The MRCOG Part 2 Written Exam is one of the hardest postgraduate exams there is. You get six goes at the Part 2 and must attempt it within 7 years of passing the Part 1. Our aim is to ensure you pass first time around: it’s much cheaper and far less stressful!
Fear not as we have developed tried and tested ways to help you get through and secure your place in the May or November OSCE. Before we start it is important you understand what you are up against and how you are being tested. This is the key to any exam: you have to know what is expected of you and how you are being marked.
The Written Paper changed in March 2015.
Many of you were delighted to see the end of the Short Answer Questions (SAQs) but this means you are left with just two types of question:
You are tested over two 3-hour written papers.
Each paper counts for the same amount of marks (50% Paper 1 / 50% Paper 2).
|Duration:||3 hours (180 minutes)|
|Questions:||50 SBAs & 50 EMQs|
Lunch break of ~30 minutes
|Duration:||3 hours (180 minutes)|
50 SBAs & 50 EMQs
EMQ Paper 1 tests you on Modules 5, 6, 7, 13-18 i.e. Gynaecology
EMQ Paper 2 tests you on Modules 2, 3, 8-12 i.e. Obstetrics plus Teaching, Research, Governance etc
You should be more than familiar with the Modules by now but just to be sure click here. Make sure you know them and divide your revision accordingly as you will be tested on each and everyone. Further info and example questions can be found on the RCOG website.
You have to be mindful of the fact the EMQs count for more than the SBAs: 60% versus 40%.
Let’s do the ‘math’ as the Americans say.
Each paper contains 50 EMQs and 50 SBAs and lasts 180 minutes.
We agree the RCOG, therefore, who suggest “spending 70 minutes on the SBA paper and 110 minutes on the EMQ paper”.
There’s a bit more to it than that though …
SBAs are typically given as single stand alone questions: you read the question, pick the ‘single best answer’ and then move on to the next question which will probably be a new question on a different topic.
EMQs, in contrast, tend to be given in sets of three. They have a lead in which is relevant for all three questions. The same is true for the options, which do not change. Whilst more work is required when starting a new set of EMQs once you have invested time in looking at the options this will help with the next couple of questions. Have a look at the examples on the RCOG Website.
SBAs are easier than EMQs. Whilst they are not as simple as the old style ‘multiple choice questions’ you will tend to know the answer or not. On this basis and given they account for less marks Teale Fenning recommend you do the SBAs first and use all of the remaining time to concentrate on the EMQs. Just keep an eye on the clock and make sure you move on to the EMQs if 70 minutes have passed. The RCOG have kindly given some worked examples on their site.
For each Paper, the SBA answer sheet is numbered 1–50.
Each question in the question booklet consists of:
Incorrect answers are not penalized
The RCOG have some practice SBAs on their website – make sure you do them not only to get a feel for the Exam but as some may be repeated albeit in a different format:
One question everyone seems to want to know is what is the pass mark? Well the simple answer is there isn’t one and even if there was it does not matter! The ‘written’ papers are standard set and the pass mark will vary from exam to exam and from year to year. The RCOG use modified Angoff method for the EMQ to determine a threshold or cut-off mark that needs to be achieved to pass. The cut-offs are legally defensible if derived from psychometrically advanced methods and are commonly used for competence-based exams such as the MRCOG. Consultants, or subject-matter experts (SMEs), examine the content of each question and then estimate how many ‘minimally-qualified candidates’ would answer it correctly. The pass mark is determined from an average of their scores.
If we look at the cut-offs from the most recent exams the average pass mark will be ~65% for the EMQs. This means you only need to get 2 of every 3 correct, which is readily achievable and as most are split into sets of 3’s you can afford to get one wrong in each section so relax!
Take home message? Do your best in every question and accept that some are harder than others for everyone. Don’t forget the Exam is not negatively marked so you must answer every question: make sure you allow time for this and do not prioritise one question over another … all are important. Make sure you score well in the easier questions, as the pass mark will be higher in these. There are ‘tips and tricks’ to do this and history tells us many candidates get their highest marks on the questions they know the least about and drop silly marks on the easier questions. Why is that? Come on any of our Courses and we’ll show you!
Do your best in every question and accept that some are harder than others for everyone. Consider answering the SBAs first leaving more time to deliberate over the EMQs which typically require more thought.
Don’t forget the Exam is not negatively marked so you must answer every question: make sure you allow time for this and do not prioritise one question over another … all are important. Make sure you score well in the easier questions, as the pass mark will be higher in these. There are ‘tips and tricks’ to do this and history tells us many candidates get their highest marks on the questions they know the least about and drop silly marks on the easier questions. Why is that? Come on any of our Courses and we’ll show you!
As hard as it may sound try to enjoy your revision and the Exam. We promise you’ll be a better doctor by the end of it. No one beleives us but everyone agrees at Graduation. We look forward to seeing you there in the not too distant future.
And … we almost forgot … good luck!.
“The excellent rapport between yourself and your colleagues was very impressive…It is one of the best courses I have ever attended and have started telling all my colleagues about it. Thanks a million once again for making me a better clinician”
© 2013 Teale Fenning | Website by Cosmetic Digital | Last updated Jan 2015