Having passed the FRCPath in Medical Microbiology and Virology recently, I thought it would be useful to share my 10 step plan to exam success.
- Start revision at least 6 months before the exam.
- Get appropriate textbooks together. I've listed below the books that were most useful for the exam:
- Oxford Handbook of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology (Oxford Handbooks Series) - this is my favourite!
- Get online access to the following:
- Remember to use Pubmed: look at editorials ands reviews of all of the major journals in the last 6 months (at the point at which your revision starts).
- Organise your papers! I used papers for Mac OSX by partitioning my hard drive.
- Organise your practical folder to include the following:
- BSAC version 8.
- Disc Susceptibility Templates (based on BSAC)
- APIs - instructions and colour charts.
- Your crib sheet for identification of organisms, ESBLs etc.
- Get as many past papers as possible.
- Go on at least one revision course
- The course that I attended was in Blackpool. This was structured as the final exam, over 4 days. It was very tough, with lots of samples, together with many spotters. It was a very good course, and tests all your skills of stress management. Course costs and accomodation fees can be found on application.
- Don't overdo the practical work.
- Remember that the exam tests your day-to-day liason work. Daily review of clinical cases, imaging, Gram stains are tested.
- Book into a comfortable hotel for the exam (Thanks to SAA for this!)
- The most important thing: Fill out your practical book neatly and as completely as you can. It is better to write down what you would do than frantically putting up sensitivities. The most important sections are clinical liason and infection control.