The membership examination of the Surgical Royal Colleges of Great Britain and Ireland (the MRCS) is specially designed for surgical trainees. The exam is concerned with the generality part of specialty training. Moreover, it is a pivotal landmark in the career of a surgeon.
The exam decides whether a surgical trainee possesses the correct knowledge, skills, and attributes to complete basic training. It further decides the progress of the trainee to higher levels of specialist surgical training.
Waiting for the last moment to start preparation is a mistake most candidates make. At least 4 months of preparation is required for a candidate who is taking the exam for the first time. This is necessary to get a good understanding of the surgical topics. It will further give you the foundation for the exams.
If you start early, you can prevent the risk of rushing through topics. You are likely to miss topics when you begin late. Time is required to read, understand, and train to get the skills to pass the exam.
The MRCS Part A exam consists of 2 papers. First paper has 180 MCQs and is 3 hours in duration. There is a ten-minute break in between. Second paper consists of 120 MCQs and extends for 2 hours. Each MCQ is given 1 minute only. Try to finish each question within 50 seconds
In case you are in doubt about a question, flag it. Re-attempt them only when you have completed answering all the questions. If you do not know an answer, try to choose the most logical and the nearest answer. Make sure that you attempt all questions. You will come across questions that are long and scenario based. The way to tackle them is to first read the question and look at the scenario to pick the clues.
The questions at times will play with the language. You have to be extremely careful while reading the question. Questions with the words “UNTRUE”, “UNLIKELY”, “FALSE”, or “NOT” will not be added for the exam. However, if there are such questions make sure you read carefully.
Make sure you take the break of 10 minutes after 90 questions of paper 1. Do not continue without it. The most difficult part of the exam used to be answering 180 questions continuously. Candidates used to get tired during the last hour of the exam and exhaustion affected the performance while attempting Paper 2. Take all the advantages you are allowed.
Fuel yourself up with instantly available glucose, sugars, and a cup of coffee during the breaks. It will help you refresh. Do a bit of stretching if your body feels stiff after staying in the same position for long hours. Avoid reading anything in the morning or discussing any answers or questions of the paper 1 with anyone during the breaks. Relax and get ready for the next paper. It is natural to feel overwhelmed in the second paper. You might even feel exhausted. Don’t give up and keep on moving forward one question at a time. Lastly, finish the exam with a positive attitude.
Hope you found the information helpful. All the best with your MRCS exam!!