MRCPsych Course  FAQS

We hope to have answered some of your questions in brief below.

The HEE (NW) MRCPsych course is a 2-year NHS run course which aims to bring ‘Theory to Practice’, and to reconnect the training strands of the weekly local teaching programmes, the regional academic days, psychotherapy training and supervision from the trainee’s supervisor. There is an explicit link to the MRCPsych syllabus and examinations. The MRCPsych course achieves consistency and parity across a large geographical area to ensure that all trainees receive the same standard of training regardless of their clinical placement, with more of this training being delivered in the workplace by NHS Consultants. Ultimately, trainees are better prepared for the MRCPsych examinations and clinical practice.

The programme is split into 4 semesters over the 2 year period. You should receive approximately three hours teaching per week within the Trust you are working – this is called the Local Academic Programme.  Each Trust delivers the same content over a period of six months so, regardless of where you train, you will receive the same course content. Some Trusts have designated programme tutors and you should contact them directly if you are experiencing any problems.  You will also have teaching on the Regional Academic Programme, which is delivered centrally by the School of Psychiatry. The regional programme has further MRCPsych-related topics, including physical health and critical appraisal.

Both of these aspects of the course use adult learning principles with different types of teaching methods, such as problem-based learning, workshops and didactic teaching. You may be expected to do some personal studying in preparation for the days’ learning and reading materials will be sent to you in advance. Furthermore, you are expected to discuss the MRCPsych programme with your supervisor and psychotherapy facilitators. Specific exam development is a key feature of the course – see the question below!

These webpages have a portal for trainees and you should look at these in detail to understand the course further.

Specific exam development is a key feature of the course.  You are encouraged to discuss your exam development and improve your clinical/management skills as part of supervision in your placements.

Additionally, the course has specific exam preparation outlined below:

1. For the CASC

The annual Progress Test

There is an annual OSCE-style exam completed under true exam conditions, with NHS Psychiatry Consultants as examiners and professional actors used as simulated patients. Feedback is given to the trainee in the form of thorough marksheets, to be discussed with the supervisor and to help shape the PDP  accordingly.

2. For the Written Papers A and B

Exams…. let’s think about how to use these reading resources for quick exam revision…

a. Background Reading Material

Paper A (Basic Sciences): The Regional Academic Day Year 1 Semester 1 presentations are all you need, but be sure to use the VLE question bank and Practice Exams to support your learning!

Paper B (Clinical/Critical Appraisal): This is a much bigger chunk of the syllabus. The expert-led sessions from the LAPs are excellent peer-reviewed material, along with the RAP presentations from Semester 2/3/4. Again, be sure to use the VLE question bank and Practice Exams to support your learning!

b. Access to MRCPsych-style questions

There is access to approximately 1,300 written paper questions during the 2-year course.

i. The LAP and the RAP

There are questions and answers in the style of the exam on all of the teaching days.

ii. Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

There are 14 sets of quizzes which coincide with 14 sections of the syllabus that cover basic sciences, clinical and critical appraisal. Each quiz has single best answer questions and extended matching items. They give instant feedback, explanation of the answer and a reference to the course so you can do some background reading to the question. They are all novel questions reviewed by a trained question writer.

There are practice mock revision papers for Paper A and Paper B (see below).

Remember to use this VLE in conjunction with the main MRCPsych website to access all the learning materials.

iii. Practice Papers

From 2017, there will be separate Paper A and Paper B on the VLE to give the trainees practice before the real thing! It has the same proportion of questions per topic as it would in the MRCPsych examinations. Overall, the written progress test lasts 3 hours and there are 200 questions with approximately 133 marks for MCQs and 66 marks for EMIs. Given that the exam is online, feedback is given to the trainees immediately so they can reflect on areas of strengths and weaknesses with their ES and TPD prior to the actual examination.

The course will require the following study leave per year:

30  local MRCPsych related teaching half days  (usually Wednesday PM)
12 days for the Regional Academic days delivered centrally

Total 27 days per year

We appreciate that there will on call/leave days but you must have an overall attendance of 70% for both parts of the course. Attendance is reviewed at the ARCP.

You don’t need to apply for study leave to attend the MRCPsych Course. This will be done automatically. However, some Trusts may still like you to complete their leave paperwork too. Please discuss this with your educational supervisor.