November 28, 2010

Pass the Part 1 of the MRCP, WACP, NPMCN, PLAB and USMLE exams

Postgraduate medical exams like the Royal College of Physicians' MRCP exam, the West African College of Physicians WACP exams, and the National Postgraduate Medical College (of Nigeria) NPMC exams can be quite hard and daunting to get through but the better prepared the candidate is, the greater the chance of success early on either at the first or second attempt.

Candidates, especially first-timers, often underestimate the depth of knowledge and skills required to pass these exams. They therefore take these exams for granted often to their chagrin.

The Part 1 of the MRCP, WACP, NPMC are more difficult (than their part 2 exams) because they are largely theoretically-based and revision is tedious and dependent on reading books besides requiring clinical knowledge and clinical skills. However, the part 1 can be made much easier to prepare for if candidates base their revision around practice questions. There is no point just sitting in the library for hours without end reading endless textbooks from cover to cover.

MCQ books on the market and websites that give free or paid access to MCQs have been able to give candidates the opportunity to test their knowledge and then to “read around” the subject areas at which they do badly. It is very important to note and understand this. Besides, it is obviously the best, and the tested and trusted way to go about these exams in order to pass much more easily.

With so many books and websites available, one might get confused on which one to settle for. The truth is that they are all mostly good. The pertinent thing is to join any revision website that boasts a large number of registrants, and "listen" to what those who have previously used the site have to say about the services.

It is also good to note that at the moment several colleges like the RCP, the WACP, the NPMC have all dropped the traditional true-false MCQs from their examinations, instead substituting it with the new “best of five” approach.

Practice questions on this site primarily have the “best of five” format; although the old MCQ format on this site is still useful as they still provide an ideal opportunity to “test one’s knowledge” on a syllabus that will largely remain unchanged.

Medical Notes offers a fairly comprehensive range of mnemonics and practice questions that are marginally easier than the examination itself—good in the early days of revision when confidence building is essential and reassurance needed that it is possible to pass! Answers to practice MCQ questions come complete with explanations which are usually comprehensive.

The exams as a whole have undergone radical changes to ensure equity and fairness and the candidates of the future need as much practice as possible. All the practice questions, on this site and others like it, are there just to help!

Also read: Taking the MRCP 1, MRCP 2 and PACES

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