

Here’s the composition of the MRCP Part 2 exam, as described by MRCP (UK).

 MRCP (UK) Part 2 Paper Composition

How much do I have to score to pass the MRCP Part 2 written exam? 

You need an overall score of 454 marks to pass the MRCP Part 2 exam. Although there isn’t a defined number of questions to achieve a passing mark, typically, correctly marking 121 to 124 questions from a total of 200 can get you close.

But there’s a catch here.

To account for variation in difficulty levels across exams, your exam scores are computed as an overall scaled score, i.e., a score that takes into account how many questions you get right and the relative difficulty level of the overall paper.

So, while the pass mark is 454, you’re better off targeting a higher score to be on the safe side. In our opinion, the best mindset for taking the exam is to aim for the highest possible score you can realistically achieve.

Question about MRCP Part 2 examination answered

You may be encouraged to know that the pass rate on the first attempt for the MRCP Part 2 exam generally hovers between 61 to 74%, which is significantly better than the 47 to 54% for Part 1.

Pro tip: The MRCP Part 2 exam does not have negative marking. So make sure you attempt all questions, even if some of them are calculated guesses.

MRCP Part 2 application and result dates 2024

In 2024, the MRCP Part 2 exam will be conducted in May, September, and November. Applications for these will begin 2-3 months prior.

MRCP (UK) Part 2 |  Exam Dates (2024)

Application Period

Examination Date

Results by 

18 to 25 March 2024

15 May 2024

14 June 2024

08 to 15 July 2024

11 Sep 2024

11Oct 2024

16 to 23 Sep 2024

20 Nov 2024

20 Dec 2024

Pro tip: If you’re wondering when is the right time is to schedule your MRCP Part 2 exam, the answer is: there is no right time. It depends on how much prep time you need to put your best foot forward. 

Where can you take the MRCP Part 2 exam?

Outside of the UK, the MRCP Part 2 exam can be taken across 28 multiple countries typically in major cities (most often the country's capital).

In India, you can appear for the MRCP Part 2 exam in test centres in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Kerala.

MRCP Part 2 Examination Centres in India 

Other countries where you can take MRCP exams are Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, Hong Kong, Iceland, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Malta, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, West Indies, Zimbabwe. 

How much does the MRCP Part 2 exam cost? 

The examination fees for the MRCP series of exams will change starting July 1st, 2024. Here’s what the current and updated MRCP Part 2 fees look like.

Exam

Current Fee (GBP)

Updated Fee* (GBP)

MRCP Part 2 (Written)

UK nationals

£460

£489

International applicants

£616

£655

PACES (Clinical)

UK nationals

£657

£698

International applicants

£1,202

£1,278

* Applicable July 1st 2024 onwards

How to apply for the MRCP Part 2 UK exam

The application process for MRCP Part 2 is pretty straightforward.

  1. Log into your My MRCP (UK) account.
  2. Check all your personal details and update any information if needed.
  3. Select whether you’re training in the UK or in another country.
  4. Choose your exam center. In India, test centers are available in New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kerala.
  5. Choose your preferred exam date.
  6. If you have a disability, fill out the ‘special arrangements’ details as applicable.
  7. Complete payment.

Once your application is complete, you’ll receive an acknowledgement email, and you’re all set!

How to prepare for MRCP Part 2

Now, let’s get to the most important part, actually preparing for the exam. Ideally, to retain the momentum and mindset from preparing for Part 1, you should start MRCP Part 2 theory exam preparation soon after you’ve cleared MRCP Part 1.

Here’s how you can plan for MRCP Part 2 and the resources that can come in handy.

Required preparation time

Typically, preparing for MRCP Part 2 can take 3 to 6 months, but this depends entirely on your daily bandwidth and learning pace. A good way to assess how much prep time you need is to take a mock test and see where you stand.

Resources

Here’s a curation of some of the best resources to use for MRCP Part 2 preparation.

Theory

  • Medicine for MRCP by Bessant, Birns, and Ford
  • 1000+ MRCP facts by Muzzammil Ali
  • 150 cases of ECG by Adlam and the Hamptons
  • Rapid Review of Clinical Medicine for MRCP Part 2 by Sanjay Sharma
  • Radiology in Medical Practice by ABM Abdullah
  • Get Through MRCP Part 2: Radiology’ by Singh and Montgomery

Question banks

The best question banks and past exam papers can be found on Pastest, Passmedicine, and BMJ OnExamination. 

Preparation tips

Here’s what you need to do to nail your preparation for MRCP Part 2.

  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses: Analyze past performance or take practice exams to see which areas need the most focus. An Excel sheet can help here.
  • Plan and prioritize: Create a study schedule that allocates time for weaker areas while maintaining strong points.
  • Use flashcards: Flashcards can help with learning and retaining a ton of key concepts, diseases, medications, anatomy and physiology, clinical medicine, etc. Anki is one of the best tools for this.
  • Practice, practice, practice: Regularly attempt mock exams and sample questions to build exam stamina and improve question-solving skills.
  • Stay updated: Supplement your core studies with current medical journals and textbooks to ensure your knowledge is fresh.

What to do after the MRCP Part 2 result 

There’s one of two outcomes: you either pass the MRCP Part 2 (Written) or you don’t.

What to do if you pass MRCP Part 2

Give yourself a pat on the back and take a breather! Then, start planning your application and preparation for PACES, which is the final hurdle to cross in getting your diploma.

If you’ve already passed PACES, you can now apply for your GMC registration and license to practice in the UK! Learn more about the application process.

What to do if you don’t pass MRCP Part 2

Same advice: give yourself a pat on the back for putting in the hard work, and take a breather! Then, start planning your re-attempt strategy. This is the time to identify and strengthen your weakest areas and perfect your practice and revision techniques.

Remember: you can attempt the MRCP Part 2 exam a total of six times. So treat your past attempt(s) as a learning opportunity, and nail the exam the next time!

Start your career as a doctor in the UK with TERN

Once you’ve cleared the MRCP series of exams, received your diploma, and registered with the GMC, the next obvious step is to find a good role and apply. We can help here.

TERN is a powerful recruitment, upskilling, and migration platform that helps healthcare professionals like you advance your career.

  • Personalized job matches: We’ll help you find the right opportunities based on your qualifications and resume. From looking for roles to accepting offers, everything happens seamlessly on the TERN platform.
  • Reputed employers: We’ll match you with employers (including the NHS) who could be a good fit. Every recruiter on TERN is thoroughly vetted, so you’re not in for any unpleasant surprises. 
  • Relocation support: We’ll help you with your VISA process, travel, accommodation, and any local services in the UK that you need assistance with.

Get in touch to know how TERN can help you find and settle into the best healthcare jobs in the UK.

Share this post