The Part 3, or ‘Part 3 MRCOG Clinical Assessment’ to give it its’ full and formal title, came into effect in November 2016. It replaced the old ‘Part 2 MRCOG OSCE’ examination.
Simple answer: there isn’t one. The exam is standard set meaning the pass mark varies and is determined by how hard the questions are considered to be. Who decides this? A team of expert examiners who use a modified Angoff method to estimate how many ‘minimally-qualified candidates’ would answer it correctly. This is explained in more detail in our MRCOG Part 2 information. It all sounds a bit confusing but it does ensure fairness.
The old OSCE was linked to the Part 2 so you would typically not be tested twice on the same thing. The two exams were related. This is no longer the case. As the Part 3 is a standalone exam it is blueprinted to cover the whole curriculum. So unfortunately it’s back to the drawing board as far as you revision is concerned but at least you know what you are going to be assessed on which is each of the following 14 curriculum modules:
Just like the old OSCE, the Part 3 comprises a Circuit of questions. There are 14 ‘active’ stations each lasting 12 minutes: you get 2 minutes to prepare and 10 minutes for the task. So more prep time than before but less time to then impress!
Many of the stations will involve role players acting as simulated patients or colleagues. As before, the examiners will not interact with you in these stations but rather sit quietly and observe you. In the stations where the examiner does interact with you, the old-style ‘structured viva’, they will discuss a clinical scenario with you and you will then have to demonstrate your clinical skills, interpret results, or write a letter to a colleague. Some of the stations are ‘linked’ where the next task builds on the previous scenario such as the management of delivery following the management of labour.
The old Part 2 OSCE was marked on a criterion-based score sheet: if you said something on the mark sheet you got a mark. You were also rated by the examiner as a pass, borderline, or fail. Your ‘score’ and ‘rating’ were combined to give an overall pass mark.
The Part 3 is very different and focuses solely on the examiner rating. The College have decided that you have already demonstrated your knowledge by passing the Part 2 and so the Part 3 is all about good medical practice, which is assessed in five core skill domains:
So rather than simply putting ticks on a marking sheet, the examiner will assign you a pass (2), borderline (1) or fail (0) based on a detailed description they have been given which outlines how a competent candidate should perform in the domains being tested in that station. We say domains rather than domain, as each task will assess more than one domain. Some will test four domains while others will assess three domains.
The lay examiners have been trained to assess you from the patient perspective. They do not assess your English language skills. They mark you on your interaction with the simulated patient and judge the ‘success’ of your consultation in terms of how you communicate, how you gather information, and on your approach to patient safety. They are, therefore, assessing you on two or three domains. Expect to encounter a lay examiner in four of the stations. Each lay examiner will be accompanied by a clinical examiner who will also be marking you.
OK. Now for the complicated bit!
You will be assessed in up to four domains in each of the 14 stations by the clinical examiners (a maximum of 56 domains) and in another three domains in four stations by the lay examiners (12 domains). There will, therefore, be a maximum of 78 domain assessments and a minimum of 60 assessments. You will score a ‘2’ (pass), a ‘1’ (borderline) or a ‘0’ (fail) in each of these domains. To pass you must be ‘better than borderline’, which means a score of 61 if 60 domains have been assessed or a score of 79 if you are tested on the maximum of 78 domains. To put it another way you need to be above average! It does not matter how much above average you are; 1 mark will do. So as before you do not need to pass everything and can ‘compensate’ for a fail in one domain, such as information gathering, by passing another in patient safety and/or communication.
© 2013 Teale Fenning | Website by Cosmetic Digital | Last updated Jan 2015