Category Archives: MRCP EXAM

MRCP PACES Exam experience

Experiencing MRCP PACES Exam


I’m going to share my PACES experience with all prospective candidates in this article because hopefully some of the information here will make the exam a little less intimidating for them.


First of all, there are three main things you should focus on before PACES. These are history taking, examination and communication. You should practice these areas and strengthen them up until exam night. Spend your evenings reading up on the causes of different landmark symptoms such as: cyanosis, dyspnea, dysphagia, joint swelling, etc Soon enough history taking will be a piece of cake. Also try to continually revise the causes of various important signs like erythema, clubbing, jaundice, murmurs, etc. in order to make your examination as smooth and possible. Analyzing these signs and symptoms to reach a provisional diagnosis will then be as simple as putting two and two together.


Personally, I didn’t find the exam cases difficult. My only problem was that the time designated for each station was too short, particularly when it came to my cardiology case. It took me most of the time to determine the lesion and I gave a muddled presentation worlds away from the one I would have liked to give, so beware of the time creeping up on you. Other cases were all the usual suspects:


–          A neurology case with motor nerve injuries where I did a full neurological examination and discussed diagnosis and treatment

–          A skin condition in the form of neurofibromatosis.

–          Endocrinal condition in the form of a thyroid disease accompanied by ophthalmological affection.

–          Respiratory system affection such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Bronchiectasis and Tuberculosis.

–          Musculoskeletal condition in the form of osteoarthiritis of the hands.

–          An abdominal condition in the form of chronic liver disease accompanied by ascites.


Last but not least was a ‘communications’ station, which aims at examining your skills at communication not only with the patient but with the patient’s relatives. You may be met with an actress playing a grieving wife or daughter and you’ll be faced with the challenge of how to calm her down and explain the patient’s condition to her clearly and gently. In cases like these, I have two words for you: psychological support. You must also be careful not to insult previous doctors the patient is said to have seen, especially if they have misdiagnosed him. It is very important not to appear arrogant!


Be prepared with a problems list for discussion with the examiner after each history taking and examination. An important point to remember when examining these patients is that they are all actors and they’ve come to perform, so let them give you all that they’ve got!


Unfortunately, many overseas candidates have complained that one of the causes of the lower pass rates overseas are the examiners themselves. They are described as being rude and interruptive, so if you are financially capable, you might want to take the exam in the UK, itself.

Finally, I wish all prospective candidates great luck with their studying and their PACES exam.


How to pass MRCP UK part 2 written exam

Hello to all MRCP hopefuls out there. I’ve decided to share with you my experience while studying and sitting for the written portion of the MRCP part 2 exam.

I luckily managed to not only pass the MRCP part 2 exam my very first time sitting for it, but to also achieve a respectable score of about 68%. To put this into perspective, the passing score is 55%. I also managed to achieve this score with only 4 months worth of studying. Here is some of advice based on my own personal experience:

1-What to Read:

At the top of the list of required reading material for the MRCP part II exam is none other than the Oxford Handbook for Clinical Medicine. From my point of view, this book is one of the absolute best books you can use to prepare for MRCP exams as a whole, whether you’re studying for part 1 or part 2. This book actually contains the keys needed to answer many of the exams’ questions. However, it does have a disadvantage, which is its large size that can make it different to memorize for many.

Essential Revision Notes: Of utmost importance for both parts of the MRCP exam. These notes are written in a manner that facilitates memorization and focuses on the key subjects that examiners seem to prefer. Unfortunately, these notes contain a considerable amount of inaccuracies and can’t be considered very up-to-date, particularly when it comes to latest updates in treatment and diagnosis so always keep an eye on other more updated sources when you are reading from this book
Complete Data interpretation of the MRCP: An excellent group of books with phenomenal interpretations.
Radiology for MRCP 2: It is important to realize that approximately 15-20% of the written portion of the MRCP part 2 exam consists of picture-based questions. Over half of these are radiology related, ranging in variety from x-rays to CT scans and even MRI or ISOTOPE SCAN questions. Radiology books in general are rather difficult to study and understand. This book however is easy to comprehend and will help you a tackle a weakness many MRCP candidates seem to have.

Rapid Review of Clinical Medicine for MRCP : Part 2:

While I may not have personal experience using this book in particular, it is highly regarded by many MRCP candidates. It is even considered by many as the most essential book needed to pass the written portion of MRCP part 2 exam. In fact, some of my own personal colleagues have relied solely on this book and have managed to achieve impressive results.

2- Online Tuition Courses:

Recently, online MRCP courses have seen an increased interest for all sorts of candidates. In fact, I personally consider the importance of these courses to be greater than the importance of all the books I’ve mentioned combined. Unlike books which set their limits at 200-300 questions per book, using online courses you will be exposed to an incredibly large bank of questions usually around 2000 to 3000 mcqs. Therefore, these courses will give you a much greater opportunity to study and practice. A second advantage these courses give you is the ability to track your progress compared to other candidates and thus they will help you define the areas where your knowledge needs to be fortified. Never underestimate the importance of the great variety of questions offered by these courses, as MRCP part 2 exams tend to repeat these questions whether with or without modification over the years.
My experience with not one, but two of these courses has been extremely positive. These online courses were onexamination and pastest, with the former offering more in terms of questions likely to appear in the exam.

3- With regards to the picture-based questions in the exam, it is advisable to take advantage of the variety of free medical atlases available online, such as dermatlas that offers several thousand photos you can study. However, it is also advisable not to invest too big a portion of your time in this task because compared to the written questions, picture-based questions pertaining to either radiology or ECG are a minority and answering them doesn’t always depend on having an accurate understanding of the pictures.

4- Last but not least is time management. Proper time management is essential to your success and can make or break your chances of getting though the MRCP part 2 exam. You have to keep in mind that most of the questions are long and take time to answer but you should never take too much time answering a single question while neglecting others. I had to deal with this issue myself and while I ran out of time answering the first paper, I managed to stay afloat for the following two papers by saving the most complicated questions for the very end.

I wish you the best of luck and I hope that sharing my experience will provide future candidates with some important tips to pass the MRCP part 2 exam.

Thank you.

see also


How to pass MRCP UK part 1 exam

How to pass MRCP UK part 1 exam

mrcp uk exam is a huge step in your medical career and it is a difficult exam only if you did not prepare well and it is actually very passable and straightforward  exam if you know how to prepare for it and used the right tools  here is some tips

1- give your self good time for preparation say 4 to 6 months if you are not so busy or 8 to 10 month if are a busy doctor and don’t have ample free time for preparation

2- concentrate your initial reading efforts on philip kalra book (essential revision notes for mrcp) and OXFORD HANDBOOK OF CLINICAL MEDICINE these 2 books in my opinion combined with easterbrook book for basic science is more than enough to study for mrcp uk part 1  and the most important thing you have to notice is that you have to buy the latest editions of these books as you are required to have the latest knowledge  about diagnosis and management not more 18 months before the actual exam date and as for bigger textbooks like kumar and davidson you can resort to it from time to time to clarify some points only.

3- subscribe to one or two online mrcp revision courses and the best ones in my opinion is and pastest courses which have a huge question bank containing thousands of multiple choice questions that covers all aspects of mrcp curriculum  and every question is followed by good explanation and the good thing is many questions is taken from previous exams of MRCP UK part1   and both courses are much better and more comprehensive than all best of five questions books you can find in the market today which is mostly not related directly to questions you will actually have in the real exam

4- in the exam day don’t arrive at exam center so early  i mean like 2 hours or something and don’t discuss exam wi

th any other candidate either before the exam or in-between paper one and paper 2 as this will only increase your nervousness.

here is some useful websites

mrcp uk exam official website

pastest course

onexamination course

good luck for all  MRCP UK part 1 candidates.

how to pass mrcp part 2 written exam






 You know what they say…pass it along…so after my two tries at the Mrcp Paces I finally passed in on the third try. After all that I have learned from this experience I feel I should inform you to help you hopefully from avoiding the pitfalls I fell into. So for what its worth here is some of what I think is important information…

Think before you speak.

Don’t blurt out your answers. Stay calm think about what the examiner is asking then answer calmly.

Presentation and Study go hand in hand.

Don’t lose sight of what the paces exam is focused on which is the common diseases and not the rare diseases as those in the first two parts of the written exams. Follow these steps for this segment…

For the study sector

In respect to the individual branches of the exam study about sixof the most common diseases that are most often found in the exam. Focus all your studies on these paying attention to details.

If you do this you will not be taken off guard by the examiners

Line of questioning.


For the presentation sector

By knowing the most common diseases first you will be able to utilize them when you are questioned about differential diagnosis.

Be alert.

Don’t rush through your inspection like you can’t wait to get it over with. There are clues possibly around your patient area that might assist you in your diagnosis. For example if the patient is a chest case then there may be sputum pots or inhalers close by. Thyroid patients often have a glass of water in the vicinity. Use these as indicators for your diagnosis.

Let go of the past.

When you have completed one station, then forget about it. You need all of your time to prepare for the next one. Clear your thoughts while you focus on the next station especially if this is the communication skills and history taking segment. You are only going to have five minutes to read the clinical evaluation paper. You have to put the key factors of this to memory and compose your conversation that is coming up around this.

Put on a good front.

The last thing you want to do is look nervous or insecure. Confidence in what you are doing paints the right picture of you to the examiner.

Conduct yourself accordingly.

This specifically refers to the client contact. Upon the conclusion of your examination thank the patient then turn away from him. You are now addressing the examiner. Keep your eyes focused on him. The examiner will ask you what you have discovered in your examination. Avoid glancing at the patient. Keep your eyes on the examiner and answer him directly.

Be clear and be heard.

Don’t mumble it shows a sign of insecurity. Don’t yell either. Concentrate on keep your tones as normal speech when conversing with both the patient and the examiner.

Don’t use your imagination.

If you have any doubts about some possible signs you may have observed during your examination don’t mentions them. Only focus on what you are sure of. You don’t want to be expending knowledge on something that isn’t there. This is important as it is better to miss something then fabricate it to the examiners.

Be specific.

Remember your presentation is about the patient at hand and his/her specific condition, not the ailment in general. In others words if the patient suffers from COPD, then talk about the specific criteria that the patient is presenting with this condition. Not the generalities of COPD. For example nebulizers and intravenous antibiotics, and corticosterioid would be the treatment for a patient in exacerbation. So you would focus on this. If your patient were stable then your course of treatment would probably be inhalers, so therefore you would talk about this. In other words talk about your patient and his problem. Not the problem in clinical terms.


Make your patients your best friend.

This is in reference to the purposes of practice. You need to have lots of practice so you are going to be confident in your examination during your presentation. Practice makes perfect so do so every opportunity you can.

Keep your chin up.

At the conclusion of it all don’t second guess yourself. Every examiner is different and have their own acceptances of mistakes and errors. It may be that you made a serious error but balanced against the right things you did it may not fail you. Such was the case for me. Most often it is the overall performance that counts.

Many thanks for the opportunity to share this with you and I am looking forward to returning with more hints of dos and don’ts for paces.

Wishing the best of luck to all!